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Ken Freed's Recent Reading


Media, Propaganda, Perception

TitleAuthor Some Favorite Book Quotes
Left TurnTim Groseclose PhD

For twenty major news outlets, we estimate a score, between 0 and 100, that described how liberal each outlet was. The beauty of these scores, which I shall now call slant quotients, is that they are directly comparable to political quotients.

Table 13.1 Slant Quotients of Various Media Outlets (rearranged in numeric order)

Title Score
  0 = conservative,
 50 = neutral,
100 = liberal
The Washington Times35.4
Fox News Special Report with Brit Hume39.7
The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer55.8
CNN NewsNight with Aaron Brown56.0
ABC's Good Morning America56.1
Drudge Report60.4
ABC World News Tonight61.0
NBC Nightly News61.6
USA Today63.5
NBC Today Show64.0
Time65.4
U.S. News and World Report65.8
Newsweek66.3
NPR's Morning Edition66.3
CBS Early Show66.6
The Washington Post66.6
Los Angeles Times70.0
CBS Evening News73.7
The New York Times73.7
The Wall Street Journal85.1
Trust Me I'm Lying, Confessions of a Media ManipulatorRyan Holiday

Most people don't understand how today's information cycle really works. ... In short, blogs are vehicles from which mass media reporters ... borrow the news.

I'll show how I manipulated the media for a good cause. ... He turned one exaggerated amateur video into a news story ... It even registered nationally. ... I don't think someone could have designed a system easier to manipulate if they wanted to.

Julius Streicher Randall L. Bytwerk

But where does society ground its ideas? ... (the) facts that we believe are not because we have firsthand knowledge - but because someone has told us so. The old phrase "All I know is what I read in the paper" is embarrassingly true. ... Opinion based on second hand sources is easy to manipulate....

... many facts are not necessarily representative facts. A careful selection of information can lead an audience to a quite misleading conclusion, even though none of the information is false. ...one could construct a highly unflattering portrait ... The ability to select is the ability to persuade...

Landmark Speeches of National Socialism Randall L. Bytwerk

Good propaganda, he (Joseph Goebbels) says, does not need to lie. In fact it may not lie. ...he knew the dangers of making false claims. ...propaganda in general, preferred to mislead by selection or omission rather than by outright falsification.

Bending Spines Randall L. Bytwerk

Jacques Ellul makes the interesting claim that modern propaganda exists under conditions that render the educated more susceptible to its claims than the uneducated.

When Reason Goes on Holiday, Philosophers in PoliticsNeven Sesardic

... raises a question: How could people who are obviously very clever and sophisticated in a field that is intellectually demanding be foolhardy in practical affairs?

Ideas of the Twemtieth CenturyDaniel Bonevac

(per Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset 1883-1955) sees mass media as producing a kind of person - "Mr. Satisfied" - who pays attention to the media and absorbs a way of thinking about society, the world, and himself that we might call "the narrative."

He sees mass communication as producing a kind of person "who did not care to give reasons or even be right, but who was simply resolved to impose his opinions."

Mass communications, in Ortega's view, produces a class of people who adhere rigidly and rather thoughtlessly to the world view that dominates the media and the universities. That world view becomes increasingly insulated from common sense and the experiences of the rest of the population.

Ideas of the Twentieth CenturyDaniel Bonevac

Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937), an Italian Marxist, answered that the Bourgeoisie perseveres its position through cultural hegemony - that is, through its control of culture to allow the values of the bourgeoisie to become the common sense of the proletariat ... to take over social institutions that transmit culture, especially:

  • Education (from kindergarten to universities)
  • Media
  • Government agencies
The Psychology of the Masses: Why You Believe What You Believe ...

Amazon book review can be found here.
Noah Halberg

When I changed my mind, at the same time I changed which group I belonged to. That wasn't my intention. but it did turn out that way. ... If you changed your mind on such a divisive issue you would alienate these people, at least if they cared at all about politics. Could you live with their disapproval? Most people can't and do what they can to avoid it.

 

TitleAuthor Some Favorite Book Quotes
The Tweetable Nietzsche C. Ivan Spencer

A worldview encapsulates a person's central assumptions and attitudes about the world and that person's commitments to them. If people were computers, the worldview would encode their operating systems.

Win Bigly,
Persuation in a World Where Facts Don't Matter


Amazon book review is here.
Scott Adams

We all have movies in our heads that we believe are accurate views of reality. And those movies are very different.

... human brains are moist computers that can be reprogrammed if you know where the user interface is. ... As moist robots, we are easily influenced by emotional and irrational factors. If you learn the mechanisms of this interface, you have found the user interface for human beings. ... We are almost never rational when it comes to matters of love, family, pets, politics, ego, entertainment, and almost anything else that matters to us emotionally. ... We literally make our decisions first and then create elaborate rationalizations for them after the fact.

... We bounce from one illusion to another, all the while thinking we are seeing something we call reality. ... except for trivial things like putting gas in your car ... on all the important stuff, we are emotional creatures who make decisions first and rationalize them after the fact.
Behavior: The Biology of Humans At Our Best and WorstRobert M. Sapolsky

The thing that fuels the danger and tragedy of this situation is that each group has a tightly reasoned structure in their heads as to why their way is correct that it can acquire moral weight.

(Edward O. Wilson) has found himself at the center of fiery controversy related to the evolution of human behavior. ... he has written about those disputes and those who have most strongly opposed him - "Without a trace of irony I can say I have been blessed with brilliant enemies. I owe them a great debt, because they redoubled my energy and drive me in new directions."

The FountainheadAyn Rand

All things are simple when you reduce them to fundamentals. You'd be surprised if you knew how few fundamentals there are. One, two perhaps. To explain all of us. It's the untangling, the reducing that's difficult.

You see, reason requires scales to weight them. And scales are not made of cotton. And cotton is what the human spirit is made of - you know, the stuff that keeps no shape and offers no resistance and can be twisted forward and backward and into a pretzel.

Republic of Spin

Amazon book review can be found here.
David Greenberg

Or were we all too tightly locked in our own private realities to be open to persuation by anyone?

The Complete Works of Mark Twain Mark Twain

I have no special regard for Satan; but at least I can claim I have no prejudice against him. It may even be that I lean a little his way, on account of his not having a fair show. All religions issue Bibles against him, and say the most injurious things about him, but we never hear his side. We have none but the evidence for the prosecution, and yet we have rendered the verdict. To my mind, this is irregular. It is un-English; it is un-American; it is French. ... Of course Satan has some kind of case, it goes without saying. It may be a poor one, but that is nothing; that can be said about any of us. ... We not not pay Satan reverence, for that would be indiscreet, but we can at least respect his talents. A person who has during all time maintained the imposing position of spiritual head of four-fifths of the human race, and political head of the whole of it, must be granted the possession of executive abilities of the loftiest order.

A Theory of Perception. Seeing Things as they AreJohn R. Searle

Many philosophers think there is some deep mystery about how anything in the brain can be about anything in the world outside the brain. For example, if I see a man in front of me, the content is that there is a man in front of me. The object is the man himself. If I am having a corresponding hallucination, it is the senses which enable our hallucinations to correspond to what is out there.

 

TitleAuthor Some Favorite Book Quotes
The Crooked Timber of HumanityIsaiah Berlin

What was common to all these outlooks was the belief that solutions to the central problems existed, that one could discover them, and with sufficient selfless effort, realize them on earth... the answer must exist - else the questions were not real.

Some nineteenth-century thinkers - Hegel, Marx - thought it was not quite so simple. There were no timeless truths. There was historical development, continuous change, human horizons altered with each new step in the evolutionary ladder.

What is clear is that values can clash - that is why some civilizations are incompatible.

Medieval Underpants and Other BlundersSusanne Alleyn

Many authors of "historical fiction" are guilty of a fault that a professor of literature or history would call "presentism". For our purposes, that's an inability on the part of the author to tear away from the mind set of his own lifetime in order to understand the past... If characters start talking earnestly about human rights and religious tolerance in the 16th century, the author is providing an anarchistic 21sr century mind set to go with the 16th century... When a character in a novel set 400 years ago, for instance, starts to declare his enlightened views about slavery (it's wrong!) or women's rights (they're good!) or religious tolerance (it should exist for everyone, including unbelievers!) or some other issue that most of us in the 21st century Western world take for granted, but were not even considered in 1600, such a blatantly presentist attitude can rip us right out of the story. The same goes for a 1600 character who blithely ignores the intense religious influence and religious controversy that pervades his or her world... Coming across any of these attitudes can be just as jarring as reading about Henry VIII eating a peanut butter sandwich.

The Devil's Pleasure Palace, The Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of the WestMichael Walsh

They were creatures of their own time and place, with no more claims to absolute truth than the man on a soapbox.

Life and FateVasily Grossman

What is "good"? "Good" for whom? Is there a common good - the same for all people, all tribes, all conditions of life? Or is my good your evil? Is what is good for my people evil for your people? Is good eternal and constant? Or is yesterday's good today's vice. yesterday's evil today's good?

Account Rendered Melita Maschmann

I found in it someone who had been overtaken by history, was struggling to make sense of what no longer made sense, and to understand why it had once done so.

PredisposedJohn R. Hibbing, et. al.

We spend most of our time hunting for modest patterns buried amid remarkable complexity. ... Whenever a study claims to find something that systematically varies with political orientations, lots of people start thinking of exceptions. ... These contrary cases, though, should be kept in perspective. The occasional exception does not negate a pattern.

Hooking Up Thomas Wolfe

The reigning doctrine was deconstruction, whose hierophants were two Frenchmen, Michael Foucault and Jacques Derrida. They began with a hyperdilation of a pronouncement of Nietzsche's to the effect that there can be no absolute truth, merely many "truths", which are the tools of various groups, classes or forces.

Islam, Religion

TitleAuthor Some Favorite Book Quotes
The People vs. MuhammadJ. K.Sheindlin

The radicals are estimated to be between 15-25%, according to all intelligence services around the world. ... But when you look at 15-25% of the world Muslim population, you're looking at 180 million to 300 million people dedicated to the destruction of Western Civilization. ... most Germans were peaceful. Yet the Nazis drove the agenda. And as a result, 60 million people died. ... The peaceful majority were irrelevant. When you look at Russia, most Russians were peaceful as well. Yet the Russians were able to kill 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. ...When you look at Japan prior to World War II, most Japanese were peaceful as well. Yet Japan was able to butcher its way across southeast Asia, killing 12 million people, mostly killed by bayonets and shovels. The peaceful majority were irrelevant.

Islam and the Future of ToleranceSam Harris, Maajid Hawaz

However, poll results on the topic of shari'ah generally show much higher levels of support for its implementation - killing adulterers, cutting off the hands of thieves, and so forth. I'm not sure what to think about a society in which 15 percent of people vote for an Islamist party, but 40 percent, or even 60 percent want apostates killed.

The Complete Infidel's Guide to the KoranRobert Spencer

...Koranic passages in which Allah transforms disobedient Jews into apes and pigs (2:63-66; 5:59-60; 7:166). Although some scholars argue that this curse only applies to a specific group of Jewish Sabbath-breakers, the Jews of today are commonly called "apes and pigs" throughout much of the Muslim world.

The Hadith Illustrates the Koran... The last hour would not come unless Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kills him...

Infidel Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Are we to admit to membership of the societal mosaic those who scream with hatred against immodest women, Jews, homosexuals, and Hindus (and this is not to exhaust the list)? If so, then we are knowingly admitting enemies on the same footing as friends.

The message of this book, if it must have a message, is that we in the West would be wrong to prolong the pain of that transition unnecessarily, by elevating cultures full of bigotry and hatred toward women to the stature of respectable alternative ways of life.

When people say that the values of Islam are compassion, tolerance, and freedom, I look at reality, at real cultures and governments, and I see that it simply isn't so. People in the West swallow this sort of thing because they have learned not to examine the religions or cultures of minorities too critically, for fear of being called racist.

Nomad Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Fortuyn's voters no longer trusted their rulers, for they had opened the borders of Holland to foreigners. Even though the middle and upper classes could still afford to move to airy, expensive neighborhoods and send their children to safe schools, and could lobby for informal favors to keep them from being exposed to disruption from the immigrants, the Rita class felt that they and their neighborhoods were bearing the brunt. But when they voiced their concerns, they were chastised for being provincial and intolerant.

It's not just the welfare state and globalization, all these lofty themes. It's about trash on the street. It's about your daughter being raped.

...

Most American audiences reacted, first with astonishment, and second with compassion to stories of the routine horrors of a Muslim woman's life, even as they struggled to believe it was happening in their own country. There was one exception to this reaction. This was on college campuses, exactly the kind of environment where I had expected curiosity, lively debate, and yes, the thrill and energy of like minded activists. Instead every campus audience I encountered bristled with anger and protest... In blaming Islam for the oppression of women, they said, I was vilifying them personally, as Muslims. I had failed to understand that Islam is a religion of peace, that the Prophet treated women very well.

A God Who HatesWafa Sultan

"Why do they do it?" Muslims who describe themselves as moderates reply: "These terrorists have misunderstood the teachings of Islam." But I ask: Have they misunderstood the story of how Muhammad's companions killed Kaab Bin al-Ashraf, then tumbled his head into Muhammad's hands?... Hundreds of stories like the account of Kaab's murder fill biographies of the prophet, which serve as the main - if not the only source of learning in the Muslim world. Muhammad was a warrior rather than a thinker. The most important traditions written and handed down about Muhammad concern his raids and what happened in the course of them. Islam is a legal code that was created in an era when a mentality of raiding and booty held sway, and, as a result, its pivotal issues are raiding and spoils. Just imagine an American child standing in class and saying to his teacher: "I'll cut my enemy's head off with this sword." All aspects of life in our Islamic culture are a reflection of this philosophy of death.

I replied jokingly, "Yes, I have become Americanized, and in America, Smira, people don't wear perfume but eat and drink by the sweat of their brow!"

Never in my life have I heard or read of a Muslim man's expressing feelings of guilt about something he has done, even in fiction. People feel guilty only when they feel a sense of responsibility and acknowledge that they have made a mistake. But Muslims are infallible. A man's adherence to Islam is defined not by his actions and responsibilities, but only by profession of faith. As long s he prays, fasts, and reads the Koran, a Muslim feels that he has done his duty,...

Why I am not a MuslimIbn Warraq But the Muslim moderates and all the others cannot have their cake and eat it too. No amount of mental gymnastics or intellectual dishonest is going to make the unpalatable, acceptable, and barbaric aspects of Islam disappear.
Inside the JihadOmar Nasiri

I learned these laws in the Afghan training camps. And I learned there that these laws are what make us different from and better than the Americans and the French and the Germans and the English and everyone else. They kill however they can ... They kill women and children, and then they shrug and call it "collateral damage".

The Arab of the FutureRaid Sattouf

But how can he be a Jew? If he were a Jew, the glorious Syrian army would have arrested him and shot him long ago!

The fact that he's in our school proves he's not a Jew! That's simple LOGIC.

Don't care. I'm going to kill him anyway.

The Closing of the Muslim MindRobert R. Reilly ... "it was not Islamic to say that combining hydrogen and oxygen makes water. You were supposed to say that when you bring hydrogen and oxygen together then by the will of Allah water was created."
Understanding Dhimmitude:
Twenty-one Lectures and Talks on the Position of Non-Muslims in Islamic Societies
Bat Ye'or

My opponents derided me for inventing new words like "dhimmitude" to define indigenous Jewish and Christian communities in Islamic lands, whereas they kept the traditional designation of "religious minorities"... I explained the need to create new words for grasping the complex components of a multifold dynamic... Modern language is full of such words urged by the development of new disciplines. For instance, the word "sociology" didn't exist before the French philosopher Auguste Comte coined it in the middle of the nineteenth century... dhimmitude should be accepted as essential for understanding a specific type of relationship involving Jews, Christians, other non-Muslims, and Muslims in a culture shaped by Shariah.

Jihad is the the holy war waged by Muslims in order to impose the government of God, Allah, on the whole of humanity... Sometimes jihad is exercised by the pen, sometimes by speech (that is, by Islamic propaganda), at other times by (... violence)... The enemies, indigenous Christians and Jews, who submitted to Islamic laws and sovereignty in their own land after its Islamization by conquest, become dhimmis, or "tolerated people".

The main characteristics of the dhimmi condition ... are:

  1. in the legal domain: a) the Islamic notion of protection; b) the notion of toleration;
  2. in the economic domain: the notion of fay (booty); and
  3. in the social domain: the notion of vilification.

The first "right" is the right to life, which is conceded on payment of a Koranic tax, the jizya (Koran 9:29). Life is not considered a natural right. It is a right that each Jew and Christian must repurchase by paying their poll-tax to the ummah. Only then are their lives "protected".

In the economic domain, the notion of fay induces the dhimmi conditions. Fay is the booty conquered by jihad. Dhimmis should not be reduced to slavery, which would disperse them, but should be considered an economic asset to increase the welfare, the strength, and the interests of the ummah and Islam.

The third domain of dhimmi existence is social and religious, And here we find an infinite and extremely minute set of regulations, the aims of which were to reduce the dhimmi to a state of vilification and terror scarcely imaginable today.

Eurabia: The Euro-Arab AxisBat Ye'or

This book describes Europe's evolution from a Judeo-Christian civilization, with important post-Enlightenment secular elements, into a post-Judeo-Christian civilization that is subservient to the ideology of jihad and the Islamic powers that propagate it. The new European civilization in the making can be called a "civilization of dhimmitude." The term dhimmitude comes from the Arabic word "dhimmi". It refers to the subjugated, non-Muslim individuals or people that accept the restrictive and humiliating subordination to an ascendant Islamic power to avoid (jihad)

Europe, Globalization and the Coming Universal Caliphate Bat Ye'or

Few terms are as significant to the understanding of current event as "dhimmitude". ... any attempt to understand our times without fully grasping the meaning of dhimmitude would be like analyzing the twentieth century while ignoring the ideologies - communism, fascism, and Nazism - the shaped it.

(the dhimmi) is protected by a contract (dhimma) against jihad... This protection provides some relative security,.. The condition of dhimmitude transformed populations that were once free, self-governing majority nations... into amnesic survivors, living humiliated, terrified, insecure...

The word "peace" applied to non-Muslims requires conversion or submission (dhimmitude). Non-Muslims who obstruct the Islamization of their nations are the aggressors. They are to blame for the wars caused by their opposition to Muslim Conquest... Non-Muslims bear all the guilt for provoking war by resisting Allah's will and forcing Muslims to wage jihad against them... The Muslims have traveled to the furthest countries of the earth with the Koran on their chests, ... and their swords in their hands,... inviting mankind to accept Islam or the paying of jizya, or else face combat.


For Islam the whole earth is waif, a territory belonging to Allah and promised to the Muslim community that will bring it under the reign of the Islamic order revealed to the prophet. Jihad is the striving to recover those waif lands illegally held by infidels which must be returned to the Muslims. Muslims can never be guilty of occupation or oppression because Allah granted them the whole world; jihad returns to them what belongs to them as true believers... This sense of re-appropriation by jihad of territory belonging to Islam qualifies as a defensive, just, and legitimate Muslim war because it reinstates the will of Allah and brings peace through the submission and humiliation of the non-Muslim. The very existence of disbelief is an aggression against Allah. Jihad confers "the justice and peace" of Islamic order. ... The re-appropriation of their lands by the indigenous non-Muslim nations (Spain, Armenia, the Balkans, India, Israel) is considered an unjust attack on Islam.


Why is Israel considered so alarming? What Israel possesses is the Bible; the book that Muhammad claims was the unaltered version of the Koran uncreated and consubstantial with Allah, before Jews and Christians falsified it. The history of the Hebrews, according to the Koran, is the history of the Muslims before Muhammad. ... The crime of the people of Israel is the creation of a compilation of books written over a period of centuries recounting the vagaries of their history, faith, legislation, and aspirations - completed more than a thousand years before the Koran was written and excoriated by Muslim orthodoxy as a falsification of the Koran.


Europe has developed new instruments - multilateralism and multiculturalism - that undermine the democratic decision-making process in the European states ... This development leads to instability, in a climate of latent terrorism, urban violence, justification of anti semitism, and hatred of Israel. ... Mass immigration from Africa and Asian Muslim countries, sustained by the promotion of Arabism and Islam, induced the social construct known as multiculturalism.

... And October 1973 is a key date in the projected defeat of Europe, when Europe closed its air space and NATO bases to American aircraft to prevent them from flying needed supplies at a crucial moment. By doing so, Europe definitely took sides with the Arab League's jihad against the Jewish state.

... the EC's Brussels Declaration (November 6, 1973), which called on Israel to return to the 1949 armistice lines and for the first time recognized that rights of a newly created people, the Palestinians.


No one has done more to destroy the fundamental basis of Western understanding of Islam than Edward Said, a Christian of Egyptian origin operating under a false Palestinian identity and an active member of the PLO. Said disseminated a racist theory restricting the right to write about Islamic history and culture to Muslims alone.

Promise and Fulfillment - Palestine 1917-1949 Artur Koestler

... the peculiarities of the Jewish character, the apparently unique blend of pride and humbleness, spirituality and cupidity, inferiority complex and over compensation, calculated cunning and dripping sentimentality, could probably be induced by a team of determined psychiatrists in any community kept for no more than a couple of generations under hot-house conditions approximating those of the Polish ghettos. ... like symptoms can be found in the Parsees in India, the Armenians in Turkey and in any orphanage or institution for problem children.

The Arabs in Palestine had a feudal class with old and extremely attractive traditions of manners and hospitality, The Jews had no aristocracy and no patrician bourgeoisie, only a homogenous lower-middle-class of Eastern European small town origin. They drank no cocktails, they rarely relaxed, and they had no social graces. ... It is necessary to stress these trivial psychological factors, for their cumulative effects were largely responsible for the tragic developments to follow. The fate of Israel, as of the Jews in general, was determined as much by psychological as by social and economic forces.


The term "historic justice" is vague and undefined. Unlike criminal code, it has no solid frame of reference; its axioms and criteria depend entirely on what philosophy one adopts. From a Darwinistic point of view, historic justice is the survival of the fitter race at the expense of the weaker. From the point of view of the Jewish religion, Israel is the fulfillment of a promise from Sinai, and hence an act of divine justice. For the legalist it is founded on a promise from Downing Street endorsed by the League of Nations, and hence on international law. For the Marxist dialectician it is the replacement of a medieval feudal structure by a more modern socialist one, and hence in accord with the laws of historic progress. For the philanthropist it is a haven for a persecuted race, and hence to be welcomed. For the romantic traditionalists it is the defilement of a primitive and patriarchal pattern of life by the bustle of mechanized civilization. And finally, from the point of view of national sovereignty and self-determination, Israel is a historic injustice.

Each of these view is based on a different system of reference and surrounded by its own "universe of discourse". If these universes get mixed up, polemics are bound to end in a hopeless jumble.

East Germany and the West German Far Left 1967-1989Jeffrey Herf

In its competition with West Germany, East Germany's strongest point among the Arab states was that in contrast to West Germany, it despised the state of Israel and supported its enemies.

Entebbe, Uganda. There the terrorists were warmly greeted by Uganda's president, Idi Amin. The hijackers (Wilfried Böse and Brigette Kulmann, members of West German Revolutionäre Zellen, together with comrades from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) separated the Israelis and Jews from the larger group of hostages. In the next two days, using passports as identifiers, they released 148 non-Israeli and non-Jewish passengers, keeping more than 100 Israelis, some non-Israeli Jews, and the non-Jewish pilot as hostages. For the government of Israel, the question of whether the hijackers were motivated by anti-Semitism or "merely" by anti-Zionism was irrelevant.

The Lies They Tell

(Allein unter Amerikanern)

Tuvia Tenenbom

Germans, in case you've never met one, are very extreme people. That's their culture. If they decide to be nice, they will be the nicest humans possible. When they decide, for example, to be liberal, no liberal the world over will match them, not even close...

Die Deutschen, falls Sie noch nie einen gesehen haben, sind sehr extreme Leutchen. Das ist ihre Kultur. Wenn sie beschließen, nett zu sein, dann sind sie die nettesten Menschen der Welt. Wenn sie beispielsweise beschließen, liberal zu sein, dann wird ihnen auf der ganzen Welt kein Liberaler dass Wasser reichen können...


She's righteous. And righteous people scare me. Historically speaking, righteous people, knowing and proclaiming their righteousness, don't have and don't see any stop signs. When they believe in something, they will force their way through. Righteous people have done this since day one, when they first appeared on the planet - and, oh boy, how many people ended up dying because of the righteous! If you don't believe me, open the annals of history and you'll read it on almost every page.

Sie ist rechtschaffen. Und recthschaffene Menschen machen mir Angst. Rechtschaffen Menschen, die selbstverständlich um ihre Rechtschaffenheit wissen und sie vor sich hertragen, kennen und anerkennen seit jeher kein Stoppschild. Sie glauben fest an etwas und werden sich ihren Weg bahnen, zur Not mit Gewalt. >>Rechtschaffene<< Menschen haben das vom allersten Tag seit Bestehen der Menscheit an getan - und, o Mann, wie viele sind am Ende durch die Rechtschaffenen gestorben! Wenn Sie mir nicht glauben, blättern Sie in einem Gesichtsbuch, und Sie werden es praktisch auf jeder Seite lesen.

Hello Refugees
(Allein Unter Fluechlingen)
Tuvia Tenenbom

There are leftists all over, in many other countries and not just in Germany. That's true. But there's a difference: Germans are more serious, and German leftists take the leftist idea more seriously than other leftists in other countries.
Why are the Germans doing this?
This is the national character of the Germans. To them, the world is not just a reality but also an "idea".

Es gibt überall Linke, auch in vielen anderen Ländern, nicht nur in Deutschland, das stimmt. Aber es gibt einen Unterschied: Die Deutschen nehmen die Dinge ernster, und die deutschen Linken nehmen die linke Idee ernster als viele Linke in anderen Landern
Warum tun die Deutschen das?
Das ist der Nationalcharacter der Deutschen. Für sie ist die Welt nicht nur Realität, sondern auch eine >Idee<.


Er macht ein Kaffee, einen arabishchen Kaffee. O Allah! Ich probiere den Kaffee und würde am liebsten gleich zum Islam konvertieren!

...

Wie kommt es, werden Sie sich vieleicht fragen, dass ich unweigerlich Gefallen an Araben und Deutschen finden, also genau an den Leuten, die eine bizarre Tradition des Judenhasses verbindet?

...

Deutschland seine Türen für so viele Flüchtlinge öffnet, denn jetzt könne Deutschland beweisen, wie großartig es ist, im Unterschied zu den Israelis, die "Besatzer" seien und Menchenrechte verletzen.
Die Deutschen sind gut, die Juden sind schlect. Und was gibt's sonst noch Neues?

Allein Unter Juden Tuvia Tenenbom

Mitzuerleben, wie die Europäer, von den Deutschen ganz zu schweigen, enorm viel investieren und sich unablässig bemühen um das Leben der Juden in diesem Land, in Israel zu untergraben, war eine extrem verstörende Erfahrung. Von Arabern mit Liebe überschüttet zu werden, nur weil sie mich für einen Arier hielten, einen Deutschen, war ausgesprochen unbehaglich.

While Europe SleptBruce Bawer

Western Europe's establishment is composed of people most of whom entered its ranks as politicians, professors, journalists, or bureaucrats straight from the university ... In most Western European countries, the political system is essentially a private club ... You learn to be loyal to your fellow club members and to disdain as "populists" those who pay too much heed to the opinions of the rabble. ... You learn to think of yourself not as a servant of the people but one of their betters, teachers and protectors. ... it's part of their job to preserve the elite's power and to keep feeding the people the same line about the brilliance and vision of their own leaders and the idiocy of America's. It's all part of the legacy of Europe's long feudal tradition.
American politics is different. An American politician who's spent his whole life in politics is automatically suspect. Why should someone who doesn't have firsthand knowledge of what it's like to hire and fire, create jobs, run a business, and meet a payroll be given the power to make decisions that will affect the way things are done?

Alien NationPeter Brimelow

Which is why generals always re fight the last war. And why politicians go on campaigning for the last cause (which in the case of an important section of today's U.S. political elite happens to be the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s ...

American AloneMark Steyn

America is hated for every reason. The fanatical Muslims despise America because it's all lap-dancing and gay porn; the secular Europeans despise America because it's all born-again Christians hung up on abortion; the anti-Semites despise America because it's controlled by Jews. Too Jewish, too Christian; too godless, America is George Orwell's Room 101: whatever your bugbear you will find it therein; whatever you're against, America is the prime example of it.

How We Became a Nation of Heretics, Bad ReligionRuss Douthat For the first time in human history, it was possible for the poor and middle class as well as the rich to imagine being safely promiscuous...
Freedom is my ReligionPat Condell I changed my views about Israel because I realized that the Israelis are not dealing with a rational enemy they can negotiate with, but with a vicious supremacist ideology that hates Jews for who and what they are, not for where they are.
Godless and FreePat Condell Because God is on our side we both know that when our country is doing evil it's good evil as opposed to evil evil. And we know that good evil always defeats evil evil, except when evil evil disguises itself as good evil ...
Strange Gods. A Secular History of ConversionSusan Jacoby But I now know that I am in possession of the truth, and I just don't know how to reconcile that with not doing everything I can to spread the truth to others, even if you might call it an intrusion ...
See No EvilJoel Pollak The "larger truth" is always more important than truth itself - even though lies in service of a "larger truth" may have serious, even deadly consequences. ... All things are possible in theory. The trouble begins when we ask: "At what cost?" Or, to put it in politically pointed terms, "Who pays?"
The Diaries of Victor Klemperer 1945-59, The Lesser Evil Victor Klemperer

On Sunday 24 Oct. ... Then she talked about her meeting with Otto Klemperer. His conducting was brilliant, he had been very cordial to her [...]. He had left Los Angeles (and returned to post war Germany) because of the anti-Semitism.

The History of Syria 1900-2012M. Clement Hall

The rule of a dictator raises the "glass half full or half empty?" conundrum. If you're on the right side of a dictator, be it Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Hitler or Shishakli you might welcome the stability and national progress.

...

One has to wonder how much harm has been caused in the world by those who study philosophy, in particular those who studied philosophy at the Sorbonne.

Incidentally, the 3 BEST books I have read on the Israeli-Arab situation are:

  • "The Case for Israel", by Alan Dershowitz
  • Alan Dershowitz directly addresses the 32 strongest claims against Israel. First he honestly states the opposition's case in the most convincing manner possible. The he addresses those arguments head on.
  • "Promise and Fulfillment - Palestine 1917-1949", by Arthur Koestler
  • This book was written in 1949 by an author who was actually there. He weaves the big picture into what was happening at the ground level - based on the broad statistics, maps, and his personal experiences.
  • "The Wandering Jew Has Arrived", by Albert Lourdes
  • This is a reprint of a 1929 work. Modern accounts just do not do justice to what led to Israel, and what happened in Israel.

Politics, Culture Wars

TitleAuthor Some Favorite Book Quotes
Hillbilly Elegy

Amazon book review is here.
J. D. Vance

"Drugs have come in," Rick told me. "And nobody's interested in holding down a job." ... income taxes were deducted from my wages. As least as often, our drug-addict neighbor would buy T-bone steaks, which I was too poor to buy for myself. ... "I hate those f**kers for giving these people the money to move into our neighborhood."

DopesickBeth Macy

In the United States we are very attached to our twelve-step rehabs, which are not affordable, not standardized from one place to another, and not necessarily "effective" for the opioid addicted.

What happens is, it takes about eight years on the average, after people start treatment, to get one year of sobriety ... and four to five different episodes of "treatment" for that sobriety to stick.

The Tyranny of ClichesJonah Goldberg

He explained to me that he had a hard time fitting into the culture of the program because the faculty seemed so concerned with do-goodery instead of stopping the forces of do-baddery.

...

In other words, the government cannot trample the structure of social ecosystems that make life worthwhile.

...

Politically, it's worth recalling that the first modern "youth movements" of the twentieth century fueled both Italian Fascism and, more circuitously, German National Socialism.

...

Better than ten guilty persons escape than one innocent suffer. In fact, this 10 to 1 formula has become known as the "Blackstone ratio" or the "Blackstone's formulation" ...
But if we are to take the logic of n guilty men seriously, we have to ask why it is nonsense. After all, we can be sure that there is, somewhere in our vast penal system, an innocent man rotting behind bars. After all, we know from the revolution in forensic genetics that the falsely accused are routinely freed from prison. The only way we can be absolutely sure that such crimes are never repeated is to let everyone out of prison and close them down for all time.

SJWs Always Double Down. Vox Day

...for an individual convergence is the transformation of his beliefs and opinions, and even his appearance, to confirm to the current social justice Narrative. Any kind of organization can become converged... the most important corporate priority is no longer maximizing shareholder value or customer satisfaction, but demonstrating superior global citizenship though corporate dedication to tolerance, equality, progress, inclusiveness and diversity. Instead of market or technological leadership, this new breed of SJW CEOs now seek to provide moral leadership to a world that neither hired them nor asked for it.

In SJWs Always Lie, I noted that if you visit the Wikipedia page devoted to anyone who has been successfully attacked by SJWs, you will find that a significant portion of their page is dominated by the so-called news of their downfall. It doesn't matter if they are otherwise notable for discovering DNA, winning Nobel Prizes, or writing science fiction novels, the SJWs utilize Wikipedia as a primary means of ensuring that every time anyone looks up information about the individual, one of the first things they will see is the fact that the SJWs successfully attacked them.
How does one counteract that when the vast majority of Wikipedia's Administrators are hard-core SJWs fully intent on using their power to discredit people they don't like and of whom they don't approve?

Individuals who accuse others of unethical behavior can derive significant benefits. Compared to individuals who do not make accusations, accusers engender greater trust and are perceived to have higher ethical standards... In addition to harming accused targets, accusations can substantially benefit accusers... SJWs are creatures of pain. They are in a near-constant state of mild psychological distress, which is why so many of them are in therapy... It is only through conflict that the SJW can generate feelings of moral superiority he requires in order to drown out his steady state of emotional pain.

Antifa, What Americans Need to Know About the Alt-Left WND

Though it may seem absurd, there is a theory behind it, ridiculous if viewed from the outside, but internally consistent if seen from within.

..."fascism" is defined so broadly by Antifa that it can never truly be defeated. ... Even if the Far Right is completely crushed, new enemies will be invented, new targets for violence and self-righteous retribution. ... The same leftist pattern goes back to the French Revolution, when even those who supported the overthrow of the monarchy found themselves fed to the guillotine...

Tolerism, the Ideology RevisitedHoward Rotberg

Voltaire realized that toleration must be mutual, and based on reciprocity.

Europe now confronts a double danger: the invasion of radical Islam with its blood-hatred of its Western host, and the resurgence of the reactionary Right with its blood-hatred of its non-Western guests.

It is vital to distinguish between the two Rights. There is the rational Right - as embodied in the Danish Freedom Party and Geert Wilders' Part of Freedom in the Netherlands which... have called for stronger sanctions against the totalitarian regimes and dictatorships, especially in the Islamic world ... and the irrational Right which finds its home in racist and intolerant organizations like the Freedom Party in Austria, Jobbik in Hungary, ...

The New Church LadiesJim Goad

Back in the 1980s ... Dana Carey on Saturday Night Live did a recurring character called "The Church Lady." It was a spot-on parody of a tight-assed, hyper-moralistic Christian woman who was constantly lecturing and demeaning others for their sins. ... As neither a Christian nor a progressive nor a millennial, I have something that most of you lack - perspective. ... Although many of you openly mock Christianity and feel you embody its polar opposite, you are incorrect. You are the New Church Ladies. ... Just because your philosophy is different doesn't mean your psychology is.


You're right that I have hate in my heart. But you're wrong about the target. I get along fine with my black neighbors. It's you, Mr. & Mrs. Snarky White Hipster Anti-Racist Witch-Hunter ...

Big AgendaDavid Horowitz

Political correctness is actually a term coined by the Chinese dictator and mass murderer Mao Zedong. By "politically correct", Mao meant adhering to the official position of the Communist Party, which the comrades referred to as "the party line".

All Out War: The Plot to Destroy Trump Edward Klein

A majority support his push for a ban on entry into the United States of refugees from high risk Muslim majority countries. They even liked his politically incorrect remarks to law enforcement officers, when Trump urged them not to be "too nice" in dealing with the sadistic thugs of MS-13, an international criminal gang, often illegal aliens, who have been responsible for multiple murders in the United States.... Trump's base of white working class voters believe in law and order and, because of economic circumstances, they are often on the frontline when crime goes unpunished. For a long time they have felt that no one defends their interests. Trump does. During an era when wealthy white Americans have learned to sympathetically imagine the lives of the poor, people of color, ...

The Great Debate. Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left Yuval Levin

... in doing so, I have found that making sense of these debates requires more than an immersions in the technical details... The political right and left often seem to represent genuinely distinct points of view... the thick of the fight is not always the best vantage point for understanding what moves our politics.

Liberal FascismJonah Goldberg

Throughout the 1920s and well into the 1930s, fascism meant something very different from Auschwitz and Nuremberg. ... Before Hitler, in fact, it never occurred to anyone that fascism had anything to do with anti-Semitism. ... It was no coincidence that Fascism was the first politically successful, self-styled modern youth movement, and was widely recognized as such.

Bending Spines Randall L. Bytwerk

Totalitarianism is not only hell, but also the dream of paradise.

...

Jacques Ellul makes the interesting claim that modern propaganda exists under conditions that render the educated more susceptible to its claims than the uneducated.

Nazi Propaganda During World War II and the Holocaust Jeffery Hert

Klemperer recognized that anti-Semitism was not only a set of prejudices and hatreds but an explanatory framework for historical events... Nazi propaganda had created a mythic world by "transforming the political universe into a conflict of persons and personifications" in which a virtuous young Germany fought manfully against evil schemers...

The Devil and the Jews Joshua Trachtenberg

The specific charges are nothing more than rationalizations of an underlying animus. If one is temporarily outmoded a dozen others spring up in its place - and they need but be superficially plausible to be embraced as the gospel truth.

I Will Bear Witness, Volume 2: A Diary of the Nazi Years: 1942-1945 Victor Klemperer

May 20, Thursday morning ... Konrad: "If the people really were so hostile to the Jews, then with all this propaganda not one of us would still be alive." Frank: "It's not the workers - only the people with university educations."

Win Bigly,
Persuation in a World Where Facts Don't Matter


Amazon book review is here.
Scott Adams

If you want to see the world move clearly, avoid joining a tribe. But if you are going to war, leave your clear thinking behind and join a tribe.

The Old World in the New Edward Alsworth Ross

Rapt in these visions of benefit to belated humanity, my friend refused to consider any possible harm of immigration into this country. He did not doubt it so much as ignore it. How should the well being of a nation be balanced against a blessing to humanity?

Although Franklin wrote, "Those who come to us are the most stupid of their nation, he spoke of them later, before a committee of the House of Commons, as "a people who brought with them the greatest of all wealth - industry and integrity, and characters that have been superpoised and developed by years of persecution."

Looked at broadly, the first peopling of this country owes at least as much to the love of liberty as to the economic motive... the tender new shoots of religious yearning were bruised by an iron state and an iron church.

Not Like Us

Amazon book review is here.
Richard Pell The elites assumed that they alone knew what was good for the people, and that the people should not be allowed to choose for themselves because they would invariably select something bad. But democracy involves free choice, not a paternalistic prescription about which choices are preferable.
The Coming AnarchyRobert D. Kaplan

People who are truly "committed" are often the most dangerous, or at least the most sanctimonious. ... it is especially difficult to teach them in the classroom, because so many students who gravitate to political science and journalism these days tend to come from well off backgrounds and hold idealistic views - as opposed to other young people I have encountered at universities and in the corporal world, from harsher backgrounds, who are unashamed about just wanting "to make money." It is ironic that the latter - those with no interest in political science but who have been conditioned as realists - who may be better equipped psychologically to comprehend the situation in many troubled places in the world.

To Prussia with Love,
Misadventures in Rural East Germany
Roger Boyes If we show the Ossis that it's not only normal to be depressive but also, just possibly, a sign of genius, then we have won half the battle. So what we do is introduce them to other cultures with low self esteem... and let them discover their commonalities.
At the Existentialist CafeSarah Bakewell From the mid-1940s, "existentialist" was used as shorthand for anyone who practiced free love and stayed up late dancing to jazz music.
Springtime for Snowflakes Michael Rectenwald

Socialist ideology rationalizes individual failure by laying it at the feet of the system itself, rather than connecting it with its proximate causes, the individual.

The term "cultural Marxism" refers to a particular Marxist theory and strategy inaugurated by Antonio Gramsci - working to establish "cultural hegemony"... many mutations have occurred within the leftist political ideology in the evolution of Marxism to social justice... it is necessary to understand social justice as "practical postmodernism", or the politics of postmodern theory... The children of postmodern theory became known as the social justice warriors.

Social justice aims at little more than debunking particular identity groups from atop a putative social hierarchy, knocking them from their supposed positions to totemic privilege, and replacing them with members of supposedly subordinated groups.

Rather than attacking capitalism (as in socialism) or dismantling the patriarchy (as in radical feminism), the social justice movement acts as if political change can only be brought about by taking down one politically evil person at a time. ... Social justice activism is limited to particular forms of textual signaling, primarily to "virtue signaling" and "callout".

  • Virtue signaling is the announcement of one's political (and moral) worthiness and virtue.
  • Callout refers to the ritualized, direct denunciations of politically evil individuals and groups.
Ideas of the Twentieth CenturyDaniel Bonevac

Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937), an Italian Marxist, answerd that the Bourgeoisie preseveres its position through cultural hegemony - that is, through its control of culture to allow the values of the bourgeoisie to become the common sense of the proletariat ... to take over social institutions that transmit culture, especially:

  • Education (from kindergarten to universities)
  • Media
  • Government agencies
Confessions of a Reluctant HaterGreg Johnson

I know from personal experience that anti-racists are typically a venomous, aggressive, hate filled lot. I suspect that far more psychopathic haters are attracted to the cultural and political mainstream simply because the establishment offers no shortage of socially acceptable objects of hatred.

I do not hate all races. Why not? Because I do not have to live with them. As far as I know, they do not negatively affect my life. If I had to live in close proximity with them - and worse yet, subsidize them with my tax dollars - then I would probably start hating them. Of course it would begin slowly. I might get to know them at first. As time revealed more of our differences we would really start getting on one another's nerves. For instance, if they were unspeakable filthy people, or fond of loud noise, or litter the ground with trash and mounds of food crawling with flies and maggots.... It is not hard to be contemptuous of people whose commitment to "multiculturalism" mean abandoning one's own cultural standards whenever they conflict with foreign standards, no matter how barbarous and inferior.

I do not deny that people of my own culture can be obnoxious, but at least I can appeal to common standards, and confronting them is not an international incident.

By all means, treat individuals as individuals. But don't fall for the folly of individualism, which denies the reality of group differences and conflicts.

Some think that any form of distinction making is racist. Others regard drawing generalizations about groups based on experience and using these generalizations to predict future experience is racism. When racism is defined at this level of generality, cognition itself - perception, generalization, induction, evaluation - becomes morally objectionable. On this account, to be a non-racist is to be brain-dead.

For blacks, day to day racism seems largely to be a form of self-conciousness, i.e. feeling conspicuous and out of place in the larger society. Blacks complain about whites being overly friendly and solicitous. ... I would lay odds that 99 percent are liberal anti-racists, who think that simply by going out of their way to be nice they can charm blacks, absolve themselves of the sin of racism, and demonstrate their good intentions. It is ironic that such liberal solicitousness is the primary example of day to day racism cited by Bodeker's black interviewees.

The English PeopleGeorge Orwell But there is one sense in which the English common people have remained more Christian that the upper classes, and probably any other European nation. This is in their non-acceptance of the modern cult of power-worship. While almost ignoring the spoken doctrine of the Church, they have held on to the one that the Church never formulated, because taking it for granted: namely, that might is not right. It is here that the gulf between the intelligencia and the common people is the widest.
Aber in einer Hinsicht ist das einfache englische Volk christlicher geblieben als die oberen Klassen und wahrscheinlich als irgendein anderes europäisches Volk: in der Weigerung, der modernen Kult der Machtanbetung mitzumachen. Während es die formulierten Lehren der Kirchen kaum noch kannte, hielt es an der einen fest, welche die Kirche niemals formuliert hat, weil sie sie für selbstverständlich heilt: daß Macht nie vor Recht geht. Hier ist die Kluft zwischen der Intelligenz und dem einfachen Volk am breitesten.
The Virtue of NationalismYoram Hazony

I do believe that to be devoted to the cause of empire, and to the ideal of bringing the world under a single authority,and a single doctrine, to to advocate something far worse (than nationalism).

There has never been a “state of nature” of the kind imagined by Hobbes or Locke (or Social Darwinism), in which individuals were loyal only to themselves. As long as human beings were on earth, they have been loyal to the broader family, clan, and tribe.

This capacity to protect and defend others as if they were part of one's own self is not limited to kinsman. We see this same ferocity in the urge to defend a friend or a townsman, the member of one's platoon or street gang, or, more generally, any other human being who is, for whatever reason, regarded by the individual as a part of his self... Modern writers, who have been too much influenced by Darwinian science, tend to look for ways of explaining this as a process driven by biological kinship. But this has never been so. An isolated human individual, having survived a war or disease that has cut him off from his family and his clan, will invariably attract himself to a new family or a new clan.

The "First Reich" - that is, from the German Holy Roman empire, with its thousand year reign and universal aspirations (in motto of Emperor Frederick III, Austriae est imperare orbi universo, "Austria is destined to rule the world"). ... In almost the same tones, Hitler was frank in disseminating the view that Germany "must someday become lord of the earth." Nazi Germany was, in fact, an imperial state in every sense, seeking to put an end to the principle of national independence and the self-determination of peoples once and for all.

Christianity, Islam, liberalism, Marxism and Nazism have all served, in the recent past, as engines for the construction of empire.

The truth is that they are nearly all utopians, bursting with love for the abstract theory they see before their eyes.

And like other imperialists, they are quick to express disgust, contempt, and anger when their vision of peace and prosperity meets with opposition from those who they are sure would benefit by simply submitting.

Fighting for LifeS. Josephne Baker In Berlin the poor are German, and thoroughly fitted for the German environment. In London they are all English and fitted to be Englishmen. But here - you have the poor of every country on earth to content with. It's deeply impressive, I assure you.
The Second World War Volume 2: Their Finest Hour Winston Churchill Theme of the Volume: How the British people held the fort alone - till those who hitherto had been half blind were half ready.

Gender

TitleAuthor Some Favorite Book Quotes
The Bitter Taste of VictoryLara Feigel The couple resumed where they had left off in June, with Gavin showing Gelhorn around Berlin, and reminding her that bodies were "something terrific".
Just Another NumberMaggie Young Only the most fluent in military language dodged the bullets of heartbreak, unplanned pregnancies, mistress roles, and the wrath of jealous Navy wives.
SJWs Always Double DownVox Day

... the Alpha-Beta division originally introduced by Roissy of Chateau Heartiste into a hierarchy that cover the broad spectrum of socio-sexuality.
Keep in mind that this is a taxonomy of existing behavior exhibited by men, not a theory of human behavior, and it is intended as a useful conceptual tool...

  • Alpha: The alpha male is the tall, good-looking guy who is the center of both male and female attention...
  • Beta: Betas are the good-looking guys who aren't as uniformly attractive or socially dominant as the Alphas, but are nevertheless confident, attractive to women, and tend to do well with them...
  • Delta: The normal guy. Deltas are the great majority of men. They can't attract the most attractive women, so they usually aim for second-tier, with very limited success. They tend to resist paying attention to third-tier women who are comfortably in their league. This is ironic because deltas would almost always be happier with their closest female equivalents....
  • Gammas: The introspective, the unusual, the unattractive, and all too often, the bitter. Gammas are often intelligent, usually unsuccessful with women, and not uncommonly all but invisible to them. The gamma alternates between placing women on pedestals and hating the entire sex...
  • Omega: The truly unfortunate. Omegas are social losers who were never in the game. Sometimes creepy, sometimes damaged, often clueless, and always undesirable. They're not at the party. It would never have crossed anyone's mind to invite them in the first place...
  • Sigma: The outsider who doesn't play the social game and manages to win at it somehow...
  • Lambda: The men who have quite literally no interest in conventional male-female relations...
Men on Strike,
Why men are boycotting marriage, fatherhood, and the American Dream - and why it matters.
Helen Smith, PhD
  • Alphas - the male elite, the leaders of men for who women naturally lust.
  • Betas - the lieutenants, the petty aristocracy...
  • Deltas - the normal guys...
  • Gammas - the obsequious ones... the nice guys who attempt to score through white-knighting, faux chivalry, flattery, and omnipresence. All men except true Alphas will occasionally fall into Gamma behavior from time to time.
  • Sigmas - the lone wolves. Occasionally mistaken for Alphas, particularly by women and Alphas, they are not leaders and will actively resist the attempts of others to draft them.
  • Omegas - the losers. ... most never surmount the desperate need to belong caused by their social rejection. Omegas can be the most dangerous of men because the pain of their constant rejection render the suffering of others completely meaningless in their eyes.
Anti-Matter,
Michel Houellebecq and Depressive Realism


Amazon book review is here.
Ben Jeffery

The term "depressive realism" comes from a psychological study by Alloy and Abramson in 1979 which suggested that depressives routinely demonstrate better judgment... Alloy and Abramson concluded that depressed people are "sadder and wiser". ... Houellebecq's novels as a basis for thinking about pessimism and how it relates to honesty.

Reality is something we must constantly repress in order to function. What all varieties of pessimism have in common is the principle that truth is undesirable - that unhappiness coincides with the loss of illusions, and that, conversely, happiness is a type of fantasy or ignorance.

Bad luck in sex, the marginalization of anyone who fails to be erotically desirable, is the backbone of Houellebecq's oeuvre. ...
Just like unrestrained economic liberalism, and for similar reasons, sexual liberalism produces phenomena of absolute pauperization. ... Characters that suffer because of their biological makeup, the life-sentence imposed by being undesirable, or the delayed punishment of aging, recur. Sex, we are told, is life's only real motive. If you are disqualified or "past it", then you will suffer... All energy is of a sexual nature,... and when the animal is no longer good for reproducing, it is absolutely no good for anything.

... we live in such a simple world you understand. There's a system based on domination, money and fear [and there's a] system based on seduction and sex. And that's it.

WhateverMichel Houellebecq

adolescence ... is he only period where one may speak of life in the full sense of the word. The attractile drives are unleashed around the age of thirteen, after which they gradually diminish, or rather they are resolved into models of behavior which are, after all, only constrained forces. The violence of the initial explosion means that the outcome of the conflict may remain uncertain for years... But little by little the oscillations become slower, to the point of resolving themselves in mild melancholic long waves... This can be expressed in a more brutal and less exact way by saying that man is a diminishing adolescent.

Sexuality is a system of social hierarchy.

SubmissionMichel Houellebecq

"So you're for a return to patriarchy?"
"You know I'm not for anything, but at least patriarchy existed. I mean, as a social system it was able to perpetrate itself. There were families with children, and most of them had children. In other words, it worked, whereas now there aren't enough children, so we're finished."

Science

TitleAuthor Some Favorite Book Quotes
The Vital QuestionNick Lane

Erwin Schrodinger's book What is Life? in 1944. Schrodinger made two key points: first, that life somehow resists the universal tendency to decay, the increase in entropy (disorder) that is stipulated by the second law of thermodynamics.

Yet DNA, the beguiling code - script which seems to promise every answer, has made us forget Schrodinger's other central tenet - that life resists entropy, the tendency to decay.

In the end, respiration and burning are equivalent; the slight delay in the middle is what we know as life.

If life is nothing but an electron looking for a place to rest, death is nothing but that electron come to rest.

We Are Our BrainsD. F. Swaab

The intrauterine paradise was the color of hell, that is to say, red, orange, yellow and bluish, the color of flames, of fire...

... reflected the general thinking at that time that everything could be socially engineered, including whether you felt male or female and were heterosexual or homosexual ... The taboo on a biological explanation for our sexual orientation, which was very marked in an age of boundless belief in social engineering, must have played a role.

... during severe infatuation, when all of our attention and energy is focused on that other person, it's the areas down at the base of the brain, in structures that steer unconscious processes, that call the shots...

A Troublesome Inheritance. Genes, Race and Human HistoryNicholas Wade

The human fossil record show that in the period prior to settlement, there is a gradual thinning of the human skeleton, a process known to physical anthropologists as gracilization. Gracilization typically occurs in the skeletons of wild animal species as they become domesticated. It seems that humans underwent a similar lightening in their bone structure for the same reason - that they were becoming less aggressive. Like animals undergoing domestication, humans shed bone mass because extreme aggressivity no longer carried the survival advantages, and the most bellicose members of a society were perhaps killed or ostracized.

In people this process proceeded independently in each of the world's populations, according to physical anthropologist Marta Mirazon Lahr... In domestic animals, gracilization is one of the side effects of the taming process. The general process is known as pedomorphic evolution, meaning a trend toward the juvenile form. Thus a dog's teeth and skull are smaller than a wolf. The gracilization of human skulls, the primatologist Richard Wrangham has noted, looks just like the gracilization seen in domestic animals.

Passages from Ken Freed's all time favorite books

TitleAuthor Some Favorite Book Quotes
SteppenwolfHermann Hesse

He said to me once when we were talking of the so-called horrors the the Middle Ages: "These horrors were really nonexistent. A man of the Middle Ages would detest the whole mode of our present-day life as something far more horrible, far more barbarous. Every age, every culture, every custom and tradition has its own character, its own weakness and its own strength, its beauties and ugliness; accepts certain suffering s a matter of course, puts up patiently with certain evils.
Human life is reduced to real suffering, to hell, only when two ages, two cultures and religions overlap...

Now there are times when a whole generation is caught in this way between two ages, two modes of life, with the consequence that it loses all power to understand itself and has no standard, no security, no simple acquiescence...."


Er sagte einmal zu mir, nachdem wir über sogennante Graumsamkeiten im Mittelalter gesprochen hatten: >> Diese Grausamkeiten sind in Wirklichkeit keine. Ein Mensch des Mittelalters würde den ganzen Stil unseres heutigen Lebens noch ganz anders als grausam, entsetzlich und barbarisch verabscheuen! Jede Zeit, jede Kultur, jede Sitte und Tradition hat ihren Stil, hat ihre zukommenden Zartheiten und Härten, Schönheiten und Grausamkeit, hält gewisse Leiden fur selbstverständlich, nimmt gewisse Übel geduldig hin.
Zum wirklichen Leiden, zur Hölle wird das menschlichen Leben nur da, wo zwei Zeiten, zwei Kulturen und Religionen einander uberschneiden...

Es gibt nun Zeiten, wo eine ganze Generation so zwischen zwei Zieten, zwischen zwei Lebensstile hingerät, daß ihr jede Selbstverständlichkeit, jede Sitte, jede Geborgenheit und Unschuld verlorengeht.

Narcissus and GoldmundHermann Hesse

My goal is this: always to put myself in the place in which I am best able to serve, wherever my gifts and qualities find the best soil, the widest field of action. There is no other goal.

...

In a cloister he came upon a recently painted fresco. He had to look at it for a long time. A dance of death had been painted on a wall: pale bony death, dancing people out of life, king and bishop, abbot and earl, knight, doctor, peasant - everyone ... Goldmund's curious eyes drank in the painting. An unknown colleague had applied the lesson he too had learned from the Black Death, and was screaming the bitter lesson of the inevitable end shrilly into everyone's ear. It was a good picture, and a good sermon; this unknown colleague had seen and painted the subject rather well. A bony, ghastly echo rose from his wild picture. And yet it was not what Goldmund had seen and experienced. It was the obligation to die that was painted here, the stern and merciless end... In him the wild song of death had a completely different sound, not bony and severe, but sweet rather, and seductive, motherly, an enticement to come home. Whenever the hand of death reached into life, the sound was not only shrill and warlike but also deep and loving, autumnal, satiated, the little lamp of life glowed brighter, more intensely at the approach of death. To others death might be a warrior, a judge or hangman, a stern father. To him death was a mother and a mistress; its call was a mating call, its touch a shudder of love.


Das Ziel ist dies: mich immer dahin zu stellen, wo ich am besten dienen kann, wo meine Art, meine Eigenschaften und Gaben den besten Boden, das grosste Wirkungsfeld finden. Es gibt kein anderes Ziel.

DemianHermann Hesse

To tell my story I have to start far in the past. If I could, I'd have to go back much farther yet, to the very earliest years of my childhood and even beyond them to my distant origins.


Um meine Geschichte zu erzählen, muß ich weit vorn anfangen. Ich müßte, wäre es mir möglich, noch viel weiter zurückgehen, bis in die allersten Jahre meiner Kindheit und noch über sie hinaus in die Ferne meiner Herkunft zurück.

Winesburg, OhioSherwood Anderson

That in the beginning when the world was young there were a great many thoughts but no such thing as truth. Man made the truth himself and each truth was a composite of a great many thoughts. All about in the world were the truths and they were beautiful. The old man had listed hundreds of truths in his book. I will not try to tell you all of them... And then the people came along. Each as he appeared snatched up one of the truths and some who were quite strong snatched up a dozen of them. It was the truths that made the people grotesques. The old man had quite an elaborate theory concerning the matter. It was his notion that the moment one of the people took one of the truths to himself, called it his truth, and tried to live his life by it, he became a grotesque and the truth he embraced became a falsehood.

If This Isnt't Nice, What Is? Advice to the YoungKurt Vonnegut

The function of the artist is to make people like life better than before.

... the importance of noticing and acknowledging the small, sweet moments of everyday life by stopping to say... "If this isn't nice, what is?"

Other all time favorite short stories:

  • Mark Twain, The Mysterious Stranger
  • Kurt Vonnegut, The Deer in the Works
  • Hermann Hesse, Augustus

Most recent are at the top ...

(Please note that while I love to read - and I read a lot - I do not write an Amazon book review for every book that I read.)

Title & Link Author Date Rating
The Devil and Tom Walker, Simplified for Modern Readers Washinton Irving June 16, 2018 5 stars
Submission: A Novel Michael Hollenbecq May 20, 2018 5 stars
Best of Times, Worst of Times Walter Laquer Aug 22, 2018 5 stars
Germany at Odds, A Contemporary Testimony Eldad Beck May 31, 2018 5 stars
Not Like Us: How Europeans Have Loved, Hated, And Transformed American Culture Since World War II Richard Pells May 09, 2018 5 stars
Anti-Matter: Michel Houellebecq and Depressive Realism Ben Jeffery Feb 15, 2018 4 stars
The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe Heather MacDonald Jan 10, 2018 5 stars
Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don't Matter Scott Adams Nov 15, 2017 5 stars
Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right Arlie Russell Hochschild Sept 24, 2017 2 stars
Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign Jonathon Allen Sept 14, 2017 3 stars
The Psychology of the Masses: Why You Believe What You Believe and Do What You Do Noah Halberg Sept 13, 2017 5 stars
Fake News: The Fall of Critical Thinking and the Rise of Selfie Propaganda Jason Belcher Aug 9, 2017 1 stars
Dangerous Milo Yiannopoulos July 4, 2017 5 stars
Ideas of the Twentieth Century Daniel Bonevac April 16, 2017 5 stars

... there are more reviews on Amazon, going back further in time.
List of Amazon reviews can be found here.