Anti-Socialist Tendencies

Thursday, February 12, 2004
George Bush: Cloned Alien Caesar

The latest gems from my peculiar friend:

Claim: Dick Cheney's whereabouts during the 9/11 attacks are officially unknown, the reason being that he was off personally piloting the aircraft by remote control into the buildings.

Claim: George Bush Jr. is a bioengineered clone of George Bush Sr.. The evidence? "They look so much alike," and powerful world leaders have access to all sorts of Secret Advanced Technology.

Claim: President George Bush is a direct descendent of Roman Emperor Julius Caesar. The evidence? Bush "looks just like him" if you picture him in a toga, and like Caesar he's trying to take over the world. Also, on a TV show someone referred to the Bush Family as "blue bloods," which of course is a codeword for Reptilians, of which Julius Caesar was one.

Response: No comments this time, I'm just posting these because they are too hilarious to pass up. (And no, I'm not making these claims up!)

(Previous entry in this series)

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Roger Kimball of The New Criterion offers his thoughts on the moral challenges of our accelerating technological powers. Some excerpts:

It is a mistake to dismiss out of hand either side of the argument: those who worry about genetic engineering, or those who worry about the worriers. Consider the plus side. The therapeutic promise of genetic engineering is more than enormous: it is staggering....

....Granted the enormous contribution of science and technology to human happiness in the last couple of hundred years, how can we be sure that period was "a typical specimen of the effect of scientific progrss on human happiness"? Perhaps, Stove suggests, it was "a lucky accident" and we have now "returned to the state, historically the more usual one, in which any progress that knowledge makes does not much increase either human happiness or misery? Have we entered a period in which scientific progress will enormously increase misery?" No one knows the answer to these questions, but it would be silly to dismiss them out of hand.

....Science and technology have brought us so many extraordinary advances that one is tempted to close one's eyes take a leap of faith when it comes to technology.... It is impossible, I think, for any rational person to say "No" to science and technology. The benefits are simply too compelling.

But can we afford to acquiesce and simply say "Yes"? Are there lines to be drawn, limits to be respected? If so, where do we find the criteria for drawing those lines and limits? There is no simple or pat answer to such questions. Perhaps the one thing that is certain is that we are operating here in a realm beyond certainty....

There are two dangers. One is the danger of technophobia: retreating from science and technology because of the moral enormities it makes possible. The other, more prevalent danger, is technophilia, best summed up in the belief that "if it can be done, it may be done." There are many things that we can do that we ought not do. As science and technology develop, we find ourselves wielding ever greater power. The dark side of power is the temptation to forget its limitation.

We had better start answering these questions fast, because the freight train keeps speeding down the track...


ode to my significant material accident
(imagined love poem of an atheist)

by carl e. olson delightful material accident,
whose form and shape i cannot resist,
how i long to express my emotions,
even though they really don’t exist.

we are chaotic sputters of the universe,
crossing paths, yet without fate -
since an empirically measured reality,
is the only thing I cannot hate.

we two containers of this human gene,
keep evolving from the primordial muck,
while looking into the others’ corneas,
sipping hot Sumatra at Starbucks.

occasionally a stirring begins inside,
an irrational urge to celebrate,
but reality is made by thought alone -
and love is what I cannot cerebrate.

thus the sum of what I see in you,
is exactly that and nothing more,
atoms, flesh, ten fingers and a smile,
for whom I always try to get the door.

ah...brown hair, blue eyes and rosy cheeks,
how odd that molecules can look so fine!
how I must resist the insanity I feel,
and re-read some Sagan one more time!

© Carl E. Olson 2003

* With apologies to Eve.

(Via E-Pression)


Here's an amusing article on Juan Posadas, Trotskyist revolutionary and paranormal enthusiast. Combining his Marx with the X-Files, he proferred apocalyptic nuclear war as the ultimate tool for ushering in the communist utopia, saw UFOs as the pinnacle of intergalactic communism, and thrilled to the possibilities of communication with dolphins. Not to be missed.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

In case you didn't notice, I despise the Sixties, but also admire a now-chastened figure of that time, David Horowitz. Given that combination I couldn't pass up reading the book that he and Peter Collier wrote about the Sixties, Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts About the '60s. Written after both had firmly rejected the Left (first edition in 1989, the one I read), it offers a loose collection of personal and group portraits, polemical histories, and autobiographical reflections.

The first section, "The Dancers and the Dance," begins with a sympathetic portrait of Fay Stender, an idealistic and naïve radical lawyer who defended the Black Panthers and their ilk. Too sheltered and callow to realize her clients' ingrained criminality and its significance, her romantic foolishness was ultimately thanked with a hail of bullets that left her severely disabled. Having lost the support she might otherwise have had due to listening to the lies of the counterculture about relationships and life, the trauma and disillusion of the incident soon led to suicide. Misguided as she was, Stender at least had my sympathy, unlike the people next discussed: The Weathermen. The antics of this repulsive group of lunatics left me almost physically ill, especially with knowing that surviving members such as Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers have never renounced their actions. The remaining chapters are less interesting explorations of veterans and criminality.

The second section, "Second Thoughts," moves on to polemical histories. Most interesting was "Radical Innocence, Radical Guilt," which discusses the Left's sidestepping of the bloody aftermath of the US withdrawal from Vietnam and later atrocities by its beloved Third World revolutionaries. It contains an extended critique of Noam Chomsky which is excerpted here. Truly damning stuff. The chapter also quotes this statement Che Guevara made on July 11, 1964 (presumably in Cuba) that I simply have to repeat:

We continue to speak of the small farmer, the poor, small farmer, and we never say that the farmer, no matter how poor and small he is, manifestly generates capitalism.... It is very true that the campesino has been the pillar of the Revolution, that he was always in favor of it, that he fought in the Sierra, that he was one of the first to join the Rebel Army. In spite of all this, he must be eliminated.

Somehow I don't think we'll be seeing that on the back of those trendy Che t-shirts any time soon...

There is also a wryly amusing chapter on how Leftists have wrecked the once quiet and prosperous town of Berkeley from the Sixties through the present. See my previous post for a taste of it. Another passage also caught my eye, this time regarding the Leftist Berkeley activists' cynical use of the student vote to forward their schemes:

Members of the Berkeley Citizens' Action saw that they could take power if they were able to use this sort of thinking to exploit the divisions that already existed in the city and to forge a constituency of former Sixties politicos, environmentalists, street people, and neighborhood activists. To these the late Seventies added the most important group of all, UC students -- transient, without roots or responsibilities in the community -- who were especially susceptible to intoxicating rhetoric and idealistic appeals. It took time for them to realize it, but the radicals have been given their victory when eighteen-year-olds were given the vote: this was the key to a majority coalition that would support the vision of expropriated wealth and slow-motion class warfare articulated in The Cities' Wealth.

This is exactly what I've seen here the last few years in our County elections, with liberals trying to secure the potentially tens of thousands of votes the campus represents to catapult into power over the sizable conservative constituency in the rest of the county. North county activists, who are mainly vintners and farmers, are in fact frequently heard blaming the campus vote for electing officials who screw them over.

The third section, "Self Portraits," are autobiographical essays by Collier and Horowitz. These would be a good inclusion in any case since they personalize the events of the time, but are especially worthwhile because they describe the realizations and reflections that led these two to first reconsider and then abandon their membership in the Left. I had already read Horowitz' section as (if I remember correctly) it is included in his autobiography Radical Son, but Collier's piece was new and perhaps the more interesting of the two.

Overall, the book is a good read, and a fascinating way to delve into the mindset of Sixties radicalism. It is also very timely in that, not at all surprisingly, it is a not-too-distant mirror of the attitudes and rhetoric seen on the Left since the September 11 attacks. It is yet more evidence suggesting that the anti-war crowd is indeed a combination of aging Sixties holdovers and their naive youthful admirers.

Destructive Generation also repeatedly brought back to me the wisdom to be found in Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France, as exemplified by passages from Burke such as this one on the revolutionary mindset:

Something they must destroy, or they seem to themselves to exist for no purpose. One set is for destroying the civil power through the ecclesiastical; another, for demolishing the ecclesiastic through the civil. They are aware that the worst consequences might happen to the public in accomplishing this double ruin of church and state; but they are so heated with their theories, that they give more than hints, that this ruin, with all the mischiefs that must lead to it and attend it, and which to themselves appear quite certain, would not be unacceptable to them, or very remote from their wishes. A man amongst them of great authority, and certainly of great talents, speaking of a supposed alliance between church and state says, "perhaps we must wait for the fall of the civil powers before this most unnatural alliance be broken. Calamitous no doubt will that time be. But what convulsion in the political world ought to be a subject of lamentation, if it be attended with so desirable an effect?" You see with what a steady eye these gentlemen are prepared to view the greatest calamities which can befall their country....

Plots, massacres, assassinations, seem to some people a trivial price for obtaining a revolution. Cheap, bloodless reformation, a guiltless liberty, appear flat and vapid to their taste. There must be a great change of scene; there must be a magnificent stage effect; there must be a grand spectacle to rouse the imagination, grown torpid with the lazy enjoyment of sixty years’ security and the still unanimating repose of public prosperity....

Perhaps if the Sixties generation had read more Burke and less Mao and Fanon, we would not be faced with still trying to recover from all the destruction they wrought.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

One can document the civic decline caused by the radical assault on Berkeley by meticulous study of the archives of the last quarter-century... Or one can simply take a stroll through People's Park, a place that has always symbolized the radical dream. A great many fatuous statements have been made about this place, both at the time when it caused a municipal apocalypse and since. (In a recent book, Berkeley activist Todd Gitlin called it a little piece of "anarchist heaven on earth... the one tantalizing trace of the good society.") Yet to visit People's Park now is to see the radical dream revealed for what it is: a place ruled by the desperate and the derelict -- not just the beaten and disoriented homeless but an underclass of predators who appear especially after nightfall.

The Berkeley police department must periodically issue warnings urging students to be careful when going near this place, because of the threat of muggings and rape. The fittest who have survived here are not hippie horticulturalists planting peace, love, and good vibes, but drug dealers taking care of business.

--- Peter Collier and David Horowitz, Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts About the '60s