Saturday, June 30, 2007

Bach in the D.C. Metro

A few months ago, The Washington Post conducted an "experiment in context, perception and priorities": the Post staff asked renowned concert violinist Joshua Bell to play Bach in the D.C. Metro on his Stradivarius, which he agreed to. The Bach-Bell experiment, as Post reporter Gene Weingarten wrote, was "an unblinking assessment of public taste: In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?"

The answer, not surprisingly, was, "No." During the 45 minutes of Bell's rush hour performance of a Bach chaconne, only a few people stopped to listen, and the artist, who regularly sells out the world's great concert halls, raked in $32.17 for his efforts. We leave the readers of Contingencies to realize the implications f this experiment for themselves (a hint to the correct interpretation: Chandala)

Friday, June 29, 2007

V for Veblen

"With the exception of the instinct of self-preservation, the propensity for emulation is probably the strongest and most alert and persistent of the economic motives proper”

"In order to stand well in the eyes of the community, it is necessary to come up to a certain, somewhat indefinite, conventional standard of wealth.”

"The addiction to sports, therefore, in a peculiar degree marks an arrested development in man's moral nature”

"All business sagacity reduces itself in the last analysis to judicious use of sabotage.

"In point of substantial merit the law school belongs in the modern university no more than a school of fencing or dancing”

“The walking stick serves the purpose of an advertisement that the bearer's hands are employed otherwise than in useful effort, and it therefore has utility as an evidence of leisure”

"Conspicuous consumption of valuable goods is a means of reputability to the gentleman of leisure"

"The propensity for emulation": das stimmt, Herr Veblen. Lemmings, in other words, links oder rechts.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Kant's 3rd

Few people who have made it through Kant's Critique of Pure Reason would deny that the 3rd Antinomy--in brief, the Freedom/Nature dialectic--possesses a certain Beethoven-like sublimity. Kant holds that the strictly determined laws of nature, and freedom (i.e. human intentionality) to be irreconcilable and depend on two separate concepts of causality. Some have gone as far as to argue that the Big 3rd really leads to Hegelian dialectic, . thus to the inverted Hegel, Marx, and dialectical and/or economic materialism (and there are some of us who think Papa Marx was following in Hobbes' footsteps [and Smith and Ricardo, obviously] as much as he was following those of Hegel). Zizek invokes the 3rd Antinomy in The Parallax View on occasion, as a contrast to the Lacanian/marxist hyperbole--and there are, surprisingly, a few entertaining bon mots in TPV, about every 25 pages or so.

There are reasons, however, to object to the 3rd Antinomy (and really to much of Kant--anyone care to provide a necessary argument for the synthetic a priori?), regardless of the continentalist philosophers' traditional reverence for the 3rd. The freedom/nature dichotomy does seem to suggest a type of archaic dualism (and there are more than a few Cartesian aspects to the 1st critique, as in the Deduction of the Categories). Humans are economic creatures: not merely robots (or primates--as even Marx grants), yet nonetheless their acts are determined to a large extent (ie, like as determined as McBauerlumper heading off to the lunch counter at noon). The abstraction of “Freedom” is also itself certainly questionable; does Kant mean human consciousness as a whole, or intention, or---some transcendent Geist, perhaps? We here at Contingencies suggest that by "Freedom" (Freiheit) Kant intended, er, something like “intention”, though hardly anyone, at least in psychology or cognitive science, would argue that intention stands apart from humans' biological and neurological endowment. Moreover, determinism has not ever really been refuted; if anything, genetics and bio-chemistry tend to confirm deterministic views---though the apparent "anomaly" of human consciousness remains an issue, at least for some (Jefferson sort of sums up the freedom/determinism issue thusly: "Man [is] a rational animal, endowed by nature with rights and with an innate sense of justice." Rational, and with rights, maybe TJ, but animal nonetheless). Theists and theistically-inclined philosophers, or immaterialist-mystics of some sort, of course continue to make transcendental claims for intention and consciousness ("Free will" remains one of the favorite terms of biblethumpers). As model and metaphor, the 3rd has a definite power, but one could read that metaphorical power as somewhat deceptive, if not dangerous.

Starting at least with Wm. James, consciousness was identified with the brain, instead of the metaphysicians' Mind, or Res Cogitans, Idea, etc. That’s not to say that James or the S-R people, and the behaviorists solved the problem of intention, but one doesn't simply toss the entire tradition of empirical psychology out the window (unless one is a renowned parisian postmodernist perhaps). Kantian or Cartesian views of the Ego/Mind/Self are not very prevalent except for a few philosophers, theologians or maybe people like Chomsky. But even Chomsky asserted that his language faculty forms part of the "biological endowment" of humans. The Chomster's rationalism is not equivalent to the Kantian or Cartesian ghost.

There can hardly be any doubt that consciousness is predicated on the biochemistry of the brain. Lobotomies, drugs, alcohol, sex, even food, demonstrate “external realism,” as Searle refers to it: nature has a causal relation to our thinking, to consciousness, regardless of metaphysicians' doubts (or the doubts of the Catholic church).

The 3rd Antinomy may be a powerful model, or explanatory hypothesis, or for that matter, interesting conceptual poetry of some type. But the freedom/nature dichotomy is not a fact in the sense that, say, evolution is a fact, or hunger is a fact, or that gravity is fact, or the physics of electricity is fact. There are semantic problems with the very word "freedom." What does the word “freedom” really refer to in Kant’s 3rd Ant.? The freedom of humans to act in certain ways? Freedom is a quality or attribute; not an object in the sense the brain is an object. We say someone is free. But one could not really point to the freedom itself. Freedom is a strange word, and concept. It describes some situation, a state of a person, a state of affairs; it means something like, not bound, not encumbered, but those terms are not so definable either. (Maria has a sensation of hunger, and decides to go to lunch: her decision may seem freely chosen to some extent, but she certainly does not choose whether she is hungry or not.) And you’ll find, if you work at it, that much of Kantian metaphysics has that problem– the terminology does not point to anything that can be readily defined; it can be conceptually described but not really correlated with any existing thing.

Regardless of BF Skinner's faults and oversights, Skinner’s critique of “mentalism” (which he thought philosophers, theologians, and most belle-lettrists were generally guilty of) should at least be considered, until cognitivists and brain scientists begin to offer some convincing accounts of thinking, intention, language, perception and the knowledge-accumulation process itself (---and Skinner's crony WVO Quine also had problems with the Idea idea---as well as essences, abstract entities, a prioricity, etc.). Indeed, as BF realized, Freedom, and a naive Freedom-fetish (rather common to both right and left), lies at the root of many social, economic, and, one might argue, environmental problems.


Friday, June 22, 2007

Billy Pitt, DU's own Marat du jour ( Cheney and moral relativism)

The entire Kos/DU/Salon/Slate, et al liberal whine festival seems closer to old hick methodist tracts (Dick Cheney--he's the....Devil!), or perhaps to Bolshevik broadsides (down with the booj-wah Oppressor!) than to un-biased, rational political writing. Billy Pitt, DU's own Marat du jour, is a master of this sort of hysterical manipulation, emotional pandering and bogus leftist rage, which is not so far from a sans cullottes or Maoist sort of murderous resentment (or in Nietzsche's term, "ressentiment").

Here are more blogger sans cullottes offering up their street-marxist belches. The wannabe Bukharins assert there is a fallacy of moral equivalence. There is no such fallacy, assclowns; McPuto wants to attack moral relativism, but doesn't know how to proceed (and moral relativism shouldn't really bother self-proclaimed Darwinists anyway---or if it does, perhaps you should like arrest a lion after it pounces on a gazelle, Crimefighter). The problem is that of assuming some transcendental Justice binding on all, when one could barely define what the word Justice means, or for that matter provide some evidence of moral facts (obviously in any platonic--or theological sense--a WR Pitt or McPuto is headed for a rather unpleasant district of the Malebolge, say next to the betrayers of the public trust, not far from Heroes and Ho's, and Mohammed). Like most drug-addled Kossacks, the clown doesn't know Kant from cannabis sativa, or Hobbes from his Hemp macrame (and a few chapters of Leviathan will serve to illustrate the problem of defining "just" or "Good," apart from self-interest).

Cheney made another faux-pas. Oh well. He's a scoundrel--he plays hard-ball, as communists or muslims do. And a majority of Americans voted him and Dubya into office. Unless Billy Pitt can produce outright evidence of unconstitutional or criminal acts on the part of Bush Admin., he should, like, STFU (or perhaps take on an equally sinister politico such as Dianne Feinstone). Better Dick Cheney than some prattling white marxist n-gers such as Billy Pitt.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

from Ditzby, another Konfused Kossack

"""""Al Gore – a man who knows something about the Internet – wrote in his book, The Assault on Reason, “The Internet is perhaps the greatest source of hope for reestablishing an open communications environment in which the conversation of democracy can flourish. It is the most interactive medium in history, with the greatest potential for connecting individuals to one another and to the universe of knowledge.” So while we may not be Stalinists, the Netroots is a revolution – a revolutionary, participatory democracy.""""

Yes, the Great Stoner Liberals, being guided to by Chairman Al, who have no problem censoring, editing, deleting, moderating each and every post which deviates from the par-tay line: that is the DailyKos KGB-lite, perhaps one of the most controlled sites in the Blogosphere. Ditzby is a typical Kos rhetoric spouter who fancies herself as some reincarnation of JK Galbraith. She offers great generalizations, predictable sentiments, ID politics, various fallacies–the usual progressive-blogger hype–no real data or specific points or fact-based journalism. It’s like a leftist pep rally speech, or lyrics to bad 60s folk muzak.

However much Christopher Hitchens may irritate some “leftists” (though in ways his writing is more authentically progressive than the usual Kossack grunts), he perceives the reality of Islamic terrorism and the jihadists (recall the Danish cartoon fiasco), and he understands that a bit of conservative pragmatism in the Middle East serves our purposes better than the moral absolutism and pacifism of naive leftists does (and that pragmatism doesn’t necessarily mean approving of GOP economic or social policies or theocracy–). And of course, most of the leading Dems–Pelosi, Hillary, DiFI, Kerry, et al. signed off on the War Effort as well: a point forgotten every day in

What's really amazing is that these cheap sentimental hacks and irrationalists actually think they are secular liberals in the model of Jefferson and Madison. Hah: they don't know John Locke from Tone-Loc, Hobbes from Sy the Liar Hersh, Rousseau from Ramakrishna; for that matter, they never bothered with even the cliffsnotes to Plato's Republic (which TJ and most of the Founders knew up and down, and could point out its flaws as well). Moreover, Jefferson had no problem taking on the Barbary pirates--the muslim terrorists of his day.
"The essence of technology is by no means anything technological."

"...we shall never experience our relationship to the essence of technology so long as we merely conceive and push forward the technological, put up with it, or evade it. Everywhere we remain unfree and chained to technology, whether we passionately affirm or deny it. But we are delivered over to it in the worst possible way when we regard it as something neutral; for this conception of it, to which today we particularly like to do homage, makes us utterly blind to the essence of technology."
(Heidegger, QCT)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Best Way to Celebrate Earth Day

(from, an occasionally amusing libertarian site. And thankfully free of the pseudo-science and feel-good corporate greenism of the Peoples of the Gore-acle)

El Pollo Gore-O

"""The very best way to celebrate the eco-religionist day of “Earth Day” is to burn up over a half-bag of charcoal to make the best tasting chicken ever.

Preparing the Grill

"""The chicken must be slow cooked. Using about 75% of the normal charcoal for grilling, spread the hot coals on two sides of the grill, leaving a large gap in the center. The chicken will cook in an aluminum pan over the cooler center of the charcoal, using the heat from the covered smoker like an oven to cook the chicken. If you have a smoker box (if you are serious about grilling, you should get one), the smoker box and your smoke chips should be placed in the center of the charcoal, touching one side of the hot coals to get the smoke started. ((Jack Daniels’ shredded Oak Barrel wood chips add a great smoke flavor of whiskey)).

Preparing the Rub

Grind together the following:
1 TSP Sea Salt
1 TSP Garlic Salt
1 TBL of finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 TSP Black Peppercorns
1 TSP Smoked Paprika

(extra Contingencies secret sauce---mucho cilantro, ground up habanera peppers, and a few dashes of Jose Cuervo)

Preparing the Chicken

Depending on the size of your grill, you may not be able to get a chicken larger than 4 pounds. Remove the giblets and rinse and pat dry the chicken. Lightly coat the chicken with olive oil. Sprinkle your rub onto the chicken and press it into the skin.

Take a can of Budweiser Beer and drink or drain a little less than half. Place a whole stalk of fresh rosemary into the remaining beer.

When the coals are hot, place a shallow aluminum pan in the center of the grill. Place the opened beer can with the rosemary in the center of the pan. Lower the rubbed chicken’s rump over the open beer can so the can and the two legs form a tripod to keep the chicken upright on the grill. Cover the grill with the lid and cook for about 1 and a half hours or until the thickest part of the thigh and breast are 175 degrees Fahrenheit. The beer will steam and flavor the chicken.

When the chicken is ready, carefully remove the chicken from the beercan. I use a fork and tongs. The beer will be extremely hot, so don’t spill it on you. Let the chicken cool for about ten minutes and serve. (Substitute mutton, or kid goat for chicken for a delightful alternative)
(Contingencies Leisure Department also recommends completing the feast with a shot or two of Jim Beam, a Punch cigar, and perhaps a few puffs of your favorite selection of chronic, with your phamily and friends. And don't fergit to support P.E.T.A. (People Eating Tasty Animals))

Monday, June 18, 2007

"No one
is such a LIAR as the indignant man."

26. """"Every select man strives instinctively for a citadel and a
privacy, where he is FREE from the crowd, the many, the majority--
where he may forget "men who are the rule," as their exception;--
exclusive only of the case in which he is pushed straight to
such men by a still stronger instinct, as a discerner in the
great and exceptional sense. Whoever, in intercourse with men,
does not occasionally glisten in all the green and grey colours
of distress, owing to disgust, satiety, sympathy, gloominess, and
solitariness, is assuredly not a man of elevated tastes;
supposing, however, that he does not voluntarily take all this
burden and disgust upon himself, that he persistently avoids it,
and remains, as I said, quietly and proudly hidden in his
citadel, one thing is then certain: he was not made, he was not
predestined for knowledge. For as such, he would one day have to
say to himself: "The devil take my good taste! but 'the rule' is
more interesting than the exception--than myself, the exception!"
And he would go DOWN, and above all, he would go "inside." The
long and serious study of the AVERAGE man--and consequently much
disguise, self-overcoming, familiarity, and bad intercourse (all
intercourse is bad intercourse except with one's equals):--that
constitutes a necessary part of the life-history of every
philosopher; perhaps the most disagreeable, odious, and
disappointing part. If he is fortunate, however, as a favourite
child of knowledge should be, he will meet with suitable
auxiliaries who will shorten and lighten his task; I mean so-
called cynics, those who simply recognize the animal, the
commonplace and "the rule" in themselves, and at the same time
have so much spirituality and ticklishness as to make them talk
of themselves and their like BEFORE WITNESSES--sometimes they
wallow, even in books, as on their own dung-hill. Cynicism is the
only form in which base souls approach what is called honesty;
and the higher man must open his ears to all the coarser or finer
cynicism, and congratulate himself when the clown becomes
shameless right before him, or the scientific satyr speaks out.
There are even cases where enchantment mixes with the disgust--
namely, where by a freak of nature, genius is bound to some such
indiscreet billy-goat and ape, as in the case of the Abbe
Galiani, the profoundest, acutest, and perhaps also filthiest man
of his century--he was far profounder than Voltaire, and
consequently also, a good deal more silent. It happens more
frequently, as has been hinted, that a scientific head is placed
on an ape's body, a fine exceptional understanding in a base
soul, an occurrence by no means rare, especially among doctors
and moral physiologists. And whenever anyone speaks without
bitterness, or rather quite innocently, of man as a belly with
two requirements, and a head with one; whenever any one sees,
seeks, and WANTS to see only hunger, sexual instinct, and vanity
as the real and only motives of human actions; in short, when any
one speaks "badly"--and not even "ill"--of man, then ought the
lover of knowledge to hearken attentively and diligently; he
ought, in general, to have an open ear wherever there is talk
without indignation. For the indignant man, and he who
perpetually tears and lacerates himself with his own teeth (or,
in place of himself, the world, God, or society), may indeed,
morally speaking, stand higher than the laughing and self-
satisfied satyr, but in every other sense he is the more
ordinary, more indifferent, and less instructive case. And no one
is such a LIAR as the indignant man.""""

(F.W. Nietzsche, from Beyond Good and Evil)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

"The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible."

Bertrand Russell

Friday, June 15, 2007


"Scientists are sometimes suspected of arrogance. Sagan commends to us by contrast the humility of the Roman Catholic Church which, as early as 1992, was ready to pardon Galileo and admit publicly that the Earth does revolve around the Sun. We must hope that this outspoken magnanimity will not cause offence or ‘hurt’ to “the supreme religious authority of Saudi Arabia, Sheik Abdel-Aziz Ibn Baaz” who, in 1993, “issued an edict, or fatwa, declaring that the world is flat. Anyone of the round persuasion does not believe in God and should be punished”. Arrogance? Scientists are amateurs in arrogance."

This is Richard Dawkins reviewing a book by Sagan. However quotidian Carl Sagan's writings may have been, Sagan was never one for mincing words with irrationalists---even supposedly scientific and leftist ones who confuse the history of Islam with some obscure episode of Monty Python (yes, the Ottoman Turk episode!). Many of the wannabe-Darwinists and bourgeois skeptics apparently discovered atheism like a year or two ago when the corporate media became infatuated with the Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris crew: others read and understood Candide say 20+ years ago (as well as Darwin, Nietzsche, B. Russell, SJ Gould, etc.: if not the Dawkins of 1650, Thomas bloody Hobbes, pal of Galilleo and Descartes, who probably knew as much about the physical sciences as Chas. Darwin, one-time seminarian, did--and certainly far more about secular politics and economic materialism). Bon chance teaching Darwin or Dawkins (or Hobbes) in muslim countries; and many of the Daily Kos-like corporate liberals and Trotsky-lites (or perhaps Meyer-Lansky-lites) haven't quite realized that the Koran is at least as irrational and sanguine a text as Screepture is.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


(Patriotism: "The last refuge of a scoundrel". Dr. Johnson)

"As to the invocation of Jefferson, we know that when he and James Madison first proposed the Virginia Statute on Religious Freedom (the frame and basis of the later First Amendment to the Constitution) in 1779, the preamble began, "Well aware that Almighty God hath created the mind free." Patrick Henry and other devout Christians attempted to substitute the words "Jesus Christ" for "Almighty God" in this opening passage and were overwhelmingly voted down. This vote was interpreted by Jefferson to mean that Virginia's representatives wanted the law "to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahomedan, the Hindoo, and Infidel of every denomination." Quite right, too, and so far so good, even if the term Mahomedan would not be used today, and even if Jefferson's own private sympathies were with the last named in that list."

The Contingencies staff does not endorse the writings of Mr. Hitchens (except as an example of a rather pungent, secular prose style), but he has read his Jefferson and Founding Fathers rather closely (as well as Voltaire, Hume, and French encyclopedists--the real intellectual forces behind American--and French Rev.s); indeed Hitch. wrote a rather nice book on Jefferson (which we are reading at our leisure) which would not go over well at the Cafe a Gauche. TJ might object to some of the rightists' infringement on Due Process (and to zealots, whether Muslim, Xtian, Mormonal or jewish), yet anyone who thinks TJ would be siding with the likes of Damascus Nancy and Co., or the multiculturalist left as a whole, like, needs to lay off the bongs and tofu-burgers, and the WhatIf game for a while. And anyone who has read even a few tales of Nate Hawthorne soon realizes that the American experiment, including the Jeffersonian, was hardly ever a glorious thing: more like a farm-boys' beer blast against some outgunned colonists.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

"Marcus Welby"

Not a Doktor, but attempts to play one, online! (and uh while selling t-shirts for QuantumCorp).

Monday, June 11, 2007


"The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity."

Yeah Mr. Yeats:

Friday, June 08, 2007

12 Democratic Senators do the right thing, for once. (opposed the "amnesty" bill and huge increase in foreign workers):

Baucus (D-Mont.)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-Calif.)
Byrd (D-WV)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Landrieu (D-La.)
McCaskill (D-Mo.)
Pryor (D-Ark.)
Sanders (I-Vt.)
Tester (D-Mont.)
Webb (D-Va.)

Babs Boxer outclassing even McCain-ia and Jorge Bush, who both supported Big Teddy K's (Kennedy, not Kacynzki) latest bureaucratic swindle. And Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-Nev.), doing the usual Southwestern democrat vote pandering to hispanics, sounded rather discouraged after losing the cloture vote 45-50. Some anti-immigration folks believe that he won’t try to pass the Bush/Kennedy Comprehensive Amnesty Bill again this year. So---whoever wants to put the wall up on the Border ASAP, and some armed INS gents, vote for him (even if a f-n MormBot)
Sam Pistol Practice
William Rivers Pitt-style populism

"....a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."(from Shakespeare's Macbeth)

Demographics are sort of the hack-journalist's stock in trade. Someone, somewhere does research, conducts polls, gathers stats on citizens' opinions on Bush or Britney Spears, and the Bill Pitts of the world depend on those demographics to prop up some polemic du jour (reliability of course an issue: some polls are more representative and unbiased than others. But that doesn't usually stop the polemicist). The polemicist then spices up his "research"--say, using a quote from Macbeth (an amusing source, since the rapacious Lord Macbeth--and his Lady--in ways seem like prototypes for say Bill and Hillary Clinton. At any rate, machiavellian ruthlessness works for links oder rechts: as the Bard knew, and methinks Bill Shakespeare was not exactly a member of the Labour party circa 1600).

The belle-lettres are quite important, since the WR Pitt style polemicist wants to conjure up some emotion, some DailyKos like rage, some Democratic Underground righteous indignation: the demographics are there to alarm the political consumer, just as some bad news about property values might scare some. It's like a type of political marketplace: Bush/Cheney's popularity index.

Admittedly Bush/Cheney seem fairly sinister, from all appearances (or at least a bit duplicitous): but not so much more so than Hillarians or Pelosicrats, if truth be told (or Putin and various Islamic fanatics, for that matter). The more interesting issue, however, involves the real implications of those ever-changing approval ratings: and we here at Contingencies suggest that the popularity indices don't mean shiete, more or less, and the "do you support the war or not" polls are also mostly meaningless.

When the Iraqi war effort begun, some 75% of Walmartopolis approved. Now it's only like 30% (some say more, some a bit less). But do those approval ratings have anything to do with the success or failure of the US Military, assuming that Jane Q. Public knows enough to make an informed decision? No. Tragic war is, but Jane's sense of tragedy has NO relationship to the success or failure of the specific tactics of the US Military.

Political polls mean about as much as --as little as---ratings of the current favorite Bubblegum Blockbusters, Inc. or Top 40 do. They simply measure subjective preference, and anyone who thinks that is an accurate measurement of political effectiveness or "Good" is about as confused as someone who mistakes Al Gore for a scientist.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Socialism, Kim Robinson style.

The do-gooder marxists have even made an entry into the realm of science fiction. Imagine RA Heinlein's response to some of the following words of wisdom from Comrade Kim:

"""A minimum share of 51% of the surplus value of one’s work should be returned to one, this value to be measured by objective and transparent accounting as defined by law.

The previous two points combined would tend to provide the greatest good for the greatest number, by distributing the wealth more equitably among those who have created it."""

Ah nice and subtle updating of Marx's Capital, Mr. Kim, with some hints of utilitarianism (always sure to impress a few stoner-frat boys who vaguely remember that cliffsnotes rant about the "greatest good for the greatest number"). And to be honest, not completely without merit. Those perfidious owners, managers, capitalists, bourgeois financiers! And the good proletariat (and for examples of the goodness of workers' revolution one should recall those supremely good 5 year plans of Stalin, or Mao's cultural revolution, etc. eh corpses serving the state as good manure). So are all of KS Robinson's fans out in Cyberia ready to lend a hand with say the Cali citrus or cotton harvest? Or like slaughter their own meat? Bake their own bread? UH, divy up their property holdings (the few well-to-do KSR fans)? Sew their own clothes??? Build their own CPUs? Help end the stock market? Ich denke nicht. And any would-be space-colonists face similar problems (i.e. consider the H20 and food needed to supply even a small mission to Mars: at least 6 months, and enough for time spent on Mars (any ice harvest also incredibly problematic), as well as for return trip...Take your extra tanker full of protein pills, and water, fuel, supplies, and what, pump your excrement into space ---)

And unlike Big Monkey Karl, Kim the little monkey doesn't bother discussing how that labor time translates into wealth: how does one quantify surplus labor, Comrade Kim? Oh wait it's an "objective and transparent accounting." A ditchdigger, con mucho trabajo, obviously works much harder, physically speaking, than a civil engineer. But Mr. Engineer, spinning a few integrals, does do a sort of work which Vato the Ditchdigger doesn't have a clue about. So who sets the value of that work, Mr. Kim? Perhaps the Peoples do.

Heinlein would have reached for his Luger. That said, KSR puts forth a few interesting if obvious political ideas: Pynchon he ain't. Funny that it's mostly a few sort of greenish libertarians who are drawn to his writing: most of them don't understand what the socialism entails (no cushy office jobs, McDweeb--even for PHP gurus)

""Population stabilization:

Human population stabilized at some level to be determined by carrying capacity studies and foundational axioms. Best results here so far have resulted from increase in women’s rights and education, also a goal in itself, thus a powerful positive feedback loop with chance for results within a single generation."""

Context/ultimate goal: Permaculture

Uh huh. Proof or data for those "results", comrade Kim? One big happy multicultural family. Heinlein now heads for the Bahnhof: Ansteigen an Den Zug, schweine....................

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Don't let Snitches--whether Gestapo, KGB, or needing medication---ruin the Net

Save the Net Now

McCain, who on occasion tries to pass himself off as a moderate, has gone on record as being in favor of a censored Net (in other words, a Net comprised of only corporate sites). No wonder the New Worlds stoner fascists approve of him.

Monday, June 04, 2007

WTF? Oh it's Senator Carol on meds

According to numerous witnesses, California's favorite lesbian State Senator, Carol Midgen, drove erratically for 30 miles along Interstate 80, and then finally smashed into a car, causing serious injuries to numerous people. She later claimed her driving problems resulted from a "very powerful regimen of medication." Whoa.

The major networks barely mentioned the crash at all. Pourquoi? And why wasn't the hag arrested? One might offer various speculations, but the most reasonable explanation may be that the media is controlled by dyke-friendly stalinists who will do anything to keep their "side" from being cast in a poor light.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Homie David Hume

"""In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remark'd, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary ways of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when all of a sudden I am surpriz'd to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation, 'tis necessary that it shou'd be observ'd and explain'd; and at the same time that a reason should be given; for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it. "" (From the Treatise of Human Nature).

As a secularist, Hume holds that values and virtues, however beneficial to society, are not at all necessary; they are conventions: one could just as easily be attracted to and stimulated by, say, witnessing the invasion of Basra, and define that as a good, as by giving a few shekels to Santa in front of K-mart. Hume's virtue ethics is based on self-interest and pleasure; and justice is not for Hume objective or a universal. ( most hysterical moralists of left and right--even so called "Darwinists"--- never quite grasped Hume's is-ought distinction). Ethics then for Humeans is constructive, stipulative, and alas somewhat subjective (most read him as a precursor to Bentham and Mill) . So how does what is termed "ethics"--or expanding the scope, even democracy--- work if large proportions of the population are criminals and sadists? What did an ethical person do in the Old West, or during the rise of the fascists or stalinists, or in 20s Chicago when Al Capon-ay ruled the city and the cops and judges were "in the pocket"? We here at Contingencies suggest bourgeois ethics (or Big Al Gore style corporate liberalism) depends on a faulty premise that people will, more often than not, do what is rational or proper in the conventional sense, and that is not at all a premise Hume would grant (or should), nor would Malthus or Darwin or BF Skinner, or William S. Burroughs for that matter. Ethics in Vegas might entail robbing casinos.

""Where men are the most sure and arrogant, they are commonly the most mistaken, and have there given reins to passion, without that proper deliberation and suspense, which can alone secure them from the grossest absurdities."
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