We’re Not the Only Ones Doing It…

So now let’s ask, can it be done?

The best places to look for that answer is where others are attempting similar feats. Case in point, Saudi Arabia.

Along the Northern border of Saudi Arabia, bordering Iraq, the Saudis began plans to build a series of walls and fence works in 2006. Construction was expedited after the invasion of Iraq’s Al Anbar and Nineveh provinces in 2014 by Islamic State forces, where construction began around September of that year. The project calls for some 1000 km long stretch of varying degrees of fortified walls, fencing, and some areas manned with remotely operated UAV surveillance.

From the Independent Journal Review

“…consists of 78 monitoring towers, eight command centers, 10 mobile surveillance vehicles, 32 rapid-response centers, and three rapid intervention squads, all linked by a fiber-optic communications network.” [3]

Also is Israel’s southern border which, in the words of Israel’s Prime Minister, worked out pretty well.

 In fact, looking across the world, we see that the concept of building border walls is not a new idea propagated by the Americans, but one in which more and more countries are attempting to take advantage.

Continue to next section…

Why We Need the Wall

Bringing us back to the contemporary, what would “success” for the US Southern Border Wall be?

The first thing that has to be accepted is that the scale of illegal immigration from Mexico is staggering with huge effects on the United States.

Likewise, according to the same Pew Research centered, illegal immigrants currently account for some 3.5% of the US population.[1] With regard to Mexican immigration, this is most readily felt in parts of the country where few people go, the small towns. There is a map created which represents every person on the US census as a color-coded dot – One Dot Per Person for the Entire U.S.

Zooming out shows the map as apparently completely blue, but when you zoom into many areas, such as my town highlighted with the arrow above and shown below, you see the homogenous blue zones suddenly become remarkably racially diverse.

Why my town, as well as so many towns, become suddenly homogeneously blue as you zoom out, I don’t understand, but I do understand that this is a mostly invisible issue to many who do not live in small towns like mine, nor are the externalities of it. Those externalities include that the low wage low skill jobs that employed the majority of the population are gone. There are still people doing them, but much of the work for people starting their careers have shifted to immigrant and often illegal labor. Secondly, is the impact on the schools. In my town, the population has shifted from 5% Mexican population in the 1970’s, to around 50% today. In general, this isn’t a problem except when we factor in for illegal immigrants. I’ve polled Mexican-American students at the school who volunteer that they believe at least 25% of the students are living in the United States illegally. By that, we can estimate that some 8 to 10% of the students of the school are not legally supposed to live in the town or the country for that matter. These students do have access to the same education and the same resources but are not bearing the same tax burden. For small towns like mine, having 10% of the students not contributing to the tax base is devastating to the educational standard provided, with ripple effects that can be felt for generations. This, along with many other factors, is part of why Oklahoma education is facing an existential crisis.

Likewise, let’s look at some numbers from the US Federal Sentencing Commission in 2015. Illegal immigrants accounted for 37% of all federal crimes, discounting all immigration-related federal crimes, this accounts for 14% of all federal crimes. In that remaining category, they accounted for 75% of drug possession, 30% of kidnappings, 21% of national defense crimes such as exporting arms, munitions or military equipment, and providing material support to foreign terrorist organizations, 18% of drug trafficking, 10% of money laundering, and 5% of all murders. [2]

I want to be clear, this isn’t saying that Mexicans are bad people or even that all illegal immigrants are bad. I don’t even believe the majority are guilty anything more than knowingly attempting to subvert our immigration laws, but all of these crimes… should not be able to happen at all. We simply must accept that the United States would be better off with fewer people selling drugs, fewer kidnappings, and fewer murders, and if an easy to prevent much of that is tougher enforcement of immigration law, then great.

Similarly, the economic burden placed on our rural labor force and education systems should not be happening at all.

That is how we will be able to measure if the Southern Wall will be a success. If it can dramatically reduce the influx of illegal immigration as well as the crime coming through or dependent upon an open Southern border, then it will be a success.

Having established that, let’s ask first if there is evidence to support the building. San Diego built their own wall and saw perhaps the best proof we need.

The wall in San Diego reduced illegal immigration apprehensions by 95%.

Back then, Border Patrol agent Jim Henry says he was overwhelmed by the stream of immigrants who crossed into the United States illegally just in that sector.

“It was an area that was out of control,” Henry says. “There were over 100,000 aliens crossing through this area a year.”

Today, Henry is assistant chief of the Border Patrol’s San Diego sector. He says apprehensions here are down 95 percent, from 100,000 a year to 5,000 a year, largely because the single strand of cable marking the border was replaced by double — and in some places, triple — fencing.

San Diego Fence Provides Lessons in Border Control

Furthermore, let’s look at the national level implementation in the US. Most illegal immigrants to the US actually came over in the 1990s when apprehensions reached a staggering 1.6 million per year.

Policies beginning around the time of 2000 halted much of the illegal immigration into the US but just as much was the 2006 Secure Fence Act, which saw the construction of 653 miles of reinforced fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border. Due mostly to this, US Border Patrol now is forced to make far fewer apprehensions. Extending the 653 miles would further reduce the need for US Border Patrol agents to make what still amounts to a quarter million apprehensions a year.


Continue on to next section.

 

Could Trump’s Border Wall Work?

It’s worked before.

In fact, studying the purpose of the Great Wall of China serves well to explain what success for the Southern Border Wall would look like.

At that time, the threat came from populations to the north that wasn’t set on invading and overthrowing China, but from small raiding parties looting borderland villages. Militarily, a raid is an attack which isn’t meant to occupy territory but to inflict some harm on an enemy before retreating back to a safe location. In this way, the harm that was visited upon the Ming Dynasty could come from literally anywhere along the empire’s northern border. Without warning, some independent tribe of anywhere from 15 to 200 soldiers could show up and ransack a borderland village or even a small city. They could take with them slaves and treasure, preventing development in the region and representing a constant drain on the empire.

So there are two possible solutions to this problem. You either dedicate an army, literally a whole army, to the entire border that could respond with reasonable force to any possible raid attempt, or, you build some static defense that could prevent the majority of such attacks. In the case of China, the solution was the northern border wall, a static option. Could a determined foe scale the wall? Sure, but the wall prevented the main tool necessary for these raids from getting over — the horse. By denying that tactical necessity, it no longer became profitable for the types of raids to occur. No longer did the region suffer from the raids, but also, the types of people who would do the raiding also died off. At the same, the army that was saved was allowed to be redeployed to other areas, sometimes to expand the borders of China, sometimes to protect them invasions themselves. To say the least, the Great Wall of China was necessary to providing the culture with much of the stability and security to become the cultural centerpiece of world history it is today. Eventually, the wall was overcome by a determined force from the north, but it still bought the Chinese more than 1,200 years of security after it was built.

Not too shabby.


Continue on to part 2

What Did Conservatives Dislike about President Obama?

When President Barack Obama was elected, I was rather a-political. I was starting college. I actually just got out of the Marines and off an Iraq deployment only a few months prior. I also had a slew of problems adjusting to civilian life amidst a recent series of personal tragedies. Politics? Whatever. Who has the time?

The only real moment that stood out to me in 2008 was when another student, a black student if I’m being very honest, said very confidently to the whole class, “It’s time we had a black man in the White House!”

That was it. That was the end of his explanation.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. My entire life, I had been raised on the belief that skin color had nothing to do with a person’s ability and that treating every race equally was all that mattered. We had been taught to be colorblindbut there was a student arguing that policies didn’t matter, voting patterns didn’t matter, experience didn’t matter. His skin color alone was what mattered. I was floored. This was racism. That was exactly racism. This was complete and total racism. It was saying, in a college History class no less, that a person was qualified for the most powerful role in the country because of the color of his skin. He might as well have said, “I’m not voting for anyone if they are white.”

I looked to the teacher, and she said nothing, as if, “Good enough.” When did it become acceptable for people to say that skin color alone was the qualifier for anything, especially the office of President of the United States?

I wanted to ask right then, “Don’t policies matter?”

I legitimately wanted to know. Like I said, I had a lot of life happening in 2008, so the election didn’t really weigh too heavily on my mind, even though it was already September or so. I’m ashamed of how ignorant and apathetic I was. But here I was in college and I wanted to know what the man stood for. In particular, I wanted to know his foreign policy. Remember, I was so fresh from the sandbox, I still had sand falling out of my… Let’s just say it was still on my mind. Many of my friends still in the Marines were going to deploy again very shortly into the tenure of the new president, and so many people I knew had already suffered so much for the gains we had made in Iraq. By the end of 2007, the war was as good as won. So all the next guy had to do was nothing stupid and we’d be fine there. Still, I wanted to know that this guy wouldn’t botch the whole thing.

But I said nothing. At that time, I was afraid of saying, “That’s not good enough for me. I’d like to know his foreign policy.” I feared that if I questioned his logic, I would be called a racist.

That was my first run in with identity politics. And as an additional point, I didn’t go to school in some blue state where I might have expected this. I went to school in Dallas, Texas.

I did start looking more into things on my own, though. That left me with only one real series of questions.

“What does Change even mean? Change what? How? What’s the context, here?”

Then the election happened. I wasn’t too torn up, though I was surprised. I expected people to go for the experienced veteran, being that we were in the middle of two wars. I understood very little back then.

After that, however, I started seeing a lot of things that were fairly alarming. Now President Obama was making some terrible choices with our military. This included ignoring the conflicts to a great degree while apologizing across the world for our presence. “This will embolden our enemies,” I thought. Then he placed in a series of secretaries over the DoD and the various branches who clearly were more interested in “reforms” that had nothing to do with making our warfighters more combat effective, but everything to do with partisan social agendas. There were also cuts being made and the sequestration. Just so you know, that’s a really frightening word if you’re in the military, and particularly if you’re in the military in the middle of two active conflicts. Then there was the pullout from Iraq. There, I got angry. I told my wife then that if we pull out of Iraq the terrorists were going to take over all of Al Anbar (where I had been deployed). But he gave out that wonderful stimulus package, so everybody got $800. Why should I complain?

Then ISIS happened and I was proven right. Places, where people I knew died, were now the property of the worst terrorists the world had ever known, born strictly out the absence of the American military forces after we had gained control of it years prior. I was upset about Iraq, to say the least. Then I got more upset at the complete lack of a response to Russia in Ukraine; upset about the Iran deal; upset that Afghanistan was ignored after they got Bin Laden; and upset that diddly squat was being done about a suddenly nuclear-armed North Korea test firing their first generation of ICBMs.

Switching back to local… did I mention that I also graduated during this time… and that I had to get a job during the slowest recovering recession in our nation’s history? Nothing will slap you in the face harder than finding out that graduating with honors from a good university and military experience aren’t enough to get you a decent job a full four years after Obama took office and more than five years after the start of the recession.

I ended up finally being hired in a crap retail management position where my job was to write schedules that screwed over my employees. Of course, that wasn’t what the ad read, but yes, that was my job. I had to take people who had been working with the company for years and deserved full-time status, and never allow them more than 32 hours a week. If they worked more than 35 enough weeks, they automatically qualified as full-time employees. Why is that bad? Thanks to this new healthcare legislation coming down that forced companies to pay healthcare worth more than the labor of their employees, the companies juggled to figure out a scheme that allowed them to stay in the black. That involved Operations Managers like me essentially switching from managing operations, the sort of harder and faster motivation that I was good at, to screwing over employees. I was good at harder and faster. I was Marine after all, but not screwing over good and hardworking people who deserved to work the hours they wanted to, but I would be doomed if I gave them more than 35 a week. Granted, I didn’t realize at the time that I was an evil corporate miser, but looking back, that’s all I was.

Oh, my company was bad, but then I found out that they weren’t the only ones. As it turned out, people predicted that this behavior would run rampant. Unemployment would go down, but underemployment would skyrocket as people would take on not one job adequate for their needs and appropriate to their skills, but three part-time jobs because no one was going to be hiring full-time employees now. Upward mobility also became impossible, and millions of people still couldn’t get healthcare.

I’ve read many arguments against The Affordable Care Act, but this is the one that did me in on the President’s desire to do nice things domestically. There were really obvious signs that this wouldn’t work, that it would cause some massive problems, but people who raised their hand to say anything… racists — or if they objected to the plan itself, they lacked empathy. I’m sorry, but all those kids in college who were so livid toward anyone who disagreed with them and said they lacked empathy, they never had to empathize with real people. They didn’t know Charity.

And Charity isn’t a euphemism. That’s her real name: Charity H. She was a real hard worker. Always reliable. I knew that if anyone flaked, I could rely on her. She was quiet, but exactly the sort I wanted on my teams. It was my job to force her into taking a second job. I became very angry years after leaving retail and walking past that same store and seeing Charity still working there, probably in the same position, and probably at no more than 32 hours a week.

At some point during this time, the church shooting happened where a deranged nutbag shot and killed a small bible study at a predominately black church. That was heartbreaking, reminding every one of Columbine and other shootings of the sort. The president himself went to lead the funeral. I thought that was classy. Then, out of nowhere in the speech,

“It’s time to take down that flag!”

He was talking about the Confederate flag, in whatever state still flew it. I’m sure there was a healthy debate about that before the shooting, but to me and many people, this was a statement taken so far out of left field — owing absolutely nothing to the problem of bat-crap crazy people murdering others — that I was floored at how he seemed to shift the blame to a whole state for what this one guy did. In reading the actual text of the speech, the entire three paragraphs of the eulogy where the flag came into question, he didn’t mention the actual killer once. Instead, the clear and overwhelming focus was on how racist America was, not the individual in question. American history somehow caused this. It was literally as if he was saying all of us were responsible — not just the killer. Even if he was a perfectly sane person who just simply was a horrible, horrible racist, we all were responsible because of American history. He was just a symptom of a deeply racist nation. I was completely lost as to why this egregious crime was being suddenly turned into a political call to action that had nothing to do with the events in question, one that put the onus of responsibility on all Americans and their inescapable racism.

I remember not long after that, there was this 16 or 17-year-old girl posing with her friends in front of the flag before prom. Prom. They’re freaking kids. You may not agree with that. You may think that every white person in the South with a Confederate flag is a raging racist out to enslave all the POC, but you’d be wrong. I know these people and you’re wrong, but whatever. What came next was absurd. A protest formed outside the girl’s home. I don’t know how, but she got doxxed and a mob of protesters began harassing her family and threatening her, right outside her bedroom window.

Full stop. That’s unacceptable. I am not a free speech supremacist. I’ll fight very hard for people to say things that I don’t even agree, but there is a line of decency we do not cross. I don’t believe that speech should happen at someone’s front door. People get crazy and at the snap of a finger can turn a protest into a mob. It was indecent for people to “protest” like that.

In a conversation among Top Writers about how terrible this girl was, where the fact that they were protesting at her house was the context of the article, I pointed out this fact. When a mob is allowed to threaten minors for an Instagram photo, I call the moment. Of course, that opened me up to a barrage of being called a racist. The heck? I wasn’t even supporting the flag. I could care less about the flag. I was just saying to leave the protests out of people’s front yards and don’t think you’re the good guy for terrifying little girls.

Then we get into Black Lives Matter. Look, I’ve read the data, and there are cases where police acted wrongly. Nobody is saying it never happens. But we were asking for people to wait for evidence before stories based on a few unverified facts became major national narratives and the source of outrage for millions. Case in point: Michael Brown, where wild protests followed the “execution” of an innocent black teenager trying to surrender to a murderous racist white cop. As the days went by, there was less and less evidence to support this story, and more that exonerated the police officer. So when we actually had evidence that Brown was doing a lot of stuff he shouldn’t, I was the guy who said something, “Maybe we should wait for some evidence before the riots?”

Oh, how things went South after that. Turns out, I was completely right and that the Department of Justice’s investigation completely proved that Brown attacked the police officer, made no effort to surrender and that the officer was completely in his rights to shoot him. It turns out that the whole “Hands Up; Don’t Shoot” story was completely falsified by the guy who was Brown’s accomplice in the crimes that got him killed. Doesn’t really matter. By this point, we had Top Writers literally saying, and I am directly quoting, “Jon Davis wants people who look like me back picking cotton,” and posting pictures of some random white guy assaulting Martin Luther King Jr. saying, “Here’s Jon Davis’ grandpa,” inside Quora answers!

It was insane. Of course, I don’t blame Barack Obama for that directly, but he set the stage for this outrage culture. He normalized outrage culture and never tried to check it as cities went up in riots based on little to no evidence other than narratives of systemic racism.

Then there was the slaying of several police officers at a BLM protest in Dallas. This was it for me. In the speech at the memorial service, many people, myself included, interpreted the President’s words as, “But a lot of cops do bad things too.” It felt, in that moment, that the President of the United States was standing over a funeral where police officers had given their lives protecting people who despised them, and there was a suggestion that the killer was in the slightest way possibly justified because some cops somewhere are bad?

You don’t have to agree with me. You don’t have to respect my opinion. That’s just the way it sounded to me… as well as millions of other people like me. I know that most people reading this don’t have access to right-wing news, but people were furious that this was being politicized so blatantly and that it happened by way of pushing this notion over the bodies of as-yet-not-buried police officers who died fighting a radicalized terrorist to protect citizens at a protest against them. This was insane. But you’re not allowed to say these things. I know, because repeatedly, those of us who did were bombasted if we were ever critical of anything.

He had a personality cult. That’s what it was. The core of his supporters were a repressive and hateful cult of personality around the man. Whether you call them Social Justice Warriors or whatever, that’s what they were: A cult of ideologues; an extremely vocal minority of his followers with far too much power who used dirty tactics to silence anyone who disagrees with any of their agenda. I’ve never seen anything like it. No one was allowed to be critical of anything he did, what he said, or even the massive and undeniable policy failures he led like pulling out of Iraq. If you ever opened your mouth, you were immediately branded with every hateful, toxic ad hominem meant to smear your reputation so that anything you said no longer mattered. Many good liberals, people who I don’t fault for voting Obama for very good reasons, did nothing about it. I was bitter about that for a while. Many were and still are my friends, but now I think they were just terrified of the SJWs too. Over the last year, many, have come to me silently to say as much.

Again, I can’t blame President Obama for what everything his followers did, but I got sick of the constant feeling of mob tyranny, of a president who was above criticism, and of the feeling that anything I said would get Google to return my name with “he wants people who look like me back picking cotton.” I think that’s what really turned me from simply saying, “I don’t like the President’s politics, but I appreciate his service,” to “I’ll do anything to avoid another eight years of this madness.” It wasn’t him. He seems like a decent human. Good husband. Good father. He seems very fine, and I do appreciate his service to the country. But it was that personality cult of his rabid fanatics.

I’m going to be honest, I don’t think I would very much like Donald Trump as a person. I would have rather had Marco Rubio. I’m still happy I voted for Trump, though. That’s because I didn’t want a nice fella. I wanted someone who would win and who would be a hammer to the fanatics that supported Obama to the point of militancy. I mean that. Militancy. They said and did things I would expect to see in Iraq. Blatant acts of terrorism were ignored or even had the blame pushed to people like me for speaking out. Nothing could be questioned and if you stepped out of line, you were slandered or people threatened to take away your jobs, and often, even real threats of violence. They’re still doing it. What would eight more years of that look like? Would my writing be censored as “hate speech”? Would people who speak like me have thugs show up at my door? Would I be locked up in the gulag?

No. Not cool. The intolerance of these people was enough. I was sick of it.

I may not like Donald Trump as a person, but I love Donald Trump Supporters. I’m their supporter because I know them personally. I grew up with them, and I know their hearts. They’re good people who didn’t deserve the unmitigated treatment they got over those years and continue to receive today. And no matter what kind of a person he is, he spoke for them when everyone, even the other Republicans, ignored them. I didn’t want a nice person out to win the Nobel Prize for making the world feel special. I wanted a hammer.

Short answer: Maybe as an individual, President Obama was a really swell guy, but I felt he was a bad president. Not a communist or a Kenyan born Muslim Manchurian candidate. Not Satan or the anti-christ. Not even the worst President ever, but in the bottom half. I felt he was someone who had a vision of the United States that didn’t reflect reality, made bad policies reflective of that vision, and alienated many when he stirred up the divisive rhetoric to push his vision on us.

I know, I know, you want to tell me about what a terrible person Trump is. Say what you want about Trump, but at least now people are listening to the “flyover states” and the unacceptable behavior by radical left-wing fanatics is finally being called unacceptable by the good Obama voters who I still love as dear friends. Maybe if that had happened years ago, we’d be having a conversation about Marco Rubio. But it didn’t.

That’s why, if we’re being honest with ourselves, most conservatives don’t think Obama was a bad person. It was his core fanatics we couldn’t stand and it was they who helped Trump win the election.


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Twitter has no Principles

People are talking about the “white nationalist purge” of Twitter, which I honestly care little about. Those who are followers of the blog know that the Alt-Right hates me more than most because I have done as much as I have to literally teach people how to inoculate themselves from their rhetoric.

But Twitter honestly get’s no credit in this one. While it’s fine if they want to silence these types of people, it isn’t fine if they refuse to silence fanatics on other fronts. Twitter has long been host to organizing and empowering groups that support terrorism from the Islamic State to Anti-fa, so to suddenly take a stand now and expect praise for it, sorry, you’ll get none from me. When you only silence people who you specifically find detestable, but refuse to take action against far worse among people who violate your own rules but are politically incorrect to hold them accountable… we have a saying for that.

They have no principles.

This was outlined clearly with the banning of Roger Stone back in October. I wrote about it on Quora then and will share it again here. You can say that they did the right thing by enforcing some standard of decency on the platform. I’ll agree. I hate seeing the dumbing down of all media that eventually led everyone throwing around “F-this” and “F-that” on the nightly news or even Star Trek. I really hate it. I think what he said was important enough to be said, but a completely terrible way to say it.

That said, Twitter still has no principles… because you don’t get to only enforce the rules on ideologies you don’t like.

 I want to be upfront: I don’t like Julian Assange, but the man has a really big point.

So Twitter is trying to “take a stance against abuse”, but then they just ignore posts like this from only weeks ago?

Just a few weeks ago I asked the question Why isn’t Twitter banning people celebrating the Las Vegas Massacre? and still, there has been nothing but silence as far as doing anything about that. Literally, thousands of people reported those tweets and the users are still active.

Or how about the real head-scratchers, people with millions of followers who can get away with murder… provided that they are targeting the right people. Or, should I say… people on the Right.

Habitually.

And it isn’t just President Trump. Olbermann does this sort of thing all the time to many, many people. Twitter does nothing about these cases which are reported again, and again, and again.

So the message that Twitter is sending out, clearly is that they won’t respect targeted abuse, but they will only enforce that policy on right-wingers when they start imitating the left-wingers who have made their careers off it.

So having said that, Twitter deserves nothing but condemnation for this move. Suspending Roger Stone is something I would be totally fine with… if he was the only one acting like he does. If he set this bar so low, then I would say that the punishment was fair. Since he’s not, not even the worst, and since Twitter regularly proves itself to be such an irrefutably biased platform, then no, this is a complete mockery of the site.

Look, everyone understands fairness. Everyone. You don’t get to suddenly come down and start enforcing the rules… but only for the right people. I should say, only for the right-wing people. It shows absolutely no integrity on the platform to demonstrate their principles, but making clear the only principles they have are partisan loyalty. Look, I’m fine with suspending people acting like dirtbags… but suspend all the dirtbags.

Fair isn’t fair if you only treat people you hate “fairly”.


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Military and Technology

Let’s look at this a different way. I’d argue that militaries don’t adopt new technologies. The tech is simply out there, but whole nations must adapt to fulfill the desires of a particular military strategy, not simply the military.

Here is the M1-Abrams. It was designed in the 1980’s. It has few secrets left, but other nations around the world still fail to produce a better tank. Why?

Because technology isn’t simply “unlocked” or “adapted”. It must be built. For that, a nation… not the nation’s military… must be capable of creating the thing. Not only this, they must also be able to balance building enough of them for a meaningful strategy, with not spending so much that the nation goes bankrupt. So for the Abrams, that means that each of its 10,000 parts (baseless guestimate) must be built in various factories. They must then be assembled together in other factories. They must then be brought together somewhere else, and they must then be shipped to wherever they need to go. Furthermore, ammunition needs to be produced, fuel refined, and replacement parts fielded. There are very few nations on Earth who could meet this demand.

Let’s look at that another way. Why does Australia not produce cars? They are well educated, wealthy, capitalist, and with many trade partners. So why not build cars?

For a nation to be profitable in the automotive industry, it must produce and sell in excess of 200,000 cars a year. The process to build a car from raw ore to a revved-up engine is so extensive that it is virtually impossible to achieve economies necessary for national profit until about the 200,000 mark. Long ago, Australia could do, even though the industry was heavily subsidized by the government. But as cars became more complex, more technical, and requiring more specialties to produce the new parts and equipment, Australia couldn’t keep up. Simply put, Australia doesn’t have enough people to sell that many cars. More than that, they don’t have enough people to build that many cars. Just as important, they don’t have a logistical trade network to connect all the people who can make that happen, nor do they have resources cheap enough to make it economical. A better way to think about it is that Australia may have enough for all these, but to do so, they would have to stop doing other profitable activities, which would hurt them in the long run. The massive investment the government would have to make to retooling their economy is such that no matter how much was spent, no matter how much technology they incorporated, Australia would never be able to profit from such as venture. So they don’t make cars. There is a reason that only a few nations in the world even try.

Keeping economics in mind, 99% of nations in the world would never in their wildest hopes be able to build an Abrams tank, even if they had the plans sitting on their president’s desk.

Nevermind this guy:

Or these puppies:

And don’t even get me started on these:

In fact, there is only one nation in the world that has the education base, technical proficiency, scientific support, economic capital, logistical networking, and manufacturing infrastructure to build all of the examples above…

The one that has them.

While there are some Top Secret classified technologies in the world, most of them could be copied in a lab almost anywhere in the world. Even a small nation could invest a great deal into solving most problems of producing one revolutionary new technology… on paper. Larger nations would have little problem figuring out how anything anyone else is doing could be done. But simply discovering it in a lab doesn’t mean much. Can you use it?

In that way, Generals don’t adapt to new technologies. They know everything that is available, to anyone. With that, they are inspired with a wishlist of everything they would need for a strategy they have in mind for the particular goals of their particular country. They must understand their nation, it’s people, it’s culture, the resources, and if its nation can fulfill that wishlist. Invariably, it won’t be able to, so a new strategy must be made with a new wishlist. At some point, someone will say that we simply can’t do more, and nations must scale back somewhere.

This isn’t a failure to adapt. It’s a failure of the nation’s economy to be capable of fulfilling the wishes of its planners.

Simply put, Russia could produce a design for a wondrous Aircraft Carrier, but they don’t have the nation to make it anything more than a model in a box.
Russia’s New Supercarrier Is A Total Pipe Dream

Is this a failure to adapt?

No, it’s just the geopolitical realities facing nations. They all know what they want and they know what it takes to get it, and more importantly if what they want is possible. When all that information is compiled they have nice reports from well-educated analysts that say something to the effect of:

“We will not win with war. Play nice for a few decades until we figure out a cheaper solution.”

So the short answer: When a country can’t adapt its production capabilities to the needs of its military, it must reinvest into new infrastructure, maybe even changing its culture to produce new technologies in a quantity that is reasonable for its goals. While that is happening, it must be diplomatic. If it can’t do either of these sufficiently, it must change its goals, or else it won’t be around for very much longer.


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Should Hate Speech be Outlawed?

I have a saying: “words mean things.”

I say this because words have stopped meaning what rational people think they mean, so when one person calls for something reasonable, such as “ban hate speech,” they are really saying things the common public would find radically different.

Let’s look at a few words you probably think you know.

Something simple first — “harm”.

If someone harms you, a rational understanding of that might be the infliction of damage with lasting effects to the appearance or function of a thing, such bruising or wounds suffered from an assault, or damage was done to a vehicle after a car crash, maybe even the infliction of severe mental trauma discernable by reliable diagnostician. But what if “harm” only meant whatever a really convincing trial attorney could convince 12 strangers it meant, and punitive damages reaching the millions began to redefine what “harm” meant in a legal context, even if we still thought you needed something to show for it. Whether we agree or not, because the legal sense of the word evolved out from under us, we could still be liable for “harm” that no rational person would have seen coming.

This got worse following the Iraq War when movies and literature about returning veterans popularized PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). While these movies and literature were disastrous for how the public saw veterans as ticking time bombs, the general public now had this lovely new idea of “trauma” to conflate the idea of “harm”. Now, a disease which legitimately affects many people was being co-opted by many, many more to validate that they were or could be “harmed” with mental “trauma” in the same way doctors see an outbreak of self-diagnosed diseases… right after a medical drama featuring that disease airs on TV. Based on that argument, schools hard to start instituting warnings in their classes to ensure no one would be traumatized by their lectures. These were called “trigger warnings”. Note the direct link with PTSD, where legitimate victims of the disease will often be “triggered” by stimuli similar to what happened around the time of their traumatization. An example would be a dog barking before a bomb went off or a particular song before a car wreck. These sometimes involve a manic episode and can make mundane events very frightening. They are completely random and usually have nothing to do with the thing which caused you harm (real harm) but are just your brain’s defense system in overdrive trying to protect you from what it thinks will bring danger. Knowing that, how pissed off are you when some 19-year-old college kid raises their hand to say, “Professor, I feel I will be traumatized by this subject, so you shouldn’t teach it.

But this is the Federalist Papers. You’re in American History. You need to know this.

You see? Right there, something really neat just happened. What you or I might regard as a rational defense to a stupid complaint… others would call violence.

I’m not kidding.

Many of us view violence as some form of directed harm toward a person. But what happens when “harm” no longer means what we thought it meant? When words don’t mean things, harm can simply mean words and ideas that you subjectively perceived as being potentially traumatizing… based on your definition of trauma. And someone who doesn’t follow through with your demands for protection from “harm”, someone who continues to say things you don’t like… well, they just directed harm towards you… “violence.”

Of course, this necessitated a call for “safety.” People who were offended by certain ideas are marginalized by places where those ideas are shared and are, therefore “unsafe,” necessitating a need for “safe spaces”. I’m just going to share with you what I think a safe space is.

When I was in Iraq, we had these little concrete bunkers all over the base where we would run to during mortar attacks. Our command was really nice and gave our safe spaces benches. I was the Rock, Paper, Scissors champion until the “All Clear” sounded. I really liked my safe space.

Growing up in Oklahoma, we also had neat safe spaces. Everywhere you go, here are cellars in backyards. You go there when things called tornados come around. My grandpa called them “frady holes,” and that’s cool because tornadoes are really scary. You feel really safe in a frady hole, though.

Those are freaking safe spaces.

But when colleges start demanding safe spaces for things that absolutely no one in the history of words was in danger of… then the word “safety” just doesn’t mean what it used to, either.

For context, this…

… wasn’t because some hateful misogynistic man came onto campus to demand all the women be kicked out and sent back to the kitchen. This safe space was created in response to this woman…

Dr. Christina Hoff Sommers, a feminist activist who has been campaigning for women for about twice as long as many of these kids have been alive. Why was she called “anti-feminist?” Because her research advocates that most of the inequities in the West are due mostly women’s choices, their freedoms, and that women in the West have won their most important battles for equality. She further argues that feminism today should be focused on places in the world where women have no rights, and face the potential of punitive gang rape, genital mutilation, or where they don’t have a right to participate in the democratic process.

People need “safety” from that?

Of course, some people don’t call for safe spaces in response to perceived violence. This one actually scares me, because when words became violence, some people decided that meant that they could fight violence with violence as a form of self-protection. Of course, when they have expanded the definition of violence to mean “words”, but kept the definition of violence that means “actual violence” they found themselves justified to literally beat peaceful protesters with signs saying “no hate” and no one thought this may signify an inconsistency in their logic. This is Antifa, the group which considers itself freedom fighters against “fascism”, yet another word which has completely lost meaning. This, however, is also why Antifa is now considered a terrorist group. Thank goodness that word still has meaning.

And finally, if you really want to know how terrifying this usurping of language is actually getting, look to Canada’s case of Lindsay Shepard from two months ago.

Lindsay is a teaching assistant at Wilfrid Laurier University, and was called in for a punitive meeting with her professor and the “Diversity and Equity Office”. There, she was accused of violating two laws, both provincial and federal by sharing a video by Professor Jordan Peterson, taken from a debate on Canada’s public access channel. They also declared he was a “key leader of the Alt-Right”, which is false and that sharing his video neutrally as she had done, instead of stating beforehand that she disagreed with him and what a horrible man he was and what the students should think, it was, “Like presenting a speech by Hitler neutrally.” She was told there were reports against her for forcing her “transphobic views” on students who claimed she created a hostile environment, jeopardizing the safety of students on campus.

The irony was that the video was over forced speech, and you can get the details on this affair here.

What later came out after this story blew up in an extremely public backlash against her treatment and the outright violation of free speech it was, an independent investigation turned up that there had been no student complaint in the first place. It was simply an inquisition and abuse of power by the school’s Diversity and Equity Office and it’s biased professors. It was such an embarrassment to the university that the University President was forced to publically exonerate Shepard, castigate the professor and staff, and completely rehaul the school’s rampant and abusive “Diversity and Equity Office.”

Having said all of this and returning to the topic that began this conversation, do you want to know what laws Ms. Shepard was accused of violating?

Laws against Hate Speech.

Other people are writing very good responses for slippery slope arguments about what could happen. I’m not. I’m saying we are already there. Hate Speech codes, laws, and attempts to prevent “violence” are already being used abusively by people to silence and marginalize dissenting views. This is because words no longer mean what we think they mean, to the point that two people can be speaking the exact same words, but mean radically different things. Literally, we are saying similar words, and we believe we understand each other, but we are cognitively speaking two different languages. In the worst cases, manipulators of justice play off the naivety of good people to push legislation that no rational person would tolerate in a society.

Final thoughts:

When someone says, “We must outlaw Hate Speech,” the vast majority of us agree, because we’re good people. But, when what actually happens is…

  • A 20-year-old grad student gets bullied…
  • By her own supervising professor and her school’s Ministry of Truth…
  • for neutrally sharing a video in a college class from your country’s own public broadcasting channel…
  • Of a speaker they have decided without evidence is part of hate group…
  • For not conforming to their deranged ideology…

then nobody really fought hate speech — they made Hate Speech into law.


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Why is Milo Controversial?

He is controversial because that is his career. He considers himself a provocateur, even outright saying that very explicitly. Milo’s views are that of a right-wing populist. They don’t fit well with conservative theory but align well with the Right in regard to many of the arguments happening today. In politics, he does this by coming to any debate very equipped with a very in-depth knowledge of the subjects he’s studying and the positions he wants to defend, or rather, the position he wants to decimate. More often than not, that is the intent of any talk or lecture he has, to utterly humiliate the opposition. He does this with a mix of good research and caustic one-liners. He’s vulgar, crass, and unapologetic, but deniably intellectual and well prepared and if you share any of his views… entertaining.

For that, he’s earned a large following.

That said, he’s been a very verbile critic of intersectional feminism, the Black Lives Matter movement, and Islam, among a host of other left-wing positions. For that, he is utterly despised by many left-wing advocates, and given the outrage he creates, as well as an ability to convincingly win arguments, many have tried to silence such sentiment in the past. Ergo, he became a de facto champion of Free Speech. He’s probably a good face for whatever “New Social Libertarians” might look like. He’s also been accused of being Alt-Right, who he has repeatedly disavowed, but given how nowadays everyone to the political Right of Bernie Sanders is an Alt-Right white supremacist, the accusations fall flat. That said, early in his rise, he did court many who would later fall in with the Alt-Right and during the time when the Alt-Right had grown far beyond their core group of actual white supremacists, he was at least warm to those who did not hold the more hateful intolerant views. That said, since events such as Charlottesville, he has restated his early disavowal of the Alt-Right.

His identity is also an element of his story. As a flamboyantly gay man, he stuck out as odd a speaker for the Right. Still, his style of unapologetically and mercilessly going after Left Wing agendas bought him a favorable following of even the most traditional conservatives. Moreso, he showed that many stereotypes about the Right’s foaming hatred of gays, in their absolute most “fabulous” of manifestations to be wildly untrue.

He also has attracted disrepute with the establishment Right, as much of his rhetoric is also directed toward Republicans who he views as having failed the needs of their electorate in fighting back against a tied of Leftist progressivism. That said, he’s controversial and has bought himself more than a few enemies on all sides.

This probably leads well into the big controversy of the last year, where he was forced to resign as an editor of Breitbart and lost his lucrative book deal for his book “Dangerous”. If I’m being honest, that appeared to be an astroturfed smear campaign, as the fact that it was a year ago seem to have revealed that what he did doesn’t add up to the damage that he endured.

The controversy came from a Joe Rogan interview he did where he talked about a party he attended years before. It was a Yacht party where several Hollywood celebrities were present. Milo described the event and that there were several of the celebs accompanied by young boys, pointing to the open secret of massive pedophilia happening in Hollywood. This can be seen in the recent events surrounding Kevin Spacey.

Why I say it was an astroturfed event is that a year later the recording was unearthed and then the accusation came out where Milo was accused of “protecting the pedophiles”, because he wouldn’t name who he saw. After that, his career with Breitbart was over, who had been more or less funding his talks and making it possible for him have his status.

I say I have problems with that not because I am a diehard fan of his work. I do like some of his talks, but I am much more a fan of people like Ben Shapiro. What I have problems with is that people knew this story about Milo for more than a year before it “broke”. It happened on the very popular Joe Rogan show, who is a popular YouTube personality and podcast. Many, many people saw that show. Secondly, the narrative surrounding the incident is odd. He was supposed to turn these people in, but they are very powerful Hollywood celebs and he has absolutely no proof other than his word. This was also before #MeToo, which brought to light just as powerful many celebs and power players in Hollywood are, so to expect Milo to be capable of doing anything about it, sorry, he couldn’t. Lastly, the narrative exploded out of nowhere. Anytime you see many, many diverse outlets suddenly put out an almost identical piece all pointing one source and the narrative that source tells usually means some form of collusion with an implied agenda. That is what is known as astroturfing a story. Here, the agenda was to bury him.

The group that began the campaign is also suspicious in this, but I won’t speak on that as I don’t know it to be true, but I’ll let you look it up yourselves.

That said, he’s now linked to pedophilia through the strangest of avenues and as far as I can tell, his career has been severely set back. We’ll see if anything sticks and if we’ll hear from again.

Rey is a Mary Sue

By the end of the second movie in this new trilogy, we should all be forced to accept that, “Yes, Rey No-last-name-given is a Mary Sue.”

Mary Sue is an idealized and seemingly perfect fictional character. Often, this character is recognized as an author insert or wish fulfillment. They can usually perform better at tasks than should be possible given the amount of training or experience.

What seems startlingly clear isn’t the abject truth of this statement, that she is a character that has no means to her great power which are made clear to the reader, that she is capable of things she should absolutely not be able to do according to the canon, and that she is unnaturally loved by all, but that acknowledging that she was written as a rather flat trope is sexist.

Sorry, but we have Gary Stus too.

Here’s another.

And another.

You can call each of these characters out for being perfect and always winning when they shouldn’t have a chance. They can also be beloved by their fans. But there is also a reason that people who love them most are young people who haven’t grown to expect characters with more depth and vulnerability. There is a reason that the only people still watching Dragon Ball in their 30’s are people who loved him when they were 13.

The same is true of Star Wars. People have grown up, but the writing is treating Rey like the audience is nothing but 12 year old kids who don’t expect more. They think we will cheer for her because she’s perfect and always beats the bad guy, rather than expect more than what we’re getting. It isn’t sexist to say that a character was written who has no weakness, no vulnerability, unstoppable strength, no need for training, better at everything than everyone (such as both repairing and flying the Millennium Falcon), is way prettier than she should be after years of life in the Jakku sun, and who is remarkably likable in spite of growing up with no social skills, is a rather annoying trope of a character. Look, I get it, people want the strong heroine, but the rules of writing are clear, if you don’t give people a believable story, then you stretch the suspension of reality too far, it snaps and people call it for what it is. It’s a Mary Sue.

And yes, the movie Superman had elements of this too, but at least he had weaknesses. He was actually killed for goodness sake, and there was at least some reasonable basis for his powers — because aliens and the Sun. But if you want cosmic level Gary Stu, look to the comics. It’s a thing.

Rey is the quintessential Mary Sue of the Star Wars universe. Anakin had a backstory that explained why he was so strong, even if people hated the midi-chlorian business. He still had to spend years in training to be competent as a Jedi and he still screwed up everything he touched. Luke? We have seen where he was such a competent pilot (womp rats, anyone?) and he was forced to endure a whole movie of seeking out training. What happens in that one? He bails before he is ready and gets his butt kicked. It is only years later that he is competent enough to be good with the lightsaber… in the third movie.

That Rey could manipulate the force in all its ways before she had even met a Jedi, so much so that she literally beat a master of the force the first time she held a lightsaber? And with no consequences, even. No ugly scar. No amputations. Her hair doesn’t even get messed up.

Come on people. It doesn’t make you a bad person to call out bad writing. You’re not sexist if you expect female characters to be believable. In the Star Wars universe, that means that even force sensitive people don’t know how to swing the lightsaber. It means that force sensitive people still have to be trained to fly the Millennium Falcon. It means that force sensitive people still have to be trained to do all the forcey things, and it means that you will suffer some debilitating injury to learn from your stupidity at some point. This actually happened to Kylo Ren, and dammit all if he wasn’t more likable for the experience. But why is that we can’t expect the same dramatic elements for our female characters without being called sexist?

I don’t get why people are having such a hard time with this. Deadpool did it perfectly when they called the moment of confusion we are feeling surrounding female characters in fiction, where we are trying to make them special, but still want to treat them with kid gloves that says they can do no wrong.

Simply, it isn’t sexist to say that a character is flat, even if the overall experience of seeing the movie was enjoyable. I liked the movie. I even like Daisy Ridley. I think she is playing the character written for her well. But there was a lot of annoyingness in it. It was really predictable. Huge parts of it were fluff. And there was that whole scene that made absolutely no sense with Leia in space. You know what I’m talking about. That got dangerously close to Mary Sue too. And frankly, Rey is a Mary Sue. Straight up, pure unadulterated Mary Sue. She is too perfect and there is no reason why, after two movies, they couldn’t have at least tried to explain this. It’s annoying and it diminishes the quality of the story… because people are simply too distracted the whole time while watching this giant elephant in the room that Rey somehow knows how to levitate.

I’m just saying, along with many others, that the storytelling is declining in these films because people are trying to make Star Wars into some sort of social narrative rather than a great Space opera fantasy. People need to learn to accept the criticism, because they aren’t being directed at women, but at bad writing… or maybe even a culture that simply can’t accept more believable female characters as leading protagonists. Shutting down the argument as simply sexist isn’t going to do the character justice in the long run, nor will it bode well for narrative fiction as a genre.

Look, if people want the Mary Sue arguments surrounding female characters to go away, stop making them so damn perfect.

Let one of them get their arm lopped off every once in a while.

Let one of them get that nasty facial scar.

Force them to go through real training where we see how much they suck at everything.

And most importantly, let them fail.

I promise you, the fans will love her. And if they don’t, at least then we can have a decent argument about sexism.


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Is Religion Anti-Science?

The two convey knowledge in completely different ways. To begin, “myth” doesn’t mean “lie.” It simply means that knowledge is conveyed indirectly through narrative, and that’s exactly why the stories of religion have lasted so long and impacted so many people.

Let’s think about this: Can doing enough science teach you the importance of saving?

Go ahead, think about it. I’m sure someone really clever might come up with a good anecdote, but really there is little in science that would teach us the importance of self-sacrifice of goods we could use right now, on the hope that we will have some reward later on. Science would never have come up with the question.

Religion did, though.

Let’s look at the story of Abraham and Isaac.

Atheists love this Biblical tale because it captures all the barbarity of belief, that a distant, maniacal, and very vain God commands Abraham to sacrifice the beloved son God gifted him, just to show God how much Abraham loved him. If that’s what the story was, it would be barbaric, but there isn’t much chance that it would have lasted long.

Let’s also ask this, if that was the lesson, why is there no tradition of human sacrifice in Abrahamic culture? It was rather quite common throughout the world at the time, but not with the Hebrew or those that came after, even with this story where God asks specifically for it. Why is that not a thing?

A better answer is looking at the meaning of all these elements and what it says about the culture that gave us the story.

I really want you, the reader with an open mind and a willingness to see the world differently, to take yourself back to a time before our modern civilization, before civilization at all, and think about what it was like for our cavemen ancestors. In fact, even earlier than that. Think back to a time where our species lived on the margins in the strictest of means. Every day they could die from nothing more than starvation. Now, you ask how could our more ape than man ancestor be convinced to hunt some food and not eat it right then and there, when their entire life, the universe told them very clearly to take whatever you could right now or you will surely die. You couldn’t, but that is what we did some 20,000 years ago when we started taking these ideas necessary for the evolution of man and putting them in a narrative.

We looked around and said, “You know, if I eat this now, I will live well, but if I save it, then I can live longer with less risk.” How profound is that? How monumental was it that the first person who said this somehow transcended some plane of existence that apes before him never could. They didn’t even have words for such ideas, but still managed to become more than simple beasts with a few thoughts we today would think trivial, but to them, may have been the equivalent of single-handedly inventing the Saturn V rocket, which took man to the moon (which we’ve lost the technology to build today.)

That’s important – that knowledge is gained, but also lost, as well. We aren’t all descendants of that first guy who thought of saving his fruit or the first people who thought to share resources. I’d say that even if he did have that great idea, there was still a 99% chance a lion got him, or maybe some disease. It was probably tens of thousands of people who had the idea before one survived long enough to teach others who would survive long enough to have an actual behavioral advantage from the epiphany. Just as such, the first guy who thought to share probably got clubbed to death by some jerk who stole the rest of his food. That probably happened to thousands more who had the notion. Probably, many thousands more who did learn to get along were slowed down by the effort, as are all who are first learning to be friends, to say nothing of those who invented the concept. One of them died or was a drag on the relationship, and the better off of the two bailed. How many eons passed before a stable tribe could form based on the concept of sharing?

Why am I telling you all this? Because I’m telling you a story, and that’s what turned everything around for these people.

When people started telling how to survive, how to treat people, and how to view the world in the form of a story, we became something profoundly different than what we were. For two million years we wandered aimlessly, always on the brink of extinction, but then, 20,000 years ago everything started moving much faster. Our transfer of knowledge accelerated exponentially. People need to think about the fact that 6,000 years ago, there were no words. No one had any form of written language, but today we have our footsteps on the moon and people seriously believe we can have a colony on Mars within my lifetime. How amazing have the last 20,000 years been?

Now, we need to realize something. Religion did this. We saw our world and experienced what lessons it had to teach us. Then we crafted those lessons into narratives that gave us the guide by which to live our lives. The stories that impact people on deep, deep levels is what religion is and why we aren’t still living in caves.

Think back to Isaac and Abraham. Why isn’t there a human sacrifice cult in Hebrew tradition? Because that isn’t the moral of the story. It is the story about the willingness to sacrifice what you have to the unknown if you want better, and that that sacrifice has to be one of great meaning, to give up your food or your wealth, or your land to a risky future that you don’t know for sure will ever reward you back. This idea is the premise of everything from farming, where people could take seeds they could grind or eat and plant food, and even more so when they gave up their best crops for the seeds they bore, evolving the food we eat today. Just as much, this idea of sacrifice is the premise of modern-day saving, investing, and finance. Imagine the culture that could encapsulate that idea in metaphor, to pass on in a moving enough way to their descendants thousands of years later. Our students in school can barely sit through a Sciclassroom room they are paid to go to. Ask them if they remember any of it 10 years later. Good luck, but here we are 6,000 years later still wired for doing the wise thing of saving what we can, investing it in the unknown in a hope of future returns, talking about a culture that… for some reason… is still impacting our lives today.

Think about the original stories, the first stories of religion even beyond the Judeo/Christian tradition. Go back as far as we have records, to the time of the Ancient Sumerians, where the hero god-king slays a mighty dragon which was born from the sea to create the land and all the people. You think there is no significance to those metaphors?

The God-King, Marduk, born of gods, possessed many eyes and spoke magic words. He was born a powerful man from a powerful family, literally gods, and from this, we see that we obviously knew that children are greatly influenced by their families and that if you are a bad parent, your children and your line will also fail. He also had many eyes, which has long been narratively synonymous with wisdom, that someone with great vision is one who can see far off into the future, meaning that Marduk didn’t simply have many eyes, but that he was wise and knew many things. He also didn’t speak magical incantations but could say things that moved people in ways that others couldn’t. Sound familiar?

Or the dragon born from the sea. Do you think there is any reason why so many myths from the world feature the great evil as resembling a snake? Don’t you think that there is something deep-seated in our mind about the innate evil of serpents that is captured in these metaphors? Go back 80 million years and ask our rodent ancestors what they thought of snakes and you’ll find a very ancient and very primitive part of our brain that still fears them long after we became the master of slithering things. Now make it huge, give it wings, and make it spit fire. The dragon is pure and unadulterated fear, hardwired into our minds.

But even more amazing is what neuroscientists discovered later, that the part of your brain that is triggered by fear of snakes is the same part which is wired to ignore things we know we need to do, things that begin as something simple, but then grow into these overwhelming beasts that devour our lives. So every story you’ve ever heard about dragons since the beginning wasn’t some imaginative tale, but a deep, almost innately, understood strictly human narrative urging us to acknowledge our deepest fears and conquer them.

But why the sea? Long ago in narrative the sea symbolized chaos, not the type of chaos of high stress, but the unknown from whence everything came. It was a place of great creation, but also fear, because no one could know how far it went or how deep it went down. It was to them endless and unknowable, which made it terrifying. It was at the same time a source of endless potential and endless calamity and destruction.

So what does the hero do? He slays the dragon from the sea, creates from the corpse of the dragon that which makes all of our lives possible — the land. He creates order.

So the first story wasn’t just about a cool quest or even a creation myth to explain a universe in possibly the weirdest way imaginable. Let’s look at these metaphors, so complex that people of the age couldn’t have possibly understood why they felt the way they did, but they knew how they felt, and knew what needed to be taught, and through the power of narrative, told a story. It was a creation story, but quite honestly, no one then cared about that. They wanted to teach something far more important to the lives they lived then.

The story of Marduk was a story to teach men how to behave.

The story of Marduk is not a creation myth, but one of a wise and charismatic leader who confronts his fears, and defeats the chaos in the world around him and creates order for himself and for others. This is the quintessential text of how to be a man. So important, that the Sumerians kings had to always compare themselves to Marduk and ask if they were good. It’s also no surprise that once myths like these became widespread, the Sumerians rose up to become one of the first civilizations spanning multiple cities and lasting for centuries.

There is a reason that myths work as well as they do. They are stories built on many layers of understanding from the conscience to the subconscious, to the instinctual to teach lessons in ways that make them necessary for new people to survive. Science can’t do that. It can titillate our senses with the grandeur of new insights, but science doesn’t affect us in the way these old stories do. It doesn’t convey meaning to the world, give us direction as people, or in any way tell us who we are, what we were, who we are going to be.

And no, no it doesn’t. The moment you try to make science do these things, you’re personifying that which isn’t human. You’re giving character to data. You’re building layers of meaning above raw facts. To make people care about Science, you have to do it by telling stories, and conveying knowledge through narrative. You don’t believe me? Consider the apocalyptic overtones attributed to climate change, the gravitas and mystery of the black hole, or the vast and unknowable scope of the universe, both immense and small. Take Carl Sagan, one of the most famous scientists of not so long ago. He wowed the world with explorations of the universe and then terrified us with omens of “nuclear winter”, where dust and fallout from nuclear war would blot out the sun and lead us to a new extinction event. It’s odd this was so compelling, no? This image of nuclear winter combines the burning of the world by the fire of Biblical Revelation and also the freezing of the planet not unlike the religion of the Norse. Powerful themes, so powerful we still believe in this idea of nuclear winter even though it was proven that all the bombs in the world couldn’t cause the types of years of devastation Sagan predicted. Even in the 80’s, we knew that in the worst case scenario we could have a Nuclear Autumn, of the world a few degrees cooler for a few years. Still, the idea of Nuclear Winter remains to bring fear to children, to teach them how to live, and to guide our leaders.

While real scientists do their work well, the ambassadors of Science are little more than great clerics of a mythology that doesn’t look backward, but forward.

This isn’t a complete dismissal of Science. Good scientists even agree with the sentiment. Just ask them how hard it is to get published, especially when scientific journals only really want to publish findings that are “groundbreaking”, “revolutionary”, or “highly controversial”. If we are playing the work of good scientists, then most of what you do is boring and what is to be expected, however try to get a paper published that proves something no one cares about or one which has no political incentive to anyone, and the big one, one which disproves another discovery. There are whole journals which exist to doing nothing but provide a venue for scientific works which are examining the findings of other scientists, the fundamental act of Scientific research… because no one would read them. The problem of bad science becoming social norms is even worse and explored at length by one of my favorite scientific YouTube channels, Veritasium. Is Most Published Research Wrong?

And have you ever tried to request funding for a research grant? Better bring the wow factor there too.

But while we continue with our P-hacked essays self-selected for their ability to wow the readership of science journals more than their ability to inform us on the nature of our world, and when only the most terrifying or awe-inspiring of this break out to touch us in the broader culture, usually through some post-apocalyptic thriller marketing itself as a “warning of a possible future”, rather than a “warning of science-based horror fiction run amok”, I have to ask… why are people so critical of religion for being the misleading institution?

And that’s also something worth noting. Science is progress, no? Science marches on, but can science alone predict the destruction of those who wield it carelessly? Don’t forget about the creation of narratives. Science can’t do that alone. Science only records things we see. That’s it, that’s all it does. The moment you try to make a story out of it… you’ve just created a work of fiction.

But religion does this quite well, giving us lessons against our own destruction and a caution against recklessness. Or do you think it coincidence that every great civilization has a Flood myth? It isn’t just the Abrahamic religions that believe in something like an ark. It’s interesting, don’t you think, that every religion has this same story, one which is perhaps 10,000 years old. I believe even India has a myth of the entire planet covered with water, and all the good people escaping to canoes to survive the waters and rebuild the world. Let’s not forget what waters mean, the chaos and the unknown. Did these civilizations experience some great war, famine, disease? Who knows, but they knew to be afraid of losing themselves. It is a story of caution, not just as individuals, but of whole societies from the disaster of losing their way; too much progress, as it were.

At the heart of this question, is a controversy — Creationism vs Science.

It picked out one of the most extreme cases in religion to justify a belief of all religions. The above image is, therefore, somehow representative of Religion, as in religion with a capital “R”. Literally every religious person on the entire planet falls under that description. Now, normally the creationist people are matched with evangelical Christians. Well, here I am a guy who argues for evolution, the Big Bang, carbon dating, and can probably explain most of these better than your average person who just loves their science. But I am also as Southern Baptist as they come.

So why is that such an extreme minority of extreme people are allowed become representatives of a much broader culture, even billions of people? We’re willing to call that out when other people do it. Look, you can point to creationists and say they represent all of us. I can point to Stalin and say that represents the other guy. If we are claiming the moral high ground here, I win with the guy who believes man and raptors hunted side by side rather than the guy who hunted down Christians and murdered tens of millions of people.

That’s because there are many people who know nothing of the sciences they preach. They don’t care. To them, “Scientism” is just the religion they choose because on some level they simply hate religion. This is especially true of Christianity. Anything which can make it easier to belittle the other rather than acknowledge what they bring to the table is much easier than respecting the fact that they survived and evolved civilization for thousands of years, even created the Scientific Method, not in spite of their beliefs, but because of them.

Don’t believe me? Ask yourself to explain the fine-tuning argument.

As science allowed us to rid ourselves of the creation myths and “God of the Gaps” explanation for why things happened, we started to see that throughout our universe, the whole universe, every part of it followed certain laws which did not change and which the universe itself required to remain so that it could exist. Some of these constants were things like C, the speed of light. The speed of light through a vacuum is always 299,792,458 m/s, never more, never less. It isn’t like throwing a baseball on a train, you can’t add the velocity of one to the other. C is always C and nothing else. But there are others.

  • N, the ratio of the strength of electromagnetism to the strength of gravity for a pair of protons, is approximately 1036.
  • Epsilon (ε), a measure of the nuclear efficiency of fusion from hydrogen to helium, is 0.007: when four nucleons fuse into helium, 0.007 (0.7%) of their mass is converted to energy. The value of ε is in part determined by the strength of the strong nuclear force.[13]
  • Omega (Ω) is the relative importance of gravity and expansion energy in the Universe. It is the ratio of the mass density of the Universe to the “critical density” and is approximately 1.
  • Lambda (λ) describes the ratio of the density of dark energy to the critical energy density of the universe, given certain reasonable assumptions such as positing that dark energy density is a constant. In terms of Planck units, and as a natural dimensionless value, the cosmological constant, λ, is on the order of 10−122.[15]
  • Q, the ratio of the gravitational energy required to pull a large galaxy apart to the energy equivalent of its mass, is around 10−5.

None of these sound like big deals but imagine a world where the electron rested some distance farther from its proton core, where the speed of light was different, where gravity itself was more, or less powerful. It wouldn’t just be that we would float away. Our universe would cease to exist as we know it. More importantly, the Universe would never have come to be at all.

  • If N were significantly smaller, only a small and short-lived universe could exist.[12]
  • If ε were 0.006, only hydrogen could exist, and complex chemistry would be impossible. If it were above 0.008, no hydrogen would exist, as all the hydrogen would have been fused shortly after the big bang.[10]
  • If gravity were too strong compared with dark energy and the initial metric expansion, the universe would have collapsed before life could have evolved. On the other side, if gravity were too weak, no stars would have formed.[12][14]
  • Lambda (λ) is so small that it has no significant effect on cosmic structures that are smaller than a billion light-years across. If the cosmological constant were not extremely small, stars and other astronomical structures would not be able to form.[12]
  • If Q is too small, no stars can form. If it is too large, no stars can survive because the universe is too violent.

Virtually every fundamental law of the universe is one which cannot change or else life itself would not be possible, much less a life where you and I could sit around debating if it happened at all. This is the Anthropic principle or the argument for a Fine-tuned Universe. It suggests that (not a scientific theory) the level of complexity, interrelatedness, and overwhelming chance required to create a universe where the evolution of a thinking sapient entity was not a chance event, but a foregone conclusion that would definitely eventually happen, suggests something greater than the Universe itself. It suggests that some thinking, planning entity structured those laws to allow such a universe to be created. To put it another way, when Sir Issac Newton began studying astronomy, he suggested that the uniformity of the planetary system is proof that someone chose to make it that way.

This isn’t science, but it does shake up many of the notions that science disproves God, however, atheism offered its own anti-scientific notion to counter it.

This is where multiple universes come in. The concept of the multiple universes theory suggests that our Universe is nothing special, but one of many universes, an infinite number of universes actually, in which the laws so happen to work for us to live as we do. The other universes are out there, but they function under different laws and are outside of our view, as any means we have to study them would be built instruments of this universe, and could never be made which could experience anything outside of it, nor especially something of a different universe with laws fundamentally different than our own in every way.

Simply put, let’s review why we have a hard time proving God.

We have no means to observe or measure something which exists beyond our physical universe and which functions under different laws than our universe, or as Christopher Hitchens, one of the “Four Horsemen of Atheism” said:

“What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”

Exactly the same argument can be levied against this idea that beyond our own is an infinite number of other universes that just so happen to not be so nice and which we can never detect nor disprove. So it isn’t that I don’t think the Multiverse is cool, especially when my favorite superheroes do it, but it isn’t in the slightest what good scientists would call Science. I mean, you can continue to believe it, but I just don’t have that kind of faith.

Here’s the bottom line, religion is not about disproving science. It isn’t about proving anything. Religious texts are not scientific texts meant to explain the universe as it is. They are moral texts created to help people lead better lives. Maybe they are divinely inspired guides by an all-knowing benefactor, or maybe they are simply the wises meditations of countless generations filtered to such a fine degree that they impact on us on deeply profound levels. Either way, science and religion are not at odds, and once the science and religion camps accept this truth, then both will lead happier and more productive lives. Furthermore, religion will no longer feel the need to be something it isn’t, while Science can finally deal with the reality that it simply doesn’t have all the answers, and maybe shed a bit of the arrogance when it starts accepting how many of the answers it does have are simply wrong.


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