Despite purchasing The Height of Your Life, I have yet to actually read it. This video probably grants a good preview, however:
In today’s world I often find myself confused. Not because my brain malfunctions, or simply chooses to be sluggish, but rather on account of the strange tendency for people to suddenly agitate over things that wouldn’t otherwise bat an eye. We saw it previously with the Peloton ad, which generated mass hysteria for absolutely no reason, forcing Google to preempt questions about why we should all be enraged:
More recently, the Plural Left was able to dig up anger regarding some white woman’s attempt to market food in her unique way. The culprit, a literal Karen, added some different flavors to congee, a mundane breakfast dish popular in Asian circles. She also wrote a post discussing her “improvements” to the slushy gruel, but clearly honored its longtime cultural foundations in Asia. The response? Utterly juvenile. Casey Ho, a female with questionable gender credentials, had this to say:
I sincerely apologize for subjecting you to that image. What remains interesting is how people are (justifiably) confused:
It seems we can only expect more of this desperate grasping for meaning in the years to come. America is unquestionably in decline, so the propensity of folks to scrounge for anything with which to give themselves purpose and opportunities for moralistic strutting is bound to flourish. We can either join in, ferociously shaking fists at the established boogeyman, or stay agape, wondering where it all came from.
Worth checking out:
And now a melodramatic quote, which I believe is from some Brian Vaughan comic, although the titles escapes me:
“War can’t be ended any more than rain. All we can do is help each other stay dry.”
Glen Hansard is a true gem in the modern music industry. He may not be at the top of the billboards, but every one of his songs has an element of spirit which seems destined to let us touch the metaphysical.
Despite having owned my current vehicle for over two years now, I didn’t bother to use the CD player until recently. Whenever confronted with a long drive I typically listen to music or simply conjure up new plans for content and research. Last week things changed when I randomly decided to checkout The Book of Five Rings in audiobook form. I usually don’t mess with that format because it is difficult to take notes while driving, but this departure from tradition proved worthwhile.
The book is written by Miyamoto Musashi, a samurai and poet active during the 14th and 15th centuries. It is a brief text, but one principle repeated incessantly across the pages in various forms is the phrase “You should investigate this thoroughly.” A casual reader might assume Musashi’s dogmatism is simply meant to convey the importance of his book or stature, while those more attune to his Buddhist persuasions could argue the phrase relates to some pursuit of truth or balance.
Neither assessment is essentially wrong, yet I believe there is a more universal lesson beyond the specific audience and context. As noted before, we have limited time to cultivate concrete understandings of particular perspectives or subjects. Many folks simply dally-fance around, spouting information they gleaned from someone else because the impetus to uncover and master on an individual basis proves too formidable. Thus the mind scarcely has a chance to reach its higher level potential, and emotional rage swiftly replaces comprehension. For normies such positions appear committed and admirable, largely because they do not see past the preliminary veil.
When Musashi instructs readers to have a thorough approach in their study and experience, he turns back this entire modernistic proposal. The more one reads and interacts with the world, the less is he able to embrace knee-jerk, talking-point reactions to every issue. It becomes clear to him that life is more complicated than simply a crude dualistic perspective, and in fact the manifestations we come to know are usually assembled by a chain of other events. Successfully exploring so as to forge those networks in the mind allows a person to truly appreciate the eternal query of why, rather than distracting with predictably public noise.
I encourage all of you to attempt the same method in life. As I think back to some of my “classic” YouTube content, I must concede that while it was entertaining, the drive to present an all-inclusive message on some matter was undermined by a hesitation to wait and learn. Nowadays, I will often make a new recording if a not-yet-published piece lacks information discovered only after it was put together. Yes, the process is tedious, however the outcome unquestionably superior.
Live long and be thorough.
Giuseppe Mazzini is an odd figure. While roundly celebrated for his role in the unification of Italy and promotion of liberal values, he actually spent years in the United Kingdom, a refuge from the Austrian-imposed death sentence on his head. It was during this time that he compiled The Duties of Man, a fascinating work demonstrating tremendous foresight, along with applicability to the present world. For the erudition of all who may stumble upon this post, I’ve compiled some solid points here.
What Is the Point of Freedom?
In all the Countries wherein these principles were proclaimed, Society was composed of the small number of individuals who were the possessors of land, of capital, of credit; and of the vast multitude who possessed nothing but the labour of their hands, and were compelled to sell that labour to the first class, on any terms, in order to live. For such men–compelled to spend the whole day in material and monotonous exertion, and condemned to a continual struggle against hunger and want, what was liberty but an illusion, a bitter irony?
This analysis reminded me of the anti-union Massey Energy employees profiled in the Blood On The Mountain documentary. They vigorously proclaim their freedom from the federal government, even as the local mining industry works them long hours and pollutes the surrounding countryside. Yet still they are “free.”
The Duty Principle
We must convince men that they are the sons of one sole God, and bound to fulfill and execute one sole law here on earth:–that each of them is bound to live, not for himself, but for others:–that the aim of existence is not to be more or less happy, but to make themselves and others more virtuous:–that to struggle against injustice and error, wherever they exist, in the name and for the benefit of their brothers, is not only a right but a Duty:– a duty which may not be neglected without sin:–the duty of their whole life.
The colons and hyphens aside, what a refreshing message this is, when compared with the aimless self-focus of our world, and its manifest hedonism.
On Attaining Education As a Wage Slave
You labour for 10 or 12 hours of the day: how can you find time to educate yourselves? The greater number of you scarcely earn enough to maintain yourselves and your families. How can you find means to educate yourselves? The frequent interruption and uncertain duration of your work, causes you to alternate excessive labour with period of idleness. How are you to acquire habits of order, regularity, and assiduity?
A timeless issue which we have discussed before. One of the main reasons why societies remain ignorant is that so little room is left for personal development after a 9-5 plus commute, if not more. The weekend becomes a pitiful monastery wherein many souls are so exhausted that they devote it to drinking or the consumption of crude entertainment. Intellectual stimulation is so easily lost.
The Role of Women
Love and respect Woman. Seek in her not merely comfort, but a force, an inspiration, the redoubling of your intellectual and moral faculties. Cancel from your minds every idea of superiority over Woman. You have none whatsoever. Long prejudice, an inferior education, and a perennial legal inequality and injustice, have created an apparent intellectual inferiority which has been converted into an argument of continued oppression .
Not easy words for the manosphere. I have always found it interesting how people will insist certain systems are fixed or ordained by nature, even as times and contexts change.
How The Elite Prevents Mobility
But does not the history of oppression teach us how the oppressor ever seeks his justification and support by appealing to the fact of his own creation? The feudal castes that withheld education from you, the sons of the people, excluded you on the grounds of that very want of education from the rights of the citizen, from the sanctuary wherein Laws are framed, and from the right to vote which is the initiation of your social mission.
The Slaveholders of America declare the black race radically inferior and incapable of education, and yet persecute those who seek to instruct them.
Here we have the Moral Sabotage tactic. Wealthy and powerful interests will often impede the development of the poor through various policies, only to turn around and claim the results are proof of a permanently lower station. We see this with politicians raiding pension programs and then claiming they are unsustainable. It is also the basis to block expansion of college education, because those who would benefit the most are perceived as being unworthy of access.
In the future I will probably do a video expanding on other points he makes. Until then, I highly advise checking out The Duties of Man.
There seems to be an endless supply of firm opinions on why the economy collapsed in 2008. Conservatives blame lending to poor people, and liberals claim it was a lack of federal regulation. I tend to lean towards the latter column, but rather than taking my word for it, here are a list of good books that analyze precisely how things went south those long years ago. They may not aid us in preventing a future hit, but at least the effort is commendable.
An especially frightful bogeyman mustered by folks on the Plural Right to win elections is the idea of the welfare queen. This horrendous creature oozes about in life, deviously attempting to confiscate as much from the public dole as possible, and using taxpayer dollars to fund her luxurious lifestyle. She is often paired with her live-in boyfriend, a clownish drug dealer who uses his perch in a Section 8 housing complex to make tax-free money by selling controlled substances. Topping off the vignette are their countless children, who assist in generating those lovable food stamp checks which are annihilating the economy.
Effective as the idea may be for politicians, it betrays a fundamental unwillingness to understand the nature of the public support system, along with the actual status of people involved. Thus we must provide an overview of precisely what is available to welfare dependents, and for how long. Hopefully, a measure of clarity can help eliminate the misconceptions that inevitably fuel terrible corrective policy on the part of the State.
The first salvo ought to involve a popular 2012 study from Wisconsin distributed inside conservative circles. According to the authors, a family on welfare in the Badger State can rake in $35,000 annually post-taxes by yukking it up with a variety of government programs and not working. A similar 50-state analysis by the Cato Institute confirms such alarmism, noting how places like Hawaii grant payments of almost $50,000 a year to government dependents.
There is no doubt the proponents of such studies have justifiable concern about the nature of welfare. Unfortunately, they rely on rather self-serving conclusions to fit the bill of lolbertarian ideology. For one, the Wisconsin study relies upon an assumption that eligibility automatically equates to acceptance. In reality, analysts have concluded that less than 300 Wisconsinites would be able to draw the $35,000 amount of income, this in a state of almost 6 million people. Further complicating the matter is how most welfare programs require participants to be seeking a job or working, stipulations which undermine the suggestion they are simply mooching because they can.
Perhaps more critical to mention are the limitations on welfare programs themselves. In the case of SNAP benefits (food stamps), users without children are limited to 90 days in the service within a 36-month period by a federal law enacted in 2008, unless they can meet certain work requirements. When paid out, benefits average about $256.00 per month for a household or $127.00 a person, and come to around $1.40 for each meal. Higher payments materialize in the event of a household being extremely low income or with many kids, so not everyone receives the same amount of money. It is worth noting that the Obama Administration promulgated an $8.7 billion cut to SNAP, despite its supposedly progressive credentials.
Section 8 housing also gets a bad rap due to the poor reputation of such communities, yet it too has strict standards for access, cutting out sizable swaths of the general population based on income and family status. Quite crucially, the voucher system does not cater to illegal immigrants, as applicants must be citizens or possess eligibility for citizenship. The closely-associated LIHEAP program gives recipients help with heating and cooling bills providing they meet certain requirements. Strangely enough, President Obama also made repeated requests for Congress to cut funding to LIHEAP, instigating a move by the late Hugo Chavez to donate heating oil to Americans.
Some critics will aim their guns at the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash support program to satisfy notions of dependency. Here again the issue is complex. TANF operates not as a long-term solution to poverty, but merely the helping hand to bring people back on their feet during hard times. Benefit checks in July 2020 ranged from just over $300.00 in Texas to $1,086 in New Hampshire, reflecting cost of living and state government decisions. The final point is important because individual states control the destiny of TANF money block-granted by the Fed, and are not obliged to offer a large (or elevated) amount. Furthermore, recipients are limited to 5 years on the TANF dole throughout their entire life, so it is hardly a career dependency model.
Welfare alarmism also flies in the face of the historical record. The 1996 welfare reform bill signed by Bill Clinton had the effect of eliminating the “entitlement” concept behind such programs by instituting stricter work requirements. Since 1997, spending on TANF has remained largely unchanged at $16.5 billion, and broader welfare caseloads have increased to 15 percent, while the assistance rolls remain down by 68 percent from the pre-reform highs, this even with the effects of the recession and Corona. As a percentage of the total federal budget, the programs amount to $361 billion, or 8 percent.
One final point to acknowledge regarding the 1996 reform lies with the impact on child support enforcement. Prior to the legislation’s passage, the State’s involvement in collection and insistence on men paying was decidedly more limited. Clinton’s bill changed that by requiring state authorities to more aggressively pursue orders on child support, and encouraging women to pursue it. So in a sense men replaced the State for a portion of the payments, arguably leading to the disaster of family courts today.
At the end of the day, I can appreciate the rage against welfare. Those of us who work feel indignant about folks who simply take checks and live on the dole. Of course the truth is that many of the “takers” are actually employed, yet simply do not make enough to survive. Perhaps our bigger focus should be on the creatures and organizations regularly taking trillions from the government to bail them out whenever the economy turns south.
In a futile effort to save more trees, I will at times use this digital scroll as a repository for random notes. Here we have an interesting tidbit from Edmund White’s biography on Marcel Proust, page 43. It actually stems from reference to The Guermantes Way, in which the Jew called Bloch asks a former French official by the name of Norpois what he thinks of the dramatic Dreyfus Affair. Norpois proceeds to avoid the question repeatedly by hiding behind rhetorical camouflage. The piece’s narrator then observes about Norpois:
“…the maxims of his political wisdom being applicable only to questions of form, of procedure, of expediency, they were powerless to solve questions of fact as, in philosophy, pure logic is powerless to tackle to the problems of existence…”
I cannot think of a better summary for our modern system of political grandstanders and toothless business leaders.