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Culture War Roundup for the week of November 7, 2022

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There is now a USA Election Day 2022 Megathread for all your deliberatively democratic posting desires.

Meta question: are subthreads disappearing without a trace, or am I losing my mind? I could have sworn that there was a thread here on Jewish power with an eloquent effortpost by Ilforte about a day ago.

A manifestopost by @Carlsbad was wiped about two weeks ago. Link to my response at the time; as you can see, the parent only appears as "deleted by author." Zorba confirmed that there was lots of ban evasion involved.

If there was one topic which I'd expect to attract a partisan trying to sockpuppet/consensus-build/JAQ-off, it'd be this one. Well, okay, it'd be pedo- ephebe- child emancipation, given prior examples. But handwringing about "Jewish interests" has achieved hobbyhorse status.

Since that time they've posted at least one more thousand-word anti-Jewish manifesto. I say "at least one more" because I stumbled across it entirely by accident. There may have been more!

I kinda feel sorry for them, honestly; what kind of mental state causes someone to make (checks mod-visible info) 14 separate accounts to ban-evade on an obscure Internet forum to complain about the Jews?

My guess is that the JQ occupies the intersection of a conspiracy-theorist Venn diagram.

One circle is theories which scan as credible to the average public. Without taking the time to go into the quality of this credibility, it's an easier sell than Atlantis or anything to do with aliens. A big part of this is the well-fortified motte and bailey between Jewish overrepresentation and Jewish influence. Our passionate antisemite can hint about the movie industry or whatever and not immediately get dismissed. Call this circle the "plausible."

The other factor is emotional valence of a theory. I'm not sure how many people today have a visceral reaction to the thought that Oswald didn't kill Kennedy. Seventy years of never again, on the other hand, have ensured that antisemitism is vividly recognizable. It pattern-matches immediately to history's best-publicized villains. This edge guarantees our theorist the feeling of being an insider, of having moral nuance compared to the sheep. There's a whole signaling/countersignaling thing here, but suffice to say that having a theory denied is half the appeal. Call it "deniability."

Now take this "plausible deniability" to the rise of Internet culture. Anyone who wants to present as a bold free-thinker woke to the real powers at play has a ready-made adversary. Except their audience isn't stupid, either, and after the third time someone shows up Just Asking Questions, people start skipping to the bit where they run him out of town on a rail. The immune system develops a healthy skepticism.

Add 20-30 years of natural selection, and the barrier to entry gets pretty high. Getting through the high-strung immune response requires some practice dealing with adversity. That may or may not mean ban evasion. We are dealing with the evolved form of this edgy, uncowed archetype. Perhaps Zarathustra said it best:

I entreat you my brethren, remain true to the earth, and do not believe those who speak to you of supra-terrestrial hopes! … Behold, I teach you the Übermensch.

Shutting it down on the pettiest possible scale? Probably not.

OP's post stands at +11/-11 so 0 points, maybe admins have screwed up top-level below-threshold hiding? Would be funny if it's a bug related to the recent 0 vs NaN score one.

I can find the thread through involved users' histories. And you could look into my history and see the post in any case: http://themotte.org/@DaseindustriesLtd

(this also helps with some reddit mod actions, afaik)

A few posts from the last 24 hours seem to have been wiped. I’m not sure whether that’s deliberate, usually even if it was removed there would be mod comment.

You can also check https://www.themotte.org/log , and I don't think that the recent removal targeted the thread you're thinking of.

I recently read Hanania's year old post - The Problem with White Male Liberalism. Hanania steelmans the far-left ("woke") position:

The idea that the modern economy, the American system of government, and contemporary science were created by white men is not a fantasy the woke imagined out of thin air… Their implicit argument — that these great things happened to be created by white men only through some accident that has no implication for how they function today — does not seem very credible.

meaning that the white male liberals that dominate liberal spheres have two positions:

  • They can bend over backward for diversity, which often means compromising their principles to achieve the right demographic balance.

  • Or they can ignore the issue, having no good answer to the question of why people should join a movement in which white males predominate.

Ignoring the gender issue and focusing solely on ethnicity, I'd counter that this isn't even historically true. Liberal movements have always been very welcoming to ethnic minorities. The original Enlightenment Thinkers were primarily Christian-raised-- and somehow years later you see liberal movements having a significant overrepresentation of Jews. I have no doubt that other outperforming minorities, such as Indians, will continue to punch above their weight in these movements as well. But somehow this fact gets ignored (even by liberals seeking to defend their inclusiveness) and to add to the complexity, any minority group that successfully assimilates into the elite just becomes viewed as "white" themselves (yes, I've even noticed immigrants to Silicon Valley referring to Asians and Indians as "white"), making white dominance of elite movements self-fulfilling.

More to the point, why is this even an effective attack (on the members)? Universal political and intellectual movements aren't going to be reflective of the overall population - they are going to skew toward intelligence, high class, and assimilation away from ethnic tribalism. Growing up in 2nd generation Asian majority schools in the Bay Area, there wasn't much surprise that (in the minority) white kids were the more liberal ones (e.g. more supportive of say gay marriage) -- they didn't have the same connection to conservative social values the 2nd gen immigrants had. And frankly, it really never seemed that important -- different demographic balances existed and if you were so weak-minded that you still were using activity participants' ancestral balance as a predictor for what you should be doing, you probably weren't going to be a non-conformist movement leader anyway.

Free speech, academic freedom, and colorblindness — long considered foundational principles of the Left...Feeling guilty about how white and male their movement is, more tolerant liberals have two options. They can bend over backward for diversity, which often means compromising their principles to achieve the right demographic balance.

This doesn't strike me as a steelman because it puts words in the mouths of the male liberals in question. Its only bending backwards if you assert that "Free speech, academic freedom, and colorblindness" are principles that they actually hold, or that subsuming those principles is in any way contrary to their world view. The liberals in question aren't "bending over backwards" at all.

Or they can ignore the issue, having no good answer to the question of why people should join a movement in which white males predominate.

Their answer is that everyone should join them and "progress" to the communist utopia at the end of the rainbow.

More to the point, why is this even an effective attack (on the members)?

Because both sides of the argument are a part of the same religion and the attack operates on faith and emotion, not on logic or reasoning. The "moderates" here already accept all of the priors and share the ultimate goals of the woke. The woke are just calling the moderates out for being insufficiently faithful and the moderates are choosing to capitulate rather than become apostates.

Christians and the Killing of abortion doctors:

I'm well aware that a strong case can be made for absolute Christian pacifism or more moderately for employing violence only with the consent of the ruling authority. Yet these positions are clearly not majority ones. Imagine if I posed to the average Christian the following hypothetical:

Tomorrow, the government passes a law declaring that blacks, being subhuman, are no longer entitled to any protection under the law. While the law allows you to kill a person who threatens the life of a regular person, killing a person who threatens a black is now murder. Mark 1.0 disagrees. While he is not black himself and has no special relationship with blacks, he consider them to be regular humans entitled to defense. As such, he goes to a black extermination center and kills a few of its exterminators. Are Mark 1.0's actions morally justified?

I think the vast majority of Christians would say that Mark was not only acting justifiably but commendably. If he started a revolution that overthrew the government, they would celebrate him as an example of Christian courage and dedication. If, however I replace Black with fetus, and exterminationist with abortion doctors, fundamentalists suddenly discover the value of 'giving unto Caesar', talk about how their belief in the sanctity of life is incoherent with killing abortion doctors and condemn Mark 2.0.

Once again, my claim is that there is no deontological theological justification that allows for Mark 1.0's actions, but not Mark 2.0's. Thus, when Christians claim to disown anti-abortion violence on religious grounds they are almost always either making a best methods utilitarian calculation (which given 60 Million abortions since Roe v. Wade seems rather specious) or demonstrating that their worship of the flag, trumps their commitment to God.

FWIW, I am a Christian, and this line of reasoning was a major factor in my becoming a pacifist and leaving the navy as a conscientious objector. Killing abortion doctors seemed obviously un-Christlike, and I couldn't find a moral difference between killing abortion doctors and killing enemy soldiers. So I decided I should stop killing enemy soldiers.

I tend to agree that I used to worship the flag more than I worshiped Jesus, and that I see a lot of other Christians doing the same.

Mark 1.0 is not justified if you include enough assumptions to make this properly analogous to anti-abortion assassinations, namely the inability to advance such an effort (given general apathy towards abortion laws at best and antipathy towards peacetime political violence) to a general prohibition, or even prevent choice abortions from completing through other means (it's not very evident that assassinating an abortion doctor deterred women from seeking abortions, while assassinating the exterminators presumably gives their victims a chance to escape).

And while someone can start to contrive more scenarios where this might seem preferable, it's worth remembering that Christianity demands Christians do take the "upfront cost" of assassinating very seriously (even if they don't quite commit to pacifism), and the uncertainty of even the most convincing 300 IQ plan makes the certain cost very doubtfully acceptable.

These are all very very obvious points so I don't have cause to think OP is acting in good faith.

This again?

Yes, from a pure util or purely Kantian perspective you'd be right. Christianity has, however, a well developed theology on use of force that isn't either of those things. Christian ethics exist and are not interchangeable with whatever secular system of ethics you happen to favor. Yes, Christian ethics include bits and pieces of utilitarianism and deontology and virtue ethics. No, secular examples of any of those things are not interchangeable; Christianity does not require its members to engage in futile attempts to stop another person's evil, and does not look kindly on causing damage in those futile attempts.

There are two millennia of theology explaining what Christians should do and why they should do it when the state passes a law contradicting Christian ethics. If you think you've discovered a contradiction in Christian ethics, I'd suggest that two millennia of theology might have the answer.

Now, as for the specific situation, Christianity has a concept of just war/just rebellion which requires, among other things, that the use of force have a reasonable chance of succeeding in accomplishing the goal(either "protect black people from extermination centers" or "protect babies from abortion"). That seems like an operative difference here.

And to address your "render unto Caesar" point, pro-life Christians violate laws on eg clinic zones of exclusion pretty regularly, because that's allowed in Christian theology on resisting unjust laws. Just like how Christians in Poland in 1944 didn't raid Auschwitz but did hide Jews in the attic(which was illegal).

I forget, are we allowed to swear on here or not? Because if we can, then "Oh for fuck's sake, here we go again".

Oh yes, one more go-round of the old "If you pro-lifers/religious bigots really believed abortion was murder, you'd be out there firebombing clinics and shooting abortionists!" trap.

Somebody does firebomb a clinic or shoots a doctor

Shocked pikachu face "Those bigots! We knew they were violent monsters all along who only object to abortion because they hate women and want to control them!"

Why yes, as a pro-lifer I haven't stopped beating my (non-existent) wife, how kind of you to enquire!

Well you know the saying, 'you only know you are a good christian when the world is giving you good feedback'.

Well you know the saying, 'you only know you are a good christian when the world is giving you good feedback'.

What? If anything its the opposite. Between this and the bit about "consent of the ruling authority" I have to ask, have you ever actually sat down and talked to a Christian before?

Have you ever read your bible?

On obeying the ruling authority:

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. - Romans 13: 1 - 2.

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. - 1 Peter 2:13 - 14

Now I'm sure most Christians (who bother with theology) have some explanations for why this rule isn't absolute, but I included the exception for the many who might, and who have the explicit wording of the bible to back them up. Since you don't, I think my general argument still applies to you.

On being loved by the world

"its the opposite": So why are you invoking the world's pikachu face when I ask you about your duties as a Christian?

Have you ever read your bible?

I have, and having actually read the full KJV rather than just the cliff-notes that the LGBTQ-Aitheism+ crowd pass between themselves for dunking purposes I'm familiar with a number of themes that recur through both testaments. Most relevant in this case being that the devil can and will quote scripture to serve his ends, and the tension between the worldly and the moral/spiritual. Specifically the idea that one can not seek the power and rewards of former without debasing or giving up those of the latter. To quote the son of man himself...

So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Or to put it more bluntly, if you're looking for feed back from the world, you're doing it wrong.

If anything, the historical and scriptural reward for being a good Christian has been to been to find oneself set apart and persecuted. So where are you getting all this nonsense?

In America, the people are the sovereign, and the government are that subset of the people who are hirelings and servants of the people. Any American government, whether village, county, city, state, or federal, which does not submit to the people are subject to God’s wrath.

As for civil disobedience, I’d cite both Daniel’s prayers in defiance of the idol prayer ordinance (thou shalt have no gods before Me) and Jesus’ scourging of the moneychangers (thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain).

You have to understand, it's more of a vibes based religion these days.

Speak for yourself

I forget, are we allowed to swear on here or not?

When has there ever been a prohibition against swearing, here or at the old place?

I'm not entirely sure of the rules in the new place yet, and some places do let it, some places are very prim and proper. It might be that the mods don't care if we spit on the floor and call the cat a bastard, but the hosting service does.

Yeah well fuck the hosting service, because I'm saying it - the cat is a bastard. Also spoiler alert: Amadan is one of the mods

It's pretty funny you chose black people for your first example, because taking your version of Christian logic in the other direction, people who are fine with abortion should also be fine with the systematic murder of black people. Which is exactly what some pro lifers believe.

I mean sure, some members of [x] believe [y] for virtually any X and Y. It's just an uncharitable potshot when used the way you used it. I'm sure some pro choicers also believe that... The founder of planned parenthood being a good example.

Sanger was part of what I was referring to, as hlynka joked - particularly among black pro lifers, many suspect abortion is designed to eradicate undesirables, with a special emphasis on black undesirables. Rather than Sanger though, usually they cite marketing as the proof - abortions are advertised more heavily in black communities and black pro lifers often feel ignored in the national debate.

I think it's an uncharitable pot shot either way, but I thought it was either an ironic coincidence or making a point I didn't understand, so I wanted to bring it up.

Man I totally misunderstood your comment. I thought your "which is exactly what pro lifers believe" was saying that some pro lifers are fine with the systematic murder of black people.

particularly among black pro lifers, many suspect abortion is designed to eradicate undesirables, with a special emphasis on black undesirables.

I've definitely also heard these arguments among (non-Black) pro-lifers, especially Catholics.

Are these people believing that pro-choice is good because it means more black babies are murdered/unborn or do they literally also believe that black people are subhuman too?

I am not The Shadow friend, so I don't know what lies in the hearts of men. Would it make much difference?

Margaret Sanger and Woodrow Wilson could not be reached for comment.

Sorry, I'm not buying the notion that modern progressives are in anyway as based as their ancestors.

I'm not buying the notion that they are any different.

Whether it's men in white hoods setting fire to minority neighborhoods in 1920 or men in black hoodies setting fire to minority neighborhoods in 2020 the democratic party is and always has been the party of the lynch mob.

Whether it's "Jim Crow" or "Safe Spaces" the democrat party is and always has been the party of segregation.

The democratic party is and always has been the party of abortion.

The packaging may have changed but the contents remain the same.

Oh come on:

'Let's sterilize degenerates, criminals and idiots to improve our human capital' is a very different position from 'let's promote childlesness among the educated and talented because children remind us of those icky rednecks'.

'Let's lynch accused rapists, murderers and looters in defense of society' is a very different position from 'let's burn down society in a sacred ritual to commemorate a degenerate criminal (who was unfairly killed)'.

No, no it is not.

I feel like this topic, why don't Christians act more like utilitarians, seems to come up every couple months (usually in regards to abortion) and the fundamental mistake that guys like you always seem to make is trying to model Christians as utilitarians who are bad really bad at utilitarianism, or deontologists who are too stupid to grasp deontology, rather than as people sincerely trying to implement Christian principles.

Simply put, the moral valance of violence has absolutely positively fuck all to do with the "consent of the ruling authority" and I have no idea where you might have gotten that impression from unless you were falsely projecting own secular progressive background and moral intuitions on to others.

If you ask the average Christian for the fundamental principal underlying all questions of morality you're likely to get one of two answers A) Mark 12-30: Love God with all your heart and love your Neighbor as you would yourself. or B) the recurring theme from Deuteronomy, Jerimiah, Luke, Et Al of "Choose Life". The strict pacifists will cite A but there are many others who will point out that loving your neighbor doesn't preclude putting a bullet in their head. See Old Yeller. At the same time there are also a lot of Christians out there who subscribe to B and the Augustinian principle of "just war", the TLDR version of which being that the set of things worth killing for is a subset of the set things worth dying for.

Simply put, the moral valance of violence has absolutely positively fuck all to do with the "consent of the ruling authority" and I have no idea where you might have gotten that impression from unless you were falsely projecting own secular progressive background and moral intuitions on to others.

Christianity has a pretty strong tradition of requiring the "consent of the ruling authority" in just war theory. For example, Thomas Aquinas describes three criteria for a "just war", the first of which is that it must be waged by a proper authority. (The second is that the war must have a just cause and the third is that the soldiers must have a just intent.)

"ruling authority" and "proper authority" are not necessarily the same thing though, in fact one could argue that the explicit delineation between these two in Christian doctrine is arguably one of it's more unique cultural features.

As @DuplexFields observes above if the government's legitimacy rests on the consent of the governed, a government that does not submit to the will of the people is not a "proper authority".

I think you are giving too much credit to the content of their beliefs. History has shown that Christianity can be compatible with and used as justification for any number of completely contradictory actions. I think @4bpp has the right idea, the average person simply doesn't believe things with 100% confidence and logically follow them through to conclusions that are not openly endorsed by their social group and peers. They just sort of pick up their morality from social cues, while texts are used on an as-needed basis to post-hoc justify conclusions they had arrived at by other means in a sort of parallel construction.

Christianity can be compatible with and used as justification for any number of completely contradictory actions

Christianity is not [the set of beliefs held by people who call themselves Christians]. For any reasonable definition of Christianity you'll run into the issue that when people make certain decisions they are not being good Christians. Christians can justify anything; Christianity cannot.

Christianity is not [the set of beliefs held by people who call themselves Christians].

There is no such thing as "Christianity", there is about 40,000 current Christian denominations and much more historical ones, every one claiming to be "one true church".

Anything you like, you can find church that praises it as the most Christian thing ever, anything you do not like, you can find church that damns it as the most unchristian thing ever.

For any reasonable definition of Christianity

What looks reasonable to you is not reasonable to another person and vice versa.

Was it reasonable thing to torture people to death to save their immortal souls?

Christians in third century would say no. Christians in thirteenth century would say yes.

Let me rephrase:

People are allowed to call themselves whatever they want. If your definition of Christianity is just [people who call themselves Christians] then you are by necessity making more of a point about general human nature than about Christianity, because of course there's at least one [person who calls himself a Christian] who believes literally anything.

If you instead narrow your definition to be more sensible, however you define Christianity, then your point starts to target the ideology rather than just normal human nature.

And my reply to this is basically "what @Jiro said". Christianity has some fairly well established doctrines over when and where violence is justified, and while individual Christians might disagree on whether a given set of circumstances meets the required threshold, the overall shape of the debate-space is widely agreed-upon. Accusing them of being contradictory or insincere (not really holding their beliefs) for failing to follow through on what you believe the utilitarian implications of their beliefs are only makes sense if you assume they are a utilitarian. Most people are not utilitarian. As such I see you as having made the same mistake as the OP; "trying to model Christians as utilitarians who are bad really bad at utilitarianism, rather than as people sincerely trying to abide by Christian principles."

The average person isn't a utilitarian in the first place; this doesn't justify treating Christians like utilitarians and then claiming that they're inconsistent because they won't murder as utilitarianism demands.

Jiro, it's the old old argument I've seen too damn many times by now. The people who put it forward don't give a damn about underlying moral principles or coherent philosophies. Any stick will do to beat the dog, and their main problem is religion, especially Christianity. Maybe they're atheists, maybe they were never any particular faith tradition to begin with, maybe they're from fundamentalist families and are now very very ex-Christian. What they do have in common is, Christianity Bad.

So Christianity Bad, Christians Bad, Christians say love but commit atrocities and wars, yadda yadda yadda. Abortion is just one of the fields they like to play on. If it wasn't "pro-lifers Christians, Christians bad, pro-lifers bad" it'd be something else.

That's why I say this is a trap. "If Christians believe abortion bad, why not stop abortion by force?/Christians use force/Aha we told you Christians murderous hypocrites!"

Speaking as someone who does hold a weaker form of the opinion expressed in the OP ("If you really, truly believe abortion is mass-murdering babies, why don't you respond the way most people would to the mass-murder of babies?"), no, it's not an unprincipled stick to beat Christians with. (Christians aren't the only pro-lifers, you know.) It's gauging how serious someone is about their stated beliefs.

When a pro-lifer does actually blow up an abortion clinic, I don't say "Hah, I knew Christians were murderous hypocrites!" I say, "That guy actually believed his own rhetoric."

FWIW, I do not think Christianity is particularly "bad," and I strongly suspect the OP of being a troll.

Yeah, well, you hang around here, you're an exception.

Take Trump (yes, unhappily, I have to go there). A lot of comment was about "if the Republicans truuuuuuly believed what they say about abortion (fill in the rest yourself)". Many times it was "then they'd make abortion a crime and prosecute doctors who perform them".

Trump comes along and does an interview where he goes "yeah, criminalise it". Cue all the shocked, shocked! faces. Here's a brief story from the BBC:

Donald Trump on abortion - from pro-choice to pro-prison

Some other Republican politician or other, I can't remember the guy's name and I can't be bothered Googling, went much stronger. Again, shocked pikachu from the "if they really believed what they say..." crowd.

Nobody went "They believe their own rhetoric", they went "We told you they were cruel misogynists who hate women and want to control them".

So I'm burned out on the "if pro-lifers/Christians really believe abortion is so wrong, why don't they..." type of questions.

OP may be a troll, but he/she/they/it/xe may be the type of troll that usually poses this kind of question everywhere online. "I ask this so if you say 'no' I can call you a hypocrite who only wants to control women's sexuality, and if you say 'yes' I can call you a monster who only wants to control women's sexuality".

"but he/she/they/it/xe" - I rarely feel insulted by an internet comment but this kind of hurts my feelings.

" Donald Trump on abortion - from pro-choice to pro-prison": This was one of Trump's finest moments. Notice how the willingness to say the obvious seems anti-correlated with personal Christianity. It's not Fundies leading the fight against woke depravity, but de-facto pagans who'd have been libertarians (or communists) in a different world.

If you don't want to get lumped in with the stereotype you shouldn't trying so hard to live up to it.

More comments

The average well-adjusted person doesn't even take the written precepts of their religion literally and to their full conclusion, let alone those principles (like "abortion = murder" in many variants of Christianity) that are not written in any holy book but belief in which is only mediated by social context and gets its colour of religious law in part through understanding that tribal customs and explicit religion derive legitimacy from one another and to question one is to threaten both. (I reckon that's how in the US many appear to wind up with the vague or explicit feeling that taxation and socialism is unchristian, too.)

I think that "If you really think about it, wouldn't it be morally imperative to kill all the abortionists?" is an idea that is only likely to occur to the minority of people who believe that thinking about moral precepts and coming to unexpected conclusions is a valid and worthwhile way to guide your actions (as opposed to acting in the way that will invite approval from your social group and only invoking precepts phatically to reinforce group identity). Probably, if you post here, you are more likely to fall into that class of people; compare the folklore notion that engineers were overrepresented in ISIS.

Well, yes, but actually no?

I don't think I have anything useful to say about what is or is not obligatory in Christianity, but I don't think Christianity is really at the center of your imaginings here. The very, very broad framing of this question is, essentially, "when is it permissible to deliberately end a human life?"

One answer a lot of people buy is "at some point before that life becomes self-sustaining" (i.e., abortion). Another answer a lot of people buy is "in defense of other (e.g. innocent) life." People who disagree with the former and agree with the latter have a moral framework in which it would appear permissible to end the lives of people who deliberately abort babies.

But we also live in a society where we have agreed that only certain people are allowed to end lives. No matter how much we might believe that someone's life should be ended, we aren't generally allowed to do that ourselves. Mostly this is government does it (police and military) but medical practitioners are also often licensed to do it (abortion, euthanasia).

Some people decide that their beliefs about proper killing make it impossible for them to, in good conscience, remain citizens of their nation. So they immigrate, or go "off the grid," or whatever. People do this with regard to war, to overpolicing, I assume some people do it with regard to abortion as well. But most people instead participate in the political process of trying to make sure that authorized dealers of death in their community are not dealing death in unethical or immoral ways. We don't always get what we want from our government, but taking killing into one's own hands constitutes a rejection of government altogether, and is very likely to end badly for those who do it.

I regard abortion as utterly horrific. I would not in principle oppose the death penalty for abortion providers, though my actual preference is rather more libertarian than this, partly because I think the standard list of rape, incest, and to save the mother's life are all persuasive exceptions to the general rule (similarly, I support the death penalty for other kinds of murder, too, in principle but not usually in practice). But in practice criminalizing abortion would be an absolute disaster, at least if attempted in America. Culturally, most people do not have a strong moral or religious commitment to the protection of nascent human life. Most people are simply unwilling to weigh the interests of the unborn that heavily. This might make some of them hypocrites, I suppose, depending on what other things they believe. But this is a real "let him who is without sin cast the first stone" conundrum. Probably none of us is completely happy with our government's current "who it's okay to kill" list. But most of us are also not okay with bearing the cost of changing that list. We are all of us always balancing a plurality of interests in our own lives, and what emerges from all these collective balancings may not be completely to your liking, but that doesn't mean your only option is violent reprisal against your enemies.

After all, Christianity also says, "the meek shall inherit the earth."

I think it's possible that this post is the answer, or at least part of the answer, to a question that's been kicking around in my brain for a while, which can be poorly summarized as "if Christians are opposed to abortion because they believe it is a sin, and therefore are motivated to exercise their voting rights to vote for politicians who promise to make it illegal (or appoint SC judges who would overturn Roe, clearing the way for making it illegal), surely they should also be voting for politicians who promise to make other things that they believe are sins illegal, including not being Christian."

I kind of assume that the reason (American) Christians aren't lobbying to make not being a Christian illegal is because it's just so completely outside of the (American) Overton window. But maybe there's another reason.

I might, perhaps, be incorrect in the assumption that the primary reason many/most Christians are anti-abortion is "because it makes God mad". After all, I've read plenty of well-written posts on this site and its predecessors putting forth philosophical arguments for why abortion is wrong that don't have any reference to theology or the supernatural. I've spent the past approximately five years arguing fairly passionately with anybody I think will listen that pro-lifers don't hate women, or want to make America a theocracy, they just believe a fetus is a living human with the same right to state protection from murder as any other living human, etc., on the basis of these posts.

However, more recently I've noticed that everybody making these well-written philosophical arguments also just so happens to be either a Christian, or somebody super concerned about falling Western birth rates, or somebody who just thinks that kids are the best and everybody should have more than they currently do...or some combination of all three. (If I'm wrong, please correct me, any anti-Western child-hating atheist pro-lifers out there.) So I'm no longer trying to convince anybody in my circle that they should listen more to what pro-life people are saying, any more than I would try to convince hardcore 2nd-amendment believers to listen to what the people lobbying for universal background checks and high-capacity magazine bans are saying, because I know that they (gun enthusiasts) know that they (anti-gun activists) ultimately want private firearms ownership either completely banned or made incredibly rare and highly socially stigmatized.

"if Christians are opposed to abortion because they believe it is a sin, and therefore are motivated to exercise their voting rights to vote for politicians who promise to make it illegal (or appoint SC judges who would overturn Roe, clearing the way for making it illegal), surely they should also be voting for politicians who promise to make other things that they believe are sins illegal, including not being Christian."

There's actually a rather long history of Christians debating what sins should and should not be made illegal by the state. The general answer, in Western Christianity at least, is "possibly all of them, but probably not most of them." Ultimately, it's a matter of prudence, whether the criminalization of a sin contributes to the common good or not.

From that point of view, the real problem with abortion from the Christian standpoint isn't just that it's sinful -- it's that it's sinful in a way that not only harms oneself or offends God, but which actively harms another person, the unborn child. Most Christians won't argue for the re-criminalization of sodomy or for the criminalization of private drunkenness, even though these are both considered seriously sinful.

But abortion harms someone else, and the idea is that you're not allowed to harm someone else with your sin. We really, really do believe in fetal personhood, and that undergirds our opposition to abortion.

In terms of Christians wanting to pass laws establishing Christianity as the state religion and punishing non-Christians -- I don't think you have anything to worry about here. The evangelical movement, which forms the central core of the religious right, is not interested in creating an established church. Baptists, especially, are huge fans of the separation of church and state, for (some of) the same reasons they oppose the baptism of infants -- the firmly believe becoming a Christian should be a personal choice, and not forced on anyone by the state.

Now, Catholicism has a major history of being an established church. In fact, the Klan historically had a ritual where they danced around a fire singing about the "separation of church and state," because to them, that meant, "we're not Catholic."

But the holding of the Catholic Church in modern times is that every person has religious freedom -- this is inherent in their being human -- and that forcing Christianity on people through the state is seriously immoral. There are of course Catholics who dissent from this, but because this view formed the backbone of Dignitatis Humanae, those Catholics are, politely speaking, heretics.

You really would only have to worry about the magisterial (or mainline) Protestants. But the big liberal denominations in this grouping often don't even believe in Christianity themselves, let alone want to force it on nonbelievers. And the conservative splinter denominations from this group, like the Missouri-Synod Lutherans, are small and getting smaller. They're marginal, so I don't think they're a threat either.

There is, of course, a long history of things like putting the Ten Commandments on public property or putting references to God on money and in the pledge of allegiance. I don't like such things, personally. But truthfully speaking references to God (other than the Ten Commandments thing) are predicated on a sort of "ceremonial deism," not explicitly Christianity. Or at least that's how the Supreme Court has historically adjudged it.

On the topic of all pro-lifers being Christians: I've talked about in the past, I was pro-life for a few years before I became Christian; I was an avowed atheist at the time, and even served as an officer for a college atheism club. I was, in fact, convinced in terms of secular philosophy that abortion was wrong. Of course, this contributed to my conversion to Christianity -- I felt that, if they were right about this one, what else might those Christians be right about? I also find quite a few atheists on the reddit prolife subreddit, and I've enjoyed their perspective. That view is marginal, but it exists.

But in practice criminalizing abortion would be an absolute disaster, at least if attempted in America.

Re-criminalising, because it used to be a criminal offence pretty much everywhere. But yes, you can't put the genie back in the bottle. You have a generation of people who demanded abortion or accepted it once it was legal, and a generation of their kids who grew up with abortion being normal. And now the next new generation being told that abortion is a human right, it is healthcare.

Telling them that it should be a criminal offence sounds to them like trying to make having your tonsils removed a criminal offence.

Telling them that it should be a criminal offence sounds to them like trying to make having your tonsils removed a criminal offence.

Or banning explosives or light bulbs or plastic bags or gas-powered generators or raising the age of marriage or...

Just because something has long been legal doesn't mean it can't be made illegal at the stroke of a pen.

This logic is never applied to any other circumstance.

If someone is attempting to murder a regular child the regular american celebrates the person who violently stops them. If a mass shooter strikes the ordinary non-governmental person who runs in to shoot them is celebrated as a hero. We have an entire culture based around celebrating the idea of resistors to nazi occupation, or the british, and who actively imagines violence against a hypothetical tyrannical government ALL THE TIME.

And yet the question of guerilla violence against abortion doctors "Child murders" in this logic... is not only not done, it is not even discussed as a question except by pro-lifers saying "Look obviously you don't believe this... you aren't even willing to discuss violence"

I can even count the number of nations that have been bombed in my lifetime, and certainly can't count the number where bombings have been openly discussed by the common laymen... the number of people who have suggest the death penalty for drug dealers, or going and vigilante turning back illegal immigrants, or punching facist, or standing up to communists...or defending the enviroment... or defending your property from enviromentalists.

Talk of escalating to lethal violence is the NORM of political discussion. People regularly praise fathers who kill pedos, or mothers who go vigilante on killers of family members... or hell women who cut the dicks off of boring dates they often never even subsequently accuse of sexual assault (people will praise just literal crazy people for maiming others)

hell VIOLENCE is the logical end of all politics... that what we're discussing when we discuss politics, who we'll organize to employ violence against... do you think taxes are backed up with only letters?

.

And yet the only issue where there is no talk that violence could be justified, where there is zero tough talk of escalating to lethal solutions... just so happens to be the one where its claimed millions of children are being murdered.

I've literally heard more earnest talk in my life of escalating to violence over drag queen story hour, or Milo giving a speech on campus, than I've ever heard over abortion.

Do you not find that weird!?

And then you get even to the legal state backed solutions... and there are no teeth. No one proposes charging women who get abortions with homicide (meanwhile you hear howls for blood when it comes to mother of born children who kill their kids), there's very little discussion of even charging abortion doctors... You'd think talks of the death penalty for abortion doctors would be really common given they're supposedly SERIAL MURDERERS OF CHILDREN.

.

Somehow this one issue, the holocaust of millions of children, is the one issue in politics people just seem to never get overly worked up about. contrast how much violence there was over a few hundred police shootings a year... or a single "'stolen election'"... or merely being forced to use a coivd passport, and be restricted from engaging in civic life.

Did any anti-lockdown pro-lifers look at lockdowns and the the covid authoritarianism... and when a comrade compared it to Nazi Germany say to them:

"What the hell are you talking about? Medical passports? Restricted economic activity? Maybe making Quarantine camps? That's low level 1930s stuff! Regime "Doctors" murdered almost one million CHILDREN last year alone. And they did the same the year before that. AND THE YEAR BEFORE THAT! We've been at 1945 sheer moral horror EVERY YEAR OF OUR FUCKING LIVES. And you're talking about them starting to maybe make camps!? We've been living in one of the top 5 worst regimes in human history, at a perpetual midnight of horror, for 50 years!"

.

No pro-lifer thinks like that. None sit around cursing the day Washington was born, that had any moment in US history changed, maybe if the British or French had held control, none of this would have happened. None sit around wondering maybe if the south, or the Kaiser, or Hitler, or Caececescu had won... maybe 1 million children wouldn't be murdered every year...almost none sit around praying for biblical judgement to destroy DC like Gomorrah or Jericho. But its exactly what their own axioms would suggest.

Pro-lifers don't do that. They don't openly suggest the day of the rope is coming for abortion doctors, they don't openly speculate about getting their hands on the medical files and tracking down every murderous woman who dared be party to killing their own child. They don't discuss this. They don't fantasize about it. They don't hint at it.

What would be the advantage to doing so, from the perspective of actual Christians? We don't believe that a better world is possible. We don't believe that we can build heaven on earth, or perfect humanity. If we did those things, the world would be more or less equally sinful after we did them, and possibly moderately worse for a while. What would we be accomplishing?

What Christian end, specifically, is advanced by engaging in mass lawless violence to suppress abortion?

No pro-lifer thinks like that.

No pro-lifer thinking like that is presented to you through the dozens of filters designed explicitly to suppress such ideas.

almost none sit around praying for biblical judgement to destroy DC like Gomorrah or Jericho. But its exactly what their own axioms would suggest.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

"I desire mercy, not sacrifice."

Why would you expect us to?

You don't, again, appear to have the slightest conception of what Christians are, what they aim for and value. You worship violence, purportedly in service of ideals, but violence is easy and largely pointless. Life, stable, purposeful, fruitful life, that's hard. Building durable relationships, durable communities, that's hard, and valuable, and no amount of motorcycle warlords can or will replace it. The future belongs to those who show up. Christians are pretty good at showing up. Are anarchists? Fifty years from now, when my children are taking over for me, will your children be taking over for you? And even this line of argumentation is, at best, an attempt to frame the relevant issues into a secular frame, but that is not our frame and never will be.

At the end of the day, we don't care about the things you care about the way you care about them. And so you and others will continue to be mystified, and resort to absurdities to try to grok behavior that seems, to you, completely irrational.

I can't tell whether you are cherry-picking or whether you're just missing empirical data, here.

This logic is never applied to any other circumstance.

It applies all the time. I did not specifically discuss the phenomenon of "defense of self or others" exceptions because they are exceptions, and they don't always stick. You might have to prove to a court of law that your justification or excuse is actually legitimate (see e.g. Rittenhouse). Even the military and police must sometimes do this! I did not specifically discuss the phenomenon of revolutionaries (failed or succeeded) because those are historical points where people have decided to pay the price of changing the list, so to speak. All your counterexamples are explained by the logic I presented. They are just examples where either the law still has the final say, or the law itself is being cast down in pursuit of something better.

VIOLENCE is the logical end of all politics

No, violence is the failure mode of all politics. Violence is what happens when the polity fails, either internally or diplomatically. I agree that taxes depend on the government's monopoly on force. I agree that the threat of legal repercussion is a violent threat! But that is not the end, it is not the telos. The end of all politics is cooperation and coordination.

And yet the only issue where there is no talk that violence could be justified, where there is zero tough talk of escalating to lethal solutions... just so happens to be the one where its claimed millions of children are being murdered.

Are you sure about that?

I don't want to give the wrong impression. A fair number of acts of violence have been committed in defense of abortion, too. But it's like maybe you've never heard about clinic bombings? The idea that there is "no talk" about violence in these cases is laughable. We're talking about it right here. But it's certainly outside the Overton window, and there are many voices against abortion keeping their efforts deliberately inside the Overton window.

You'd think talks of the death penalty for abortion doctors would be really common given they're supposedly SERIAL MURDERERS OF CHILDREN.

The fact that there is any talk at all of such things is pretty remarkable, I think! Because this particular issue is one where high-pressure psychological warfare has been waged against generations of Americans. I don't know what your bar for "really common" is, but I would certainly not call this kind of talk uncommon. I do have an unusually religious extended family, though, so maybe I just hear it more than you do?

No pro-lifer thinks like that.

I mean... you're just wrong about that. Especially here:

None sit around wondering maybe if the south

Visit the South, man.

But its exactly what their own axioms would suggest.

Most people don't live life on their own axioms. Most people can't imagine even trying. First of all, most people's axioms are sweepingly incoherent. I suspect many people haven't got much in the way of "axioms" at all, and I am sure that most people have absolutely terrible reasoning capabilities. Those who are smart enough to think carefully about the idea that a holocaust-level extermination event has been condoned by our government are also smart enough to recognize that there is approximately fuck-all they can do about it unless they want to get into the "murder and terrorism political revolution business." And life is otherwise good enough that the balance scales don't--usually--tip that way for them. Bread and circuses go a long way toward calming a troubled conscience.

And you can be disdainful of that, if you like; damning people for lacking the courage of their convictions is certainly a hobby of mine. But I think it is a bridge too far to simply tell people that they don't believe what they claim to believe. I don't know you, but given the tenor of many of your posts, I have a sneaking suspicion that you genuinely hold some beliefs on which you do not act to the utmost. I suspect almost everyone can be described in this way. Aristotle observed that man is not merely, as Plato asserted, the rational animal, but the political animal. We are interdependent, and often willing to bear heavy burdens to preserve the polity. I think a lot of pro-life Christians are not being hypocrites, but being deeply tolerant, despite weeping rivers over it, in a way that might only be described as quintessentially Christian.

There is a profound difference between being ready to act on your axioms immediately, and being willing to merely say it.

The communists were willing to talk about reigns of terror and liquidating the borgesoise decades before they ever got close to a revolution, ditto facists, likewise neocons, likewise libertarians.

Its really normal for people with political commitments to say "Yes ideally we'd pursue this violently. No we're not doing it now, we don't think we'd win"

Pro-lifers don't do that. They don't openly suggest the day of the rope is coming for abortion doctors, they don't openly speculate about getting their hands on the medical files and tracking down every murderous woman who dared be party to killing their own child. They don't discuss this. They don't fantasize about it. They don;t hint at it.

That makes them damn fucking unique amongst political movements.

Hell My fucking mother was big into the anti-lockdown stuff and her, her friends, and the commentators they follow commonly discuss the Nurremburg precedent and the possibility of hanging everyone involved in passing or enforcing lockdowns...

Many of these same people are Pro-lifers... Damn if that's what they dream of doing over restricted movemnent, what do you think they talk about doing to people who've systematically murdered millions of children every year?

Nothing. Nothing at all.

Its really normal for people with political commitments to say "Yes ideally we'd pursue this violently. No we're not doing it now, we don't think we'd win"

You and I have very different ideas of what's normal. I've never heard anyone say that, not even online. I'm sure there are some people but it's quite rare.

On the flip side, I do have some pro-life friends who have talked about violence against abortionists.

So uh, you're just wrong. At best you can say that there seems to be less advocacy for violence among pro-lifers than among most political groups, but that's hardly surprising when you're selecting for some of the most religious people out there.

Don’t forget the other murderers in this murder conspiracy: the mothers-to-not-be. Murderers who in most cases don’t consider themselves such. Women told by their society that ridding themselves of this clump of cells and ending the nine-month insane transformation early is their science-given right and is a good and noble thing they do. Do they deserve a bullet in their heads too? Oh wait, that would kill the baby. Keep her locked up and force-fed vitamins, then seize her child as soon as it’s born and execute her? What a nightmare! (But she deserves it, she was going to slaughter her child in cold blood…)

And what of the police? A hail of gunfire for the would-be rescuer would only be the beginning. Politicians anywhere to the right of Hillary Clinton will be subject to immediate, intense demands that they publicly denounce such vile, vicious acts of terrorism. Anyone who didn’t would be subject to more intense media demonization than even Donald Trump was.

The women in the clinic would be treated as the victims of something worse than rape: right-wing extremism. They would be flown at taxpayer expense to another abortion clinic in the lap of luxury, where their children would die anyway.

So it would take an intense nation-wide effort, organized by militias and timed to occur on a specific day and time. One whiff of such an operation, and the FBI would come down on them harder than Hunter S. Thompson going cold turkey. And if it was pulled off, the screaming and anguish of feminists would be unbearable.

And all of that might, might be worth it to save children being slaughtered at the rate of one 9/11 every two days. But the souls of the women and doctors and moderates would forever be lost, because by their modern liberal standards and the mutated hearsay cultural ideas of Christian doctrine, only a false religion kills in the name of its god, only a false religion has to kill. And the irony is they’d actually be right this time.

Ephesians 6:12 - For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Murdering the flesh and spilling the blood of the babykillers would only feed the rulers of the darkness of the world, and tighten their grip. That’s not Effective Heroism.

Instead, pregnancy crisis centers which don’t pull dirty tricks offer life to children and salvation to their mothers, according to their consciences and free wills. You can tell they’re effective because “Jane’s Revenge” is targeting them specifically for destruction, and the left’s best weapons for community change, the media, are castigating them for their existence.

I think the vast majority of Christians would say that Mark was not only acting justifiably but commendably.

This needs more elaboration. What Christian doctrine do you derive this from?

On the culture war and the dark arts of communication

How does the average person come to believe certain messages communicated to them about the culture war? The easiest answer is that this process happens sub or semi-consciously. As Moldbug's Cathedral points out, raising an individual from cradle to majority (or beyond) within a certain world view will, intentionally or unintentionally, impart that world view upon him to a greater or lesser degree. But I am interested in more specific and more practical answers.

We all spend a great deal of time and effort writing and arguing about the culture war but it seems obvious to me that most of the effort remains within a small community and its not in a form suitable for general consumption. But how can it be made suitable?

For example, given adult literacy (see here for examples of the levels) and IQ, what types, lengths, and complexities of messages is a person able to understand? And which of those messages become adopted as personal beliefs?

Take Moldbug or Marx. Clearly, the writings of either author are beyond the reach of the average person. What rules would guide the translation of these works into a form consumable by the average person? How many pieces would their works have to be broken up into? How many ideas could be contained in each piece? How many interactions with a given idea are necessary for a person to understand or agree with it? What grade-level should the text be written in? What tone or voice should be used? What changes are more effective for different segments of the population, men, women, rural, urban, etc.?

Surely there are people skilled in the dark arts of communication, advertising, and psychology which know how to translate* the sorts of things we discuss into a form consumable by the average person. Given that these disciplines are not new, surely there is a handbook of basic principles for crafting such messages? Do we have any practitioners of the dark arts that can provide such resources?

*I looked for an AI that can translate a given text into a text of substantially similar meaning but at a specified (lower) grade level. I have not found any such tool.

Why not use the Bible as the obvious example? It seems to me to be, essentially, the most widely and universally disseminated body of work in existence - not only in translation and availability, but also in preaching, outreach, education, ...

Whatever Christian missionaries were doing, it worked.

Take Moldbug or Marx. Clearly, the writings of either author are beyond the reach of the average person.

These two writers are not comparable at all.

Marx is well within reach of average person (at least in the 19th century was) and was widely read by common workers.

(19th century workers knew who were Metternich and Guizot just like modern workers heard about Merkel and Macron)

Basic principles of Marxism - historical materialism, class struggle as engine of history, labor theory of value - are easy to explain.

Moldbug is not meant for average person, it is meant for educated elites - "open minded progressives" - and it says: time to "formalize" power, time to dispose of the charade of "freedom" and "democracy", time to rule the plebs directly with iron fist. Wouldn't it be better to govern as dukes and princes by divine right instead to have to pretend you "serve the people"?

When workers read Marx, they knew what to do - do not trust the bosses and the politicians, organize with their fellow workers and fight for their rights.

Imagine "ordinary people" today reading Moldbug - what exactly should they do when they finish?

I’ve read Moldbug repeatedly, and I don’t see it as a call to action in any traditional sense. It’s a social and political theory that purports to explain the way society actually works as separated from the propaganda that society tells itself about how decisions are made. In that sense he’s closer to something like Plato’s Republic or Moore’s Utopia in which he’s describing a proposed society as a sort of thought experiment as to how a society ought to be run. He’s not saying “overthrow the government,” he’s saying our current system is more broken than the society of the Middle Ages, so much so that running society in the way that the average medieval fiefdom was run would work better for us than liberal democracy.

I’ve read Moldbug repeatedly, and I don’t see it as a call to action in any traditional sense.

He calls for an action, but not one of ordinary peon. He calls Nancy Pelosi to stop pretending she is "servant of the people", crown herself as Queen of California, put her hobnailed boots on and clean her kingdom of all trash.

he’s saying our current system is more broken than the society of the Middle Ages, so much so that running society in the way that the average medieval fiefdom was run would work better for us than liberal democracy.

Nope. His proposed solutions - whether high tech crypto cyber corporate utopia of young Moldbug or monarchist primitivist Polpotist utopia of old Moldbug - are something that never existed in history, actual medieval society has nothing in common with these fevered dreams.

I think his main criticism of modern liberal democratic systems is exactly that no one actually has skin in the game. His suggestion that Pelosi or anyone else put on workboots to clean up their district is pointing out that in modern liberal democracy, the entire system is geared specifically to prevent the buck from ever stopping and as a side effect to promote short term thinking.

Monarchy did manage to avoid these problems as if you destroyed your fief there’s nothing of value to pass on to your child. No prince would be happy to find that they were inheriting a fief with its own map of human feces. In fact this alone would probably make the king fix those problems long before they ever got that bad because he doesn’t want his son to rule over garbage dumps and hobo camps. Monarchy has other problems— it lacks the ability to effectively gage public sentiment. But on the whole, the skin in the game generally prevents problems from getting too bad because the ruler’s fate is tied directly to the fate of his state.

This fact alone makes me a bit more sympathetic to monarchy or monarchy with a parliamentary system. Having a personal stake in the outcome is critical to good decisions.

Monarchy did manage to avoid these problems as if you destroyed your fief there’s nothing of value to pass on to your child. No prince would be happy to find that they were inheriting a fief with its own map of human feces.

I too know NRX theory. Actually existing hereditary monarchs, unfortunately, never heard about it and had no interest in "investment" and "development" in modern sense, least of all in investment in sanitation (the technology was well known since Roman times).

Louis XIV, if he wished, could rebuild Paris into miracle of the world, city of paved roads, sewers, fresh water supply and plentiful baths.

He had other priorities.

It had to wait for another monarch, self made one.

As far as I can tell you don't translate it. You just gather 'useful idiots' by appealing to them with a message that they can insert themselves into.

Surely there are people skilled in the dark arts of communication, advertising, and psychology which know how to translate* the sorts of things we discuss into a form consumable by the average person. Given that these disciplines are not new, surely there is a handbook of basic principles for crafting such messages? Do we have any practitioners of the dark arts that can provide such resources?

This assumes the problem is that the information is presented in a form that's too complicated for average people to consume. What if, instead, it's a matter of desire? In other words, what if people just don't care about this stuff? At the risk of steering into cynical territory, what if most people are happy to let a small minority fight over Big Questions and leave them free to eat waffles, watch a good movie, go on a date, etc.?

Having coherent, broad, articulate beliefs is too much to ask for on the level of the individual. The proper seat of such beliefs is in the community and (narrow and broad) culture. They can be implicit customs, a result of a long sequence of tit for tat, negotiation and convergence to some patterns of behavior that allow fruitful coexistence. It's all too easy to come up with a list of propositions you "believe" and can list on message boards just to see them evaporate on contact with live reality.

I think you're spot on, and it's not cynical at all. Most people do in fact just want to grill.

Most people do in fact just want to grill.

Which would be fine, except the safety people want to ban the propane tank (explosion hazard) and the use of the grill (fire hazard), the environmentalists want to ban the charcoal and natural gas and propane (greenhouse gases), the EAs and PETA types the meat, and also grilling is racist and cultural appropriation.

Losing enough of the culture war means you don't get to grill.

Edit: and right on cue, The Graniuad proves me right.

Regardless of whether Marx’s writings are accessible to the average person or not, millions of average people still ended up living under (self-professed) Marxist regimes. You may want to start with the history of Marxism as a case study.

With Marx, one simple problem is that he wrote in the 1800s, using 1800s references that are completely obscure to normal current-day people.

I've referred to it as the "Guizot problem", at times. Imagine someone taking up Communist Manifesto - supposed to be the simplest Marxist text available - and reading the first line: "A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope and Tsar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies."

98% of people reading this for the first time are going to have no idea of who Guizot is. (98% is a high estimate based on the fact that many people are not going to bother picking up the Manifesto in any case and some French people might remember him from history books if he features there, I guess?) Even I had to check Wikipedia once again to remind myself who Guizot was and what, actually, he had done to make Marx hate him. Most are not going to know who Metternich is, either, but I'd guess at least he's a name that most Europeans have heard in their history class, even if they have then immediately forgotten him.

Of course, some people might have enough experience with old texts to know that who Guizot is is not probably supposed to be all that important and to plow on with the text. However, many are going to go "Guizot? Who the fuck is Guizot? Do I need to know who Guizot is? Oh, this is hopeless. I'll never understand any of this" and give up.

The archetypal format of arguing your position is a debate, not a manifesto, not even a dumbed-down one. Today that probably means some podcast interview. In principle, it's not hard to argue any right-winger take on a podcast convincingly. This isn't rocket science.

I've just watched Jared Taylor make an unbelievably anodyne case for White Supremacy to some Japanese interviewers in simple words a low-literacy layman could understand and nod do. He could do that because his audience was evidently sympathetic and polite to a fault.

A typical popular American debate (to say nothing of worse debate environments) on a politically fraught topic is very different, it consists either of empty blathering and sloganeering or walking on eggshells, and you need a heck of a lot more rhetorical skill to not break any, not get bogged down in interruptions, gotchas and «mask slipping» type attacks. Even if you're that good, by the time you're done with your little eggshell dance and ready to deliver the conclusion, the average listener has long tired of it and switched channels. And the smart listener's time is too expensive for this shit. And what you're left with is either dysfunctional obsessive fanatics or lukewarm information consumers. Not much of a platform, so why bother.

The tragedy is that as a CW-minoritarian and a suspected witch, you have to be leagues better than your opponents who have been given license to uncharitable assumptions and plain savagery in public, and the water level keeps rising as your arguments are added to hate speech checklists and become the setup for gotchas, so you need to run on euphemism threadmill or keep getting fucking better. Being in the right helps, of course, against the more ludicrous and artificially propped-up beliefs; but on the other hand, your opponents have access to institutions of sense-making and memetic engineering. And if that fails, they turn to means of demonization, bullying and deplatforming so you cannot propagate your agenda effectively.

This exhausts people and they leave.

But one shouldn't look down on laymen too much. In a less adversarial situation, an average person wouldn't struggle with understanding e.g. Moldbug, if Moldbug were to be distilled to the standard of a high school essay. Our friend JB did just that once, in fact. Of course, Moldbug when distilled shrinks to truisms, trivialities and a bunch of ludicrous unsupported claims. But he becomes plenty understandable.

To the extent that he does not, this is because of obscurantism, which is a valuable feature of the doctrine, seeing as it helps with building the stratified, loyal movement/cult.

Likewise with Marxism.

People don't receive their beliefs as propositional statements, they receive them as unspoken background assumptions in other messages, and reinforcement by approval/disapproval from peers. You've misunderstood how minds are changed. Moldbug doesn't change anyone's mind either, not even the super smarties you believe can understand him.

When things are going smoothly, there's little reason to change beliefs. People do sometimes change their mind through failure though. Eg a feeling of betrayal or the realization that your prior framework has led to things that threaten your interests. People in such cases will be on the lookout for new beliefs and then persuasive writing can have an effect. It's a bit like how not everyone is on the job market or dating market all the time. If something exceptional comes along maybe they would switch but they are not looking and so are hard to reach. But there are always plenty of people looking for something new to believe.

Since you mention Marx, Kapital was serialized in French worker's newspapers in the 1870s. Marx included this letter as a foreword, and a forewarning, which is often included in translated form with English editions today:

To the citizen Maurice Lachâtre

Dear Citizen,

I applaud your idea of publishing the translation of “Das Kapital” as a serial. In this form the book will be more accessible to the working class, a consideration which to me outweighs everything else.

That is the good side of your suggestion, but here is the reverse of the medal: the method of analysis which I have employed, and which had not previously been applied to economic subjects, makes the reading of the first chapters rather arduous, and it is to be feared that the French public, always impatient to come to a conclusion, eager to know the connexion between general principles and the immediate questions that have aroused their passions, may be disheartened because they will be unable to move on at once.

That is a disadvantage I am powerless to overcome, unless it be by forewarning and forearming those readers who zealously seek the truth. There is no royal road to science, and only those who do not dread the fatiguing climb of its steep paths have a chance of gaining its luminous summits.

Believe me,

dear citizen,

Your devoted,

Karl Marx London March 18, 1872

I'm not confident in any sources on its impact in serialized form, but at least two people (Marx and Lachatre) had confidence that there existed in the French working class enough autodidacts to make it worth publishing.

The Bible might be another great, and difficult, text comparable, and intensive bible study is something pretty frequently undertaken by ordinary men. I've been using one of these plans for the KJV. I've also, separately, been attending bible study weekly. The bible study uses a newer translation, which I dislike, but I go anyway because three of my lifelong best friends go to it, and I want to see them and hang out. And that's the sauce.

Those frenchmen weren't reading Kapital in their bedrooms in secret, chainsmoking Gauloises by lamplight. They were reading it as part of socialist parties, and unions, and workingmen's benevolent clubs; chainsmoking Gauloises together. Ordinary men don't read the bible quietly to themselves, they read it as part of a bible study group from their local church. They are not trying to interpret difficult passages by themselves, they are interpreting them together, one and another working through it, finding different meanings and understandings and examples.

So you want the dark secret of the temple of communication? Communication ---> Commun ---> Community. Break it down into digestible chunks (YouVersion gives me three-four bitesize daily chunks of bible, such that I'd read the whole thing in 365 days); then bring people together in a group to read it and interpret it and learn it. Some will read it just to go to the group! You want people to read Moldbug? Bring people together to read it as a club, a group. Drink, smoke, laugh, hang out, learn. F3 groups are a great concept, once again internet RadTrads are reinventing the religious wheel. Take advantage of a shortcut that capitalist modernity is increasingly cutting itself off from, human contact. You think that some asshole twitter consensus or some MSM anchorman with a serious camera gaze are going to mean shit compared to actual friends working through the material together?

As an aside, I'm adding as a second comment to keep the flow of the first comment, you have to have reasonable expectations of what people are going to pull out of a big text. I've taken a lot of classes over the years, and in one pass through a big work like that on my own or in a college format, I might pull out two or three big things I actually remember for the rest of my life. A second pass might produce more. Truly great texts, stuff like Homer, Joyce, Augustine, Dante, Tolstoy; every time I read it I pull something new from it.

So you're probably not going to produce a bunch of guys who quote Moldbug chapter and verse after one go. It will take years, and many tries, but every time a little bit will stick. That's the essence of memetics, right? Some stuff hangs on, like a filter feeding whale.

A partial solution for your AI problem is this paper-explainer tool, though it's really more for technical language.

https://www.explainpaper.com/papers/transformers

I think we should trust the experts on propaganda. Goebbel's big theme was repetition, simple points, one-sided arguments, intense criticism of the opponent. He clearly knew what he was doing. The problem is that's not what we want to do - propagandising is the polar opposite of this forum's purpose.

https://www.physics.smu.edu/pseudo/Propaganda/goebbels.html

Given that these disciplines are not new, surely there is a handbook of basic principles for crafting such messages? Do we have any practitioners of the dark arts that can provide such resources?

I'm not sure if it constitutes a 'handbook' but I strongly recommend Walter Lippmann's Public Opinion (1922), who quite literally wrote the book (haha), on public communication and how to manage/manipulate public opinion.

I would also recommend Edward Bernays's Propaganda (1928) or Public Relations (1945). Bernays was kind of Lippmann's protégé.

These two men are basically created the foundation for our understanding modern mass communication, mass media and mass culture. Now-ubiquitous terms like propaganda (in its modern meaning) and stereotype were coined or popularized by these men. Both of them made some highly topical political arguments to our present political environment. Lippmann basically advocated for a technocratic elite/agency that used propaganda benevolently to shape public opinion, believing that (simplifying here) that the informed member of the public/voter is oxymoron, no member of the public is effectively capable of making informed decisions on any number of issues. Bernays has broadly similar views to Lippmann, although where as Lippmann more saw propaganda as a tool to be used by a (benevolent) elite, Bernays more sees propaganda as the inevitable result of an mass liberal democratic society, the alternative is chaos. Bernays is also responsible for making bacon and eggs a stable breakfast food and partially responsible for all the bad shit United Fruit Company did in Central America.

You could probably start by looking into pedagogy. There's, like, a whole academic discipline dedicated to understanding how best to teach people stuff.

As I understand from dismissive comments by social scientists, it's ed science absolutely the worst, quality wise 'science' out there, compared to which social psychology is diamond hard.

Surely there are people skilled in the dark arts of communication, advertising, and psychology which know how to translate* the sorts of things we discuss into a form consumable by the average person. Given that these disciplines are not new, surely there is a handbook of basic principles for crafting such messages? Do we have any practitioners of the dark arts that can provide such resources?

The people with those talents are the culture creators. Artists, priests, propagandists, filmmakers... But ultimately, it's about the creation of myths and stories. That is how the masses of people will unconsciously internalize the esoteric messaging embedded in the myths they consume.

For a handbook on how this esoteric knowledge can be passed through the generations, you can study the bible. Take the book of Genesis for example. There's the story of Jacob who, working for his father-in-law, makes a deal to receive all the less-desirable spotted or black sheep in the herd as his wages. Jacob then devises a scheme to turn the entire flock speckled. He peels the bark on branches of trees, exposing the inner wood, to create white stripes. “So when the flocks were in heat and came to drink, they mated in front of the branches. And they bore young that were streaked or speckled or spotted” (30:38-39)

The parable demonstrates ancient knowledge of the "dark art" of culture communication. By creating the stripes on the tree, Jacob directs the mate selection of the flock and acquires the herd. Of course, in Christian metaphor sheep are a metaphor for humans. The lesson is that culture, media, and propaganda are themselves the dark art of communicating cultural esotericism and directing the thoughts and behaviors (including the mate selection) of the masses.

Who has been following the drama around Disco Elysium? Disco Elysium, of course, is the 2019 CRPG that has received numerous accolades for being the savior of Western computer role-playing gaming, the best game in a long time etc. I've played it through, and it deserves the accolades; many here have played it as well, and it is not surprising that a forum like this would have many aficionados for a game that basically consists of reading vast oodles of texts about one drunken failure cop's personal psychodramas and politics and a well-realized fictional somethingpunk setting, and so on.

The game was been made by ZA/UM, an Estonian developer / art collective, around a world created by Estonian novelist Robert Kurvitz, and is quite obviously Estonian-influenced if one knows anything about Estonia (starting with the fact that Revachol, the city where the game happens, is very visually remiscient of Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, once known as Reval).

What's the drama? According to Wikipedia:

In October 2022, ZA/UM member Martin Luiga announced that he, Kurvitz, Rostov, and Hindpere of ZA/UM had "involuntarily left the company", stating that ZA/UM "no longer represents the ethos it was founded on." Luiga also affirmed that the ZA/UM cultural association had also been dissolved.[92] In an interview, Luiga stated that the other three members had been fired under false premises.[93] A spokesperson for ZA/UM stated that "Like any video game, the development of Disco Elysium was and still is a collective effort, with every team member's contribution essential and valued as part of a greater whole. At this time, we have no further comment to make other than the ZA/UM creative team's focus remains on the development of our next project, and we are excited to share more news on this with you all soon."[94]

In early November 2022, conflicting reports of the events were announced. According to Kurvitz, Zaum Studio OÜ, the development studio, was originally owned in majority shares by Margus Linnamäe, was then acquired by Tütreke OÜ, a holding company owned by studio CEO Ilmar Kompus through a share purchase in 2021. Kurvitz and Rostov claimed that the funds used for that purchase were pulled from the studio itself, making it a fraudulent purchase, upon which they started to challenge the purchase and recover their IP from the studio.[95] Zaum Studio dismissed the charges in a statement, and said that former employees had been let go for creating a disruptive environment at the studio. Other employees of Zaum Studio speaking anonymously with GamesIndustry.biz claimed the situation lied between these points.[96] Kurvitz and Rostov were seeking legal options against the studio.[95]

How Kurvitz and Rostov explain it:

We have now learned that Tütreke OÜ must have obtained control over Zaum Studio OÜ by fraud. We believe the money used by Tütreke OÜ to buy the majority stake was taken illegally from Zaum Studio OÜ itself, money that belonged to the studio and all shareholders but was used for the benefit of one. Money that should have gone towards making the sequel. We believe that these actions — which in our view, and the view of our lawyers, amount to criminal wrongdoing punishable by up to three years imprisonment — were perpetrated by Ilmar Kompus and Tõnis Haavel with support from Kaur Kender, another minority shareholder. This is hardly surprising given that Tõnis Haavel, who we believe to be the ringleader, has been convicted for defrauding investors on a different matter in 2007 [https://www.riigiteataja.ee/kohtulahendid/fail.html?fid=303963621].

I've also seen suggestions that Kurvitz et al believe that Tütreke, Kender etc. are planning to compromise their vision specifically for upcoming Amazon Disco Elysium series, presumably so that the political (anti-capitalist - Kurvitz is a self-described communist, very much a rarity in Estonia) aspect of their work would be compromised.

What ZA/UM says:

Speaking to Estonian newspaper Estonian Ekspress (translated by Google), ZA/UM CEO Ilmar Kompus said the studio suffered from a "toxic environment," and accused Disco Elysium designer Robert Kurvitz and 'Saandar Taal' of "humiliating colleagues and intending to steal IP."

ZA/UM confirmed that Saandar Taal is an alias of Aleksander Rostov.

Kompus accused Kurvitz and Taal of "belittling women and co-workers," claims that echo those made by GamesIndustry.biz's own sources.

"They treated their co-workers very badly," Kompus told the Ekspress. "Despite talking to them repeatedly, things did not improve. Therefore, the company was forced to fire them. Robert [Kurvitz] is said to have been known for belittling women and co-workers in the past, but this was previously unknown to the company. It would be very short-sighted of a growing international company to tolerate such behaviour."

More context from an Estonian Redditor

Anyway, so by the time we first heard the news of this video game project, Za/Um as a cultural movement was already dwindling. For an Estonian art-adjacent person, Za/Um has basically been dead since 2017. That's why Luiga's decision to disband the movement doesn't really raise an eyebrow here. It's old history, man.

Other than Kender, the rest of Za/Um was a bunch of nobodies to the mainstream. The members were well known enough in art circles, so they definitely weren't a bunch of amateurs or something like that, but they weren't well established figures in the broader sense. But first and foremost they are artists. Not aspiring video game developers but writers, painters, musicians. They went for a mad plan to do something completely out of their wheelhouse and I personally think this is what made Disco so interesting. It was an art project more than a video game but through some sheer genius it turned out to be a hugely successful and hopefully influential video game as a side product.

For me, Disco Elysium was the last hurrah for Za/Um, and what a hurrah it was. Of course I'm sad with the outcome but all you socialists out there, you saw it coming, didn't you? We got a miracle of a game out of this and there are only so many wins we get on the left.:

Perhaps it's not necessary to specifically mention all the ironic aspects involved in this, and if we indeed see Disco Elysium as an art project, it feels like a fitting capstone to the project, in a way.

The whole thing reminds me of Kanye West. Both West and Kurvitz are talented individuals and such talent is always very close to mental illness. I am sure Kanye's agents and producers would love to be able to exploit the brand of Kanye West without West himself getting in the way, but alas, you can't yet plug his albums into an AI and get it to make another one.

A more nebulous brand like "the world of Disco Elysium" is much more exploitable (see what the Mouse can do with the brands it owns). You can easily get rid of Kurvitz, Rostov and Luiga and just milk the existing lore. Who cares if the new game or TV series fails to capture the tone and the themes of the original work? We're going to visit the Pale (pointing_soyjaks.png)! Look, you can buy Disco Elysium merch! You won't believe the cameo we've set up for your viewing pleasure! We won't say it's Kim, but you know it's Kim, right, right?

And Kurvitz? Der Mohr hat seine Arbeit getan, der Mohr kann gehen. Unstable creative individuals are hard to work with, it's not a secret. When they start to get in the way they can always be labelled problematic or even toxic, and the label won't even be completely wrong.

I didn't know about any of this, and it saddens me. By the in-game political alignment system, I'm a filthy Moralist which makes me the current bad guy (seeing as how they're the ones running/ruining Revachol right now) and while they do criticise Communism, you can tell which system is closest to their hearts. But the game is great, and who does not love Kim Kitsuragi?

I guess this shows that the love of money is the root of all evil. A whiff of success, and they started eating each other's faces for the spoils.

But God Almighty, not an Amazon streaming video/TV adaptation of the game. Seeing the shitty mess they made of Rings of Power, I can't even begin to imagine what they'd do with Disco Elysium. Sure, the union would definitely be the Bad Guys there (we all know what Amazon thinks of unions) but how do you flatten down Lieutenant Double-Yefreitor Harrier Du Bois Detective Raphaël Ambrosius Costeau Tequila Sunset into one 2D character to be played by (possibly, God help us) Ryan Reynolds?

Yeah, one of the things many know about the game is that you can select from one of four political alignments and the game will chew you out for it, but one of the most fascinating things was how they make Moralism bad. There's the metacommentary on how Moralism is exactly what you get if you play a typical "RPG centrist", one who always selects the moderate option from the good and evil one, or a mix of choices... but also that Moralism is the ideology that is specifically screwing up Revanchol at the moment, something you can see in various ways all around you while playing the game. At least the fascists and communists (and some ultraliberals, if Joyce is to be believed) are working to make Moralintern go away and stop oppressing and exploiting Revanchol, but being a Moralist ingame is basically just being like "Yep, I'm a willing tool of a system that keeps everyone here poor, takes away the city's sovereignty, sends cruel mercenaries on the streets etc etc... and I'm fine with it! Go team"

The Sunday Friend is absolutely some Brussels bureaucrat who is something to do with the European Commission, maybe one of the civil servants directly under a Director-General of something or other.

It's also fascinating how they make Joyce likeable, and I don't know if that's a level of meta-irony or if they mean it relatively straight. She's not just an errand-runner, she's one of the higher-ups in Wild Palms, but it looks like she can't get the mercs to stand down because whatever faction of the board hired them on has run around her on that. So she's out to make money out of Revachol like the rest of them, but there is a level of overt violence she won't or can't support. At least, if she's not in control holding the leash.

I did laugh about "oh yeah, Fascism is because that pretty girl wouldn't sleep with you". I mean, come on guys, this is your level of mockery? All the things you could say about ultra-nationalism and the rest of it, and you have to go for "pfft, buncha incels"?

"oh yeah, Fascism is because that pretty girl wouldn't sleep with you".

I strongly suspect that in itself is mockery of people who'd take it straight, same as Gary the Cryptofascist is a character mocking the idiots who think fascists are worthless scum without any merit whatsoever.

I suspect that because the rest of the game is nuanced and thoughtful, so this kind of idiocy has no place in it.

I'm generally disappointed when I give media that much benefit of the doubt. They don't seem to play games with that many layers.

I think in this case it's either warranted or they had more people do characters and some moron did Gary.

It's a pretty suitable one for Harry, isn't it? After all, he has been going through some lady troubles, to put it mildly...

Harry has his problems, including an inability to let go or move on from his failed romance, but he can Jamrock Shuffle like nobody's business!

I would have thought they wouldn't go for "Fascists are just failures at getting girls" as being much too trivial. I mean, nobody in Revachol is getting any kind of happy ending; the working-class woman ends up with a dead husband, look at the entire tangle of desire and sex around Klaasje; all the broken marriages and relationships and not even started in the first place - Garte is the only one with any kind of a chance at a start, and that depends how you handle the phone call with Sylvie.

I guess the idea is mockery by not taking it seriously and reducing it to a clownish reason for anyone finding the philosophy attractive, but it's not like any of the other political quadrants are all happy happy joy joy at interpersonal relationships either.

I kept thinking about this yesterday, and one way of thinking about political alignments is that they also sort of align with, and are commentary, on traditional RPG alignments. You've got the "good" alignment, the "bad" alignment and two different interpretations of the "neutral" alignment. However, all also get commented on and subverted as concepts.

The "good" alignment is communist. Is communism good? YMMV, but that's what we know the developers think, from their interviews, and communist alignment is also what you get if you take all the romantic revolutionary options about defending the poor and so. And yet, the game will chew you out for all the crimes of the fictional communists and the unworkability of it all in practice, and most communists you encounter are compete messes, murderous wrecks and idiots, culminating with The Deserter, who is not really at all different from the fascists he claims to loathe.

The "bad" alignment is fascist. And fascism, as seen through the game, is indeed, bad, and the game makes no bones about it! However, it's not the "cool" sort of bad where you do epic shit, like become a conquering Dark Lord (KOTOR) or punch out annoying reporters (Mass Effect) or whatever. Rather, it's just being a dick towards other people, generally in a very banal way, including towards Kim. It's not fun, and deliberately so. Very few people end up stomaching a genuine fascist run in DE.

Moralism is the "neutral" alignment, interpreted as what you get when, in a normal RPG, you deliberately mix and match choices to keep the karma meter running too far to either side. That's often a smart way to play a RPG and keep your conversation options open, but DE reminds you that if you just avoid taking a side and play it safe, that's a choice in itself, and the choice in this particular game is just keeping up an oppressive and brutal system and being a part of it's machine.

Ultraliberalism is also a "neutral" alignment, but another way. I've seen jokes about how RPG alignment is like having game's choices be "There's a kitten in a tree, what do you do? a. Climb a tree to rescue the kitten b. Shoot the kitten c. "I can rescue this kitten... for a price!", and ultraliberalism is, of course, the c. option, playing a RPG in a way where you just maximize your resources and, typically, get better gear to make the boss fight a simple matter. And yet... here, there's no real reason to do that; money is necessary at places, sure, but you can run a perfectly fine character without buying anything, and collecting oodles of cash eventually just becomes a question of hoarding money without really having much use for it. Why? Because you're a greedy hustler, obviously! Or rather, you aren't, but you're pretending to be one in a game, for... why, exactly? And game ultraliberalism is just an ideological cover for that.

Nothing to say except this is a fairly strong case in favor of generative AI. The smaller a studio needs to be for viability, the lesser is the probability of such shitshows with extra hires, HR, publishers, complex ownership structures, and Gervais-style dynamics.

I'm a fan of games made by artists and writers, even extreme barely playable examples. Mor.Utopia and Turgor are great! Planescape:Torment is rightfully considered a masterpiece, Disco is fantastic. And in general, daring genre experiments with a focus on worldbuilding and narrative, even to some detriment of gameplay, are to be encouraged. I liked Hellblade a lot, Morrowind is of course a work of genius, Perimeter and Vangers are gems of my youth (btw their creator has died a few days ago in Kaliningrad, RIP). We need more of that, and therefore we need artisan studios.

But artists are barely able to function in a friendly collective. People who optimize for business process can run circles around them.

Unfortunately, this sort of problem seems present even for incredibly small projects, even separated from conventional ideological frustrations. The NeosVR Saga had a lot of 'developers', but they overwhelming majority were only not volunteers because they were paid in monopoly money; the real crux was a battle between the two guys at the heart of the project. And I've seen non-game business battles with a half-dozen employees, generally split between the Growth Uber Allies and the internal designers.

It's not even necessarily the business guys running circles around them -- even when they take really simple approaches, or have the right position (after all, 'artist goes so far up their ass you don't have a sellable product before you run out of burn' is a failure mode that happens often!) -- so much that there's a lot of tools each side has for a really phyrric victory, really easily.

their creator has died a few days ago in Kaliningrad, RIP

KranK and his "drugs are shit-stained glasses" metaphor have been the biggest shaper of my attitude towards mind-altering substances. Can't say the same about books, though.

Perimeter and Vangers are gems of my youth (btw their creator has died a few days ago in Kaliningrad, RIP)

Damn. I'll have to play Vangers one day. I saw the MandaloreGaming video and it intrigued me.

Yeah, he got hit by a car, really dumb way to go (when you can get gutted on Sri Lanka after escaping the conscription, or get shelled in Ukraine, I mean).

I know that Perimeter translation is absurdly bad and has butchered the impression for at least one Mottizen. Not sure about Vangers.

I think Perimeter is available on GOG or Zoom, I was interested, but I may have to see if there'll be a fan-translation to fix it. Is it E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy-levels of bad? Vangers looked like it was translated decently.

Legs are ok, you gain brozouf

Damn, Perimeter looks nice!

This seems like a conflict between 1 and 3 other chief creatives, with some additional possibility of fraud being instigated by another person..

I've also seen suggestions that Kurvitz et al believe that Tütreke, Kender etc. are planning to compromise their vision specifically for upcoming Amazon Disco Elysium series, presumably so that the political (anti-capitalist - Kurvitz is a self-described communist, very much a rarity in Estonia) aspect of their work would be compromised.

For Amazon? No. Why would they need to do that? The average Amazon staff member is probably far, far more favourable to communism than the average Estonian. I'd imagine being an Estonian Communist in Estonia in 2022 makes you about as popular as being a Jewish Nazi in Germany in 2022. If not worse due to the way Russia is, once again, engaged in imperialist expansion in Eastern Europe.

i haven't had Amazon Prime for a while, but have they commissioned any explicitly pro-communist (or anti-capitalist) TV series? Referring specifically to economic, not cultural, aspects? A show like The Expanse might have been woke, but even that series at least implicitly ended up both-sidesing the whole Belter conflict.

I'd imagine being an Estonian Communist in Estonia in 2022 makes you about as popular as being a Jewish Nazi in Germany in 2022.

I'd imagine being an Estonian anything that does something that brings a vast truckload of money and international positive attention to Estonia (population: bit over a million) is going to make you very popular indeed in Estonia.

i haven't had Amazon Prime for a while, but have they commissioned any explicitly pro-communist (or anti-capitalist) TV series?

The Boys is an interesting example because the primary antagonistic force is literally an international megacorp which aggressively manipulates the media narrative to hide its misdeeds and knowingly tolerates the excessive degenerate behavior of the celebrity superheroes it employs. All for power and profit.

And the protags are mostly "normal" people whose lives were fucked over by the Corp or the superheroes and are looking to strike back however they can.

And this is one of Amazon's most popular shows and hundreds of thousands watch it and while they act like they're in on the joke (haha Vought is just like Amazon, ironic isn't it?) they miss that THEY are the easily manipulable populace who consumes frivolous media rather than having any positive impact on the world.