Space Princess Art Pause (6 of 6)

Posted August 20, 2014 By John C Wright

Unfortunately, no one can be told what The Computer is. You’ll have to see it for yourself. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about? Do you want to know what it is? The Computer is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth. That you are a slave. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.

Well, I am taking a vacation from the computer for a week, and to entertain my reader in the meanwhile, here is some cover art for science fiction magazines. This week’s episode, the final, is the finale, which gives us the opportunity to look at the best magazine covers of all time, by which I mean the Astounding Stories covers from the Campbellian Golden Age. There should be a fair number of short stories a well read SF reader will recognize from this collection of classics.

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Space Princess Art Pause (5 of 6)

Posted August 19, 2014 By John C Wright

The Computer can neither harm a human being, nor, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. This means that if Bayta Darrell on Planet Terminus, the farthest star in the galaxy from the center, gets a splinter, the Humanoids of Planet Wing IV must all explode from shame. However, robots can kill and murderize orcs and elves like D&D murder hobos. Good Times!

I will be away from the computer because obviously these things are dangerous. In my meanwhile, enjoy today’s episode of Space Princess Art Pause, including selections from Startling Stories.

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Space Princess Art Pause (4 of 6)

Posted August 18, 2014 By John C Wright

The Computer is Your Friend. But I will be away from the Computer hunting mutants and members of secret societies for a week of vacation. Therefore to to amuse and divert my devoted reader, allow me to present these gems from the unfairly overlooked pulp roots of our beloved genre.

Today’s episode concentrates on Planet Stories, which, in my humble opinion, had the most well drawn covers (but not necessarily the best — that honor goes to Astounding Stories).

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Space Princess Art Pause (3 of 6)

Posted August 17, 2014 By John C Wright

I will be away from Our Master, Colossus/World Control, for a week of vacation, to to amuse and divert my devoted reader, allow me to present these gems from the unfairly overlooked pulp roots of our beloved genre.

This is episode three, which features a lot of dames with guns, or with knives, axes, whips, cutlasses, bagpipes, magic bolts, and, in one case, I think she is shooting the monster with her face.
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Space Princess Art Pause (2 of 6)

Posted August 16, 2014 By John C Wright

I will be away from Our Master, Skynet, for a week of vacation, to to amuse and divert my devoted reader, allow me to present these gems from the unfairly overlooked pulp roots of our beloved genre.

This is episode two, which features a lot of thugs, toughs, and neerdowells grabbing dames. Perhaps we will see dames with guns in a later episode valiantly defending themselves.
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Space Princess Art Pause (1 of 6)

Posted August 15, 2014 By John C Wright

I will be away from Our Master, the Computer, for a week of vacation, to to amuse and divert my devoted reader (hi, Nick!) allow me to present these gems from the unfairly overlooked pulp roots of our beloved genre. This is episode one

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Definition of Fascism

Posted August 14, 2014 By John C Wright

A reader with the vunderful name of Vunder Guy writes and asks:

Speaking of, what is the actual definition of fascism (just plain old fascism without the racial hatred) and communism, and what makes them both different from each other?

Other folk (including Paul Johnson and Tom Simon) have already answered this question with clarity and detail, but nonetheless I’d like to share my summation.

The first thing to realize is the the word has been etiolated by the Left to refer to anything they dislike, including, but not limited to, populist military dictatorships, constitutional monarchies, absolute monarchies, plutocracies, limited-government-style constitutional republics, English-style class systems, and various other forms of government which are mutually exclusive. Hence, when used by a Leftist, the word means ‘enemy’ and overlooks that fascism is merely one brand of Leftist secular doctrines of socialist utopian thinking.

Originally the word had a very specific meaning. It was coined by Mussolini, a socialist, to describe how his heresy of socialism differed from orthodox Marxist socialism.

The word itself comes from the fasci which is the Roman symbol of a magistrate called a Lictor, that is, the authority of the state to punish dissent and nonconformity. The fasci is a bundle of rods surrounding an ax. You can see it in the architectural decorations of statehouses and courts of law. The bundle of rods represents the truism that any one stick can be broken in isolation, but when gathered together, cannot be broken. If put into words, it is a symbol of the motto that unity is strength.

The two main differences of doctrine are, first, that Mussolini socialism operates factories and large businesses as public utilities, where the owners are allowed to keep their businesses in name only, but in fact are reduced to mere managers under direct state control, or quartermasters. This is distinct from Marxism in that it does not consider businessmen and workingmen to be two separate species of mankind, as Marxism does, locked in a Darwinian struggle to the death for racial survival.

The second difference and related to the first is that Mussolini considered the nation, that is, a racial and cultural group sharing a language, to be the fundamental collective to which the individual was to be subordinated, and the state to be the apotheosis of the collective Will. This is distinguished from Marxism who selected the rather more abstract (and irrational) group of persons engaged in categories of economic activity to be the fundamental collective.

The short answer is that a Fascist is a Nationalist Socialist whereas a Marxist is an International Socialist.

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The Wright Perspective: Anti-Ideas and Newspeak

Posted August 13, 2014 By John C Wright

My latest is up at Every Joe:

http://www.everyjoe.com/2014/08/13/politics/leftist-anti-ideas-newspeak/

The previous columns have proposed that civilization believes in truth, virtue, beauty, reason and romance, in liberty and salvation, whereas the Morlocks destroying civilization say that opinions are arbitrary, values are personal, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, reason is untrustworthy, and monogamy is oppression but sexual perversion is laudable if not sacred.

The connection between these various ideas is not hard to trace: in order to make something as ugly and unreasonable and vicious as sexual perversion seem laudable, the concepts of beauty and reason and virtue must be desecrated in thought and speech, which cannot be done unless the concept of truth is also desecrated.

Criticism can be allowed only where there is freedom, including freedom of speech, and criticism of sin is possible only when men know and see a vision of salvation, a sense that life is worth living. In order to elude criticism, the liberty of thought and the vision of salvation must be replaced with the concrete gray drabness of a nihilistic world, in which nothing is possible and nothing is worth attempting.

Obviously metaphysical truths so basic to the human soul cannot be literally and honestly removed: no one could live a daily life if he could not tell true from false or right from wrong. The metaphysical truths can only be mocked with jeers and sneers on those occasions when they are needed as arbiters to condemn the perversions, sexual or intellectual or otherwise, of the Morlocks.

The Morlocks do not themselves set up any new concepts in their place. They use the same concepts civilized men use to judge true and false, right and wrong. New metaphysical truths cannot be invented any more than a new primary color can be envisioned.

What they have instead are what I call anti-ideas. An anti-idea is a meaningless verbal formula chanted by rote like charms whenever an idea is encountered in the hope of eluding or evading that idea, or silencing by peer pressure any foe uncool enough voice it. The formulae are carefully selected for maximum emotional impact and minimum intellectual content. The best formula is a single word or turn of phrase, like ‘social justice’ or ‘sexist’ which not only is not defined, it cannot be defined. These are, strictly speaking, not words but word-noises meant like the cries of beasts to express pure emotion, screams and battle cries and grunts of pleasure and so on.

The role of anti-ideas is to jam the gears of thought.

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The Crazy Years and their Empty Moral Vocabulary

Posted August 13, 2014 By John C Wright

Below is a reprint of an article of mine from 2010. It pains me to read the line where I spoke of the sovietization of the health care system as an event that had not yet come to pass.

 

In Robert Heinlein’s famed ‘Future History’ he constructed an elaborate timeline of thing to come, to provide a structure for his short stories.

Looking forward from the year 1940, when the timeline was first formed, it was reasonable, even conservative guesswork to predict the moonlanding by the 1980’s, since the first powered flight by the Wright Brothers had been forty years earlier. Heinlein’s Luna City founded in 1990 a decade or so later, with colonies on Mars and Venus by 2000. Compare: a submersible ironclad was written up as a science romance by Jules Verne in 1869, based on the steam-powered ‘diving boat’ of Robert Fulton, developed in 1801. In 1954 the first atomic-powered submarines—all three boats were named Nautilus—put to sea. The gap between Verne’s dream and Rickover’s reality was eight decades, about the time separating Heinlein’s writing of “Menace from Earth” and its projected date.

Looking back from the year 2010, however the dates seem remarkably optimistic and compressed. We have not even mounted a manned expedition to Mars as yet, and no return manned trips to the Moon are on the drawing boards.

One prediction that was remarkably prescient, however, was the advent of “The Crazy Years” described as “Considerable technical advance during this period, accompanied by a gradual deterioration of mores, orientation, and social institutions, terminating in mass psychoses in the sixth decade, and the interregnum.”

He optimistically predicts a recovery from the Crazy Years, the opening of a new frontier in space, and a return to nineteenth-century economy. Full maturity of the human race is achieved by a science of social relations “based on the negative basic statements of semantics.” Those of you who are A.E. van Vogt fans will recognize our old friends, general semantics and Null-A logic cropping up here. Van Vogt, like Heinlein, told tales of a future time when the Non-Aristotlean logic or “Null-A” training would give rise to a race of supermen, fully integrated and fully mature human beings, free of barbarism and neuroses.

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Almost Unbearably Enlightening

Posted August 13, 2014 By John C Wright

I found this letter in my comments inbox I reprint it here in full because I think my Mom wrote it.

No, I am kidding. My Mom would not waste her time reading my articles. The reader signed himself G Stephen Tucker. I reprint it here because it flatters me until I blush like a schoolgirl, but, like a blushing schoolgirl, I actually do secretly think, deep down, I am as cute as Tartuffe and Grima Wormtongue say I am, and, besides, it took me hours to dye my eyes to match my gown, so there.

First of all, let me applaud you for speaking your mind bluntly. All too often, people (on either side of the political spectrum) speak in euphemisms or coded phrases, and do not simply lay their cards on the table. Especially when speaking of morality issues such as this, rarely do even the most conservative thinkers and writers have the honesty and integrity to come right out and say that such things should be illegal and punishable by incarceration, and that such things should carry a significant stigma. Such is the nature of politics, I suppose. If more people were as blunt and honest as you, the debate would no doubt be more transparent and straightforward.

Let me please add that I came to your blog because the topic of Robert Heinlein came up, and I decided to google search the term “crazy years” and found your piece which used this idea as an introduction. I believe that piece was also in response to another of your writings concerning homosexuality and the responses you received from folks you offended. That piece was, in essence, about semantics (hence your use of “the crazy years” as an intro) – and since I am a semanticist (BS, applied linguistics) I habitually perform semantic analyses on any writing about the meanings and usages of words. I found your language use – the words you chose, the syntax, and the overall structure of the piece – to be beyond incredibly fascinating. It was so full of multi-leveled recursive components that the semantic field it created reminded me of an M. C. Escher painting. The fact that the piece was actually written to explicate the phenomenon of semantic dissociation made it almost unbearably enlightening. It is as though the shouts and noise and nonsense and lies and insinuations and just plain bullshit of a decade or more of political diatribes I have heard and been unable to extract any meaningful content from was suddenly brought into focus, organized, clarified, and made perfectly comprehensible.

I have never chosen a side to be on in this conflict of ideas people call politics or culture wars. I always considered all sides, given their language usage, to be so devoid of any critical thinking ability or attachment to reality that choosing a side seemed in itself to be an act of desperation. Choosing a side seemed to be equivalent to deciding to no longer be sane.

And while I still am not willing to be so insane as to ACCEPT some party platform or believe in some abstract theory of “the way things should be,” or become a PROPONENT of some poorly informed ideal or agenda, you have made it clear to me that there is a political will which I must wholeheartedly REJECT, and a wickedly informed ideal and agenda that I must become an OPPONENT of, however I may do so with my limited power. Which admittedly ain’t much.

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