Listen to your Elders

I’ve spent a fair amount of time contemplating Muslim culture and I find the vast majority of it detestable. And I’m no armchair quarterback; without divulging too much of my personal life, there was a time when I wore a uniform and went around the world ostensibly to keep a particular race of people from getting too big for their sand-covered britches. So I’ve seen with mine own eyes the beast in its natural habitat. Theirs is a culture wholly incompatible with the West.

That being said, the Muslims do have one thing correct and that is a reverence of and deference to their elders. In traditional Muslim culture (is there any other kind?) the eldest man in the village has the ultimate authority. He makes the decisions.

In the West, our authority and value as individuals is thoroughly linked to our profession. The level of prestige we bestow upon an individual is quite often based on the job they have (and its implicit salary). I suppose theoretically this is a decent enough system assuming that compensation is commensurate with responsibility of profession and that responsibility of profession is commensurate with competence in the highest level of leadership and decision making. For those of you with little life experience, these are flimsy assumptions.

But for sake of argument, let’s assume the system works as described. There’s another critical flaw in that the labor force in the West encounters (mercifully) a little thing called retirement. And when we mercifully retire, we must relinquish the authority and prestige that we once enjoyed as a doctor, lawyer, school teacher, mechanic. And let me not mince words here: retirement is a privilege that primarily only western, Christian nations enjoy—and certainly only first world nations enjoy.

Perhaps this is an exponent of capitalism more broadly. I’ll be the first to admit that capitalism has its flaws but by no means does this admission mean I’m willing to supplant the free market with something as suicidally foolish as socialism. On the other hand I will not hide from the self-evident reality that capitalism comes with its own set of pitfalls—chief among them is that our value as individuals is wedded to our professional title.

Furthermore, on the equally opposite side of the spectrum, we make another foolhardy assumption that youth and vigor is the only thing of any real value in our society. We perversely vaunt youth to deific heights when we repeat platitudes like “youth is the engine of the world.” Of course there’s a grain of truth to this sentiment; we’re destined to be replaced by those who come after us the same as how we ourselves replaced those that went before. It’s the natural order of things, but blind faith in the ingenuity and innovation of youth as some kind of savior is abjectly misguided.

And these words ought to carry extra weight as they originate from a (relatively) young person. In the West, I have the advantage of inheriting a society that wants nothing more than fro me to take the helm. Were I a gambling man, I’d be absolutely crazy to bet against that. I’d have so much to lose and nothing to gain. Yet here I am, offering the gift right back because I feel unworthy. Just as age is no guarantee of wisdom, youth is no guarantee of innovation. And in an age where our society has come increasingly unmoored, I advocate a return to balance. I advocate a return to a time—not too distant yet—when our elders were appreciated for their hard earned insight and world-weariness and not cast aside as decorations. I advocate a return to a time when youth was marveled at for its passion and spontaneity but ipso facto was denied the keys to the estate.

Dating is Zero-Sum

Many people don’t realize that “dating” is a recent invention; something we came up with in the death throes of post-modern decadence and is one of the—if not the—principle factor contributing to our current cultural malaise.

As adult supervision waned and the zeitgeist of our current decadence increasingly demanded that fewer and fewer boundaries be placed on the decisions made by young people in regards their choice in partner, premarital sex became commonplace. Once that happened, it wasn’t long at all before it became a necessary but insufficient term of pre-engagement engagement—one that principally benefited young men who were then free to dump any current “girlfriend” for a new and improved “girlfriend”, and thus a new and improved sexual encounter. If men were to do this en masse, it stands to reason that that new “girlfriend” would have been dumped herself by and old “boyfriend”, thus perpetuating the cycle.

But women are opportunists, too. They can—and do—manipulate the dating market to attain better purchase on locking down the long term commitment of a desirable man. As is often the case, a young woman finds herself “dating” a young man for whom she has no real emotional connection. Instead, she sticks around because he satisfies her primal need for someone to buy her shit and be a shoulder to cry on. When (if ever) that more idealized version of a “boyfriend” comes along, she’ll drop the first like a bad habit to make a go at the new guy.

In either case, you’re either the player, or you’re getting played. It cannot be both.

Before modern dating, (i.e. the hundred or so thousand years of human existence prior to the mid twentieth century) there was courtship, which was a brief period of benign inter-sexual interaction heavily moderated by skin-in-the-game family members, townspeople, and all-around wise elders with the strict aim of creating a legal union suitable for the rearing of well-adjusted, world-inheriting children.

These elders, whom we should listen to, were charged with the burdensome responsibility of introducing young people who were believed would make suitable parents if legally bound to one another. Through careful, sober analysis, they weighed various factors that would impact the success of their potential union with the sagacity characteristic of people who have been around the romantic block. They knew all too well the judgment-impairing intoxication of young love and how easily it can have the Youth chasing down dead ends. Bottom line: kids make terrible romantic decisions.

The principle distinction between courtship and dating is that there was no sex during courtship. This cannot be emphasized enough. If sex is readily available, any young man is liable to conjure up reasons not to devote himself to any one woman. This is why chastity is the most valuable thing a young woman possesses. During a courtship, the most intimacy a young person could expect was innocent hand-holding and maybe a stolen kiss at the door.

What this ‘no premarital sex’ distinction means in reality is that courtship, unlike dating, is a cost-free affair. One can engage in multiple courtships throughout their late teens and early twenties and not feel as if they’re using themselves up or sacrifice their dignity. One doesn’t feel as if they give a piece of themselves away with every new partner. One doesn’t become jaded. Modern dating, on the other hand is a maleficent zero-sum exercise in futility precisely because sex is on the menu. We must eradicate the plague that is modern dating.

“But wait, P.K.,” you protest. “Courtship would remove some of the personal freedoms of the individual!”

A, no shit. Humans are flawed creatures who if not for external guidance (legislative or spiritual) would revert promptly back to the savagery of the Jungel which cares not a wit for the future of your nation, let alone its spelling rules. And B, I don’t care. With marriage and fertility rates as low as they are, and divorce rates and benzodiazepine dependency as high as they are, a break-the-glass emergency is upon us and sacrifices will have to be made if we are to survive. In the indelible words of some dude on the internet, “The wants of the individual are superseded by the needs of the many.” The ‘many’ in this case are our posterity.

The Only Skill You Will Ever Need

When I was a young’n, one of my grade school math teachers asked the class “What is the most important subject in school?”

What with it being a math class and all, we naturally said math.

“Wrong,” he replied matter-of-factly. “The most important subject in school is reading.” He then went on to explain that if what you know is math, then all you know is math. If what you know is science, then all you know is science. But if what you know is reading, then what you know is whatever you choose to learn.

That still sticks with me, after all these years. If you can read, then you can learn. And if you can learn, then you can accumulate wisdom. And if you can accumulate wisdom, it’s just a matter of time before the world is your oyster. With reading, all things are possible. In this manner, it is my God.

Of course, I need to make a little room in my theory for those who can learn better in a way that’s not sticking your nose in a book. Maybe you’re one of those people who learns through watching others. That’s fine, you can join us. Maybe you’re the type who needs to scrape your chin before you apprehend knowledge. God bless you, you’re one of us. Maybe you’re one of those rare breeds who doesn’t care for reading but can pick something up with your hands and understand it as thoroughly as if it were a part of you (lookin’ at you, tinkers). You’re part of the club, too.

As we can see, there are more ways to learn than merely reading and all methods are legitimate so long as the end result is the accumulation of knowledge. Bottom line: has learning occurred? So let’s not get too hung up on the reading phase of the success continuum and focus on the broader, more salient point: the ability to learn. I’ve written on how to get awesome at life by becoming more of a learner so you can follow the link for more specifics.

But first, we must understand that the ability to learn is, in and of itself, without limits. Often, however, we find that, where the rubber meets the road, it does have a limit. So what limits learning? To only limit to learning you will have in your life is dependent on one thing: your individual desire to learn.

Adjusting your desire to learn can be a difficult task. Some of us are inherently complacent, and don’t crave any more from this world. Some of us have self-esteem issues; we feel we don’t deserve any more. Some of us are scared, and that makes sense. Life is scary. But if any of these describe you, then all you need is a change in your perspective. The things that hold you back—complacency, shame, fear—are the very things that you can change about yourself. Trust me, you just have to get off your ass and do it. The ability to learn makes you limitless as an individual.

First you can learn about psychology and understand why it is you’re so messed up in the first place. Then you can learn about how to throw the monkey off your back and start living. Then you can learn about how to self-motivate. You can learn about all the possibilities that this world has to offer, and how other people have pursued them. Once you flip the switch in your mind that you will develop the skill of learning skills, there’s really no stopping the snowball effect. Armed with no other skill in the world but the ability to learn, you have a better chance than anyone else at shaping the world in your image, securing your legacy, and manifesting your own destiny, so stop reading right now and commit to learning how to learn.

The Naiveté of Universal Suffrage

Candidates running on openly socialist platforms are actually getting votes these days. It seems communism has again reared its ugly head. I’m beginning to think it’s one of those things that crops up semi-centurially. We’ve all been warned that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it, and yet we can’t help ourselves. It’s a big in the human code. For those of us who can recall (or read) history, we understand the implications of such ideas. Fortunately, ‘red fever’ isn’t much more than a perennial nuisance and merely needs extirpated as a matter of course.

That being said, I often get to thinking about the pitfalls of (near) universal suffrage. This consummately Democratic principle is a beautiful thought, but like socialism, is not sustainable in practice. Every civilization in recorded human history that has utilized an electorate has discriminated in one manner or another between those who should be allowed to vote and those who should not. Not even in ancient Greece, the nation upon which our very Democracy is founded, did not have universal suffrage. We are no different. For instance, we discriminate based on age. Those under the age of eighteen may not vote. It’s in the constitution. We also don’t allow prisoners to vote, and most people don’t argue the efficacy of such criminality-based discrimination. Thus, the debate is not over whether discrimination is acceptable (clearly it is), the debate is over what kind of discrimination is acceptable.

It’s  certainly a tough question, and for the longest time I’ve struggled to isolate what would be the most efficient way to separate those with an eye for the future and those who see only two feet in front of their noses. There needs to be some determinant of responsible voting.

What is responsible voting? It’s the opposite of self-interested voting. It’s all too easy to vote for the candidate who vows to give you whatever it is you want whenever it is you want it. Unfortunately, what is immediately beneficial to you is almost never what is beneficial to the nation (and thus, to you) in the long term. If you’re in prison serving a life sentence, and one candidate is tough on crime (which is undeniably good for the nation in the long term), and the other candidate says “I’ll let ya out!”, why would you vote for anyone else?

I watched a video recently from what appeared to be the late 70s or early 80s. A reporter was asking young Americans (high school age, early college?) what they thought about the politics of the time, and I couldn’t help but feel a sense of maturity in their demeanor. Their responses may not have been the most profound, but the questions were at least taken seriously, and the young students actually put in some thought to their responses. They even managed to string together a number of sentences without the ‘like’s and ‘um’s characteristic of a newer generation. And they certainly weren’t distracted by their dadgum phone. These young adults seemed responsible.

A suffrage exam ought to be implemented to separate those who are capable and willing to vote responsibly from those who cannot or will not. This should include history questions about socialist nations and their unsavory ends. If a prospective voter cannot say, for example, what was the result of the Soviet Union in terms of human capital, then perhaps they should not have the right to vote. The suffrage exam should also evaluate candidates voter fitness based on ethics and instincts, not unlike the way most law enforcement cadets are evaluated.

There may have been a time in the past where an eighteen year old could reasonably be expected to possess the maturity necessary to help steer the ship of government away from the craggy shoals of communism and deficit spending, but it doesn’t seem that way today. In any case, it won’t matter because one inherent advantage to the suffrage test is that it does not discriminate based on age. In fact, it doesn’t discriminate on any basis save for the individual voter’s concern for the long-term health of their nation.

And there really is no excuse not to be a responsible voter; never before has access to education been so universal. Free online college courses, Ubiquitous Wi-Fi, “smart” phones in every pocket (notice those sassy quotes). All it really takes is either the God-given instinct for sussing out bullshit, or the self-made determination to separate the pearls of wisdom from the dross. So ask yourself, if a person has neither of these qualities, should they have the responsibility of voting? It’s a perfect system; a naturally filtering mechanism.

As Spiritual Morality Wanes, the Police State Waxes

For many thousands of years, the actions of man have been shepherded by the twin scales of both formal law and spiritual morality… and for good reason: in a society where morality recedes, law (i.e. the State) must make up the difference. In ye olde times, there were two great circles of acceptable behavior—two code books—and together they covered a lot of ground as regards right and wrong.

Over the past fifty years especially, religious conviction and thus spiritual morality has all but disappeared. Followed to its logical conclusion, what we end up with is a “society” of total law and complete absence of morality. For instance, about two years ago I read the story of a Canadian man that married his horse. Naturally, the townsfolk were bemused by such behavior, but because there was no formal law against it, the state could do nothing to stop him.

Being that this occurred in Canada and not the US, I don’t really have a horse in the race. But why was there no formal law forbidding bestiality? Because when spiritual morality exists, people don’t needlessly spill ink forbidding something that everyone already know is wrong. I never followed up on the horse-fucker story, but I imagine there is now a push toward making connubial bliss betwixt a man and his farm animals formally illegal. The fact, however, that this case was heard in a courtroom built with taxpayer money, proceeded over by judge who’s salaried with taxpayer money, and the ruling ultimately published on taxpayer-funded paper and/or servers, is a sad state of affairs. One assumes the legal fees for the depraved pervert were ponied up by the taxpayer as well.

Without the code of spiritual morality, there is left a massive gap in our behavioral boundaries. A healthy, functioning society requires trust. Without the voice in the back of our minds encouraging proper behavior, we revert back to our primitive selves and erode what little societal trust we ever managed to attain. What we end up with is a highly opportunistic population that is only concerned about whether they can get away with bad behavior legally.

Sure, they may get away with it legally, but will they get away with it spiritually? Me must encourage a sense of divine guidance. We need to once again develop a code book that goes wherever the body goes—including all these places the State cannot (for now) go. Do this, and we will be rewarded with a much more stable place to call home.

I’ve heard erroneous arguments that organized religion is the cause of all war, all strife, indeed the very impetus of the police state. This couldn’t be further from the truth. One organized religion per nation state in conjunction with a moderate formal code of laws is ideal for the long-term health of the nation and avoiding the Orwellian Nightmare. In the absence one established religion, a sense of higher purpose and meaning (i.e. spirituality) can serve just fine.

And just in case you were thinking to yourself, “what’s wrong with having judges decide the legality of our every decision?” Well when I told you earlier that I didn’t follow up on the horse-fucker story, I lied to you. When deciding whether it was legal for a man to fuck his horse, the judge said yea (although one hopes at least the horse said nay). As you read this, the horse-fucker is now happily horse-fucking fully within the confines of matrimonial sanctity.

Point being, even if the State were even capable of ruling on—and enforcing—all things, you could never put your faith in the courts to make decisions in the best interest of the nation.

No Exceptions: We Get What We Deserve

At 50, everyone has the face he deserves.

—Orwell

What is all this nonsense about deserving? I hear people say it all the time. I read it in the news. X person deserves this. X group deserves that. Bullshit. Nobody deserves anything more than they get. Which is to say, exactly what they already have.

We like to forget that the barrier that separates our cushy civilization from the dog-eat-dog savagery of the Jungel (the Jungel doesn’t care about your spelling rules) is preciously thin and eminently permeable. You should count your blessings that you’re not remorselessly ripped limb from limb by the first person that you offend who happens to be stronger than you. After all, this is how the Jungel would have grievances settled. And if you think the Jungel would ever think twice about what was deserved, then you’re hopelessly naïve. The Jungel knows no such concept.

Tell me about the promotion you didn’t get, and I’ll tell you you’re not good enough at playing the political game. Tell me about the lover that betrayed you, and I’ll tell you that you obviously didn’t make much of an impression on them. Tell me about the hell in which you live and I’ll tell you that you’re not the only one suffering.

But, but, but, my kid has cancer, do they deserve that? Yes, your kid deserves cancer, because they possess a genetic predisposition to getting cancer. And from whom did your kid get those shit genetics? It is only because of technological advancements and the medical breakthroughs of the last four hundred years that allowed you (or your terminal kid) to exist in the first place. The Jungel would have killed you in your crib. Be thankful for every breath, you weakling.

It’s a very uncomfortable truth that we get in life precisely what we deserve. If you think you deserve more, then you have to bring more to the table. If you have not gotten what you want out of life, then you haven’t worked hard enough. Stop blaming everything else and look in the fucking mirror. Have you done everything in your power to change your station in life? No. No, you have not. Stop bitching, start working, get “deserve” out of your goddamn vocabulary. In fact, stop speaking altogether and start acting. All you deserve is the world before you, be that everything imaginable or nothing at all.

On Female Friends

Men and women are not friends. They never were and they never will be. That’s not to say that I don’t sometimes refer to certain members of the opposite sex as “friends,” but this is merely for convenience sake. Nor is it to say that there aren’t women with whom I am friendly. But it must be known that I would not, in closed session, refer to them as my “friend” except out of convenience. For every woman that I point to and call my “friend,” I’ll show you a woman who would date me at the drop of a hat. The reason for this is simple: the concepts of friendship and love are so diametrically opposed that they simply cannot coexist.

I hear this old bullshit line that friends make the best lovers. This is incorrect. Never once have I laid eyes on a beautiful woman and thought to myself “Gee, I’d really love to befriend her.” Not once. And therein lies the crux of it—for every male-female “friendship” there is almost always some manner of desire or attraction. This desire is always unrequited, however, because if the desire were returned in kind, it would cease to be a friendship, now wouldn’t it? I would be a love affair.

Let’s have a look at some examples: In one relationship the (relatively) low status man is desirous of the beautiful woman, but the woman is not desirous of the man. It is impossible in this case for the man to truly be a friend to the woman because he will always be blinded by his desire for her. The same is true when the (relatively) ugly woman is desirous of the high status man. She cannot contribute to a true friendship without subconsciously molding the relationship to get herself closer to him.

So are true opposite sex friendships possible? Theoretically yes, but in order for a true male-female friendship to occur, it would have to be a relationship entirely devoid of attraction or desire. This explains why so often one sees male-female friendships wherein the male is homosexual. In order for this friendship to be genuine, however, this gay man would have to be sufficiently low-status enough for the woman to find no desire for him. In these gay male-straight female friendships, it is often that case that the woman finds herself attracted to the man and may dramatically proffer the “oh, if you were only straight” qualification. Any measure of this sort of sexual/romantic desire at all will poison the relationship.

Mixing friendship and love is like mixing bourbon and scotch and calling it the best of both worlds. Traditional friendship i.e. male-male/female-female (heterosexual) friendship has no place in a loving romance. It wouldn’t serve anyone to have a drop of scotch in their bourbon; you merely waste the scotch and ruin the bourbon. On a meta-level, what I’m saying is not that unreasonable. Evolution has allowed for the most sexually fit humans that have ever walked the earth. We didn’t get that way by being friends.