Category Archives: Psychology

The Four Terrible Things That Are Destroying Boys In Our Culture, by Matt Walsh

It’s getting increasingly difficult for boys to emerge from childhood and become responsible men. From Matt Walsh at theburningplatform.com:

Our culture is very bad for boys. It’s bad for girls, too. It’s bad for everyone. But I think we fail to recognize and appreciate the unique struggles that boys face. Partly we fail to recognize it because we are too busy worrying about the Patriarchy’s persecution of women. Partly we fail to recognize it because, collectively, we just don’t care that much about boys. Partly we fail to recognize it because men are not as likely to talk about their own plight. And partly a man will not talk about it because everyone, even his fellow men, will only laugh at him and downplay the problem.

There are many factors at play, and they all lead to a pretty dire situation. Men are told about their privilege, but if you look at things honestly you will not see much evidence of this privilege. On the contrary, you will see several profound disadvantages suffered by men in general and boys in particular.

Here, I think, are the four biggest:

1) Our culture preys relentlessly on a boy’s weaknesses.

Let’s imagine the world the average 13-year-old boy inhabits. He has long since been exposed to hardcore pornography, and probably watches it regularly. Then puberty hits. His hormones are going haywire. His brain is hardwiring itself to focus obsessively on sex. He cannot really help it. He is now fertile, even as the girls his age, for the most part, are not. He feels the biological impulse to go out and find a sexual partner, though he does not understand this urge and his conception of human sexuality has been perverted and confused by the porn habit he developed in sixth grade.

The boy cannot escape sex. It is all over his computer. All over his phone. All over social media. All over the TV. All over the music he listens to. He goes to school and his female classmates are dressed like strippers. He goes anywhere and that’s how the women are dressed. It seems that everyone is doing everything they can to make a degenerate and a creep out of him, even as they demand that he control himself. We ask for self-discipline and self-control from the boy while providing him with no tools to develop them. Rather than tools, we give him temptation. Non-stop temptation, everywhere he goes, all day, every day, right at the moment when his brain is least capable of overcoming it.

To continue reading: The Four Terrible Things That Are Destroying Boys In Our Culture

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Sincere Questions in a World of Lies, by Doug “Uncola” Lynn

Doug “Uncola” Lynn asks a timeless and provocative question. From Lynn at theburningplatform.com:

When I was in high school we had an English teacher who had the kids carry the ring of a toilet seat to the bathroom instead of asking him for a hall pass.  Although this took place before the selfie and social media days, it was mentioned in passing as a humorous anecdote in a story printed in the school newsletter.  In turn, it was picked up by the city paper, then a regional publication, and by the time the “story” hit the national news, it had been twisted into the teacher forcing the students into wearing the toilet seat around their necks.

That was my first personal experience with hot air expanding up through the media stratosphere before, quite unscientifically, converting into bullshit raining down from on high.  It was like watching a game of “telephone”, whereby one media representative whispered “truth” into the earpiece of another, and onward up the line, until the national media was shouting “child abuse” through their collective bullhorns. Although each media outlet should have individually vetted the story they, instead, repeated the error of an earlier source.

Indeed, there are many reasons why lies travel around the world twice as the truth ties its shoes.  When searching for veracity in a world of deception, it’s like a wind forever blowing in our faces.  Fighting that gale is comparable to swimming the breast-stroke against a raging rapids, or rock-climbing in a bad hailstorm without a helmet: We get nowhere fast and end up with a thundering headache.

We stand at the edge of the abyss, at one-minute to midnight, in the black of a storm.  Pummeled by crosswinds of lies, we hear the sounds of war drums in the distance as the roar of economic uncertainty, and waves of debt and currency fluctuations pound the shoreline all around.

To continue reading: Sincere Questions in a World of Lies

The American Dunning-Kruger Epidemic (Or Why Ignorant People Are So Sure They’re Right), by Daisy Luther

The people who think they’re always right when they’re not are a real annoyance to those of us who actually are always right. From Daisy Luther at theorganicprepper.com:

It’s time to address an epidemic in the United States. It’s one that could be deadly, particularly to liberty.

It’s an epidemic of Dunning-Kruger. It’s why ignorant people are so certain that they’re right.

What’s that, you ask?

The Dunning Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which individuals, who are unskilled at a particular task, believe themselves to possess above-average ability in performing the task. On the other hand, as individuals become more skilled in a particular task, they may mistakenly believe that they possess below-average ability in performing those tasks because they may assume that all others possess equal or greater ability. In other words, “the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others.” (source)

And haven’t we all seen that lately? Let’s look at a recent example right here in the good ole USA.

Those who haven’t lived like the rest of us are the ones shouting the loudest.Let’s start with the current gun control debate.

We have high school kids who think they are experts on policy, firearms, and the Constitution, smugly telling us how clueless they believe we are.

We have movie stars who make millions from movies where they shoot people and who are protected by armed security guards, telling us that we law-abiding citizens who have guns are vicariously responsible for every school shooting that has ever happened.

We have wealthy city dwellers who live in buildings with doormen telling the rest of us that we’re nuts for wanting to protect ourselves.

And all of these people who want to loudly tell the rest of us how to live our lives have one thing in common: they are completely out of touch with the real world.

When you live in your guarded castles, you don’t have to worry about defending yourself from a rapist who might break in through your bedroom window. When you’re a kid, you can’t fathom the vast responsibility one feels as a parent to protect one’s children from home invaders or kidnappers. When you haven’t yet gone out there and lived your life with jobs and crime and financial instability, you have no idea what it’s really like for the average American.

And yet, these out-of-touch people are the ones screaming the loudest that only they know what is right for America.

 

To continue reading: The American Dunning-Kruger Epidemic (Or Why Ignorant People Are So Sure They’re Right)

You’re Not Actually Sailing If You’re Still Tied to the Dock, by The Unnameable

And now for something completely different: how to clear and expand your mind through contemplation. From The Unnameable at theburningplatform.com:

I look around these days and amongst my own kind I see three distinct groups: the Clueless, the Enraged and Those Poised for Battle. If you read Sun Tzu you will discover that timing is critical to any success; The Poised are now tight as a drawn bow, perpetually nocked and trembling with waiting for some definitive signal to release. Since something’s got to give lest The Poised collapse or fire prematurely, I recommend you learn to call the shots by making this giving-in conscious, deliberate, and beneficial.

If you live in the west, if you watch tv, if you attended taxpayer-funded school, if you once had faith in your government, organised religion, major media, then it’s guaranteed your mind has been chopped up, stamped on and re-formed like a chicken nugget. It would serve you to embrace that you have spent your entire life having your garbage picked up, having the fire brigade make an appearance when your house catches alight, enjoying the full rights and benefits of a contributor to a thriving republic, but now and for the foreseeable future no one is coming to rescue either you or your mind. Finding deliverance and freedom from the current mindfuckery under which we all labour is entirely up to you.

When your life is no longer working, when following orders or chasing after approval, recognition or promotion is no longer the thrill it once was it’s time to see that you just aren’t that guy anymore. It is then you must start thinking like a sculptor and begin to chip away the parts that are no longer you.

In the west, the practice of contemplation has endured massive amounts of subtle and not-so-subtle ridicule … why? Because it’s bad for business. Ask yourself where you first heard that contemplation was a waste of time? Someone will have said it at some point … who? And for what purpose? And what did they want you to do or buy instead? Practicing contemplation will make the answers to these questions clear.

To continue reading: You’re Not Actually Sailing If You’re Still Tied to the Dock

Lead Us Not Into Perdition, by Robert Gore

…Besides, the almost beseeching way the men looked at him was irritating. Sometimes they acted as if they would forget how to breathe if he or Gus wasn’t there to show them. They were all resourceful men–he knew that, if they didn’t–and yet at certain times they became like children. All his adult life, he had consented to lead, and yet occasionally, when the men seemed particularly dumbstruck, he wondered why he had done it.

He and Augustus had discussed the question of leadership many times.

“It ain’t complicated,” Augustus maintained. “Most men doubt their own abilities. You don’t. It’s no wonder they want to keep you around. It keeps them from having to worry about failure all the time.”

“They ain’t failures, most of them,” Call pointed out.”They can do perfectly well for themselves.”

Augustus chuckled. “You work too hard,” he said. “It puts most men to shame. They figure out they can’t keep up, and it’s just a step or two from that to feeling that they can’t do nothing much unless you’re around to get them started.”

Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry

With these few paragraphs, Larry McMurtry demonstrates more insight into leadership than scads of studies and tomes. There is a fascination with political leaders far disproportionate to their actual importance. Most of what importance they have is of the negative variety: they can and usually do mess things up. McMurtry dissects the psychology of the led, putting his finger on the human frailty behind the cult of leadership. Not bad for a cowboy novel.

Read typical history texts, newspapers and news-oriented websites and you’ll conclude that the only phenomena worthy of notice are the leaders’ personalities, bloviations, and machinations. Part of it is by design of leaders themselves, they’re always circulating their propaganda and versions of events. Part of it, as far as journalism goes, is ideology and temperament among the journalists. Most of them are statist to the core. Covering government and its leaders fits their view of the world and philosophical precepts. Besides, it’s easy. There are all those press releases and leaders makes themselves available to the media.

For historians, the most extensive archives available are usually those of political and military figures. (With the possible exception of writers, who often leave copious quantities of personal journals and letters. It’s why many biographies of writers make good doorstops.) Some of truly important and interesting historical figures leave no record at all, other than their works.

Who has had more effect on the lives of the average American, Presidents Eisenhower through Trump, or the inventors of the birth control pill, the microprocessor, and the internet? Most people will answer the latter. Why then, can they name the presidents but not the inventors? What hugely significant innovations are being birthed right now by obscure innovators while Trump hogs the headlines?

Noise is not usually important and it’s not progress. That’s often a quiet affair, conceived in the minds of innovators and furthered in laboratories and the like. Innovators work hard, think for themselves, and don’t doubt their own abilities. This, according to Augustus, separates them from the mass of people, crying for their leaders. Unfortunately, he’s right.

It’s that thinking for one’s self that’s most problematic. Thinking is often difficult. Confusion, with which every thinker must grapple, is stressful. People look to leaders to do their thinking for them: “It keeps them from having to worry about failure all the time.” Of course leaders often fail, and turning over responsibility for your life to one precludes individual achievement and success. However, being relieved of thought and responsibility makes it all worthwhile for those who find those burdens troublesome.

If you read between the lines of received “history”—the comings and goings, wars, depredations, and the all too rare wisdom and courage of aristocrats and rulers—you can discover those incremental steps that propelled humanity forward. Gutenberg’s printing press, invented in 1453, and Columbus’s voyage to America 39 years later had far more impact on humanity’s course than anything the mostly forgotten rulers of the time did.

The Industrial Revolution wrought more progress in a shorter time than any period before or since. Historians virtually ignore it, probably because the leaders of the time are no more than footnotes (see “The Magnificent Eleven,” SLL).

Piqued, shoved from the limelight by inventors and other innovators, leaders reasserted themselves, doing what they do best, engulfing the world in the war that brought the Revolution to a close. There were deaths in the millions, but the leaders were once again front and center, a position they haven’t relinquished since.

If you think of a society as a living organism, freedom allows every sensory, perceptual, and cognitive cell to operate. Information flows across the cellular network, enabling the organism to best adapt to and improve its environment. When the state and its leaders exercise control, the organism is essentially shutting off its own cells. The rulers become the only cognitive agents, doing most of the thinking, and only approved narratives can be communicated across the network. In totalitarian regimes, individuals even learn to “not perceive” anything that contradicts those narratives.

Most people in such societies become, in McMurtry’s words, dumbstruck children; it’s the safest course. They’re taken care of and not thrown in jail. But they’re also not questioning, thinking, experimenting, failing, succeeding, innovating, or progressing. One phenomenon is universal across unfree societies: decay. Having shut off so many of its own cells, gangrene sets in and the organism rots and eventually dies.

Left to their own devices, most people “can do perfectly well for themselves.” They take responsibility for their own lives because nobody else will. Doing well for themselves there’s a spillover: they do well for others. Each individual becomes a potential agent of perception, experimentation, discovery, and innovation for the organism as a whole. Through communication, trade, and myriad other voluntary interactions, networks are formed and individuals have choices and opportunities they never would have had on their own. This decentralized, dynamic, and ceaseless organic adaptation, when relatively unhindered, is history’s hidden theme and the true engine of progress.

The best thing “leaders” can do is let it happen, but that’s the opposite of where our leaders are leading and their dumbstruck children are following. Terminal gangrene is well advanced. Pacified by the media and distracted, surveilled, and soon, social-credit scored by their technology, dumbstruck children don’t protest the rot and stench. Thought, responsibility, and courage are just too hard.

Perdition is where the leaders are leading. Perdition connotes both death and damnation. Those who abdicate their minds and follow the leaders deserve no better. The collectively borne consequences of foolishness, venality, and evil can’t be avoided, but thinking, taking responsibility, shunning the lemmings, and speaking out are choices open to everyone. It’s not just a matter of survival, it’s a matter of soul.

You Should Be Laughing At Them!

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So is the “Trade War” Crushing Stocks? by Wolf Richter

Wolf Richter says the “trade war” may not have been the cause of the stock market’s drop. He might want to follow up on that thesis and check out Robert Prechter’s large body of work. From Wolf Richter at wolfsreet.com:

Bull markets climb a wall of worry. What the heck happened?

OK, it was an ugly week. Facebook (FB) dropped 14% and lost $75 billion in market cap. It’s down 10% year-to-date. It’s currently trying to dig itself deeper into its self-inflicted debacle. It wasn’t just Facebook. Alphabet (GOOG) dropped 10% in the week and is down 2.4% year-to-date. This was a broad selloff.

The S&P 500 index dropped nearly 6% for the week and 9.9% from the peak on January 26. It’s down 3.2% year-to-date. At 2,588, it’s just 7 points above the low point on February 8, which is begging to be taken out on Monday. This drop is big enough to show up on a long-term chart, but given the nine-year 320% rally, why would anyone be surprised?

The Dow dropped 5.7% for the week. It’s down 11.6% from the peak on January 26, and down nearly 5% year-to-date. It carved out a new low in this down-cycle.

The Nasdaq dropped 6.5% for the week, and 7.8% from its peak on March 12, but is still up 1.3% for the year.

When stocks soared no matter what, it was because they were “climbing a wall of worry,” which is, as it was ceaselessly pointed out, what bull markets do. Bad news was good news. It didn’t matter what happened. The worse the news was, the more stocks would climb. Falling earnings and revenues no problem. Geopolitical nightmare scenarios no problem. Trump’s promises during the campaign and after the election to fix the trade imbalances in the US were just as well communicated as his promises to cut taxes. From the day Trump was elected until its peak on January 26, the S&P 500 soared 30%.

To continue reading: So is the “Trade War” Crushing Stocks?

The Generals: Failing Their Soldiers – and America, by Danny Sjursen

Danny Sjursen makes the same point SLL made in Dereliction of Duty, Part One and Part Two. The generals can’t just rubberstamp political decisions to continue wars the US has no intention of winning. From Sjursen at antiwar.com:

Where are the brave generals ready to ‘call BS’ on America’s forever wars?

September 2006. Iraq was falling apart. Nearly100 American troops were being killed a month. The war seemed hopeless, unwinnable (because it ultimately was). So the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Peter Pace, convened a “council of colonels’ – purportedly some of the brightest minds in the military – to recommend new policies. Only three, reportedly, had any combat experience in Iraq, but still, these guys were sharp. The group debated endlessly and eventually reached an impasse. They had three separate proposals and the group generally divided along service lines. Some Air Force and Navy guys wanted a phased withdrawal – the “Go Home” option – but their ideas were promptly dismissed. Other (mostly army and marine officers) wanted to “engage in prolonged conflict – the “Go Long” option. Finally, the most prominent army officers – including America’s current National Security Adviser, H.R. McMaster – wanted to “Go Big” and heavily reinforce the troops in Iraq with a “surge.” You can guess which side won out.

George W. Bush liked the can-do optimism of the “surge” team and doubled down. Violence briefly dropped, a couple thousand more American troops died, and the military promptly declared victory. We’re still dealing with the fallout.

That generation of colonels became today’s generals. The whole worldview of most senior officers is built on a fable, a myth: the surge worked. The reality is much messier. We’re still in Iraq (and Syria, and Afghanistan, and…everywhere). Still, our generals have a ready response. You see, the story goes, the problem is we didn’t go big enough or long enough and the damn liberals (like Obama!) pulled out the troops too soon. The “surge myth” provides our generals a comforting counterfactual, a road not taken, whereby the military could’ve-would’ve-should’ve won, but were denied victory.

So it stands, in 2018, that instead of a sensible “go home” option, America’s generals and civilian policymakers have handed us the worst of all worlds – a combo of “go big” and “go long.” Forever war.

To continue reading: The Generals: Failing Their Soldiers – and America