Don’t drink the Kool-Aid, Gavin

gavin mcinnes

Normally I see Gavin McInnes, one of the main stars of the conservative online politics channel The Rebel Media, in a positive light. When I first saw him in an interview with Paul Joseph Watson, he came across as an edgy counter-cultural conservative who, like me, opposes the worst perversities of the far-left. However, I think lately he’s been drinking too much of conservative Kool-Aid, and now he’s sliding the slippery slope towards the authoritarian kind of conservative that I opposed in the first place.

The reason I’m talking about this is that he recently made a video entitled “Millennials aren’t interested in having sex. Here’s whose fault that is.”, which addresses the fact that, according to recent studies, millennials are less interested in sexual intercourse than previous generations. I maintain my stance that whether or not you have sex at all is a matter of choice, but I think the problem associated with young people not having sex as often they used to is usually linked with low birth rates. While I personally blame feminism and culturally Marxist gender professors for damaging relationships between men and women (and even Gavin mentions them, but only briefly), that apparently isn’t Gavin’s conclusion. Do you want to know what he thinks is the problem? Porn and video games. That’s right, Gavin literally just toed the conservative Christian line, blaming the things young people enjoy rather than the culture that is stunting the male sex drive.

In the video, which was uploaded to YouTube on August 10th, Gavin, despite giving a more accurate reason for the low interest in sex (mentioning the war on boys that Christian Hoff Summers wrote about), basically spends the whole video chiding online porn and promoting his “Proud Boys” movement, a hypermasculine group with a vaguely pick-up-artist-like philosophy, whose goal is to get men off porn and video games in order to train men to achieve traditional ideals of masculinity. The fatal flaw is that not only is his case against porn based on sketchy science (including blaming divorce on porn based by his own admission on him guessing), but he also assumes that any man who watches porn or plays video games regularly is a loser who dropped out of society, totally ignoring the myriad of factors that play into a man’s life choices.

Much of his argument is him complaining about how the men of today aren’t anything remotely like the men of his time, and his solution is for men to join his weird “No Wanks” site (which he claims is the “religion” of his “proud boys”), and for men to pick up five girls a day. Congratulations Gavin, you and your Proud Boys are literally the strawman feminists thrive on! His views on video games are even worse, citing even sketchier sources to make a case that video games are bad for you (and he once tweeted that “if you’re playing video games for hours a day, your balls are long gone”). At this point, he sounds like an utterly cliche concerned parent from the 1990’s, and for those of us younger right-wingers in the modern world, it’s just embarrassing to see a whiny conservative commentator who acts like a stereotypical reactionary grandfather. Seriously, he makes me people like me sound like progressives by comparison.

He claims that his seemingly cult-like Proud Boys movement has been effective, citing people that he has talked to in the past. However, I have found no significant evidence to support his claim, and from he said, it sounds if he pressures people into it, and he outright admits that he pushed one person too far. The person in question being Michael Kittrell (a.k.a. CopperCab), and Gavin takes responsibility for causing him to become transgendered. I’d like to point out that I have nothing against Michael (now Claire) Kittrell mind you, he can do whatever he wants (and call himself whatever he desires), but if it’s true that Gavin pushed him into that state, then I have some serious questions for him about what exactly his movement does.

Of course, this is the same man who condemns gaming as an indulgence for children (he dismissed #Gamergate for exactly that reason in a video he made last year), and currently supports Donald Trump purely on the basis of getting on the bandwagon, and to him any conservative that doesn’t support Trump is a baby who needs to “man up”. He made another video entitled “Top 10 Things Wrong With Kids These Days”, in which he chides toddlers for things that they do naturally, giving me the impression that he’s basically like a grumpy old man who’s just mad that the world isn’t the way it was in his time.

old man yells at cloud

Gavin isn’t even the only one in The Rebel Media toeing the stodgy old “games are bad” line. Their own Faith Goldy made a video claiming that Pokémon Go turns adults into children who lose interest in the world around them, and docile enough to submit to the will of the liberal elite. That’s a very poor argument even by the standards of the craziest right-wing Christian out there, and to make matters worse, she compared the game to Paul Woltsch, the man who left his wife and seven kids to live as a six-year-old girl. I swear if it weren’t for Lauren Southern, The Rebel Media would quickly be turning into the right-wing version of The Young Turks, which it will if Gavin McInnes keeps up this “proud boys” nonsense for long enough.

For me, Gavin’s attitude isn’t good for the conservative movement at all. Doesn’t he realise that it is precisely his paternalistic brand of anti-porn and anti-gaming conservatism that pushed young people over to the left in the first place? I swear that people like him are the best advertising the left ever needs, because it’s people like him that keep the left in business, and in case Gavin doesn’t realise it, his stodgy old-fashioned conservatism is unappealing for young libertarians like myself, and younger, more moderate conservatives who don’t necessarily hold the same authoritarian worldview of the previous generation of conservatives. If we in the right have any hope of weakening the influence of social justice leftists in the mainstream, we need to be able to convince people that we aren’t the stodgy reactionaries that the media portrays us as. People like Gavin McInnes, whose head seems to be stuck in the ’80’s, are easy prey for the left-wing media, and as long as the right has these guys, the left can still use the whole “those crazy right-wingers” argument to make us look insane in front of an impressionable young audience.

That’s why I worry about Gavin McInnes’ approach, because we don’t need more old-fashioned conservatives like him or Rush Limbaugh. As far as I’m concerned, they are a liability in the modern culture war against social justice warriors, and they only have two options – they can either drop the whole anti-porn and anti-gaming shtick because it isn’t a winning issue, or they can continue toeing the conservative Christian line, and ensuring that the right have no credibility.

“Toxic masculinity” is a dangerous myth

fullmcintosh

One of the most common buzzwords spread around by third-wave feminists and progressives is the phrase “toxic masculinity”, which is basically their way of saying “we don’t want men to assert themselves at all, even when it’s appropriate”. What they’ll tell you is that the term “toxic masculinity” is a way in which “the patriarchy” (yes, this comes from feminist circles) is harmful to men, referring to what feminists perceive as socially constructed attitudes that compel men to be violent, unemotional, and sexually aggressive.

Not only does the toxic masculinity narrative espouse that all men are inherently violent (which in turn becomes the feminist rationale for the “teach men not to rape” argument), but it also presents men as incapable of being any better than creatures of animalistic passion and rage. Of course, progressives and feminists love this kind of postmodern claptrap because in their mind, it lets them justify treating men as inferior, broken creatures, with the added bonus of giving them an imaginary bogeyman for whenever men commit violent crimes (for example, this Think Progress article, which tries to connect “toxic masculinity” with the Orlando massacre).

I don’t know about you, but I’m convinced that the whole toxic masculinity nonsense is not only sexist, but also ludicrous, and dangerous. I firmly believe that the idea of “toxic masculinity”, preached by charlatans and bought by impressionable readers, is a dangerous myth that can only bring harm to those who believe it, including men. How? Well put it this way, what could be more harmful to a man than being taught that his masculinity, the natural state of being a man, is inherently evil? It’s not even based on anything that could be demonstrated as observable facts. Everytime I glance at an article with “toxic masculinity” in its title, I can immediately assume that it’s dabbling in postmodernist nonsense.

And the thing is, I’m not entirely wrong. The idea comes across to me as what happens when feminists look at hypermasculine stereotypes of men and assume that all men act like that, or are inclined to. The problem is that in today’s world, men are taught to see masculinity in general as something to resent, and in the process, we a new generation of more sensitive, neurotic men who don’t stand up for themselves. I know this because I almost became one of them. I know what it’s like to question the very things that make a man what he is, until I realised that a lot of what I felt was based solely on resentment towards feeling unable to meet what I perceived were social expectations. To me, that’s literally what toxic masculinity sounds like – a way for third-wave feminists to tap into weak, battered boys by feeding into their delusions. It makes men weaker by giving them the idea that their self-confidence is “toxic”, and even a hint of aggression (which is sometimes necessary when sticking up for your interests) is misogynistic, it deludes them into seeking approval from others instead of commanding respect, and it instils a victim complex into men who are unfortunate enough to be infected with the ideology that inspired it. In short, it disempowers men.

Of course, the religion of toxic masculinity may benefit feminists, but what about women who aren’t feminists? It’s a time-tested fact that the majority of women are attracted to self-confident men who assert themselves when the time is right. They don’t even have to be the hypermasculine type, as long as a man can outwardly express self-confidence and self-control, then it’s safe to assume that those men have a reasonable chance of finding a partner. With the idea of toxic masculinity convincing men that they are the problem, the men who buy into it become outwardly weak, much like neurotic thralls who try to constantly appease women. The reality is that most women aren’t attracted to weak-willed men, passionless men who self-flagellate themselves in front of them, and yet those are the kind of men that feminism and the myth of “toxic masculinity” are creating, and so I’m not surprised when a man writes about how he allowed his wife to cheat on him with other men.

For me, the fact that major news outlets are propagating the idea of “toxic masculinity” represents a startling shift, but it says more about feminism than anything else. In its current incarnation, feminism has sought to tear men down every turn, and I’m convinced that it’s merely a way of exercising vengeance against men for what they perceive as a “male-dominated culture”. The feminists, progressives, and left-wing liberals in general have given up on trying to change the world for the better, so they are now engaged in the cultural destruction of the old world, because only by degrading the existing culture can you justify creating a new one.

The most hypocritical part as that the people propagating the myth of toxic masculinity claim to be in favour of empowering women, or creating equality. If people of one gender are allowed to feel empowered while people of the other gender are to feel ashamed of themselves, then I’m afraid we live in an unequal society at best, and a totalitarian society at worst. I’ve already known this for some time, but at this point it should be clear that third-wave feminists aren’t really in favour of equality as they claim. You can’t say you’re in favour of gender equality and yet espouse the notion that men are evil. It’s literally no different to how men used to treat women over a hundred years ago, just that today the roles are switched, and now the establishment media denigrates or objectifies men, all while hypocritically decrying female objectification.

huffington post hypocrisy

The hypocrisy of the media is never-ending.

The misandrist bias in the mainstream media is basically why Gawker thought it was okay to realise a sex tape featuring Hulk Hogan, while also releasing an article condemning the leaked nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence. It’s also the reason why feminism enjoys such a lofty position in contemporary culture, despite the fact that nearly all issues regarding gender bias against women in the West have been resolved, while men’s rights advocates, who wish to address gender biases against men (such as the family court system, and the fact that prostate cancer research doesn’t get as much funding), are either ignored, ridiculed, or vilified by the mainstream media.

Next time you see an article decrying “toxic masculinity”, my advice is to ignore it. It’s essentially another progressive writer using postmodern gibberish to lecture you about why masculinity is somehow evil, and that’s just what they do if they aren’t calling masculinity fragile. It’s no wonder why both men and women alike have now been abandoning feminism, because it has ultimately become the means by which crazed gender ideologues can rationalise misandry, and because of that, relations between the two genders are more tensed than ever before. Masculinity isn’t toxic and men aren’t evil (most of them anyway). In fact, for the most part, men try to be good to women, but in today’s culture, a lot of men are so scared of crossing the line that they don’t know what to do, and we can thank feminists and the mainstream culture for telling them that anything they do is harassment. If masculinity is seen as toxic in the distant future, it will be because of the culture the progressives have created today.

A bad time to be a libertarian on Facebook

cuckerberg

It seems that free speech on Facebook is circling the drain with each day. I’ve written before about how Facebook has been caught censoring conservative news outlets from the trending section, but now I’ve been hearing about how they’re removing conservative and libertarian pages from Facebook. Recently, the Facebook pages Being Libertarian and Occupy Democrats Logic, both of which were critical of the progressive ideology that Facebook marinates in, were shut down by Facebook simply for posting memes.

How bad were they you might ask? Not at all. They were basically innocuous, satirical memes. Being Libertarian got struck down for a meme that said “hating white people makes me non-racist”, which was a jab at the racial politics of the regressive left. Occupy Democrats Logic, a page that debunks content from the notorious left-wing propaganda page Occupy Democrats, was targeted for a meme that pointed out liberal hypocrisy on homophobia, highlighting how, despite the fact that both Christianity and Islam proscribe homosexuality, progressives denounce Christians as bigots, but don’t give Islam the same treatment.

Of course, the progressives over in Facebook don’t like satire (unless it mocks conservatives or is very tame), and they certainly don’t like they’re ideology being questioned, so they removed the posts under the false pretence of “violating community standards”, and before long the group page was removed. The same happened with Being Libertarian, as well as Liberty Memes, a page that shared the “silly Americans, laws are for poor people meme”, which was critical of Hillary Clinton. It’s not just libertarians who are being targeted. When news of Facebook censoring conservative news outlets from its trending feed broke out, Facebook began to censor conservatives who spoke out on Facebook. According to Lauren Southern, a conservative libertarian journalist from Rebel Media, Facebook had apparently banned all the moderator accounts running the conservative Disdain for Plebs page merely for arguing in defence of Donald Trump. When another Disdain for Plebs moderator called Facebook out for censoring conservatives he was banned too, as was Lauren Southern when she called Facebook out for it.

One thing is becoming clear – much like Twitter, Facebook is becoming increasingly intolerant of conservatives, libertarians, and anyone who thinks outside the progressive line of thinking that Mark Zuckerberg is clearly entrenched in. Indeed, we free-thinkers may be living in dark times, what with the social justice takeover of academia and Obama’s plan to relinquish US control of the Internet to an international body. Am I to believe that freedom of speech has become completely dispensable to the establishment? That’s basically what’s happening, and the controlled media is silent on this because they’re essentially on the same side as Facebook. With social media CEO’s like Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey so trigger happy about censoring ideas and speech that counters their views, I can’t help but be concerned about the future of political discussion on social media. After all, if conservative and libertarian pages get censored so easily, how long will it be before people who post dissenting opinions on their timeline get censored?

All the more galling is Facebook’s hypocrisy on the matter of what constitutes offensive speech. They will ban people for defending Donald Trump, and pointing out the hypocrisy of liberals, and yet they allow Occupy Democrats to spread blatant lies, Black Lives Matter gets to spread their hateful propaganda on the site, and the far-left Class War group, which was responsible for arranging a violent riot in Shoreditch last year and are actually considering partying on the grave of the deceased Duke of Westminster, gets to spread all manner of hateful propaganda, including stuff that might actually qualify as “hate speech”, and they’re able to get away with it.

To me, it’s becoming more and more obvious that Facebook has a left-wing bias. I’ve known this for the past three months, and this concerns me because of how much I believe in free speech. I believe that everyone is entitled to have a platform, no matter how uncomfortable or repulsive their views may seem to us. If even one person is silenced, then the rights of all of us are endangered, because of one person is silenced, who will be next? How long will it be before everyone else on Facebook becomes too afraid to speak their own mind? If that happens, Facebook will end suffering the fate that Twitter is know – it will become an echo chamber for progressives and the far-left, and anyone who disagrees with the progressive ideology of its CEO will be censored or banned. That is the future I see for Facebook if this continues, and I can only look on in worry.

Why the minimum wage should not be increased

money

If you’re looking for a job, one phrase you’re likely to hear is “minimum wage”, referring to the lowest amount that employers are required to pay. As such, you’re likely to get it in the low-level jobs that almost everybody hates, like cleaning personnel or fast food workers. These kind of jobs are supposed to introduce an employee to his or her first job, or start off a worker with lower skills until they develop new skills, some of which may be necessary to get into better, higher-paying jobs. Of course, in recent years you have leftists screeching on about why we should raise the minimum wage (this was part of Bernie Sanders’ platform), claiming that it would be good for the economy. My question is this: why?

First of all, this seems to be a chiefly American issue, but let’s try and talk about Britain. In my country, the minimum wage was introduced under Tony Blair’s government via the Minimum Wage Act of 1998, and enforced in 1999 when the hourly rate was at £3.60, or £3 if you’re under 22. Today, the hourly rate is £7.20 for over 25’s, £6.70 for people aged 21-24, £5.30 for 18-20-year-olds, and £3.30 if you’re under 18. As it stands, I don’t think the rate is too high, though it is predicted that the minimum wage will increase to £9 by 2020. You rarely find critics of the minimum wage in Britain, but the main consensus of the critics is that raising the minimum wage would risk causing higher unemployment, which brings us to the debate in America, where the current minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, and leftists are pushing for it to be increased to $15/hr.

Left-wing news outlets will tell you a lot of nonsense about how the minimum wage is good for families, good for economic recovery, good for young people, and all that sort of nonsense, but chief among their “concerns” is the working class. For them, raising the minimum wage is round about the equivalent of reparations for class warfare. That’s certainly how the progressive Alternet sees things.

“Most of all, a big jump in the minimum wage would be a reparation. Because let’s be clear: class warfare has already been undertaken on behalf of the 1 percent……To raise the minimum wage would be literally the minimum we could do for those who have suffered from the economic crisis: the working population. It would be an act of justice.”

So the idea behind raising the minimum wage is essentially being fuelled by vaguely Marxist ideas of class conflict, and we all know what Marxism does to people who adopt it. It turns people into deranged ideologues who are obsessed with “social justice”, to the point that everything is political. Of course, Marxism aside, there are a number of reasons why I oppose the idea of raising the minimum wage.

The very idea raises the question of why you want the minimum wage increased. As I pointed out in the first paragraph, the minimum wage is what you’re paid for low-level jobs. Do the people who want a $15/hr minimum wage want to stay on minimum wage? Call me old-fashioned, but I believe that the goal in life is to work hard and earn your way out of poverty, not to stay working in a fast food restaurant until the day you die. If you want a $15/hr salary or higher, why not get job training or a degree? Surely that would be more satisfying and rewarding in the long run than begging the government to make working at McDonalds more luxurious.

Of course, raising the minimum wage comes across as another idealistic proposition that doesn’t work out well in reality, and thankfully, there is a real-life demonstration of what happens when you raise the minimum wage too high. Earlier this year, the city of Seattle, Washington has its minimum wage raised to the desired $15/hr, well above the statewide rate of $9.47/hr. The result was increased unemployment and fewer jobs. The problem is that increasing the minimum wage made it more expensive for companies to hire labour, and so the natural result is that businesses would have to lay people off in order to save money. Of course, this has only happened in Seattle so far, and given the consequences of that, to apply the $15/hr minimum wage on a national level would be detrimental to the US economy.

Proponents of an increased minimum wage often point to Australia as a country with higher minimum wage and low unemployment rate, except they’re lying about the last part. Australia’s minimum wage is an obscene 17.70 AUD per hour, and the country’s unemployment rate is just shy of 6%, which is higher than it is in Britain and America (both of which as of now have an unemployment rate of 4.9%). To be fair, we could do worse. Spain’s unemployment rate has been colossal for a while now, and is now at 20%, but then again, Spain’s economic performance is due to a number of other factors. Meanwhile, Britain and America could do just fine without raising the minimum wage any higher.

If the point of raising the minimum wage is to eliminate poverty, then it is a very ineffective solution. All it will do is create an incentive for younger workers to stay in a low-paying job. After all, in a country where the entry-level jobs pay more, what’s the point in moving on to a more rewarding job in the future? What would even be the point in going to a community college? If the minimum wage in Britain were £15/hr, most young people would stay working at McDonalds, which isn’t what should be happening in a healthy economy.

Of course, leftists and Democrats who advocate increasing the minimum wage don’t care about any of that. They don’t care about the facts, and they only care about controlling the economy and creating their utopian society. The problem is that leftist economic policies have consistently proven to be destructive. America generously gives a number of benefits as part of an ongoing “War on Poverty”, and the result is that there is less of an incentive to work. The Democrats’ propensity for big spending has done nothing other than damage local communities, as could be seen in cities that have consistently voted Democrat for upwards of five decades. I don’t totally understand economics, but it seems to me that leftists don’t give a damn about how the economy actually works. Anyone with decent economic knowledge and isn’t marinating in left-wing nonsense would know that raises the minimum wage as high as $15/hr is an insane, irrational, and impractical idea.

My beef with TV licensing (and the BBC)

tv licensing

So I heard that the BBC are rolling out new changes to the TV licensing laws, which effectively mean that, starting from September 1st, you will have to get a TV license in order to download or even watch BBC programs via iPlayer. What it means it that, if you want to watch TV shows on BBC iPlayer on any broadcasting device at all (including tablets by the way), you have to pay the extortionate TV licensing fee (which as of 2010 is frozen at £145.50 per year).

For starters, it means that I have to basically stop watching anything from the BBC (which I can totally do because I don’t even like the BBC, for reasons we’re about to get into) because that rule extends to university students like myself. However, the main thing about this new law is that it shows how desperate the BBC has gotten. When I first heard of this, I thought it was basically an obvious attempt to target university students (as if we don’t have enough expenses to pay as it is) just to keep the god-awful BBC Three alive.

To clear things up, BBC Three died a natural death. Viewership began declining as young people moved towards tablets and online on-demand content, and so the BBC couldn’t afford to keep the channel anymore, as would inevitably happen over a period of time. They kept it running as an online channel, but while its rating aren’t catastrophically bad, I don’t see a lot of people clamouring to watch it. I personally don’t feel that people living in halls should have to pay an arm and a leg every year just to keep a dreggy, ancillary channel alive in a era where it is no longer relevant, and clearly can’t survive in a free market.

In fact, I’ve always despised the TV licensing fees. For those of my readers who live outside Britain, the TV licensing fee is an annual fee that we in Britain are forced to pay if we have a TV, and because the BBC is owned, operated and controlled by the government, that fee is basically how the BBC is funded (this is why BBC channels and radio stations don’t need ad revenue, and therefore have no ads). To me, this sounds like a blatantly socialist concept, as it is counter to the idea that a TV station should survive or collapse on its own in the free market. I also find it very bizarre that the majority of Brits actually defend the institution that forces you to pay extortionate amounts of money just to stay alive, so here are a few reasons why I think we should abolish the TV licensing fee.

1. The concept of a public TV station is outdated

As I mentioned earlier, the BBC has slowly become an irrelevant institution. In the old days, people were basically stuck to the live channels as they were the only source of TV programs, sport and news updates, and whatever they had what was you got. Flash forward to 2016 – now people can get their news from an array of online sources, including social media websites, and thanks to the invention of tablets and streaming services like Netflix, you can stream any TV programme you want without the need of a TV.

In today’s world, the TV is becoming a relic of the 20th century, and by consequence, so is the BBC, and they know that. Why else would you have thousands of British households cancelling their TV licensees? In a world where you can catch up on BBC’s programmes through the iPlayer service, why even would you bother paying the license for something you don’t need? With that in mind, we come to the only reason the new law is being rolled out – the BBC is losing money.

The BBC has apparently lost £238 million because people have decided that, with tablets, there’s no need to pay an expensive TV license fee. Of course, the regressive government institution that it is, they want to close that loophole because they’re afraid of becoming irrelevant, and thus unprofitable. The new law is simply a way for the BBC to try and make money by forcing people to pay for iPlayer, a service that, by all rights, should be available for free. All the new law will end up doing is driving people over to the alternative streaming services, which are significantly cheaper if not available for free, further crippling the BBC.

2. Why should I pay for bad TV?

I know this is an unpopular opinion, but most of the shows on BBC’s channels are mediocre at best. Sure, there are exceptions to the rule (such as “The A Word”, which is due for a new season), but most of the BBC’s programming consists of much of the same kind of claptrap you find on its competitors (Channel 4, ITV, Channel 5), all of which can exist without the licensing fee.

The only good thing I can say is that BBC’s shows have better production values than their competitors (the nature documentaries look and sound fantastic), and I have no doubt that BBC programmes might have been much better in the past, but I don’t feel it to be the case now. I’m aware that there are quite a few popular and highly-regarded shows on the BBC, like Doctor Who and Sherlock, but I feel that if people really like them enough, then they will survive without the need of a licensing fee. I don’t really care what people watch. If they like it, it’s their prerogative, but I shouldn’t have to pay for them. I don’t see why people should be prosecuted just because they don’t want to have to pay to keep Flog It on the air.

I’m also aware of the fact that the licensing fee also funds BBC Radio. To me that means it sustains one of my most hated institutions – BBC Radio 1. If I were to pay the licensing fee, I’d be paying to sustain the vapid cesspool of decadence and garbage that I always thought of Radio 1 as back in high school. The other radio stations, however, I have a mixed opinion of.

3. Why should I pay for propaganda?

In the old days, most people got their news from the BBC, and when I was young, it was generally assumed that BBC News is completely unbiased, but that’s complete balderdash. Because the BBC is essentially owned by the government, BBC News is the state news network, meaning that it will invariably be promoting some sort of agenda.

Many right-wing newspapers accuse the BBC of having a blatant left-wing bias, and they’re absolutely right. I noticed this during the Brexit vote, and the BBC showed an obvious bias in favour of the Remain camp (but then, most of the establishment media was in the same boat). They’ve also been known to spin anything involving Donald Trump (I don’t support him, but I dislike the intellectual dishonesty displayed by the media right now). Recently, Donald Trump said that supporters of the Second Amendment could hinder Hillary Clinton’s campaign. He said this while making a point about how gun rights may be endangered if Hillary got to appoint her own judges of the Supreme Court (which, if she’s president, she will). However, the mainstream media, including the BBC, reported it as if Trump was calling for Hillary’s assassination.

The BBC is also very much entrenched in the ideology of political correctness, which makes sense coming from a pro-government channel. The BBC have made various documentaries that serve to promote an ideological agenda, and the best example I could think of is on BBC Three, who made a documentary entitled Porn: What’s the Harm. What was it? It was basically a piece that promotes the lie that porn causes sexual violence, child abuse, and rampant underage sexual activity, with no proof at all. This came in around the time when David Cameron’s government came under fire for attempting to implement a controversial porn filter (which was also going to block a number of non-pornographic sites), and since the BBC does the bidding of the government, the BBC, through it’s teen-oriented channel, was focused on trying to convince young people that porn is evil. They even brought in a former child actor to promote the lie. They also love to tout the merits of cultural diversity, while simultaneously chiding American Christians because they believe in angels (as they did in at least one BBC Three documentary).

4. If the BBC can’t survive on its own, what’s the point of keeping it alive?

Being a filthy capitalist libertarian pig dog, I believe in the virtues of the free market. Hence, I’m diametrically opposed to the idea of the citizenry being forced to pay for something against their will. That is why I oppose state-funded media and arts, because it comes at the expense of the taxpayer.

As I mentioned earlier, the BBC is clearly struggling to survive in an era where we can live without it. If it weren’t for the fact that we’re forced to pay the license fee, the BBC would probably be dead, or at least it wouldn’t have the money to keep producing so much content, or it might have shrunk to just a few TV channels and possibly one radio station.

Besides, I remember watching the BBC often because nothing else. Whenever I could choose something better, I would never watch the BBC. Of course, what bothers me even more is the concept of a TV license enforcement division, with officers that can search your home if they have a warrant. I haven’t heard of any other country in the world that has them around. And of course, the enemy of the BBC, which controls 70% of news output on TV and radio, is competition. If it was freed from government control, it would be forced to succeed or fail by its own merits, like all the other channels, but apparently the government doesn’t want that.

 

5. What are the arguments in favour of it?

Since the BBC is entrenched into the fabric of British society, it generally goes unquestioned despite the horrendous extortion Brits have to put up with. Naturally, a number of arguments in favour of the licensing fee (and the BBC) have come up, so I’d like to address the main arguments before I tune out.

  • The BBC does wonderful work and we must protect it – From what? The BBC is a corporation. It doesn’t or shouldn’t need government protection. And further more, what wonderful work? If you mean TV programming, then that’s completely subjective. For instance, I can’t stand Strictly Come Dancing. I find it a vapid exercise in brain-melting distraction. That’s why I’ve stayed away from it ever since I was 14. If you mean the news, then, as I’ve already said earlier, the BBC’s news service is essentially politically correct propaganda that omits any details that are inconvenient to their narrative.
  • The BBC does not have to sell advertising – I agree that ads are extremely annoying, with their universally crappy jingles and barely passable actors, but I don’t think that the licensing fee is the best solution. Besides, you can now streaming videos online with minimal ads, and on Netflix, you can stream TV programmes with no ads at all, which means the point about having no ads is a moot one.
  • The BBC delivers a variety of content – So does the Internet, which provides the greatest possible amount of variety known to man, catering to every niche you can imagine, and the best part is that you can pick and choose what you want to watch or listen to online, and it usually doesn’t you a dime (even the internet bill in my house isn’t as expensive as the TV licensing fee).
  • The BBC charter defines quality content – Again, that’s entirely subjective. Of course, the BBC can boast higher production values than their competitors, but remember, that money comes from leeching the public dry. Also, you can find great content that the BBC doesn’t have online, for free. You don’t have to go to the BBC at all for high quality content. Hell, if you were rich, you could afford access to content that is even better than the BBC if you knew where to look.
  • The BBC is an essential public service – Let me be clear on this final argument. Television is not an essential public service, and neither is the BBC. To those who say the BBC’s remit is to inform and educate as well as entertain, education should be the responsibility of either schools or your parents, not a state-owned propaganda outlet such as the BBC. As for entertainment, you can literally get entertainment anywhere other than the BBC, and for information in relation to news, you can get your news anywhere else online. Barely anyone watches broadcast news anymore since you can get it all online now. BBC News even has its own website, and with iPlayer around (which they’re going to charge you for through the license fee), you don’t even have to watch the channels proper.

Through all of this, I my principal argument is that the TV licensing fee should be abolished. All it does in the long run is preserve an outdated institution at the expensive of the taxpayer, which I find to be a frivolous excess. As for the BBC, I think it should be privatised, which of course would force it to compete in a free market, freeing the citizenry of an arbitrary expense. Yes, this will probably mean ads, but if I were watching TV, I would rather sit through terrible ads than be forced to pay for a channel I don’t want to use. Besides, I’m very certain that privatising the BBC will have no effect on the quality of the BBC’s programming. I’m sure the BBC can still capably produce programming to its viewers’ liking without forcing the rest of us to pay for it.

Why pandering to social justice warriors has failed

suicide squad vs. ghostbusters

This summer, two films have been placed on the spotlight. One of them is Suicide Squad, a film that, despite its shortcomings in terms of narrative, is a decently entertaining comic book film. The other one is Paul Feig’s terrible Ghostbusters remake, in which he ruins a beloved film by pandering to social justice warriors. Consider this for a moment. When the Ghostbusters trailer was revealed, nearly everyone, including myself, absolutely hated it, while mainstream film critics, social justice warriors, and the film’s producers, sung praises of the film before it was even released, and tried to dismiss anyone who didn’t like it as a horrible sexist.

Meanwhile, Suicide Squad was denounced by the very same kind of people who defended the genuinely terrible Ghostbusters reboot (you know, the middle class “critics” I mentioned in the first paragraph). They accused Suicide Squad of being “sexist”, “racist”, and “insensitive”, all without any particular reason. Of course, while the critics spent their time flailing around and trying to convince people not to see Suicide Squad because they don’t like it, Suicide Squad has so far broken many box office records, and made well over its production budget within less than a week of its release, making $294 million at the time of this writing, against a bloated production budget of $175 million (it’s not enough if you count marketing costs, but at this rate, it’s getting there). Contrast that with Ghostbusters, which apparently opened to empty theatres, and only made $80 million within the first ten days since its release in July, and as of now has made $180 million against a budget of $144 million. That doesn’t sound bad, but if you account for the marketing costs, Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters needs to make at least $300 million in order to break even, and given how unlikely it is that is, Ghostbusters is a box office bomb.

I think Hollywood should take two lessons from this. Firstly, it shows that film critics have virtually no influence on the public’s taste in films, though in my opinion, that should have been obvious. Critics usually pan action films and formulaic rom-coms, and yet they tend to make a killing in the box office. Secondly, it should show Paul Feig and other progressive directors that pandering to social justice warriors doesn’t work.

In my opinion, the failure of the new Ghostbusters film had nothing to do with its largely unfunny cast, and everything to do with its monumentally poor marketing strategy. The whole point of the marketing campaign was to get people to accept that Melissa McCarthy, Kirsten Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones are the new Ghostbusters, but all the trailer did was convince people that it would be a howlingly unfunny disaster, and the mere fact that they had to play the sexism card in order to defend it made matters even worse. By contrast, Suicide Squad didn’t discriminate. Rather than trying to market the all-female cast as a sign of how “progressive” the film is supposed to be, the mission of Suicide Squad’s marketing campaign was to make it look edgy and stylish, or at least in the eyes of young teenagers. That film’s marketing campaign didn’t discriminate, because DC and Warner Bros. know that if they did, it would be commercial suicide, and the end result is Suicide Squad making far more money then Ghostbusters did.

You don’t need a degree in advertising to know that it isn’t wise to alienate your audience. Ghostbusters’ marketing, with its blatant attempt at pushing Paul Feig’s ideological agenda, pretty much killed the film’s chances of commercial success by alienating a huge chunk of the audience, namely the people who loved Ghostbusters when they were children and are now horrified at what the maker of Bridesmaids has done to it. How does that not alienate an audience? Add a dash of gender politics to the mix (courtesy of left-wing news outlets and left-leaning entertainment sites) and you make an already bad PR disaster cataclysmically worse.

The failure of Ghostbusters was entirely Hollywood’s fault, but then, what did they expect? They were trying to make a film specifically for third-wave feminists, progressives and social justice warriors. They’re the kind of people who, because the personal is political to them, will get up in arms other everything they don’t like, so no matter how hard you try, you can’t please them. Hell, you even had people complaining that Leslie Jones’ character was a racist stereotype of black people (and to be fair, she played an extremely stereotypical character). There is simply no profit in appealing to a demographic that cannot be pleased, and by trying to appease the unappeasable, what inevitably happens is that you alienate everybody else.

I would also blame Hollywood’s increasingly bloated budgets and increasingly extravagant expectations. With a production budget of $144 million, and a marketing budget of around $150 million (totalling $294 million), Ghostbusters would need to make a worldwide gross of around $300 million in order to break even, and if Paul Feig is to be believed, it would have to make upwards of $500 million in order to turn a sizeable profit. Even Suicide Squad, which easily outdid Ghostbusters within its first week, will need to make well over $350 million to turn a profit, because comic book films are now placed under higher expectations than ever before. That’s how Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice can make $872 million worldwide, well above the combined total of its production and marketing budget (which would be around $415 million), can still be considered by Hollywood to be a disappointment.

I sincerely hope that Suicide Squad finishes its box office run as a success, because it would prove my point – that the progressive film critics have no real influence over whether a film is considered good or bad, or whether a film succeeds or fails. Meanwhile, I expect Ghostbusters to not only end its box office run as a failure, but I also hope that it serves a cautionary tale of how appealing to social justice warriors is a monumentally bad tactic. If after all this, Ghostbusters somehow gets a sequel, then I’ll know that Hollywood has truly gone off the deep end. Then again, I doubt that Hollywood ever learns from its mistakes.

Rationalia: A technocratic folly

rationalia

Utopia or bust?

Throughout the 20th century, many science fiction writers would write about seemingly impossible utopian outcomes for the world in the often not too distant future. Naturally, this enticed the imaginations of those who read them, and depending on the reader, these utopian visions would either be an orderly paradise or a totalitarian hellhole, but where there are sci-fi visions of the future, you inevitably have scientists thinking of ways to try and bridge the gap between fiction and reality. Among those is Neil deGrasse Tyson, who in June proposed a new kind of government called “Saturnalia”, to much ridicule from the scientific press. At least he stands by his nonsense, as he recently decided to double down on the idea in a lengthy Facebook post entitled “Reflections on Rationalia”, perhaps indicating that he is not as wise as he’d like you to believe.

What exactly is “Rationalia”? It’s basically the name Neil deGrasse Tyson gave to his planned virtual country, which he initially defined with a single tweet-length post that read “all policy shall be based on the weight of evidence”. You might think that doesn’t sound bad, but it’s simply impractical. Mr. Tyson apparently doesn’t understand that politics and science are completely different realms. Yes, in politics you are supposed to prove your argument with evidence to support your case, but in politics there is no objective answer, or at least not in the same way that it would ideally be in the case of the scientific method.

Almost immediately Mr. Tyson’s proposal comes across as the manifesto of some pompous liberal arts student who thinks he knows all the answers because his teachers gave him stellar grades, but that’s not all. He decided to expand on it some more, and it doesn’t necessarily make the idea any less laughable. In a lengthy Facebook post, he writes:

“Consider further that the original Tweet specifically references Policy, which can itself become laws, but more broadly, Policy sets frameworks for thinking about laws. Examples of Policy would be a government’s choice to invest in R&D, and if so, by how much. Or whether a government should help the poor, and if so, in what ways. Or how much a municipality should support equal access to education. Or whether or not tariffs should be levied on goods and services from one country or another. Or what tax rate should be established, and on what kinds of income. Often these policies stall between political factions arguing loudly that they are right and their opponent is wrong. Which reminds me of the mostly-true adage, “if an argument lasts longer than five minutes then both sides are wrong.”

Obviously this comes from the perspective of a man who looks at American politics and only sees the arguments. Given how much of a circus American politics tends to be, I can understand why he and many Americans who consider themselves rational might think this way, but the reality of politics is often far more complex than that. There are many reasons why policies don’t get implemented, but most commonly is the simple fact that it lost the congressional vote. Also, the political factions “arguing loudly” has been a thing ever since mankind first engaged in politics, and I highly doubt that you’re going to get rid of it, because to not have multiple arguing parties would mean not having a true democracy.

I’ve read through the entire post, and I have to say, it reeks of the kind pomposity and intellectual dishonesty that one might generally expect to find in somebody who’s desperate to defend a failed idea (in that regard, he has much in common with the Marxists). For example:

“A common critique was the question of where such a country would get its morals, and how other other ethical issues might be established or resolved. The last I reviewed the US Bill of Rights, there was no discussion of morals there either. Nowhere does it say “Thou Shalt Not Kill”. Meanwhile, there’s an entire Amendment — Number 3 — that prevents the military from bunking in your home without your permission.”

Okay, this part attempts to create an equivalency between two entirely different laws and ethical dilemmas where there is none. This is what we call intellectual dishonesty, but I digress. The reason why the Third Amendment was written was because at the time of America’s founding, it was a colony under the tyrannical rule of the British Empire. Much of what was written into the constitution, and this includes the Second Amendment by the way, was written with the intent of enabling the American people to stand up to oppressive powers, which would include the government should it ever become too tyrannical. It was designed to place limits on government, which I would argue is morally just. You don’t need scientific evidence to argue that either. You need only to look through the history books to show how tyrannical governments can be if given too much power to control the people.

Wait a minute, is he attempting to refute the idea of morality because it isn’t mentioned in the Bill of Rights? Why would anyone do that? Not even the most bat-shit insane fundamentalist Christians ever attempted to argue that, and they’re the ones how insist that God should be a part of our everyday life. By contrast, Mr. Tyson is arguing for a nation founded on the idea of the scientific method as the basis of government, and somehow he sounds even stupider than a tambourine-shaking Baptist in New Orleans, and yet that somehow isn’t all there is.

We haven’t even gotten to the crux of the matter, which is his policy.

“In Rationalia, the Constitution stipulates that a body of convincing evidence needs to exist in support of an idea before any Policy can established based on it. In such a country, data gathering, careful observations, and experimentation would be happening all the time, influencing practically every aspect of our modern lives. As a result, Rationalia would lead the world in discovery, because discovery would be built into the DNA of how the government operates, and how its citizens think.”

Again, this sounds nice on paper, but in practice, there would be no way to implement it, at least not in a democracy anyway. How would he go about acheiving this? I’ve actually read through the whole post, and he doesn’t say anything about how he plans to implement any of this.

“the sciences that study human behavior (psychology, sociology, neuroscience, anthropology, economics, etc) would be heavily funded since much of our understanding of how we interact with one another derives from research within subfields of these disciplines. Because their subjects involve humans, these fields are particularly susceptible to social & cultural bias. So the verifiability of evidence will be of highest concern.”

How exactly would you give the human behaviour sciences as much funding as Mr. Tyson desires? He doesn’t tell you, but I can almost guarantee that to get what he wants, you’d have to raise taxes, and that’s when Rationalia starts looking like a barmy socialist nightmare, as that’s what inevitably happens when you try and create a society where the government funds all the nice things people want. Also, if he’s complaining about “social and cultrual bias”, let’s consider that once anything is subsidised by government, it is controlled by the government. Therefore, if you hand the human behaviour sciences over to the government, what inevitably happens is that they can only publish the findings that the government approves. This is true in the European Union, which gives generous funding to the sciences as long as it makes them look good.

“since weight of evidence is built into the Constitution, everyone would be trained from an early age how to obtain and analyze evidence, and how to draw conclusions from it.”

This is basically code for indoctrination. There is no other way to describe it, and it’s especially jarring because you have a scientist, a man who should be opposed to the kind of authoritarian religious indoctrination that atheists universally condemned, but he’s apparently alright with it if his government is doing the indoctrination. Isn’t it bad enough that young people are being indoctrinated in left-leaning campuses all across America? Is he willing to address the fact that Marxist ideology is being taught in prestigious universities, despite the fact that they have no basis in fact? I thought not. In summation, indoctrination is bad and evil unless the good guys do it. That’s what Neil deGrasse Tyson is saying.

“you would have complete freedom to be irrational. You just don’t have the freedom to base policy on your ideas if the weight of evidence does not support it. For this reason, Rationalia might just be the freest country in the world.”

That’s basically a self-contradictory statement. You can’t say that you have the freedom to be irrational if the weight of evidence is the prime determiner of policy. Therefore, Rationalia cannot be the freest country in the world.

“for example, if you want to introduce capital punishment you’d need to propose a reason for it. If the reason is to deter murder, then an entire research machine would be put into place (if it did not already exist) to see whether, in fact, capital punishment deters murder. If it does not, then your proposed policy fails, and we move on to other proposals.”

We already debate policies like capital punishment in a democracy, and in a healthy democracy, you would have people arguing for or against capital punishment, and the proposal would be subject to a vote by Congress, and if more people vote “nay” than “yea”, then the proposal is rejected. Since I assume Rationalia would do away with that process entirely, the only way to prove whether or not capital punishment is a good idea is to execute someone, which would require implementing the death penatly regardless of popular opinion. What if that “experiment” produces inconclusive results? You’d have to kill another person, and another person, and at some point, how many people need to die to prove a point?

“if you want to fund art in schools, you simply propose a reason why. Does it increase creativity in the citizenry? Is creativity good for culture and society at large? Is creativity good for everyone no matter your chosen profession? These are testable questions. They just require verifiable research to establish answers. And then, the debate ends quickly in the face of evidence, and we move on to other questions.”

I don’t think you need a reason to teach art in school. It’s just one of those things that we would be culturally poorer without, and it’s not something that the scientific method could prove or disprove. As an artist, I can tell you about the value of art, and I can guarantee that in Rationalia, art would be dismissed if they thought it was “irrational”.

“citizens would pity newscasters for presenting their opinions as facts. Everyone would have a heightened capacity to spot bullshit wherever and whenever it arose.”

Newsflash: media outlets have been using news to push their ideological agenda for a very long time, and it still happens to this day. I don’t like it either, but you can’t make a law against it without sacrificing freedom of the press, which is one of the fundamental pillars of a free society. If you punish news outlets for deviating from “the facts”, then congratulations, you do not live in a free society.

“In Rationalia, a diverse, pluralistic land, you are free to practice religion. You would just have a hard-time basing policy on it. Policy, by most intended meanings of the word, are rules that apply to everyone, but most religions have rules that apply only to themselves.”

Just because right-wing Christians try to push “family values” policies doesn’t mean they are successful. In fact, nowadays they are ridiculed for it. If you are free to practice a religion, you can also choose to follow its rules. Also, I think the “weight of evidence” policy would turn against the idea of freedom of religion if the weight of evidence judged it to be bad.

“research in psychology and neuroscience would establish what level risks we are all willing to take, and how much freedom we might need to forfeit, in exchange for comfort, health, wealth and security.”

Ah the mantra of the statist. How predictable, and now I know that Mr. Tyson is a statist.  It also speaks volumes about how he thinks psychology and neuroscience can shape how society functions, but he doesn’t go into how it would establish the risks we all are willing to take. What he actually wants is for people to be comfortable with being in a dictatorship, because that is the only thing Rationalia could be.

“you could create an Office of Morality, where moral codes are proposed and debated. What moral codes would the citizens of Rationalia embrace? That is, itself, a research project. Countries don’t always get it right, of course. And neither will Rationalia. Is slavery moral? The USA’s Constitution thought so for 76 years. Should women vote? The USA’s Constitution said no for 131 years.”

If you needed further proof that Rationalia can be nothing other than an Orwellian nightmare, here it is, complete with brainless conjecture. For the record, morality is completely subjective. 1000 years ago we would have tolerated slavery, but now we don’t, because at some point in history we decided that slavery was wrong. You can’t regulate morality. Many have tried, and all of them have failed miserably.

There you have it, Neil deGrasse Tyson’s vision of the future is nothing more than a laughable brain fart, but it suddenly becomes more abhorrent once you actually look into what he’s suggesting. If this were a real country, Rationalia would be a technocratic dictatorship with scientism (the belief that all we need to solve the world’s problems is science) as its core value. Politics and science don’t mix. They never can, and Neil deGrasse Tyson has essentially proven why it shouldn’t. The current system isn’t exactly perfect, but I would certainly prefer it to an authoritarian nightmare where my life was governed by those who claim to be enlightened, but are ultimately blinded by their pursuit of utopia.