Those Whom the Gods Destroy

Posted September 15, 2016 By John C Wright

… they first drive mad.

From a puppykicker. She offers her opinion of SOMEWHITHER

Even if one considers that the Dragon Awards seem to be aimed at populist and action-packed SFF, Raising Caine or Agent of the Imperium still fit the bill much better than Somewhither, which – going by previous experience with Wright’s work – is neither action-packed nor populist and probably also very preachy.

Yes, you heard it here first. SOMEWHITHER is not action packed.

And not just preachy, mind, but very preachy. (I am hard pressed to say what the sermon in this allegedly very preachy book might be. “Stabbing is fun; determinism is not” would seem to cover it.)

And I cannot make heads or tails of what is meant here by populist. Populist is a pro-Tribune Roman political faction that opposed the pro-Senatorial Optimate faction, used often metaphorically to refer to any political appeal to the common man for the overthrow of the ruling elite. In America, the word is usually used to refer to nativists and protectionists such as the anti-Catholic Know-Nothing party of the 1850s. Anti-Catholic is the one thing the book is not: I assume she meant to say popular.

An Elementary Treatise on Determinants, With Their Application to Simultaneous Linear Equations and Algebraic Equations — going by previous experience with Charles Dodgson’s work, this is probably a fun and nonsensical phantasmagoria, filled with gentle satire and whimsy.

It is customary to read a work before holding forth an opinion about it.

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Decius Revisited

Posted September 14, 2016 By John C Wright

The same author who penned the excellent ‘Flight 93’ election article responds to his critics. Please note that the critic’s criticism are all Leftwing in tactics and tone, that is, personal attacks, attacks, attacks, and attacks, without an ounce of wit or substance.

I have said before: we live in a Dark Ages. Before Trump, I had never seen the Right behave in the same low, craven and illogical fashion as the Left.

Decius makes this remark, which bears repeating:

I urge readers to go back through John Marini’s argument, to which I cannot do anything close to full justice. Suffice to say here, the current governing arrangement of the United States is rule by a transnational managerial class in conjunction with the administrative state. To the extent that the parties are adversarial at the national level, it is merely to determine who gets to run the administrative state for four years. Challenging the administrative state is out of the question. The Democrats are united on this point. The Republicans are at least nominally divided. But those nominally opposed (to the extent that they even understand the problem, which is: not much) are unwilling or unable to actually doanything about it. Are challenges to the administrative state allowed only if they are guaranteed to be ineffectual? If so, the current conservative movement is tailor-made for the task. Meanwhile, the much stronger Ryan wing of the Party actively abets the administrative state and works to further the managerial class agenda.

Trump is the first candidate since Reagan to threaten this arrangement. To again oversimplify Marini (and Aristotle), the question here is: who rules? The many or the few? The people or the oligarchs? Our Constitution says: the people are sovereign, and their rule is mediated through representative institutions, limited by written Constitutional norms. The administrative state says: experts must rule because various advances (the march of history) have made governing too complicated for public deliberation, and besides, the unwise people often lack knowledge of their own best interests even on rudimentary matters. When the people want something that they shouldn’t want or mustn’t have, the administrative state prevents it, no matter what the people vote for. When the people don’t want something that the administrative state sees as salutary or necessary, it is simply imposed by fiat.

Don’t want more immigration? Too bad, we know what’s best. Think bathrooms should be reserved for the two biological sexes? Too bad, we rule. And so on and on.

To all the “conservatives” yammering about my supposed opposition to Constitutional principle (more on that below) and who hate Trump, I say: Trump is mounting the first serious national-political defense of the Constitution in a generation. He may not see himself in those terms. I believe he sees himself as a straightforward patriot who just wants to do what is best for his country and its people. Whatever the case, he is asserting the right of the sovereign people to make their government do what they want it to do, and not do things they don’t want it to do, in the teeth of determined opposition from a managerial class and administrative state that want not merely different policies but above all to perpetuate their own rule.

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Space Princess of Tellus Genealogy

Posted September 14, 2016 By John C Wright

Someone, whether kidding or no, said he was going to try to run this game, so, in order to bedevil him I here list more background information I invented for it. Please note that I changed all these names and powers for my novel SUPERLUMINARY, since the needs of gameplay differ from the needs of fiction.

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The Iron-Toed Workboot of Truth

Posted September 14, 2016 By John C Wright

Yet again, Larry Correia, man among men, drives the iron-toed workboot of truth into the drooping groin of political correctness. Angels and archangels with wings of flame, crowned in circling constellations, pause in their invisible business and watch in silent awe.

In this case, the Correia has been unleashed by the gods of war against the world’s number one jawdroppingly stupidest possible idea, called Cultural Appropriation, otherwise known as heckling and lecturing normal and sane cosmopolitan people because of your self imposed brain defect, taught by Marx, which regards all mutually beneficial human institutions (such as using stuff from other cultures) to be examples of oppressive exploitation.

I would say more, but I am writing in a language the Americans stole from the English (itself a bastardized Saxo-Germanic Romantic language used by ruthless Norman conquerors) using Roman letters on an machine run by electricity, whose principles were deduced by a Scott named Maxwell and a Frenchman named Ampere, and so my desire only to use native produce of my Virginian culture prevents me from typing further. Also, if I were to speak further, I would cuss most blasphemously, and this would be a cultural appropriation of a Hebrew divine entity.

By the way, Yankees, we want our Declaration of Independence and all parts of the US Constitution written by Virginians returned with an apology, and you no longer can have Washington as your first president. You have to start with Adams.

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Space Princess of Tellus Game Rules & Background

Posted September 14, 2016 By John C Wright

Someone unwisely asked me about the role playing game on which my epic pulp space opera SUPERLUMINARY is based. Here are my notes below.

The names, the size of the royal family, and certain other details I changed for the novel, but the idea is basically the same.

The dice mechanics are based on Eric Wudcik’s Diceless Amber game: when two characters are in competition of any kind, the relevant statistic or trait is compared, and the higher eventually wins. However, since the players do not know each other’s relative stats or traits, and since someone can break off combat or drop out of conflict at any time, it is up to the moderator to describe the struggle with sufficient drama to make the outcome seem ambiguous at first.

The game was originally designed that each player had to play a space princess, but later I added an optional rule to play a space prince. (But who would want to?) The rules below are not all of my notes on this game, but anyone curious enough to play in the background I invented can use them to get started.

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Superluminary, Episode 18, The Deadly Light of a Living Star

Posted September 14, 2016 By John C Wright

Superluminary, Episode 18, THE DEADLY LIGHT OF A LIVING STAR, is posted on Patreon:

Episode 18 The Deadly Light of a Living Star

In this exciting episode, Aeneas Tell must battle the undead neutron star called the Great Eye of Rutilicus that he has foolishly teleported into plutonian orbit. The monstrous dark star is an ancient and animate weapon designed to destroy all organic life, and possesses an interstellar strength death-energy beam prepared to obliterate whole worlds.

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Chesterton on Honor

Posted September 14, 2016 By John C Wright

The American Civil War was a real war between two civilizations.

It will affect the whole history of the world. There were great and good men, on both sides, who knew it would affect the whole history of the world. Yet the great majority of Englishmen know nothing about it, or only know the things that are not true. They have a general idea that it was `all about niggers’; and they are taught by their newspapers to admire Abraham Lincoln as ignorantly and idiotically as they once used to abuse him. All this seems to me very strange; not only considering the importance of America, but considering how everybody is now making America so very important. America is allowed to have, if anything, far too much influence on the affairs of the rest of the world…

We know, in our own case, that it is sometimes possible to lose a war after we have won it. The American politicians lost something more valuable than a war; they lost a peace. They lost a possibility of reconciliation that would not only have doubled their strength, but would have given them a far better balance of ideas which would have vastly increased their ultimate influence on the world. Lincoln may have been right in thinking that he was bound to preserve the Union. But it was not the Union that was preserved. A union implies that two different things are united; and it should have been the Northern and Southern cultures that were united. As a fact, it was the Southern culture that was destroyed. And it was the Northern that ultimately imposed not a unity but merely a uniformity. But that was not Lincoln’s fault. He died before it happened; and it happened because he died.

Everybody knows, I imagine, that the first of the men who really destroyed the South was the Southern fanatic, John Wilkes Booth. He murdered the one man in the North who was capable= of comprehending that there was a case for the South. But Northern fanatics finished the work of the Southern fanatic; many of them as mad as he and more wicked than he. Mr. Bowers gives a vivid account of the reign of terror that Stevens and Sumner and the rest let loose on the defeated rebels a pestilence of oppression from which the full promise of America has never recovered. But I have a particular reason at the moment for recommending to my countrymen some study of the book and the topic.

Every age has its special strength, and generally one in which some particular nation is specially strong. Every age has also its special weakness and deficiency, and a need which only another type could supply. This is rather specially the Age of America; but inevitably, and unfortunately, rather the America of the Northern merchants and industrialists. It is also the age of many genuine forms of philanthropy and humanitarian effort, such as modern America has very generously supported. But there is a virtue lacking in the age, for want of which it will certainly suffer and possibly fail. It might be expressed in many ways; but as short a way of stating it as any I know is to say that, at this moment, America and the whole world is crying out for the spirit of the Old South.

In other words, what is most lacking in modern psychology is the sentiment of Honour; the sentiment to which personal independence is vital and to which wealth is entirely incommensurate. I know very well that Honour had all sorts of fantasies and follies in the days of its excess. But that does not affect the danger of its deficiency, or rather its disappearance. The world will need, and need desperately, the particular spirit of the landowner who will not sell his land, of the shopkeeper who will not sell his shop, of the private man who will not be bullied or bribed into being part of a public combination; of what our fathers meant by the free man. And we need the Southern gentleman more than the English or French or Spanish gentleman. For the aristocrat of Old Dixie, with all his faults and inconsistencies, did understand what the gentle man of Old Europe generally did not. He did understand the Republican ideal, the notion of the Citizen as it was understood among the noblest of the pagans. That combination of ideal democracy with real chivalry was a particular blend for which the world was immeasurably the better; and for the loss of which it is immeasurably the worse. It may never be recovered; but it will certainly be missed.

G.K. Chesterton On America, from COME TO THINK OF IT.

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Video Break!

Posted September 13, 2016 By John C Wright

I was writing a scene that takes place near the supermassive black hole at the core of the Milky Way, and typed a search term into Google to find any true but fascinating astronomical tidbits I might be able to use.

Not long ago, I was so flabbergasted by some of the real astronomical wonders raging throughout our vast and violent universe, that I swore a mighty oath by Urania, the muse of Astronomy, and Jules Verne, the patron of Hard SF, never to invent or use any make believe astronomical wonders.

Occasionally reality underperforms expectations: I discovered that the Schwarzschild radius of Milky Way’s supermassive black hole core is roughly the orbit of Mercury. Considering a stellar-mass black hole is a mile or two in radius, this is rather impressive, but I had been hoping it larger.

On the other hand, I stumbled across this video:

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One Small Question for Never Trumpeters

Posted September 13, 2016 By John C Wright

I have an honest question for any of my disgruntled brothers among the GOP who have decided for whatever reason that it is better to withhold your vote and throw the election to Hillary, rather than compromise your principles and vote for a man who promises an end to unconstitutional, imperial government; an end to Obamacare; a flat tax for business; a hardening of our power grid against EMP attacks; a reconstruction of the VA; a rebuilding of our depleted military; a revision to pro-China trade deals; a rational foreign policy that stops apologizing for American greatness; and the enforcement of current immigration laws.

How and why your conservative principles are against these rockribbed core conservative values when and only when Trump voices support for them is an argument for another day. (I am as in favor of free trade as any other student of Ludwig von Mises; I just do not consider buying the products of slave labor from a slave state to be free trade.)

Let us grant all your argument is true.

Let us grant that Trump is a Trojan Horse, a Democrat in sheep’s clothing, a mountebank, a huckster, a traitor to the the flag and a man who never saved anyone’s farm from bankruptcy or never aided in flood relief efforts while Obama golfed.

Let us pretend that he is as unwilling to name or to grapple the enemy with whom we are at war as Obama and Hillary.

Let us pretend he is not serious about the immigration issue, and that he will grant mass amnesty to 30 billion illegal foreigners and ensure a Democrat majority of English-illiterate voters for ever and ever, just as Hillary will.

Let us say all his campaign promises are false and he will appoint the same four Supreme Court Justice Hillary would have, who will bury the Second and the First Amendment forever.

Let us grant all your worst thoughts about him are true.

But, even granting all that….

… would it not be a heaven-sent relief NOT to have a president calling you a Racist bigot for the next eight years?

Aren’t you tired of being called deplorable by your leaders?

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Superversive: Puppy Pictures, Please

Posted September 13, 2016 By John C Wright

The beautiful and talented Mrs. Wright has written a column attempting to explain the obvious to the oblivious:

The Bifrost Between Calico and Gingham

I have been asked what the Puppies—Sad and Rabid alike—are objecting to? If they are not racist or homophobes—ie, if it is not the author’s identity that they object to—why do they think that so many of the stories that have been winning the Hugo and the Nebula are receiving their awards for the wrong reasons?

I think I can explain. I will use, for my example, the short story that won the Hugo in 2016: “Cat Pictures Please.”

I must admit I had trouble seeing why “Cat Pictures Please” was the best story of the year. I’d read stories last year that I thought were significantly better. It was cute, but I had trouble seeing how it measured up to “Scanners Live In Vain” or “Flowers For Algernon” or “Nine billion names of God.”

But I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt here. It is possible that many of these voting are young enough that they haven’t read the stories that made this one seem derivative to me. If so, this story would seem much more impressive.

And tastes differ.

That’s okay.

My gentle wife is considerably more generous in her judgment than am I.

I believe the gap between the puppy kickers and the sad puppies was trenched deliberately. It is not because they misunderstand us that they hate us; they hate us because we love science fiction for its own sake, as an imaginative exercise opening realms of wonder. They see science fiction as they see all things, as tools useful for social engineering and thought policing. We seek to free the mind, they seek to chain the mind.

I would prefer that I am wrong on these points and Mrs. Wright be right. I wish this were merely a matter of misunderstanding, or differing tastes.

Nonetheless, the attempt to cross the gap between the puppy kickers and the sad puppies is laudable. Blessed are the peacemakers.

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