How ‘The Workshop’ Has Corrupted Rational Political Discussion

Hipster med ölThe original version of this article was a response to Rachel Haywire’s post on her own website entitled “What is the Workshop? where she attacks the pressure to conform to a “facade-liberal” cultural norm and the cause of the week political culture that all of us involved in the hipster creative-professional subculture have to publicly subscribe to if people aren’t going to back away from us.

She called the memetic creation machine that produces these norms “The Workshop”. This structure is intended to create artisanal memes and mass-produce them into the various political subcultures.

Her post described what it does, I describe here what it’s for, as in its political objectives. While this post is intended to stand by itself, it’s best understood after reading hers linked to above.

After posting the comment, it occurred to me that the ideas expressed deserved wider circulation.

Political movements are supposed to be about creating good public policy. Basic public policy is supposed to be about keeping the infrastructures running that make it possible for people to do business, building new ones required. It’s also about making people pay to make this possible.

The problem with taking progressivism seriously is progressives. The movement only exists today as a marketing demographic filled with Obamabots. Progressives are supposed to support civil liberties for everybody. Those were the people attacking everybody in sight that opposed Obama’s taking the power to himself to blow up any American he considers subversive with drones. We’re supposed to take them seriously because?

Did you know there was a time when the right to bear arms wasn’t even a political issue, when liberals were members of the NRA and nobody thought it was unusual? Oppose gun control and get attacked by an angry online mob of progressives who find that civil right no longer convenient.

The problem with taking conservativism seriously is conservatives. The movement only exists today as a marketing demographic filled with Tea Partiers, with battle cries of “the wealthy must not pay taxes!” and “stop gay marriage!” as our roads and bridges and public schools crumble.

Does anyone have any particular doubt that if Mittens were President today, the conservatives screaming about civil rights would have denounced opponents of the President’s power to blow up subversives as terrorist allies? We’re supposed to take them seriously because?

But I helped push Rand’s message out anyway because he happened to be on the right side today.

Political discussion about what public services we need and how we should pay for them has been replaced with empty-eyed masses of people screaming political slogans. But the appearance that “progressive” messages are dominant among the screams is a function of what bubble one lives in.

If one lives in a bubble full of hipster creatives, one hears lots of “progressive” messaging, one sees lots of women with tattoos. But there are other bubbles. Check out FoxNews. See any women with visible tattoos or lip piercings? Check out FoxNews forums for an alternate reality where tens of millions live where a “progressive” message, even one as inocuous as “gays deserve civil rights” will get one attacked by an angry online mob.

The sole virtue of the “progressive” memes is that they are usually a lot less dangerous to minorities than those of the Right, unless one is part of an “undesirable” minority. (Gun owners and sex workers and people of color in Islamic countries come to mind.)

The slogans whether Left or Right have little visible connection to responsible public policy. But they are paid for by the same class of people, and some PR firms will put out a “Left” or Right message depending on who’s paying them on any given month.

Their only purpose is as tools of oppression by people who find serious public policy discussion unprofitable because attempts to solve serious problems will cost them serious tax money.

The Workshop is run by hired hands. Who profits from boosting the noise in the signal?

Exiting The Workshop means learning to hear the signal under that noise.

As Robert Anton Wilson said, “What the hell is really going on?”

That’s the question you should be asking. Ignore the noise.

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  • Guest

    This is really childish, narrow-minded and belligerent. It’s a bitch to be hip; no amount of sneering cynicism is ever enough.

    • alizardx

      Wrote it to piss off people like you, feel free to take it personally. Left Dailykos to get away from people whose thinking is governed by top-down talking points. If I need talking points, I’ll write my own. Something you’ll never learn to do.

      Are you a Obamabot, or are you a teabagger? And is there really a difference between the two?

      Suggest you return to whatever herd you belong to.

    • alizardx

      Wrote it to piss off people like you, feel free to take it personally. Left Dailykos to get away from people whose thinking is governed by top-down talking points. If I need talking points, I’ll write my own. Something you’ll never learn to do.

      Are you a Obamabot, or are you a teabagger? And is there really a difference between the two?

      Suggest you return to whatever herd you belong to.

      • http://twitter.com/RayButlers Ray Butlers

        I rest my case. The author and the troll are one and the same.

      • http://twitter.com/RayButlers Ray Butlers

        Hopefully you’ll be leaving disinfo soon. They’ve cut loose snotty little snits before, so you should watch your tone.

        • alizardx

          If Disinfo turns into another DailyKos where Obamabots and other kinds of fanatics are above criticism, I’d rather not be here. And I doubt the great majority of Disinfonauts would want to be here, either. Cherish your butthurt, but don’t expect your “warnings” to be taken seriously..

        • alizardx

          If Disinfo turns into another DailyKos where Obamabots and other kinds of fanatics are above criticism, I’d rather not be here. And I doubt the great majority of Disinfonauts would want to be here, either. Cherish your butthurt, but don’t expect your “warnings” to be taken seriously..

          • http://twitter.com/RayButlers Ray Butlers

            once again, snotty, belligerent, childish

          • http://twitter.com/RayButlers Ray Butlers

            once again, snotty, belligerent, childish

          • alizardx

            You’ve provided no counterarguments, no facts, just namecalling. There’s fairly serious political discussion going on around here, which you don’t choose to participate in, though I suppose it’s all over your head.

            If you’ve got a point, make it. Nobody is going to bother to take a proctoscope and try to find out where you’re hiding it.

            Wouldn’t complain if you were providing good comic relief or even doing a decent job of trolling, but you’re not even capable of that.

            Unless you come up with something with intellectual content, you can play by yourself, I’ve wasted enough time playing whack-a-mole with you for my own entertainment.

          • http://twitter.com/RayButlers Ray Butlers

            self-trolling…how innovative

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            A troll is a person who writes and article you don’t like, who you then harass in the comments section? Hmm…

        • Andrew

          You might want to take a look at your own.

        • Matt Staggs

          alizardx is a longtime participant in our community, and I consider this person’s presence to be a net gain. Please refrain from personally attacking our contributors.

          • http://twitter.com/RayButlers Ray Butlers

            May I expect the same courtesy in the future?

          • Matt Staggs

            That’s entirely up to you, I suspect.

          • Matt Staggs

            That’s entirely up to you, I suspect.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/George-M-Anderson/1289313527 George M. Anderson

        A very well put way to sum up the problem in a political context. Good job.
        However, I would add that an Obamabot and a Tea Partier are different in the rhetoric but otherwise indistinguishable from each other.
        Just remember that the herd can turn into a stampede pretty quickly if you spook them.

        • alizardx

          To understand the common mentality of left, right, and other authoritarian followers better, I recommend The Authoritarians by Bob Altemeyer, you can get it as a PDF.

          The difference between Obamabot and Teabagger is marketing demographics. Ask any PR agency that’s marketed to both.

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            Yeah, that is awesome. I think I read that before through your recommendation.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/George-M-Anderson/1289313527 George M. Anderson

            Read it. A good read. Though I would like to see an update for today, or at least based on current events.

        • alizardx

          Stampedes can be useful, too, if they can be pointed in the right direction.

      • ishmael2009

        I really liked the article and thought it made some perceptive comments about American politics.Best thing on that topic i’ve read in a while. I always come out of those “Political Compass” tests as left-libertarian, which might explain why i dislike both “wings” more and more. I can’t stand the sneering and jibing at those who disagree with you (“Left wing commies!” “Dumb redneck wingnuts!”). Good job.

      • ishmael2009

        I really liked the article and thought it made some perceptive comments about American politics.Best thing on that topic i’ve read in a while. I always come out of those “Political Compass” tests as left-libertarian, which might explain why i dislike both “wings” more and more. I can’t stand the sneering and jibing at those who disagree with you (“Left wing commies!” “Dumb redneck wingnuts!”). Good job.

  • echar

    To sum it up: It’s all bullshit‽

    • alizardx

      If you want to discuss issues seriously, drill down to the handful of serious people who have taken the time and trouble it takes to get real understanding of public policy issues.

      • http://twitter.com/RayButlers Ray Butlers

        I think I’ll skip it on your recommendation

      • echar

        I’ve been reading about all of this for years. What I said above is my conclusion.

      • echar

        I didn’t mean your article is bullshit. I wanted to clear that up, it’s well written. I just meant that it deals with concepts that can be viewed as illusions that can be used to manipulate people.

        I’d like to see more articles by you, and apologize for my brutish use of words.

        • alizardx

          My article (and the one it responded to) was intended to do that.

          But these illusions connect to physical realities, too. If a bridge that the wealthy didn’t want to pay taxes to maintain collapses under you, most would consider that bridge collapse objective fact.

          The dominant fact of modern politics is that the elites had sense enough to buy up the political dialogue out to the moderate fringes so people wouldn’t discuss unwelcome realities like their collective refusal to pay the costs of a society that allowed their families to accumulate wealth, but not enough sense to pay to fix the real problems of technological society while these costs can be paid in dollars instead of in large numbers of human lives, including their own.

          As for articles in future… thanks for the interest, not sure. Depends on whether I come up with something article-length to say. But my contributor account is still here.

          • echar

            Humans lives are figured into the overhead. It’s rather sick. I hope you find some inspiration.

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    I’m not a vegan and I am against gun control and I have an irreverent sense of humor. So I never quite fit in with the PC hipsters.

  • jnana

    I think I get what yer saying, alizardx.

    same kinda thing was going on with punk since the 70s.

    crass writes a song that’s on point about this.

    White Punks on Hope:

    ” They said that we were trash
    Well the name is Crass not Clash
    They can stuff their punk credentials
    Cause it’s them that take the cash
    They won’t change nothing with their fashionable talk
    Their RAR badges and their protest walk
    Thousands of white men standing in a park
    Objecting to racism like a candle in the dark
    Black man’s got his problems and his way to deal with it
    So don’t fool yourself you’re helping with your white liberal shit
    If you care to take a closer look at the way things really stand
    You’d see we’re all just niggers to the rulers of this land
    Punk was once an answer to years of crap
    A way of saying no where we’d always said yep
    But the moment we found a way to be free
    They invented a dividing line, street credibility
    The qualifying factors are politics and class
    Left wing macho street fighters willing to kick arse
    They said because of racism they’d come out on the street
    It was just a form of fascism for the socialist elite
    Bigotry and blindness, a Marxist con
    Another clever trick to keep us all in line
    Neat little labels to keep us all apart
    To keep us all divided when the troubles start
    Pogo on a Nazi, Spit upon a Jew
    Vicious mindless violence that offers nothing new
    Left Wing violence, Right Wing violence all seems much the same
    Bully boys out fighting, it’s just the same old game
    Boring fucking politics that’ll get us all shot
    Left wing, right wing, you can stuff the lot
    Keep your petty prejudice, I don’t see the point
    ANARCHY AND FREEDOM IS WHAT I WANT

    (it’s tougher to listen to) ;)

  • jnana

    I think I get what yer saying, alizardx.

    same kinda thing was going on with punk since the 70s.

    crass writes a song that’s on point about this.

    White Punks on Hope:

    ” They said that we were trash
    Well the name is Crass not Clash
    They can stuff their punk credentials
    Cause it’s them that take the cash
    They won’t change nothing with their fashionable talk
    Their RAR badges and their protest walk
    Thousands of white men standing in a park
    Objecting to racism like a candle in the dark
    Black man’s got his problems and his way to deal with it
    So don’t fool yourself you’re helping with your white liberal shit
    If you care to take a closer look at the way things really stand
    You’d see we’re all just niggers to the rulers of this land
    Punk was once an answer to years of crap
    A way of saying no where we’d always said yep
    But the moment we found a way to be free
    They invented a dividing line, street credibility
    The qualifying factors are politics and class
    Left wing macho street fighters willing to kick arse
    They said because of racism they’d come out on the street
    It was just a form of fascism for the socialist elite
    Bigotry and blindness, a Marxist con
    Another clever trick to keep us all in line
    Neat little labels to keep us all apart
    To keep us all divided when the troubles start
    Pogo on a Nazi, Spit upon a Jew
    Vicious mindless violence that offers nothing new
    Left Wing violence, Right Wing violence all seems much the same
    Bully boys out fighting, it’s just the same old game
    Boring fucking politics that’ll get us all shot
    Left wing, right wing, you can stuff the lot
    Keep your petty prejudice, I don’t see the point
    ANARCHY AND FREEDOM IS WHAT I WANT

    (it’s tougher to listen to) ;)

  • ParanoidCoast

    You and Rachel Haywire are speaking about Pierre Bourdieu’s idea about “the Doxa”. Here’s a link to a wikipedia entry about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doxa
    All plots have been written.

  • ParanoidCoast

    You and Rachel Haywire are speaking about Pierre Bourdieu’s idea about “the Doxa”. Here’s a link to a wikipedia entry about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doxa
    All plots have been written.

  • Zampano Poniatovii

    Prefatory note: I’m not an Obama fan, and I’m not a progressive. Hopefully what I am doesn’t matter too much, so I won’t waste words explaining.

    alizardx wrote:

    “The problem with taking progressivism seriously is progressives.”

    Frankly, the problem with this post is who and what it actually has a problem with. That’s also the problem with Rachel’s post. How can a rant about people being too concerned with “style” over substance, not be, at its core, a rant that’s too concerned with style?

    By devoting such attention to the dilettantes among us, and their political pop-culture, Rachel winds up embodying the same thing she’s railing against. It makes her complaints seem glib. Simply put, if “hipsters” are useless and irrelevant because they’re superficial, why are they so relevant in her writing?

    It’s sophomoric, using “hipster” as a pejorative term for “progressive”. Technically, there is no criticism of progressivism to be made by saying that “hipsters” are dilettantes. That’s not a critique of progressivism at all, but a criticism of some unknown group Rachel considers hipsters. We get the impression she thinks they have something to do with “supporting Obama”, but anything else seems taken for granted by the author.

    You’re preaching to a personal choir when you assume the connection is clear to everyone. I know what I think a hipster is, but how do I know that Rachel thinks it means the same thing? I read her writing fairly often, but I’ve never seen her formulate a formal definition of this supposed hipster-progressive connection. Maybe someone she reads and puts stock in has done so to her satisfaction, but I can’t find it anywhere; maybe the people she reads are too obscure, and I’m just not very hip.

    Personally, I thought Hipster was a term for clothing and fashion interests, not a term for ideology. I get that urban people like certain fashions, and the same people might also like Obama. It’s obvious Rachel and you believe hipsters adopt progressive positions for the sake of fashion, but don’t most people do the same thing? Obama supporters aren’t the only dilettantes. Dilettantes include Sarkozy supporters in France, Ron Paul supporters in Houston suburbs, and Romney supporters in Wyoming gated communities.

    Listening to you and Rachel, we really have no specific idea who is guilty of being a dilettante in their support for Obama, because you guys don’t give us specific examples. It’s “the Workshop”, around the corner near “The Toolshed”, behind “The Cathedral”… wait, WTF? Are these really things? No, they’re groups with similar interests, some kind of social phenomenon, but who the fuck composes this Illuminati-sounding “conspiracy of accidents”? It’s “the Hipsters”, and “people at the Daily Kos” — I guess these baddies could be anyone.

    Maybe every Obama supporter is reducible to a Vice Magazine reading robot, something “you know when you see it”, but think critically about that attitude. You might find its nothing more than a gestalt expression of your personal bias.

    I guess if we were part of Rachel’s “inner circle” we’d know who they are, and know why they’re a problem (as opposed to other groups). The association would seem more obvious. Unfortunately, the equivalence between progressive and hipster seems arbitrary. Why should I take your word for it that progressives are “just a bunch of goddamn hipsters, pssh”?

    This oversimplification sounds like something Limbaugh would say with a sneer, “those Feminists and Negroes (hipsters) voted for Obama because he gave them all hip new iPhones.” Is it even possible that there are any other demographics amongst Obama supporters, parts of society motivated by anything other than fashionable politics? Are there progressives outside the set of all Obama supporters?

    It’s pretty well known that progressives are a caucus within the Democratic Party, but not the majority of the Democratic Party. In the same party there are “Blue Dog” conservatives, southern democrats, centrists, even Bernie Sanders, who identifies as a libertarian socialist, and while not a democrat, he caucuses with them. Progressives are consistently the most ardent critics of Obama within his own party, while non-progressives generally adopt the president’s positions. Progressives are referred to as the “ideological base” of the party, the ones who Obama has always been accused of “betraying”, so how do you square that reality with your views?

    Fairly reasonable folks have observed that Obama closely resembles Ronald Reagan in his policy positions. His administration will be remembered more for the number of Bush-era national security policies he perpetuated, rather than the number he reversed. He’ll be noted for his progressive campaign promises, but his presidency will be judged for his policy shifts to the Right.

    Given that progressives within the party and Obama have always been at odds, should we denounce the ideology more than the party loyalty, or the party loyalty that people sacrifice their commitment to ideology for? According to you guys, the answer is “neither”; it’s what the progressive “Workshop” cranks out, to help support “The Cathedral” of progressive conspiracy to make everything suck.

    Hipsters = The Workshop = The Cathedral = Progressivism = Obama!

    Do a Google search for the terms “progressive + criticism + Obama” if you haven’t already. It’s obvious that the blame you place on progressivism for Obama’s sins is spurious within the first ten hits.

    The gestalt about progressives is contradictory. I can’t tell if progressivism is being singled out as an ideology, or if progressives are being singled out for not being true progressives, or if progressives are just bad in general. Is their ideology to blame, or are they to blame for betraying it? It makes no sense to argue all these things at the same time.

    You wrote, “The movement only exists today as a marketing demographic filled with Obamabots.”

    That sounds like a profound dataset you have at your disposal, one that allows you to make that kind of sweeping generalization — or you’re simply talking out of your ass. The majority of the world must be brainwashed if they can’t see that as plainly as you can.

    “Progressives are supposed to support civil liberties for everybody.”

    Undoubtedly.

    “Those were the people attacking everybody in sight that opposed Obama’s taking the power to himself to blow up any American he considers subversive with drones.”

    I guess that makes Obama not so progressive, and anyone who doesn’t admit that is being disingenuous as a progressive. However, the president’s deviation from progressive values does not change what those values were that he deviated from. You correctly identified what progressives are supposed to believe, but how is it reasonable to imply that those violating progressive ideology on issues like drone strikes are “being progressive” in the process?

    Is Obama the exemplar of center-left progressive values, or of Establishment Liberal center-right values, the kind progressives like Cenk Uygur, Amy Goodman, Glenn Greenwald are all well-known for criticizing? Are these people not progressives, are they not critics of Obama? If they are, do these exceptions still prove the rule you propose?

    Are you really shocked that the Daily Kos is full of pro-Obama attack hounds that don’t tolerate anti-Obama posts? Isn’t that like going over to WorldNetDaily and posting criticisms of Republicans, then being shocked at the rage that ensues? Both sites cater to the party faithful, the “base”, so I don’t know why you would hang out there if it wasn’t your cup of tea, and how you could be so shocked at the responses you were getting, posting anything similar to what you posted here.

    What the hell are you guys talking about, exactly? In her post, Rachel’s claims are almost a word-salad, much of it incoherent beyond repair, like this gem:

    “Since our institutions are ruled by a dominant progressive mentality, we have no idea what the majority of people are actually thinking.”

    So, everyone’s mentality is “progressivism”, but we have no idea what his or her mentality is? Isn’t their mentality (i.e., what they are thinking), a “progressive mentality”? She completely contradicts herself in that single sentence, then continues, “The obsessive desire to be politically correct and ever-so-current is part of regular social programming and economic well-being. There are some things that people simply refuse to say because they make The Cathedral angry. So. Much. Repression.”

    I guess no one actually believes anything, everyone is just brainwashed to obey orders, and that makes them “progressives”? Behold, the utter venality of the nihilistic ideology vacuum called “progressivism”!

    “The Cathedral is the new matrix. Anyone familiar with Mencius Moldbug is familiar with this fact.”

    OK, I’ll follow the links within the links here and get familiar with some “facts”. I tried to read Mencius so as to understand Rachel, but found his writings just as dense, laden with obscure references and name-dropping, and just as rambling. I’m left to assume that Rachel regards progressivism as if it doesn’t actually mean anything, it just means conforming to the demands of The Cathedral — but not “The Cathedral” in the same sense as Eric S. Raymond’s term describing hierarchical structures of information co-modification; it’s actually Mencius Moldbug’s pastiche of Raymond’s term. Well, enemies identified, I guess: “Don’t be a paradigm-hugger, or you’re an agent of The (not Eric S. Raymond) Cathedral”.

    I guess progressivism is just shorthand for being an authoritarian conformist. Or maybe it’s just a cynical ploy to trick useful idiots: “the sole virtue of the “progressive” memes is that they are usually a lot less dangerous to minorities than those of the Right, unless one is part of an “undesirable” minority. (Gun owners and sex workers and people of color in Islamic countries come to mind.)”

    Assuming that not some kind of race baiting a la Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck, let’s pause to break this assertion down, because it made my head spin.

    Gun owners are “a vulnerable minority”?

    This is hyperbolic nonsense.

    I’ll grant that maybe you named some group off the top of your head without scrutinizing your choice, but gun owners are not a “vulnerable minority” by any stretch of the imagination, not in terms of numbers, or in terms of economic background. They certainly aren’t comparable to “sex workers” or “people of color in Islamic countries”.

    It requires the equivalent of several months’ income at minimum wage to afford the cost and fees associated with gun ownership. I milled my own AR-15 lower, bought the other parts at cost, and the total price was still well over $1000 after shipping and taxes. Now, that’s just one rifle. After Obama was elected and the industry groups started spreading hype about “gun seizures”, ammunition costs more than tripled. Good luck to you if you chamber for anything other than .22, let alone trying to stock for a caliber the gun was designed to accommodate. In any case, to be a gun owner, you have to have a considerable income level, so you are probably not a “vulnerable minority” by economic standards.

    What about in terms of pure numbers, are gun owners a minority in that respect?

    Most estimates range between 39% and 50% of US households having at least one gun (that’s about 43-55 million households). The estimates for the number of privately owned guns range from 190 million to 300 million. Removed those that skew the stats for their own purposes, and the best estimates are about 45% (or 52 million of American households owning 260 million guns).

    Those numbers represent registered firearms. My DIY rifle is not included in those numbers, neither are the many like it, or the firearms with serial numbers that are unregistered, reported stolen, or otherwise “off the grid”.

    Let’s break down some other assertions in that same passage. You said, “The slogans whether Left or Right have little visible connection to responsible public policy.”

    What do you use as a definition of responsible? Examples please.

    “But they are paid for by the same class of people, and some PR firms will put out a “Left” or Right message depending on who’s paying them on any given month.”

    Would this be the fallacy of shooting the messenger?

    “Their only purpose is as tools of oppression by people who find serious public policy discussion unprofitable because attempts to solve serious problems will cost them serious tax money.”

    PR firms do not oppress. They mislead, distort, and confuse, but I think there is a lot to be said for individuals taking responsibility for their own media literacy and using critical thinking skills. Listening to a commercial is not equivalent to having a gun put against your head, being shot as an example for questioning an officer, being thrown in jail for who you are, or having your family raped and murdered in retaliation for your political affiliation.

    The ultimate subtext of Rachel’s post seemed to be just another in a long series of “calls for alternatives to the current paradigm”, but no suggestion by the author of where to begin and end with that task, since the article isn’t about a paradigm per-se, but about people who fail at having a decent paradigm (it’s a fact, Mencius says). All we know is that she rejects one paradigm, but (presumably) wants everyone to attend the next conference she hosts so they can invent another, and she can attach her name to it.

    Trying to shed worn-out dogmas is noble, but its hard to make sense of what Rachel proposes with her routine calls for novelty, especially when she doesn’t want to familiarize herself with any particular philosophy she criticizes — its historical origins, context, or rationales – prior to standing against it. She is often averse to discussions about political theory, not because she thinks discussing politics is without merit, but because she can’t be bothered to study any political philosophies to begin with.

    Forgive my snark, but I guess studying political theory objectively is a useful endeavor for people not looking to pioneer the next paradigm of Human 2.0, it’s just not a valid concern her. She only tolerates “new ideas”, having concluded that any existing before the present time were prima facie nonsense, not worth the effort by virtue of having already existed. She won’t study them, not even to prevent us from “reinventing the wheel” when we invent the “new paradigms”. Besides, they’re all distorted by the grand world oppression conspiracy anyway, so its not like they can possibly be relevant.

    She wants everyone to adopt a universally contrarian position (like she does), imploring us to abstain absolutely from all labels and political positions in order to find new ones. Still, it’s impossible to tell why we should abandon old labels for new ones because she can’t tell us why any particular political philosophy failed in practice. This lack of interest in matters she takes extreme stances on reminds me of the way Sarah Palin worships the Founding Fathers, but can’t name any when asked.

    This is the same author who supports Ron Paul, routinely promotes the “Glenn Beck political spectrum” in private conversation, calls herself an “anarcho-capitalist” because capitalism is “anti-liberal”, has never read Marx but calls him “Right-wing” because “he’s a liberal, and Stalin”, and bans all political discussions (except occasional praise for the Ayn Rand) from her Human 2.0 Facebook group. Supposedly, politics is bad because it drives away potential backers and participants who don’t like politics (to paraphrase a rationale she once offered me when I asked why every political discussion thread mysteriously vanished from the group, after being encouraged by Rachel herself).

    The gestalt biased generalizations you and Rachel rage about are the polar opposite of trying to see the “signal through the noise”. Rachel’s absolute iconoclast pose is just “pure noise”. We’re admonished for being pressured by “noise-making machines”, by a pure noise-making machine. Rachel wants us to fight fire with different, never-before-attempted fire, some nebulous impression she has of an undiscovered “not right or left” set of attitudes, which is hard to find because we’re supposed to think there is no “right and left” (that’s just an illusion produced by the cathedral machine). We should not have a spectrum at all, not even if spectrums arise naturally from the existence of conflicting ideas — because we’re also supposed to believe that Progressives and the Tea Party share the same views, and the illusion that they are different is just the result of people hallucinating political spectrums where they don’t actually exist. Marx was a fascist. Hitler was a communist.

    “The problem with taking conservativism seriously is conservatives. The movement only exists today as a marketing demographic…”

    See guys, I’m not for either side, because I’m a sage above the fray. They’re both just a marketing demographic, and that’s not hilariously glib of me to say. Because everyone knows that zero government is Burke and Halisham, but total government is Locke and Rousseau, so we should invent a third position, one that refuses to be a position, because two positions are actually one position, and it’s the wrong position…

    Why all the bother about not bothering with bother?

    As Rachel writes, “We are pressured, socially, to associate ourselves with meaningless causes that give us status points. Holding the most socially progressive viewpoint in the room is a valuable commodity here in the United States of Groupthink. There is nothing genuine to see here. People know that equality simply does not exist. Yet the facade, somehow, remains. Call it a survival instinct.”

    Enough of this gestalt rambling: What kind of equality? Equality before the law? Income equality? Tax equality? Is this a legal or economic concern? Not every kind of “equality” has the same sense in the same context, so tell us which equality you’re concerned with before telling us not to be so concerned with it.

    She’s demanding that we reject “this thing X” or be posers, because the thoughtless posers, the go-alongs, the courtesans, are too concerned with what they reject. So reject all the fashionable rejecting you’re doing. But, if these dilettantes really are useless and idiotic by being such posers, why are you and Rachel pleading with them to come over to your camp?

    All this shame-game does is name Hipsters as the whipping boy so the author can play the martinet, scolding “ignorant sheep” for their lack of counter-culture style, proving her sense of style transcendent to theirs. We score style points if we emulate her. The author elevates her perceived status with reverse psychology, advocating “the cause of no cause” (very Zen, or Fight Club maybe).

    Try as she might, she still can’t divide by zero. If the defining characteristic of the “hipster” threat is their endless capacity for concern with “who the posers are”, let’s just avoid the whole mess by not being concerned with who the posers are.

    Problem pretty much solved at that point.

    • alizardx

      One major error of fact showed up at first glance
      :
      It requires the equivalent of several months’ income at minimum wage to afford the cost and fees associated with gun ownership.

      Mossberg 500 Super Bantam Shotgun $329.99 – $429.99

      Found it here. Reputable manufacturer, well-known model of gun. US gun owners will recognize this as a typical price range, a trip to a local gun shop might find one used cheaper.

      380/7.25 (real US minimum wage)=52 hours That’s <2 weeks of 8 hour days after taxes. What was that about "several months" again?

      Your choice of an AR-15- you were looking for a really expensive gun for a "typical" example. You thought nobody would notice?

      What other lies, errors of facts, and distortions do your post contain?

      Really don’t care. If you screw up on information that’s as easily checked in the issue I bring up, it’s not worth shoveling through your crap to find the rest.

    • alizardx

      One major error of fact showed up at first glance
      :
      It requires the equivalent of several months’ income at minimum wage to afford the cost and fees associated with gun ownership.

      Mossberg 500 Super Bantam Shotgun $329.99 – $429.99

      Found it here. Reputable manufacturer, well-known model of gun. US gun owners will recognize this as a typical price range, a trip to a local gun shop might find one used cheaper.

      380/7.25 (real US minimum wage)=52 hours That’s <2 weeks of 8 hour days after taxes. What was that about "several months" again?

      Your choice of an AR-15- you were looking for a really expensive gun for a "typical" example. You thought nobody would notice?

      What other lies, errors of facts, and distortions do your post contain?

      Really don’t care. If you screw up on information that’s as easily checked in the issue I bring up, it’s not worth shoveling through your crap to find the rest.

      • Zampano Poniatovii

        “Extracting your signal from your noise”?

        Can you check my Thetan levels too?

        Look, you mentioned gun owners were a vulnerable minority, and compared them to sex workers and Muslims; that’s not something “you and Rachel never said”; that’s EXACTLY what you said.

        The topic of gun ownership is kind of non-sequitor. The focus of your article, and the focus of my previous reply, was not on gun ownership. Gun owners being called a “vulnerable minority” was just something absurd I noted in passing. You’ve chosen to bring it up again as an excuse to dismiss my comments, so I’ll accept the challenge and reply, because it’s a perfect example of the kind of distorted claims you make:

        You said:
        “Mossberg 500 Super Bantam Shotgun $329.99 – $429.99 …US gun owners will recognize this as a typical price range, a trip to a local gun shop might find one used cheaper.”

        Naming a gun that’s cheaper than the example I gave does not prove your point that gun owners are a vulnerable “minority”. It doesn’t refute my claim that gun ownership requires substantial income, or that they are actually a sizable majority of the population.

        The AR-15 is arguably a “typical” rifle. It’s price can range from $395-$4000, so it’s a low, middle, and high-end item. It’s estimated that roughly 5 million exist in private ownership; that’s not a small “minority” population of owners.

        *Examples of AR-15 price ranges: http://www.gunbroker.com/Semi-Auto-Rifles/BI.aspx?Keywords=AR-15&BuyNowOnly=1&Sort=4&PageIndex=2&Tab=2

        Showing me that only ONE month of income is necessary to buy the cheapest piece of sh*t Mossberg in the pawn shop, does not render my claim of “several months income” a “steaming pile of bullsh*t”. It’s just a non-sequitor; even if advanced rifles were $5.00 each, it would still be irrelevant because having a gun doesn’t make you low-income.

        Being low-income makes you “disadvantaged” and “vulnerable”; gun ownership does not.

        Being roughly 45-50% of the population means we can’t consider gun owners a voting “minority”. So, what sense of the term “minority” still applies?

        You wrote:
        “What other lies, errors of facts, and distortions do your post contain? Really don’t care. If you screw up on information that’s as easily checked in the issue I bring up, it’s not worth shoveling through your crap to find the rest.”

        My reply:
        Well, I took your writing seriously enough to scrutinize your claims and “facts”. That’s what you’ve been asking others to do in replies before mine. I take everyone’s writing seriously enough to scrutinize it, it’s just a respect thing. I just wonder why you bother to write publicly, if you can’t be bothered to pay attention when your readers give you critical feedback.

  • http://twitter.com/polfilmblog Political Film Blog

    Obama isn’t “progressive” in any meaningful measure. I don’t think he’s ever even self-labeled as such. Extremely deluded non-Republicans read into Obama’s gibberish all sorts of wishful ideas. Obama himself is nothing but a creation of the elites, a Military Industiral Wall Street Complex Frankenstein of the most dangerous order. Everything he does is designed to get Rethugs on board so that the elites can most effectively ream the world up its ass with their glorious super hyper drone technology, on every front, in every sphere. It is the great dismantling of civil society in favor of totalitarian control: fascism. You have no alternative, and you won’t be given one in the future… ever.

  • Zampano Poniatovii

    I took some time to reflect on my previous posts, and realized that opening with all the criticisms I had was probably not the most constructive way to reply.

    For that, I apologize to you alizardx, (and to Rachel).

    On further introspection, I realize that I do appreciate gist of your observation that there exists a kind of equivalency between “progressives” and the “Tea Party”. There’s definitely a populist flavor to both, and that populism serves as a marketing gimmick. Maybe not “progressives” as much as the Occupy movement incarnation of progressivism; and maybe not “paleo-conservatives” as much as the Tea Party movement as an incarnation of that school of thought.

    There seems to be no politics without a marketing gimmick anymore; no movement without, cups, t-shirts, DVD’s, expensive conferences and workshops. Not even here in the backwaters of the Conspiritainment Complex; populist movements, more than anything, are merchandising startups, or small businesses for personality promotion. Just another way to get your own show on RT.

    The “whole game of labels” phenomenon that this article evokes, reminded me of the kind of conversations I often have with Ron Paul supporters and other conservative libertarians. They’re fond of reminding us that “this is a Republic, not a democracy; democracy is mob-rule”.

    They’re also fond of leaving out the fact that a Republic is just a kind of aristocracy (rule by a few), one that, in an advanced stage of decline, devolves into intense competition between corrupt factions. Towards it’s inevitable implosion, such a government is best referred to as “oppressive Oligarchy” (but conservatarians casually leave that out). That being said, “Ochlocracy” is the correct term for mobocracy, or a wholly unregulated “libertarian democracy” in which the “people are the government” (see the Reign of Terror, and its quadriplegic baby brother Occupy). Occupy, with its “affinity groups” and their uber creepy forms of rigid discussion and voting — for all it’s good intentions — was just a sad, inhibited, passive-aggressive version of mobocracy.

    Both groups — including the thinktanks, PR firms, and political parties who exploit them for profit — definitely feed us populist nonsense, for the ultimate benefit of an elite few hiding behind the curtains.

    Conclusion:
    More low-income people should consider buying Mossbergs and AR-15s.

  • David Howe

    probably not