The Book!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

How Much Can We Trust Psychology?

This is a disturbing study.

Seriously: psychology is a pseudo-science, isn't it?

The Essential Canadian Songs

Recently, an Irish friend of mine has been regaling me with his favourite music. I was inspired to  try to put together, from what is available on YouTube, a complilation of songs that would introduce him to what Canadian traditional music has to offer.

I offer this for the enjoyment of fellow Canadians, to introduce others to the essence of Canadian culture, and most of all as a fiercely felt rebuttal to those who do not believe Canada has a distinct and unified culture. I challenge those, especially Canadians, who pathetically ignore or deride Canadian culture in favour of an imported "multiculturalism."

For if you listen to these songs, you find that they hang together as one vast work. Themes are repeated:  the pain of going away, movement across great distances, growing up, the family, the seasons turning, the ordinary life of ordinary people. Most of all, as I see it, there is a distinct Canadian theme of the ordinary man trying to survive in the face of vast forces that always threaten to overwhelm him. Just as Margaret Atwood has said: the Canadian theme is Survival. It is the heroism of everyday life.

No pretension for Canadians, and no faith in the possibility of changing the world. It is the little way, with little, personal, transcendences.

As a Canadian, listening to it, I nurse the suspicion that, on this, of all the world's people, only Canadians are truly sane.

Let's buiild on what we have.

Here's the playlist. Be sure to select "shuffle."


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Real World of Abuse


Why are some people bullies and abusers? What is the psychology at work?

We all know the story about the man who has a bad day at work, and then comes home and kicks the dog. This seems to be the basic abusive turn: trying to make yourself feel good by making someone else feel bad. Like the demons in hell. In sum, some of us, because we are essentially weak people, cannot handle our own feelings by ourselves, if they are unpleasant feelings. To avoid them, some take to alcohol. Some, really the same sort of people, take to kicking the dog; or anyone else who is nearby and helpless. Kids, especially.

This is contemptible and completely immoral, of course. But it is also, on the face of it, completely illogical. How does making someone else feel bad make me feel better?

For most types of bad feeling, it won’t, will it? But there is one exception: guilt. People commonly seem to believe that guilt is transferable; this is the Pharisaic impulse. The phenomenon of the scapegoat seems to be ingrained in human nature and human culture, found all over the world: you blame someone or something else for your own sins, punish them severely for them, and so convince yourself that your vehement reaction to supposed sin makes you a moral paragon.

You see this urge in politics all the time. This is the essence of the witch hunt, and this is the essence of the nanny state. People who make large incomes in rather dishonest ways and never give to charity can often claim themselves to be highly moral people because they vote to enforce higher rates of aid to the poor—i.e., making others behave as they should. Vlad the Impaler, the original Dracula, claimed to simply be punishing evildoers.

It really looks as though most people are abusive, given the opportunity. Most people will join a lynch mob; that’s what makes it a mob. Milgram’s shock experiment famously demonstrated this fairly scientifically. So too, a democratic plurality of Germans voted for Hitler, and so far as we can tell, he retained his popularity with the German public just as long as he seemed to be winning the war. Daniel Goldhagen argues that most Germans knew perfectly well what was going on in the death camps--and were all for it. Jews always make good scapegoats.

The greatest horror of bullying and of abuse, in the end, is indeed the self-righteousness of the perpetrator. He or she will always add insult to injury: it is not enough to punish the victim, but the victim must also accept that it is deserved. For the abuser, that is the whole point.

It also follows that, if confronted with incontrovertible proof of their own bullying or abusive behavior, anyone who is truly abusive, truly a bully, will not admit guilt for it, but seek to deflect. They will deny it if they can. If faced with incontrovertible evidence, their obvious fallback position is to insist that they themselves are or were being abused, and so are the real victims. Indeed, they are the first who are going to whine about their own lot. That is their established modus operandi; the whole point of the exercise from the beginning has been to deflect guilt.

Unfortunately, the “experts” in psychology and in authority generally are either too stupid or too complicit to see this. Probably too complicit: psychology and authority are natural magnets for abusers. As a result, most of their interventions, which grow more and more insistent, tend to be on the side of the abuser, and will actively seek to obscure the issue.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Praeger University: Were the Middle Ages Dark?

The Most Amazing Thing

... is that this article appeared in the Huffington Post.

Even the left is getting fed up with the feminist anti-male agenda.

More from Orwell on Abuse





More fine observation of the experience of abuse/depression from George Orwell’s essay, “Such, Such Were the Joys.”

I knew that bed-wetting was (a) wicked and (b) outside my control. The second fact I was personally aware of, and the first I did not question. It was possible, therefore, to commit a sin without knowing that you committed it, without wanting to commit it, and without being able to avoid it…. This was the great, abiding lesson of my boyhood: that I was in a world where it was not possible for me to be good.
The two, abuse and depression, are the same plant: the one the root, the other the branch.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Orwell, Schools, and Child Abuse




St. Cyprian's Preparatory School 
Everyone says they are against child abuse. I guess they believe it. But most people seem to have no idea what it is. And what they do is moistly destructive. They think child abuse means either physical punishment or sexual contact. These are both red herrings. Busy fiercely punishing irrelevancies, they enable real child abuse to continue unrestricted.

Before we go any further, do not misunderstand. Sexual contact with children is always morally wrong. All sex outside marriage is morally wrong. But it is not, by itself, child abuse.

For what child abuse really is, I refer you all to George Orwell’s posthumously published essay “Such, Such Were the Joys.”

George Orwell was a macho guy. He volunteered for the losing side in the Spanish Civil War. In his books, he took on the Stalinists and the Marxist left, no doubt causing him some problems with his many leftist friends. He is a great writer largely because he stares evil in its face and calls it by its name.


The constitution of Animal Farm. Postmodernism in a sentence.

Yet he did not allow this essay, about his days in a British prep school, to be published until after his death. I presume the trauma was too great. The horrors of Animal Farm and 1984 were only echoes of St. Cyprian.

Here is Orwell’s short description of what child abuse is and what it feels like, although he does not call it by that name. He writes of

“a deeper grief which is peculiar to childhood and not easy to convey: a sense of desolate loneliness and helplessness, of being locked up not only in a hostile world but in a world of good and evil where the rules were such that it was actually not possible for me to keep them.”

This is also a perfect description of depression, and for good reason: as even the psychological professionals are beginning to accept, abuse is the cause of depression. For all we know, it may also be the cause of bipolar disorder (manic depression), schizophrenia, and more.

One abuses a child when one gives him or her no option of being good; when one teaches the child, implicitly or explicitly, that they are evil in their essential nature, and there is nothing they can do about it. A lot of parents do this, and a lot of schools do this.

One can abuse an adult in the same way, and in the same way produce depression. But it is far easier to do, and far more lasting in its effects, with a child.

Physical punishment is entirely neutral in this regard, so long as this double bind is not part of the experience. An absence of physical punishment is no improvement at all, for a child, so long as this double bind is still there.

Sexual contact is also neutral. It leads to this double bind if and only if the child gets the message that they are evil for having engaged in the activity, yet they cannot avoid it. No doubt many sexual predators deliberately impress this belief on their victims, in order to avoid detection. But it is a separate matter. I have known many, perhaps you have too, who were “sexually abused,” i.e., played with sexually by adults, as minors and have no scars to show for it.

The reality of abuse should not be difficult to understand; the matter seems pretty straightforward. In fact, the same understanding of abuse is portrayed again and again in fairy tales: Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, and so on. It seems almost a standard feature. Indeed, one important purpose of fairy tales is surely to alert abused children that they are indeed abused, and that it is not their fault—they could be like Cinderella or Snow White or the Ugly Duckling. I imagine such tales have saved countless children from lives of emotional anguish.

So what is the modern response? The professionals are eager to point out themselves that fairy tales commonly portray child abuse. And what is their response? They want to suppress them.






Cinderella

It is hard to believe that the professionals are not trying actively to enable and assist child abuse. They seem, firstly, to deliberately misrepresent its nature, as either physical punishment or sexual contact; yet they themselves are quite capable of recognizing that Cinderella or Snow White are being abused, with no sexual contact nor physical punishment. Then they want to conceal the crime from its victims, and to deny them any help.

"Not all Rape is Rape"

Also forwarded from Instapundit: the truth about rape.

Domestic Violence

Not news, but another reference regarding the truth about domestic violence. The current legal structure actually enables and encourages it.

The Catholic View

Great quote from Kathy Shaidle, who has a wonderful way with words, and who seems to be once again becoming more Catholic in her sentiments recently:

"The Catholic notion is that God has won, the game is almost over, and our job is to run out the clock without earning any stupid penalties."

Read the whole piece, which is an interesting exposition of Catholic thinking.
Reposted from Instapundit: some schools require a doctor's note for children to use sunscreen.

Here, too much regulation is driving up the cost of both schooling and health care. Fire the bureaucrats, and you save both their salaries, and the cost of all the harm they are doing.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Group Work


I agree with her completely. The "critique" of her painting is merely an excuse to gang up on an outsider. This is the common thing in such group evaluation sessions, now become so popular in education. It is also the inevitable result of "group therapy." It becomes a way to bully and to enforce conformity.

It is perhaps especially pernicious in art, because artists must be outsiders or they are no good, they have nothing to say. Group criticism in art is an ideal way to destroy art.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Hopeless Politics Junkie Survesy the US 2016 Field




The multiple and still-growing crises hitting the Obama administration are not, I expect, likely to lead to his impeachment, but they are making 2016 look like a very good year to have the Republican nomination.

If you wanted to be president, now would be the time.

This should bring the big guns out in the next primary season, and the Republicans have a lot of strong potential candidates available.

A couple who sat out 2012: Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee. Both might have topped the polls last time had they chosen to run.

Paul Ryan, as VP nominee last time. Rick Santorum, as runner-up last time.

A wave of youngish, new faces: Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul.

A brace of high-profile governors: Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, Nikki Haley. Rick Perry as governor or Texas has the heft to give it another go.

Jeb Bush’s best shot would be this time, if he wants it; and he has a lot of admirers in the party. Same for Condoleeza Rice, who excited a lot of people at the last convention.

Probably not last, and probably not least, it seems to me that the scandals may generate some sympathy, enough to make another run possible, for Mitt Romney, who in the end was a good candidate, and might have won in a fair fight. And for David Petraeus.

That’s 16 candidates, by my count, all of whom look to me to be highly plausible as presidents. Not a dark horse among them.

And who, on the other side, do the Democrats have? Not Hillary Clinton. First, she is too long in the tooth now to excite the Democrats, and she will be badly tainted by the scandals. If she is nominated, so much the better for the Republicans. Not Joe Biden. Again, he’s been around too long to fit the Democrat self-image, and he too will of course be tainted. Andrew Cuomo seems to be mired in scandals in Albany.

Given the scandals, they NEED a dark horse.

Which is just as well; since with those three, we seem to have come to the end of their list of household names.

Why in Heaven's Name...

... is this reported in the UK as a "scandal"?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Victoria Day



Victoria, age 4

Apparently, a group of Canadian celebrities has marked Victoria Day this year with a petition asking that the name be changed to Victoria and First Peoples Day.

The suggestion is, frankly, obscene. Victoria Day is, in fact, our oldest holiday as Canadians, and our original national day. It has been celebrated annually, and officially, in Canada since at least 1845. It is common, in a monarchy, for the monarch’s birthday to be the national day. “Canada Day,” on the other hand, has been celebrated annually only since 1927. Unique traditions have grown up around Victoria Day: The Burning Schoolhouse to end the fireworks display, 21-gun salutes, the first outdoor meal of the season, the week for planting your garden seedlings, maple cookies to honour sugaring-off time. Such a celebration of spring is perfectly fitting for a hard-winter land: “Mon pays, c’est l’hiver.” The traditions of Canada Day are weak by comparison.



Queen Victoria, self-portrait, age 35

Why, other than cultural suicide, would we want to muck around with this? Is Canadian unity so very strong that it needs to be watered down or it might become too powerful? Are our panzer legions poised to invade North Dakota? Why does a national celebration need to be reduced to an ethnic one?

Nor is it as if “First Peoples” are underrepresented in our modern consciousness. They’re just the first ethnicity anyone can think of, and opponents of Victoria Day can grab for. There is already a National Aboriginals Day, June 21. So the point and result of the proposal seems to be to eliminate Victoria Day, not to introduce a First Peoples Day.

Of course, this is all of a piece. We have already taken the wrecking ball to “The Maple Leaf Forever,” often altered the words to “O Canada,” renamed Dominion Day; there has been a longstanding push to recast Remembrance Day as some sort of “Peace Day.” When the current government sought to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, a large contingent complained that it was a purely local event, important only to Ontario.

Kind of like saying World War I was important only to Flanders.



Queen Victoria, amused.

This is really the remains of a colonial, that is, colonized, mind-set. We persist in believing that nothing Canadian can be important or worthwhile. And let’s be clear: Victoria Day is a purely Canadian holiday. They know nothing of it in England or Australia.

To be fair, there is one other obvious possible objection to Victoria Day: that it honours the monarchy. Some may object to monarchy as an institution, on the grounds that it violates the principle of human equality. I have great sympathy for that argument. However, the promoters of Victoria and First Peoples Day do not make it, and do not seem to endorse it. For their proposal actually moves in the opposite direction. The “First Peoples” of Canada, as the name implies, already have special privileges not accorded to all citizens; this proposal would add to them. Monarchy, on the other hand, can be fairly argued to be perfectly compatible with human equality in practice: witness the Scandinavian countries, Holland, Spain, the UK. Theory aside, Europe’s earliest and most successful democracies have been monarchies.

I expect a few might also argue that Victoria Day is already an ethnic celebration, an Anglo thing. If it were, I would have no interest in it; I am Irish-Canadian. But Elizabeth is the Queen of Canada, entirely apart from being Queen of Britain (not England) and fourteen other nations. And Victoria—Victoria was not herself English; she was ethnically German, raised as a German by a German mother and a German governess. When she was Queen of Canada, and our first head of state, she was also Queen of Ireland, Empress of India, etc., etc., and, through her progeny, the “grandmother of Europe.” A suitable symbol, in fact, for a multi-ethnic nation like Canada.

In any case, she is an undeniable part of our history, and our Canadian consciousness, and it is immoral to seek to alter history. To do so is to lie. As our de facto national poet, the very non-Anglo Leonard Cohen, has written, "Queen Victoria--my father and all his tobacco smoke loved you..."

Happy Victoria Day. Go forth and be amused.