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I call my wife my wifi.

Sometimes she works in the kitchen and sometimes she works in the garden.

And I'm pretty sure on the weekend and in the evening my neighbor uses her.



Yankee Stadium became a vaccination site last weekend. Out of habit, Red Sox fans immediately started yelling, "Vaccine's suck!"

Sheriff's deputies in Austin discovered $2.7-million worth of meth hidden inside printer cartridges. This also explains why everything was printing so quickly.

So, is it Tampa? Or Tampa Bay? Did someone get offended by the word ‘Bay'?

These days when we call into work, we say things like, "Yeah, we've got a lot of snow here and I having a real hard time getting out... ..of bed."

Kevin Hart's personal shopper used his credit card to make over $1 million in unauthorized purchases. On the positive side, that earned Kevin quite a bit of cash back!

Acne caused by wearing a mask has a name: Maskne! Probably invented by the same people who came up with the word for folks who caught COVID from Miley Cyrus: corona-Cyrus.

Today is the Chinese New Year-the Year of the Ox. Which, coincidentally, is my most often-spelled word in "Words with Friends."

The NBA is now requiring teams to play the National Anthem prior to games. Of course, there are some who won't stand for it.


A kid is playing video games in his room, minding his business.

His mother walks in. "Honey, come meet my new boyfriend!"

"I'm kind of busy right now. Can you bring him in here instead?"

A minute or so later, her boyfriend walks in. "Hey, champ! How you doing?"

The kid ignores him.

"Don't like champ, huh? That's fine. How about BlueDragon72?"

The kid turns his head quickly. "I haven't heard that name since I was ten..." He then realized. "It can't be.."

"Call of Duty, right? I told you I'd bang your mom."


In a historic move, the U.S. Senate decided to switch to voting by mail for Trump's second impeachment trial. After all the votes were counted by an intern in a back room with no cameras, the Senate ruled to convict President Trump of incitement to violence by a vote of 8275 to 3.

"Our holy democracy has spoken," said Senator Chuck Schumer. "Do not ask any questions or you are a blasphemer against the sacred sacredness of our vote. Everyone can go home now!"

A couple of troublemaking Senators attempted to overthrow the Constitution by bringing up the point that there are only 100 Senators, making it impossible to arrive at a tally of 8275 to 3, but they were quickly removed from the Senate Chambers and condemned for "attempting to suppress the votes of people of color."


Top 5 Signs that Cupid is Mad At You

He's using real arrows. That hurt!

He only gives you the candy hearts that say, "Bite me!"

Leaves you one of his old diapers.

Uses his special powers to get you on the TV show, "The Bachelor: Leper Edition".

Left you a Valentine that says "Please open away from people" on the envelope.

Quote of the Times;
Anytime the right organizes an event in real life it ends with the entrapment and imprisonment of good people with good intentions who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. When the left organizes the burning down of our cities for an entire summer they are rewarded with billions from corporations, praise from government, and glowing media support. How does everyone not see this? - Torba

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Issue of the Times;
Cats And Dogs

Anyone who has had a cat knows that the cat takes a certain pleasure in the acquisition of its food. Put food down for the dog and the dog eats the food. Put food down for the cat and it will saunter up to the dish and maybe sample a little, then take a break to watch the dish for a while, before returning for some more food. A bug gets loose in the house and the dog will just eat it, but the cat will torment the thing to death. One animal is all about the process, while the other is about the result.

This difference is something to keep in mind as America descends into the woke totalitarianism of our diversity loving masters. It is assumed that totalitarianism leads to labor camps and people disappearing in the night. Those are the examples we have from our history. The communists liked sending the uncooperative to work camps, while the fascist like shooting the inconvenient. In both cases, the point was to remove the problem and discourage others from being a problem.

Those old school totalitarians were dog people. Just as the dog is happy to eat when hungry, without thinking much about how the food was made available to him, the old totalitarians took an end justifies the means approach to exercising power. Problem people were like any other sort of problem. The point was to solve the problem, which in the case of people meant making them go away. No man, no problem. How the problem felt about what was happening was of no consideration.

Our new totalitarians turn all of this on its head. Like the cat and his food, or his prey in the case of an unfortunate insect, the end is not really the point. It is not about removing the obstacles to their project, in order to achieve some end. The dealing with the problem is the end. In the case of the poor unfortunate who has run afoul of the rulers, the point of the process is submitting the troublemaker to endless torment that has no purpose beyond the pleasure of the tormentor.

Take the doxing business as an example. The people who do this are not trying to make the victim go away, any more than the cat wants the wayward cricket to go away. To the contrary, they hope the victim will cry out in agony and make his misery into a long-drawn-out public performance. They revel in seeing the victim moan about how his PayPal was deleted or how he lost his job. For the army of the woke, the suffering of the victim and the fame for inflicting that suffering is what matters.

When the victim simply kills off his internet character, the doxers have a problem as they do not have that living trophy to show off on-line. They are forced to go onto their social media platforms and imagine how the victim is suffering. We are not far away from a time when Twitter or Facebook start creating scapegoat accounts for the anointed to attack as a part of their rituals. Instead of relying on a real person to be the victim, they will conjure a fake one that plays the victim properly.

Of course, in every totalitarian society, the people eventually figure out the rules in order to avoid the boot. That was the point of the old totalitarian model. In the new totalitarian model, the rules will constantly change so it is nearly impossible to avoid the wrath of the official tormentors. After all, like the cat tormenting its prey, the new totalitarians care only for the process. Like an engine needs fuel, the new totalitarians need a constant supply of victims to torment.

An excellent example of this is the Covid madness. When it all started, the point was to slow the spread so the hospitals would not be too crowded. We had two weeks to flatten the curve, but after two weeks the rules changed. The rules keep changing as the rulers find new ways to torment us, causing people to go into the streets to protest the new torments, to the delight of the tormentors. Covid has revealed that the new totalitarians are little more than sadists.

What this means, of course, is that there will be not settling into a set of fixed rules as happened in communist societies. We do not know if this would have happened in certain fascist societies, but the experience of Franco’s Spain, Salazar’s Portugal and Pinochet’s Chile suggest the fascists would have settled into a conservative system of fixed rules. The new system, in contrast, will be perpetually disrupting this tendency in order to perpetuate the necessary disorderliness.

The question is whether any society can go on very long when the rules are constantly changing in order to give the Torquemada’s more victims. A bedrock requirement for any society is a set of rules to govern conduct. In order to have an organization of humans greater than the Dunbar number means having a code and a way to enforce that code in order to make the code a habit of mind. This is what we think of when we think of culture. The rules we live by because we just do.

We are already seeing problems with the Covid madness. The ever-changing rules are making life impossible for small business. In some areas, whole swaths of the economy have collapsed. Of course, the religious aspects to compliance are pitting people against one another. The new totalitarians are creating a Hobbesian world where it is a war of all against all, not for limited resources, but due to the deliberate cacophony of every changing rules that have no logic.

The good news, if there is any, is that totalitarianism has diminishing returns, as the cost of maintaining it eventually dwarfs the benefits. Initially it seems to work pretty well, but over time the costs become unsustainable. This new totalitarianism is especially front loaded, almost accelerationist. It is destroying every reason for people to remain loyal to the system. Instead of carrying on for several generations, the new totalitarianism will be lucky to make it past this decade.

News of the Times;
My dentist reminded me of my wife's sensitive gag reflex.

We laughed and laughed.

Then I remembered that my wife and I have different dentists.


The other night I was expecting an important phone call, so I slept with my mobile under the pillow.

When I woke up, it was gone and there was just a shiny new fifty pence piece where I'd left it.

Damn that blue-tooth fairy!


Biden's transition team has announced they will be appointing an all-female communications team. According to sources, the team will not tell the nation what's wrong, since the nation should already know.

"It's fine. Everything's fine. Nothing's wrong, OK!?" said Jen Psaki in her first press conference as a part of Biden's team. "Why would you think I'm not fine? Ugh... if you have to ask, I'm not going to tell you."

Insiders close to Biden say the communications team will hold periodic press conferences where they will just glare at reporters with an icy look and make them try to guess what's wrong. If the reporters fail to understand their highly advanced non-verbal communication, they will smile sweetly and walk out of the room before slamming the door as hard as they can.

"This is a huge step for this country," said Communication Director Kate Bedingfield to reporters. "We need to move beyond archaic and male-centric methods of communication that use things like clear language and written words. We hope this will help deepen the country's level of intimacy with the Biden administration and open up new channels of understanding and communication."

The press has been frantically buying flowers, chocolates, and jewelry for the communications team in hopes of receiving some clue as to what the heck is going on. The team responded by rolling their eyes and going to bed early due to a really bad headache.


I said to my son, "You really need to start checking your pockets before you put your jeans in the washing machine."

He said, "Why, have you found some money?"

"No,” I said, “just your hamster."


Doctor : This new vaccine is perfectly harmless.

Me : You said that about Thalidomide.

Doctor : No we said armless.

Quote of the Times;
Don't ever take a fence down, until you know the reason why it was put up. – G.K. Chesterton

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Testing The "Systemic Racism" Narrative by Francis Menton

How do you establish that a hypothesis is true? According to numerous explainers of the scientific method, starting with philosopher Karl Popper, the best you can do is to try to prove the hypothesis false, and fail. By this method — the scientific method — you can never definitively establish “truth” of a hypothesis, but over time you can get close.

Of course, we now live in the era of official narratives permanently immunized from attempts at falsification, nevertheless incorrectly claiming the mantle of “science.” The big three for this crazy year of 2020 are (1) the proposition that forced “lockdowns” and mask-wearing mandates slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus, (2) the proposition that human greenhouse gas emissions are causing dangerous increase in global surface temperatures, and (3) the proposition that income and wealth inequality are the result of “systemic racism” in our society. Proponents flood us with information consistent with these narratives, as if such information, if only provided in sufficient quantity, could prove their truth. But if we are really interested in getting as close as possible to the truth, shouldn’t we instead be looking for information inconsistent with the narratives?

Here is the exposition of the scientific method from physicist Richard Feynman from his classic series of recorded lectures:

We compute the consequences of the [hypothesis], to see what, if this is right, if this law we guess is right, to see what it would imply and then we compare the computation results to nature or we say compare to experiment or experience, compare it directly with observations to see if it works. If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. . . .

For today, let’s consider applying this logical method to testing one of this year’s big three narratives, namely the narrative that “systemic racism” is the principal explanation for disparities of income and wealth in our society. Following Feynman’s exposition, our first step would be to come up with some of the necessary consequences of this hypothesis, so that they can be tested. For example, if the “systemic racism” hypothesis is correct, surely that would imply that all sub-groups of non-white races would rank lower than whites in measures of income and wealth. Remarkably, in hundreds of pieces in dozens of sources railing about the evils of systemic racism in the U.S., you almost never find anyone considering this kind of a test of the narrative.

Now along comes a guy named Rav Arora with a piece on December 22 at Quillette, headline “A Peculiar Kind of Racist Patriarchy.” Arora takes exactly the approach that the scientific method would suggest, testing the “systemic racism” narrative by seeing whether actual data support or refute its logical consequences. Arora’s piece is filled with dozens of examples of data that are simply inconsistent with the “systemic racism” narrative. I’ll give just a few examples:

• Based on newly released statistics from the US Department of Labor for the third quarter of 2020 . . ., Asian women have now surpassed white men in weekly earnings. That trend has been consistent throughout this past year—an unprecedented outcome. Full-time working Asian women earned $1,224 in median weekly earnings in the third quarter of this year compared to $1,122 earned by their white male counterparts.
• Copious research finds that ethnic minorities and women frequently eclipse their white and male counterparts, even when these identities intersect. Several ethnic minority groups consistently out-perform whites in a variety of categories—higher test scores, lower incarceration rates, and longer life expectancies. According to the latest data from the US Census Bureau, over the 12 months covered by the survey, the median household incomes of Syrian Americans ($74,047), Korean Americans ($76,674), Indonesian Americans ($93,501), Taiwanese Americans ($102,405), and Filipino Americans ($100,273) are all significantly higher than that of whites ($69,823).
• Valerie Wilson at the Economic Policy Institute reports that from 2018 to 2019, Asian and black households had the highest rate of median income growth (10.6 percent and 8.5 percent, respectively) of all main racial groups.
• Despite the greater oppression black women supposedly face compared to white women, a much-publicized 2018 study featured in the New York Times found that black women had slightly higher incomes than white women raised in families with comparable earnings.

This is just a small sample. Mr. Arora’s Quillette piece goes on at great length. There are also additional data that Mr. Arora does not get to, including that median household income for some black ethnic subgroups exceeds the median household income for white Americans. As examples, per the American Community Survey for 2018, the median household income for white Americans was $65,777; but Nigerian-Americans had median household income of $68,658, and Ghanaian-Americans had median household income of $66,571.

Don’t expect the purveyors of the “systemic racism” narrative to be trying to deal with these contradictions any time soon. It’s too easy just to play to progressive guilt, and assume that no one will really bother to check the readily-available data for things that completely undermine the narrative.

News of the Times;
A homeless person tried to sell me a marble today for $5 saying it brings good luck to all who possess it.

Judging by his piss stained trousers and bare feet, his interpretation of good luck seems somewhat different to mine.


It was my wife's birthday and she rang me to see what time I would be home.

"Can't talk" I said, "I'm driving."

"Where are you?" she asked.

She wasn't happy when I said the 7th tee.


An overly cautious Dungeons & Dragons party is reportedly still lingering in the Purple Pig Tavern, the location where their campaign began 10 weekly sessions ago, a frustrated source confirmed.

“We ruled out the front door by session three. Could a trap be any more obvious than that?” said Mark Nathansen, rolling a persuasion check to determine if the innkeeper would give his character a discount on weekly room rates. “And the back door is almost certainly a portal to the underdark summoned by the main villain this campaign may or may not have. The cook told us he’d pay us to kill the giant rats in the backyard, but nobody insight checked him! How can we be sure he isn’t a red dragon in disguise? Nice try, but I’m not falling for that one.”

After failing the persuasion check, Nathensen began to inquire whether there were any open positions on the tavern waitstaff.

“I’m at my wit’s end with these fuckers,” said Terri Moss, the Dungeon Master for the campaign which began over 2 months ago. “The investigation checks to search for traps under every chair were cute at first, but after three sessions they were still insight checking the bartender to figure out if the ale was poisoned. Why would I try to poison them in the starting area?”

“At one point during the eighth session, I had an NPC literally offer the party a hundred gold each just to go outside and check the weather,” Moss continued. “Boy, was that a mistake. My players spent the next two hours asking me questions about the gold coin exchange rates in the region before their characters would even respond.”

At press time, the players were arguing amongst themselves about the likelihood they had spent the past ten sessions inside a giant, tavern-shaped mimic.


Joseph Stalin and my wife have the same birthday.

It's crazy to think that such a loathsome figure, who ruined the lives of so many people shares the same birthday as Stalin.


The woman I was on a date with last night clearly thinks she can do better than me.

When the waiter asked if she had any reservations I heard her saying "well he's not as funny as he thinks he is and he's a bit short but he'll do for now."

Quote of the Times;
"Anonymous pamphlets, leaflets, brochures and even books have played an important role in the progress of mankind. Persecuted groups and sects from time to time throughout history have been able to criticize oppressive practices and laws either anonymously or not at all." - Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, Talley v. California, 362 U.S. 60 (1960)

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Why Are Modern Debates on Morality So Shrill? by Brett and Kate McKay

It’s hard not to notice that in interactions both online and off, people seem increasingly polarized when it comes to political, social justice, and moral and ethical issues of all kinds. Rather than engaging in a civil discussion, debates turn into emotionally-charged flame wars, marked by blame, shame, and the exchange of insults. Such interactions are acrimonious, seemingly interminable, and markedly shrill.

What accounts for the tenor of these melees on morality?

Some astute observers have posited that our political and social positions have become more fervent as society has become more secular. People seem to have an ingrained penchant for the “religious” — a proclivity to draw lines between us and them, the pure and the polluted, doctrine and heresy, the unconverted and the woke — and in the absence of traditional faith-based outlets for these energies, have channeled these “religious” impulses towards partisan politics.

There’s surely something to this theory. But the shrillness of our modern debates on morality has an even deeper underlying cause.

The 3 Elements of a Rational, Functional Moral Culture

In After Virtue, philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre argues that Aristotelian virtue ethics offers the best model of a healthy and well-functioning moral system; its strength, he asserts, is the presence of three elements — all of which must be in place for any moral system to thrive:

1. Man-as-he-happens-to-be.

This is a human being in his raw, morally untutored state. This is man left to his own devices and allowed to follow his default impulses. Man on the path of least resistance.

2. A view of man-as-he-could-be-if-he-realized-his-telos.

Telos is the Greek word for man’s ultimate aim. It represents his ultimate purpose and function — an essential nature that can only be realized by throwing off the inertia of default desires and actively striving after it.

For the ancient Greeks, a man’s telos was reaching a state of eudaimonia; a word that is hard to translate but means something akin to happiness, excellence — full human flourishing. For Aristotle specifically, eudaimonia meant not only possessing good character, but achieving excellence in action. Virtue was both the goal and the practice — the end man should strive for, and the active means of attaining that end.

For Aristotle, a “good man” was as functional and objective a concept as a “good watch” or a “good musician.” A good watch accurately tells time; a good musician plays his instrument well; and a good man fulfills his purpose as a man. Each statement, the philosopher would say, is equally objective and factual.

3. An ethical code that allows a man to move from state #1 to state #2.

Man-as-he-happens-to-be and man-if-he-realized-his-telos are antagonistic states — one slides into the lowest and easiest, while the other aims for the noblest and highest.

To transition from the former to the latter — to access one’s full potential — you need to adopt certain behaviors and habits of action. What behaviors and actions to take are prescribed by a set of ethics that are specifically designed to move you from state #1 to state #2. The code lays out which virtues will take you towards your telos, and conversely, which vices will stymie your progress in reaching it. As MacIntyre explains:

“The precepts which enjoin the various virtues and prohibit the vices which are their counterparts instruct us how to move from potentiality to act, how to realize our true nature and to reach our true end. To defy them will be to be frustrated and incomplete, to fail to achieve that good of rational happiness which it is peculiarly ours as a species to pursue.”

Although we can describe this set of moral precepts as an ethical code, it should not be thought of, at least in the context of Aristotelianism, as primarily a set of rules. As MacIntyre observes, “the most obvious and astonishing absence from Aristotle’s thought for any modern reader” is that “there is relatively little mention of rules anywhere in the Ethics.” In the absence of strict, rote, universal rules, Aristotle instead argued for the cultivation of a kind of master virtue which would aid a man in acquiring all the rest: phronesis, or practical wisdom. As a virtue in one context can be a vice in another (e.g., being frugal vs. being cheap), a man needed phronesis to guide him in doing the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason.

Each of the three elements above “requires reference to the other two if its status and function are to be intelligible.” The combination of the three produces a moral culture that is not only functional, but rational.

Such a moral code is rational in the sense that there is a logical relationship between is and ought. That is, if your telos is X, we can objectively say that you ought to do Y, and you ought not to do Z, in order to reach it. To achieve this end, you must adopt these means.

While this threefold scheme can form the basis of a personal moral code, Aristotle specifically imagined his system of virtue ethics in the context of community (in his case, the Greek city-state). Individuals aim to fulfill their telos as men, while pointing that effort towards what MacIntyre calls a “shared project of achieving a common good” (for Aristotle, for example, reaching one’s telos was closely tied to being a good citizen and contributing to Athenian democracy). Within a community with a common telos, rules are erected that prohibit negative behaviors that would be destructive to the efforts and relationships necessary to achieving its shared project, while virtues — positive traits of character that move the community closer to that common good — are celebrated and encouraged. The rules cannot be understood apart from the virtues at which they aim; the former are not arbitrary, but designed to facilitate the greater flourishing of the latter.

The same 3-part moral framework also exists within the Abrahamic religions, only, as MacIntyre explains, shaded a bit differently:

“The precepts of ethics now have to be understood not only as teleological injunctions, but also as expressions of a divinely ordained law. The table of virtues and vices has to be amended and added to and a concept of sin is added to the Aristotelian concept of error. The law of God requires a new kind of respect and awe. The true end of man can no longer be completely achieved in this world, but only in another. Yet the threefold structure of untutored human-nature-as-it-happens-to-be, human-nature-as-it-could-be-if-it-realized-its-telos and the precepts of rational ethics as the means for the transition from one to the other remains central.”

For the religious adherent, one’s telos wasn’t eudaimonia (at least as Aristotle understood it), but salvation — being transformed into a creature divinely made perfect.

The Fate of a Moral Culture Without a Shared Telos

Over several centuries, and for complex reasons, a teleologically-based moral system eroded in the West.

As MacIntyre succinctly summarizes, “the joint effect of the secular rejection of both Protestant and Catholic theology and the scientific and philosophical rejection of Aristotelianism was to eliminate any notion of man-as-he-could-be-if-he-realized-his-telos.”

The idea of having an ultimate aim survives on a personal level (though scarcely few people seem to think of themselves as having a telos, or know what theirs is). But on a broad, cultural level, Western societies no longer share a telos in common. The kind of moral system outlined above can really only function in a fairly homogeneous community of limited size; as a society grows increasingly large and diverse, people no longer share the same telos (or have a concept of telos at all), nor a project of common good that the telos supports. Thus in our own culture, many competing teloi exist, or are absent altogether.

Yet, we still retain the other two pieces of classical morality: man-as-he-happens-to-be and a set of ethics. Witness the effect this creates:

The moral code which was specifically created to move man-as-he-happens-to-be towards his telos, now hangs in space, detached from a larger purpose.

There is only man in his raw state, and a code of behavior he is to follow. But, in the absence of a telos, this code consists not in virtues, alongside attendant rules that help a man achieve them, but in the rules alone. As McIntyre observes, when a moral culture lacks a teleological element, “Rules become the primary concept of the moral life.”

In a moral system which lacks a telos, there exist only negative proscriptions for appropriate behavior — rules which are not designed to move man to fulfill his essential purpose, but simply to allow the basic functions of society to continue.

No. No. No. Don’t. Don’t. Don’t.

And so today we have an abundance of voices pointing out what a good man isn’t, but very few describing what a good man is. We lack a positive ideal. In this we’ve become a nation of something worse than school marms — for at least the disciplinarian teacher reprimanded her students with some end in mind.

At the same time that rules become more central to such a moral culture, they become less motivating. Still today we know that man in his untutored state is prone to bad behavior, and so establish rules in an attempt to educate that behavior. But in the absence of an accompanying telos, such rules lack a compelling why — a rationale for why a man should choose to undergo this education, and offer his compliance, rather than following the less challenging path of least resistance.

This is quite problematic, for as pointed out above, man-as-he-happens-to-be and man-if-he-realized-his-telos are antagonistic states. The latter is not how we act if left to our druthers. Achieving one’s telos involves mastering lower impulses to reach for the higher variety. It requires self-mastery, self-control, delayed gratification. It’s not a “natural” state, and as such, its pursuit requires strong motivation — motivation that can only be furnished by pointing to an overarching aim.

Given the lack of motivation inherent to a telos-free moral code, vice inevitably waxes and virtue wanes. This ethical lassitude is still a cause of consternation to a culture, that, even if it’s lost hope in producing citizens of sterling character, still needs them to act with a minimum of propriety and trust in interpersonal relationships in order to keep day-to-day life safe and copacetic. It is rightly felt that people can no longer be left to rely on their phronesis to make moral judgements (for without a telos, what would this judgement be based on?), and so more and more granular and restrictive rules are created as to what constitutes appropriate behavior — external, universal, one-size-fits-all guidelines that of course work much less well in some circumstances than others.

Naturally, there is much disagreement on just how far all these rules should extend beyond the enforcement of the bare minimum of propriety. Just how granular the rules should get is a matter of one’s perspective of what is “just” and “right” and these positions are based on conflicting telos, or on no defined telos at all.

Indeed, the disappearance of a shared telos from a culture’s moral code ultimately has a deteriorating effect on that culture’s moral discourse. When a culture loses its shared telos, is and ought are divorced. Without this connection, moral precepts lose any objectivity — a rational basis for why we should choose one position over another. Though we still voice our positions as if they had this kind of rational authority, our moral arguments in fact become “mere instrument of individual desire and will.” We assert our opinions as if they are objectively true, when they are in fact the arbitrary product of emotion and personal preference. One notices that there is very little philosophical discussion surrounding our moral debates at all; very little appeal to reason is issued beyond “This is the way it should be! . . . Because!” Moral debate becomes a series of reciprocal shouts. Flaming, blaming, shaming.

Or as MacIntyre puts it, “without a teleological framework the whole project of morality becomes unintelligible.”

As he observes, each person has become an autonomous moral agent, who “now [speaks] unconstrained by the externalities of divine law, natural teleology or hierarchical authority; but why should anyone else now listen to him?”

Living a Eudaimonic Life In an Irrational, Dysfunctional Moral Culture

MacIntyre truly offers an incisive explanation for why our moral debates are so shrill. Moral precepts — encouragements of virtue and prohibitions of vice — are rationally based when they lead to a clear telos. If your telos is this, you ought to do that. When a culture lacks a shared telos, and everyone is following their own ultimate aim (or lack such an aim at all), people with competing teloi simply talk past each other, while those without any teloi make moral arguments that sound objective but are really the irrational products of personal preference and emotion.

While MacIntyre’s insights are descriptive, and it’s enormously helpful to understand why things are the way they are, they’re less prescriptive; what should we do with this information? Three takeaways suggest themselves:

The importance of having a personal telos.

Even though modern society no longer shares a common telos, you still should be clear on your own. What’s your ultimate aim? What’s your essential purpose and function? Throwing off your default desires is never easy. Knowing the end you’re aiming for will make you far more motivated in embracing the means — the habits of action attendant to living a strenuous life of virtue and excellence — that are necessary to get there.

The pointlessness of debate (with those who don’t share your telos).

The West still celebrates the debate of political, social, and moral issues, and we do so because of the tradition we inherited from the ancient Greeks. But the framework that allowed their rigorous exchanges to function — the context of a defined city-state with a shared telos — no longer exists in our large, heterogeneous modern countries. We’re still trying to engage in an old model of rhetoric, despite inhabiting a very different cultural landscape. The result is our empty, interminable, emotion-driven shouting matches.

Now I’m not saying we should never debate important ideas. Such debates can be healthy and robust when in engaged in between people who share the same telos. And those who do not share the same telos can debate issues in a strictly pragmatic way — arguing for which solutions will be most effective or expedient. But when debates concern issues of “right” and “wrong,” if the parties do not share a common telos, the result will only be pointless, irrational pontificating.

The importance of belonging to a community.

While it is impossible to share a telos with millions of other people, it is still quite possible, and desirable, to do so with a smaller community of like-minded folks. For Aristotle, achieving a life of eudaimonia could never be a solo affair; it required working on a shared project of common good with others. Comrades in a common purpose sharpen each other, and can create and achieve things they couldn’t by themselves.

Just as importantly, communities of virtue act as repositories of moral excellence, emitting an influence and fragrance that strengthen and leaven the larger culture, and preserving virtues that might otherwise disappear. As MacIntyre ended After Virtue over three decades ago:

“It is always dangerous to draw too precise parallels between one historical period and another; and among the most misleading of such parallels are those which have been drawn between our own age in Europe and North America and the epoch in which the Roman empire declined into the Dark Ages. Nonetheless certain parallels there are. A crucial turning point in that earlier history occurred when men and women of good will turned aside from the task of shoring up the Roman imperium and ceased to identify the continuation of civility and moral community with the maintenance of that imperium. What they set themselves to achieve instead—often not recognizing fully what they were doing—was the construction of new forms of community within which the moral life could be sustained so that both morality and civility might survive the coming ages of barbarism and darkness. If my account of our moral condition is correct, we ought also to conclude that for some time now we too have reached that turning point. What matters at this stage is the construction of local forms of community within which civility and the intellectual and moral life can be sustained through the new dark ages which are already upon us. And if the tradition of the virtues was able to survive the horrors of the last dark ages, we are not entirely without grounds for hope. This time however the barbarians are not waiting beyond the frontiers; they have already been governing us for quite some time.”

News of the Times;
I ate a kid's meal in McDonald’s this morning.

His mom was furious.


A guy picks up a five-dollar hooker and gets the crabs from her.

Seeing her the following week, he confronts her and says, "You gave me the crabs!"

She replies, "What did you expect for five bucks, lobster?"


News Highlights:

Vice-President Pence has announced that members of the new U.S. Space Force will be called "Guardians" instead of astronauts. Commander Peter Quill said he approved.

A new study out of Australia claims that kangaroos can communicate with humans. The first they'd like us to know - keep your hands out of their pouch!

Mutant strains, huh? The way this year is going, before it's over, I'm expecting to hear about Teenage Mutant Virus Strains.

More than 70 West Point cadets have admitted cheating on an online math test. When asked why he resorted to cheating, one cadet responded that he wasn't 120% sure.

2020 is now a swear word: "That's a load of 2020", "What the 2020!" and the new classic, "Shut the 2020 up!"


Top 5 signs you're at a lousy Medieval Faire:

The king is pretty creepy looking and keeps pushing the burgers.
I'm pretty sure Lancelot's father was not Darth Vader.
Round table actually a card table.
Tournaments use Nerf products.
Lady Bob.


Why are bacteria so bad at math?

Because they multiply by dividing.

Quote of the Times;
Fact checkers didn’t exist until the ugly truth started to come out. – Sorbo

Link of the Times;

Issue of the Times;
No Families, No Children, No Future by Rod Dreher

Here’s a fascinating article from New York magazine on the massive gender gap between Trump and Biden supporters. It contains this eye-popping claim, buried deep down:

Neither the societal shift away from traditional gender roles nor the downstream cultural consequences of that shift are anywhere near complete. As Rebecca Traister has incisively argued, the growing prevalence of singledom among America’s rising generation of women is one of the most potent forces in contemporary politics. In 2009, for the first time in history, there were more unmarried women in the United States than married ones. And today, young women in the U.S. aren’t just unprecedentedly single; they also appear to be unprecedentedly uninterested in heterosexuality: According to private polling shared with Intelligencer by Democratic data scientist David Shor, roughly 30 percent of American women under 25 identify as LGBT; for women over 60, that figure is less than 5 percent.

David Shor is one of the best data people the Democratic Party people has. Take this seriously.

Has anything like this ever happened to any society, ever? Three out of ten women under the age of 25 consider themselves to be gay or transgender. Five percent, sure. Maybe even eight percent. But thirty? Will they always think that? Maybe not, but these are their prime childbearing years. The US fertility rate is at a 35-year low, and there’s no reason to think it will rise. Some critics blame structural difficulties in the US economy that make it harder for women to choose to have children, but European nations make it vastly easier for mothers, and still cannot get their fertility rates above replacement.

What’s behind this is primarily cultural. We have become an anti-natalist society. And further, we have become a society that no longer values the natural family. We see everywhere disintegration. Yesterday, on the Al Mohler podcast, I talked about going to a conservative Evangelical college a few years back, and hearing from professors there that they feared most of their students would never be able to form stable families, because so many of them had never seen what that’s like.

And now we have 30 percent of Gen Z women claiming to be sexually uninterested in men. There is nothing remotely normal about that number. It is a sign of a deeply decadent culture — that is, a culture that lacks the wherewithal to survive. The most important thing that a generation can do is produce the next generation. No families, no children, no future.

In 1947, Carle C. Zimmerman, then the head of Harvard’s sociology department, wrote a book called Family And Civilization. He was not a religious man; he was only interested in the cultural values that allowed civilizations to thrive, and those that caused civilizations to collapse. His general thesis is that family systems determine the strength and resilience of a civilization. Zimmerman wrote:

There is little left now within the family or the moral code to hold this family together. Mankind has consumed not only the crop, but the seed for the next planting as well. Whatever may be our Pollyanna inclination, this fact cannot be avoided. Under any assumptions, the implications will be far reaching for the future not only of the family but of our civilization as well. The question is no longer a moral one; it is social. It is no longer familistic; it is cultural. The very continuation of our culture seems to be inextricably associated with this nihilism in family behavior.


The only thing that seems certain is that we are again in one of those periods of family decay in which civilization is suffering internally from the lack of a basic belief in the forces which make it work. The problem has existed before. The basic nature of this illness has been diagnosed before. After some centuries, the necessary remedy has been applied. What will be done now is a matter of conjecture. We may do a better job than was done before; we may do a worse one.

He wrote this in 1947. Zimmerman missed the Baby Boom coming, but otherwise, he was right on target.

Earlier this year, David Brooks wrote a big piece for The Atlantic in which he observed that we are living through the most rapid change in the structure of the family in human history. In the piece, Brooks writes:

Eli Finkel, a psychologist and marriage scholar at Northwestern University, has argued that since the 1960s, the dominant family culture has been the “self-expressive marriage.” “Americans,” he has written, “now look to marriage increasingly for self-discovery, self-esteem and personal growth.” Marriage, according to the sociologists Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas, “is no longer primarily about childbearing and childrearing. Now marriage is primarily about adult fulfillment.”

Sex is also primarily about individual fulfillment — and maybe solely about individual fulfillment. Young people today see no connection between sex, family, and a greater purpose. I wrote about this more or less in a 2013 essay, “Sex After Christianity,” that remains one of the most read pieces I’ve ever published here at TAC. In his book, the sociologist Zimmerman, in listing the signs of a dying civilization, mentions a decline in family formation and a rise in homosexuality. Again, he was not a religious man, but his social science convictions led him to conclude that from studying the historical records of ancient Greece and Rome.

It’s far too simplistic to say “homosexuality brought down Rome.” Homosexuality didn’t mean the same thing in those societies that it means in ours. More importantly, the idea is that the greater tolerance for and acceptance of homosexuality was an indicator of the collapse of the shared belief that forming families to produce the next generation was the most important purpose of the civilization, and that a culture’s structures and norms should be constructed to support that mission.

We are going to have to endure a civilizational collapse before we begin the Great Relearning. I am beginning to see now why a sociologist I heard speak a few years ago said that losing awareness of the gender binary is going to mean the end of us. He meant that we will lose cultural memory of the basic fact needed to ensure the future of our civilization. We are living through the fall right now. This is why I wrote The Benedict Option. The newer book, Live Not By Lies, is about enduring acute marginalization and persecution; the older book is about constructing a strongly countercultural community capable of surviving in the ruins of our civilization.

Thirty percent of women aged 25 and under have no interest in sex with men. If that does not alarm you as a religious traditionalist or conservative, then you might actually be dead. We absolutely must form right now — not tomorrow, right now — communities that socialize our children into the goodness of marriage and family. The broader culture knows what it believes, and it preaches this confidently. The churches are barely pushing back. And it shows.

News of the Times;
In college, I was refused membership in all the fraternities because I was circumcised.

Apparently you need to be a complete dick.


Yesterday is History.

Tomorrow a Mystery.

Today is a Gift That's why it's called the Present.

You know your family is poor as f#@k when all you get for Christmas is a metaphor.


At breakfast, a man asks his wife, "If I won the lottery, what would you do?"

She replied, "I'd take my half and leave you."

He followed with, "Great. I won $12 yesterday. Here's your 6 bucks, stay in touch."


Leaders across the Department of Defense celebrated the Christmas holiday by exchanging lobbyists, sources confirmed today.

“Ooh, is that a Raytheon? I’ve always wanted a Raytheon!” Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller said during the annual Pentagon Christmas party while shaking a man-sized box sitting under a Christmas tree in the Pentagon courtyard. “My mom gets me a General Dynamics every year, and I’m soooo bored of it.”

The gift exchange, dubbed “TS/SCI Santa,” was classified at the highest levels, and each participant was only allowed access to see the specific gift that they’re given.

To keep the atmosphere light and playful, contracts signed during the lobbyist exchange were limited to 5 years and 3.5 billion dollars.

“We all remember that one time we did a lobbyist white elephant and it led to us signing off on the F-35 program. What a mess,” said Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “I think there was a little too much Lockheed Martin-brand rum in the eggnog that year.”

According to officials, this year every Pentagon leader was expected to acquire a lobbyist, wrap it, and place it under the tree. Then on Christmas morning, gifts were exchanged at random, adding to the element of surprise, which is one of the principles of war.

Miller said the exchange added some much-needed cheer into a usually stern work environment.

“All year-round, we’re so serious about the fact that this whole system is just a racket to ensure money and contracts keep flowing, that we never just sit back and have some holiday laughs at the expense of taxpayers,” said Miller. “We forget that the military-industrial complex is supposed to be joyful and fun.”


A reminder that Wal-Mart will be closed on Christmas Day.

So both cashiers can spend the holiday with their families.

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For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. - Isaiah 9:6

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Issue of the Times;
Contrast Between New York And Florida by Francis Menton

Of all the states, the one most comparable to New York by demographics is Florida. These two states are close not only in overall population, but also in relative numbers of immigrants and of minority groups. As to population, as recently as 2013, New York had slightly more population than Florida (both around 19.6 million), but since then Florida has been growing rapidly, while New York has been shrinking slowly. Pending release of final 2020 Census numbers, estimates put Florida’s current population at about 21.8 million, and New York’s at about 19.4 million.

Despite being, at least for now, relatively close in population and other demographics, New York and Florida could not be more different in their approaches to public policy. In Florida, Republicans have controlled the legislature (both houses) since 1997, and the governorship since 1999. Florida exemplifies the low tax, low spend, low regulation approach to state government. New York is firmly in control of the progressive left, and exemplifies high taxes, high spending, and high regulation.

Different policies lead to different results. For today I’ll focus mainly on the policy response to the Covid-19 virus. On this subject, the differences in policy mostly concern regulation, rather than taxing and spending.

Yesterday, I had a roundup of the current onerous regulatory response to the virus in New York. By contrast, Florida, led by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, has been very much at the opposite end of the regulatory response spectrum. As to results, here’s the bottom line: As one would expect, the economic decline caused by intentional government suppression of the economy has been much, much less severe in Florida than New York; but just as important, Florida has also experienced, and continues to experience, superior health results to New York. In other words, Florida stands as a clear demonstration that all of New York’s behavioral mandates (e.g., masks) and intentional destruction of small business have had no measurable effect whatsoever in decreasing spread of the virus or in improving health results.

As per my review yesterday, in New York City, restaurant dining has been severely restricted for months under fluctuating directives, and as of last week, by order of the Governor, all indoor restaurant dining has been shut down entirely, with no indication of when it may re-open. Theaters, concerts and performance venues are all shuttered, and it appears they will remain so at least until the Spring. Although not mentioned in yesterday’s post, since April 17 we have had a state-wide mandate for mask-wearing covering “anyone over the age of 2” when “in a public place.”

Florida at first imposed some substantial restrictions on restaurants and other indoor businesses, but began loosening them in early June, when, for example, bars and movie theaters were allowed to reopen. On September 28 Governor DeSantis issued an executive order rescinding almost all of the remaining restrictions. At a news briefing that day, DeSantis was quoted as saying “Every business has the right to operate,” and “We’re not closing anything going forward.” WebMD summarized Florida’s provisions going forward from that time:

Businesses that have used remote work protocols can return to unrestricted staffing at their offices. Employees can resume non-essential travel. Theme parks can return to normal operations, and gyms can operate at full capacity. Bars and clubs can operate at full capacity but with “limited social distancing protocols.”

In Florida today, theaters are open, concerts are happening, and the iconic theme parks are accepting visitors (if on a somewhat restricted basis).

As to masks, Florida never imposed a state-wide mandate, but instead left it up to each county to make its own decision. Twenty-two counties imposed mask mandates for at least some period of time, but 45 never did. Townhall on December 21 has a long piece (mostly based on a paywalled study of the data at Rational Ground) giving the results. Those results are totally devastating to any claim of effectiveness of mask mandates. From Town Hall (with internal quote from Rational Ground):

If masks did even close to as advertised, one would expect to see the counties that went maskless to be absolute dumpster fires next to the counties that implemented mandates, right? At the very least, the numbers should favor the masked areas by more than a percentage point or two. So, how did it go? Yep, it was the Mask Cult’s worse nightmare: “When counties DID have a mandate in effect, there were 667,239 cases over 3,137 days with an average of 23 cases per 100,000 per day. When counties DID NOT have a countywide order, there were 438,687 cases over 12,139 days with an average of 22 cases per 100,000 per day.”

In short, the mask-free counties actually had better health results than the counties with mask mandates.

As part of his September 28 directives, Governor DeSantis announced that he would not enforce any fines or penalties for failure to wear masks.

So let’s compare health and economic results as between Florida and New York. First, health:

• Florida. Deaths per million population, pandemic inception to date (figures from as of December 22): 966. Deaths within last 10 days, most recent first, from Dec 21 back to Dec 12: 106, 86, 69, 108, 102, 112, 89, 137, 81, 71 — total of 961 over that 10 day period.
• New York. Deaths per million population, pandemic inception to date: 1,886 (almost double Florida’s rate — and Florida has far more elderly people). Deaths within last 10 days, most recent first from Dec 21 to Dec 12: 179, 95, 85, 121, 156, 112, 126, 120, 87, 79 — total of 1160 over the ten days, or more than 20% more than Florida, even though Florida has more than 10% more population.

If New York’s elected leaders have anything to show for turning this city into a ghost town, you sure can’t find it in those statistics.

Now, as to economic statistics:

• Florida. Unemployment rate for November (most recent available): 6.4% (versus national rate of 6.7%)
• New York. Unemployment rate for New York State for November: 8.4%; for New York City, 12.1%. Clearly, New York City is bearing the brunt of the forced closures of the restaurant and entertainment industries.

For New York City, that extra almost 6% people unemployed by forced government action, as compared to Florida, represents about 200,000 people, most of them from the lower end of the income distribution. I suppose you could kind of, sort of justify intentionally putting all those people out of work if you could show some kind of health benefit from the decrees. But there is no health benefit to be shown. New York’s health results are demonstrably worse than those of Florida. The virus does its own thing, despite our dictators’ desperate need to show that they are “doing something,” however meaningless the “something” may be.

In other comparisons of public policy metrics between the two states, Florida’s annual state government budget is about $92 billion, while New York’s is $177 billion. How could that possibly be, when Florida has 10% more people? New York City spends almost $29,000 per student on K-12 education, while Florida spends less than $10,000 — and Florida gets somewhat better results on the NAEP national tests. And of course, New York has some of the highest income tax rates in the country, and yet has a legislature desperate to raise more revenue by hiking rates even higher; while Florida has no income tax at all and yet seems to have sufficient money to go around.

Florida shows us all what basic competent state government looks like. The extreme lack of competence in New York is simply shocking.

News of the Times;
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