Thursday, May 14, 2015

Our Greater Evils ~ Updated from Carrico

(Updated at end)

Dale Carrico cited posting difficulties that prevented him from replying to Second Killary and Parting the Veil, and accordingly, e-mailed a response. We'll look over it, and use the opportunity to deepen our analysis of evil. His full response appears in The Part Where We Go Through It All, which was posted just prior to this post.

As can be seen, Carrico has done a rather exemplary job of explaining (1) why evil is actually good, and (2) how it is an illusion when evil appears optional because evil is actually inevitable. If you're among the minority of Terrans who have learned that murdering children to achieve a political end is wholly wrong, you're probably familiar with that kind of explanation; even so, looking over this kind of stuff can have utility. If you're among the minority of Terrans who enjoy such acts due to your own private quarrel with existence, laugh it up, because here we go a wassailing again. If you're among the majority of Terrans who believe that murdering children to achieve a political end can be right depending on the circumstances, you believe that because you've constructed a complex series of overlapping rationalizations that directly contradict one another, but which can create such discordant ideatic harmonics that it can distract your conscience from what you claim to believe to be right.

This is why, for the said majority, a so-called "Socratic dialogue" must be avoided at all costs. Ad hominem, strawman, being too lofty to condescend to address such obvious topics, or just resorting to vanishing or belligerent name-calling, are mandatory in order to shield the minds of the said majority from recognizing that their intellectual frameworks are self-contradictory, and, therefore, void by rules which they themselves feel that they believe in and operate by. Since they're the ones who would be answering the questions (if they could bear to), the contradictions would be coming from their own lips. It's easy to dismiss High Arka's model dialogue because she is saying it; if they participated in that dialogue themselves, even giving the same answers (which they must inevitably do, to a point), the pain would be too great to bear: the amygdala would release a bitter flood of anger, and for lack of physical proximity, they simply log off, and learn to ignore the pellet that gives a shock.

This one will go through the topic anew in parts. Firstly, in The Part Where We Go Through It All, we'll go through Dr. Carrico's response piece by piece, focusing on the ways in which the logical mind shelters the conscience in the only way it knows how: by compiling isolated logical components into an illogical whole, which will--logically--be sufficiently obtuse to reassure the conscience that the individual's interactions with the outside world are just.

(If you're fond of neuropsychology or any of the other new grant-gaining, expensive-facilities-requiring terms for theoretically-non-theoretical philosophy, you might enjoy substituting "left brain" for "logical mind," "right brain" for "conscience," or anything else you feel suitable. If you're into theories about the ways the developing left brain has entrapped the right brain, you can draw all sorts of cool conclusions thereby.)

Secondly, in this post, we'll continue by looking again at the ways in which a Socratic-style dialogue reveals the contradictions inherent in a few popular, temporally proximate American viewpoints. Lastly, we'll close this post by further developing the nature of the evil "lesser evil" argument. We'll see how the generalized idea of post-Enlightenment "progress" has been used to prevent any sustained, effective countervailing force to the nation-state constructions that replaced openly-acknowledged aristocracies (which regularly inspired rebellions that, while not threatening on the whole, were part of a process far more expensive to maintain than a generalized narrative of historical progression), tricking generations of people like Carrico--who might have once said, "Enough is enough"--to be transformed into the Crown's greatest supporters.

Shattering the Overlap: Dubya

Here's a popular cognitive dissonance prompt from the Dubya era.

Radical Progressive: Why do you support the troops?

Proud Patriot: Because they're defending our freedoms.

Radical Progressive: So you support those who defend their people's freedoms?

Proud Patriot: Of course.

Radical Progressive: If China built a military base in Fort Worth, Texas, would you support American men who attacked that base?

Proud Patriot: Damn straight.

Radical Progressive: What if those Chinese military bases had been authorized. Say, by President Clinton?

Proud Patriot: Slick Willy? That bastard! I'm surprised he didn't authorize them.

Radical Progressive: Well, wouldn't that make it okay, then? If Clinton said the Chinese could have a base there?

Proud Patriot: Job of all decent Americans to run the Chinese out.

Radical Progressive: Maybe so. You know, the teevee says it was Saudis who hijacked those flights on nine eleven.

Proud Patriot: Sure was, the bastards.

Radical Progressive: Look at this map--see these pictures of U.S. military bases in Saudi Arabia?


...There are other ways that discussion can go, of course. The patriot can try to defend using western-style democracy as the hallmark of all decent things, but then you get into the issue of how many democracies America has bombed, and when it is or isn't okay. And then you get into the idea of how free and fair elections have to be for them to be real elections, and whether or not the U.N. can be trusted to monitor elections, or whether or not America can be trusted to monitor elections, and whether or not the election-monitors have an agenda, and whether or not democracy is actually any good (because they never support Bill Clinton, and he bombed places, too), and eventually, the only argument the Proud Patriot has left is one of the following:

1) God cares more about people born or naturalized into the center of the North American landmass than He does about other people, therefore we can arbitrarily bomb whoever; or,

2) Intangible aspects of America's national ethos, which are still present to a degree--despite the wrong kind of more recent immigrants, along with traitorous elements among the less recent immigrants, interfering with it--make it acceptable for America to not be held by the same standards as everybody else, meaning we can arbitrarily bomb whoever; or,

3) Evolution dictates that the strong will survive, and since we can do it, we will, and we may.

Barring deus ex machina or American Exceptionalism (the latter of which can be proven self-contradictory just as easily), Scientistic evolution is the only thing left. Almost all Proud Patriots don't get that far, but I've had the privilege of getting some vets to the evolution point. And at that point, they're perfectly logical--mercantilist evolution is about might makes right. It underscores the "progressive" rationalizations, too, which is why Scientism is the most dangerous religion around right now--far more dangerous than dominionist Islam or Christianity.

Shattering the Overlap: Obomba

Here's a similar version for the non-Dubya Dubya.

Still Antiwar: Why do you support Obama's war on terror?

Now Curiously Accepting of War: Because it's not his fault. He was mired in it because of Bush and now he can't stop.

Still Antiwar: So if a president isn't responsible for starting a conflict, but is only carrying it on, that president isn't responsible?

Now Curiously Accepting of War: Yes. You can't blame Obama for not leaving the region in shambles after everything Dumbya did to it.

Still Antiwar: It says here that Bill Clinton bombed Iraq almost every week throughout his presidency, and that he viewed invasion as inevitable to protect America's interests in the region. He sanctioned Iraq for years, causing over a million civilian deaths, and military forces were constantly active in the region. Clinton even struck a lucrative pipeline deal with oil companies, promising to defend the pipeline from an anti-corporate faction in Afghanistan called the "Taliban"--by military occupation if necessary, if pipelines were damaged. Does that mean it's not Dubya's fault when he took office and found himself mired in an ongoing conflict?


...Like the Proud Patriot, the progressive has nowhere to go. Gore definitely had to take a fall in 2000. The Supreme Court's zany decision, and Gore's utter lack of concern for pressing the issue and becoming president, along with the DLC's choice to front such an unlikable dolt anyway, happened because the Republican wing of the American Party engages in "hard" war, sponsoring actual invasions. The Democratic Party just uses trade blockades to starve people out and warm them up for later Republican bombings. Gore couldn't be permitted to be president during the 2001-2005 period, even though the voters showed that all they really wanted was another world-policing free-trader, no matter how plutocratic. To allow the voters to decide the election would've robbed so many people of their fantasy that The Brotherhood existed.

Shattering the Overlap: Hillary

This will duplicate, though in much more abbreviated form, the exchange that this one used a marionette Carrico for in Parting the Veil. The shortened format is less attractive, but renders the contradictions much more directly.

Yet Again Anti Murder: Why will you grudgingly support Hillary's murders?

Carrico: They are part of achieving a political end for Domestic Subgroup.

Yet Again Anti Murder: The Indian Wars did that. The Ainu genocide did that for Japan. The Armenian Genocide did that for the Ottoman Empire. The Third Reich's concentration camps did that for Germany. Do you support those things?

Carrico: Teaching. Activism. Gay rights.

Yet Again Anti Murder: Good for you, and for those involved. What you said, though, isn't a response to the question I asked about the subject we were discussing. You said it was acceptable to support a political leader who kills lots of people if it led to positive political results for Domestic Subgroups.

Carrico: Actually, also foreign subgroups.

Yet Again Anti Murder: Great! Let's just say, "Subgroup," then. Those same situations apply: the Amerindian genocide achieved political ends for dozens of millions of European subgroups who were able to flee oppression and find refuge in America. Was it okay to exterminate the native American tribes to achieve that end? And for FDR to imprison nips in concentration camps--

Carrico: You disgust me.

Yet Again Anti Murder: Excuse me--just using the Democratic Party's terminology of the time. By the way, Hillary comes from that very same Party. Anyway, Japanese Americans. And for FDR to imprison Japanese Americans in concentration camps? You would've supported that because it resulted eventually in the integration of the U.S. Army, and later, in the Civil Rights Movement. So then, you must support Adolf Hitler, Andrew Jackson, and other genocidal leaders who, however personally despicable, were part of a historical progression that led to a Germany and an America that has more diversity-friendly policies than ever before in the history of humanity.

Carrico: Anti-fracking. Labor organizing. Third parties.

Yet Again Anti Murder: That's not really an answer, again. But I can try to extrapolate an answer out of there. "Third parties" as in, you'll only vote for candidates who denounce war, also known as the greatest crime humankind has yet invented?

Carrico: Well, supporting Hillary Clinton, who has threatened to obliterate Iran, might nudge us closer to a third party.

Yet Again Anti Murder: Just as Jackson did for the Know-Nothings, and for the new Democratic Party, which now boasts of its record of being anti-slavery and reduced-genocide. Just as Hitler did for Germany, which is--

Carrico: I resent your comparison to Hitler.

Yet Again Anti Murder: But not to Jackson? Do you know how many babies he must've galloped over in his daring career of cleaning up villages filled with women and the elderly, after a bunch of Polish and Irish immigrants had already risked their lives fighting the braves?

Carrico: Fine. I resent your comparison to both Hitler and Jackson. Also, Godwin's Law! Lol!

Yet Again Anti Murder: I'll try not to press the point, but Jackson is from the same party as Hillary. Just thought I'd mention that again. And just like Jackson, she intends to stay behind the lines and order a bunch of poor young people to travel far away and slaughter indigenous families on their native soil. But this time, she has a really, really good reason, right? Way better than Jackson's reasons. But anyway, you still didn't answer the question: would you have supported decades of presidents who advocated the American Exceptionalist expansion of the U.S. Army into Indian Territories, thereby supporting the genocide of the Amerindians, just because you thought it would lead to a gradual historical progression of good things? You would've looked back on history and said, "I supported those people, but I had reservations." I mean, essentially, that means that if George W. Bush were running again, only he were running against Ted Nugent, you'd vote for Bush. If resurrected Hitler were running against resurrected Stalin, you'd vote for Hitler. If resurrected James K. Polk were running against Ted Nugent, you'd vote for Ted Nugent. That ultimately means that you would support any horror that humankind has ever perpetuated, so long as someone else could offer you a hypothetical greater evil.

Carrico: Gay marriage. Free university tuition. Nationalized health care.

Yet Again Anti Murder: You would vote for Dr. Mengele as surgeon general if he were running against Jeffery Dahmer. Think of the unspeakable horrors you would be part of, if only a clever faction of powerful people managed to convince you to offer them support by always presenting you with a "worse" hypothetical. Forget Plato's Cave--you wouldn't even have to be in the cave, to be convinced. All it would take is an actor pretending to "oppose" the leader, saying even sillier things than the leader did...and thereby you could be led to lend your support to anything. Now, really, would you vote for Dr. Mengele as surgeon general if he were running against Dahmer? Mengele's record, like Hillary, is right out in the open. You know what kinds of things he would support with the power that you would vote to give him.

Carrico: ...

Here we reach a turning point. Carrico has to ask himself, "Is there a line I wouldn't cross?" Of course, we know there is. He'd vote against a candidate who was honest about what s/he wanted to do. If Hillary jumped up on the podium wearing bling and carrying a glock, pointed it sideways at the camera, and said (in ebonics) that she was going to "blow up all the middle east's shee-it," Carrico might think she was no longer worth supporting. Even if Hillary's policy record, and every action she took as Senator and President, remained identical.

Imagine the following:
"I am going to exterminate Arabs until we have more oil securely in our control than Russia does. I will have millions of Somalis and Sudanese wiped out, and I will send mercenary death squads into the Congo, and I will give them license to rape and burn, and I will kill as many people as I feel like killing in Africa, until they stop voting for their own leaders and accept Africomm's military dictators, so that I can control their natural resources and keep BRICS from threatening the petrodollar. In return for supporting me in this, I will give you a constitutional amendment in favor of gay marriage. If you're lucky, I might also moderately improve wage equality."
Killary Klinton, October 26th, 2016 C.E.

If Hillary did that, the illusion would fall away. Even if nothing about her ever changed, if she did that, she would lose her support. Suddenly, the Party would have to shuffle in a different spokesperson.

Now, why would Dale Carrico, and those like him, stop supporting Hillary if she were honest? Well, frankly, she has been honest. She has already said everything from the above quote--she's just said it in different words. Like Obama, she has reassured America's corporations that she will continue the empire, while tossing a few tokens to the majority segment of the population.

And yet, blunt honesty would terrify Carrico. He wants someone who will be just as rough and tough as Hillary, but someone who won't be honest about it--he wants a parental figure who will sugarcoat the truth, allowing him to be a perpetual child, believing in free ponies and magic unicorns, while she nonetheless burns Africa in pursuit of deadly hegemony. As we considered in Thank God For Iraq, the American progressive, possessing an enduring faith in market-style evolution, believes in a world ultimately governed by might v. right--and to reconcile this with ideals of kindness (which they sadly believe impossible), they seek out a leader who will lie to them in just the right way.

Barack Obama, like Bill Clinton and Woodrow Wilson, did a good job at that. Democrats are great at being the parental figures for people whose sickness is in repressing, rather than reveling in, the law of the jungle. Dubya spoke firmly about protection and gumption, inspiring a bunch of eager Rethuglicans to get out there and kill A-rabs, while Barack kills even more people while whispering soothing words about progress in Carrico's ears. Carrico knows what Daddy and Mommy do to pay the rent--he knows it, deep in his bones--but because he doesn't want the family to be evicted--because he has faith in the randomized, Scientistic struggle--he has to disregard his ideals and trick himself into believing that kinder, more diverse murderers are leading him to a brighter future.

It's hypocritical, of course, to disapprove of the Nuremberg convicts and yet to approve of the imperial American presidents (unless you believe in that supernatural being who favors the central North American landmass). And it's hypocritical to say that you wouldn't vote for General Grant the papoose-bayoneter, but that you would vote for Senator Clinton the baby-starver. Dr. Carrico knows that. But he needs that tough edge out there. He needs to believe there is someone willing to go back to Africa and murder her way to a secure store of copper, so that we can develop the solar panels that will keep the cars going and the stores filled. He doesn't want to hear about the details. Close the door. Just do it. I won't do it for you, but I'll nod and look away. I won't turn you in. I won't leave you. Just do what needs to be done.

The Notion of Progress

We're all no doubt familiar with the prehistoric human idea of cyclical life: family/tribe, gods and spirits as natural forces, birth and death like the spring and winter of one life, et cetera. We're also (probably) similarly familiar with the ways that worldviews changed after the advent of Jenomic castes, writing, monarchs, and so forth: the pyramidal view of society, with king-priests as intermediaries between humans and un-seeable gods. And we must all have learned something about "the natural order" of the world as rendered by elite castes throughout feudalism, with the definable "beginning" and "end" of the world, the imposition of supernatural standards of behavior, and all of those other things that are now taught of as ridiculously archaic by the direct successors to the rulers and castes that created such ideas.

Our new generic worldview is the Scientistic one; the generalized "progress," which, like earlier narratives, allows us to structure our behavior and our societies. The goal-less nature of Scientistic progress, with its vaguely-defined but all-powerful Market Gods and rituals of choice, is no less powerful a story in the hands of the Terran who believes it to the bones.

The dark goddess Progressia is, like her cruel hounds Efficiency and Evolution, a totalitarian force upon Terran thought. By her dictates, she can look both forward and backward in time to make anything happen. When the Son of Goddess, named by men Pangloss, heralds his mother's entry, all past historical trends are eliminated, and shown to have been nonexistent in and of themselves, and instead, to have been part of Progressia's larger plan. The pogroms of medieval Europe were caused by insufficient progress, as was the elimination of the Neanderthal, and it was a marker of progress when Gandhi spoke and when the automobile was invented. The printing press heralded Progressia, as did Martin Luther, and it was by Her dictates that the mountainous terrain of ancient Greece caused the formation of roughly independent city states rather than overarching rule by a single king.

Outside of the post-Jenomic narratives, they make no sense. The Christian monarchies, for example, look to an outside visitor like a bunch of inbred genetic freaks who have constructed nationalistic myths to justify the subjugation of a continent to themselves and their cousins...but to Terran insiders, they looked like the natural order of things: a completely unplanned occurrence. The Scientistic banking states look little different, and yet, Progressia decrees a vast separation between the two systems.

As a great modern monarch, Bill Clinton, has teasingly reminded us, insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results. The notion of "progress" has proven so beguiling that it has caused people to think that they are doing good by doing evil, because Progressia's power can turn evil into good, if she is only given enough time to work. Americans of the nineteenth century voted to exterminate the Navajo in pursuit of copper, telling themselves they were better than the Navajo and therefore deserved to live and enjoy the resources. Americans of the twenty-first century voted to exterminate the Arab in pursuit of oil, telling themselves that they were better than history and therefore deserved to define the future.

(Check out Better Than Kings of Old for an aside on how we construct false hymnals to our present selves.)

Sometimes there are pogroms, sometimes there are not. Sometimes there are genocides, sometimes there are not. Sometimes a million people starve, and sometimes ten million do. In either case, Progressia's children have an answer: the bad things are caused by the lack of progress, and the good things are caused by the presence of progress. And Progressia's presence is so hallowed--so very, very hallowed--that even she can do un-progressive things.

We can all laugh at Christians who say, "The earthquake that just hit Craplakistan and killed 100,000 children is proof that Craplakistan allowed homosexuals to walk the streets freely," right? Well, how about the Scientist who says, "The bombing campaign that just hit Craplakistan and killed 100,000 children is part of Progressia's master plan for a brighter future"? The "Christian" remark is actually the saner one, and, if there is such a thing as a lesser evil, "lesser." At least it's internally consistent, and allows for the possibility of a rational discussion on God's Will. When it comes to Progressia's Will, no rational discussion is possible. Progressia's successes are her successes, and her failures are her successes. Her evangelicals, convinced that they're "on the right side of history," will do anything in her service, even if history has shown that anything--say, a century of colonial occupation--to be wrong consistently and every single time.

The Exploiters

The post-industrial Scientist is easier to manipulate than the medieval Christian. Dr. Carrico thinks that, by playing a "game" of voting for Bernie Sanders in the primary, but resigning himself to the inevitable warmongering plutocrat Hillary Clinton in the general election, he will move things "to the left" by making future militaristic Democrats concerned about their primary success when challenged by sheepdogs like Sanders.

Like all of the Scientistic faithful's assumptions about humanity and history, though, this move relies on the ridiculous belief that other people have no agency. Carrico's strategy would work if and only if Hillary Clinton were not at least as clever as he was: because if Hillary were at least that clever, then she would know that all she has to do to get Carrico's consistent support (and that of millions like him) would be to field a Party candidate who offers more appealing positions than her own. Assuming that there are at least ten clever billionaires in the world, then, Carrico's vote is perpetually guaranteed. So long as those ten billionaires can provide (1) A batshit crazy Republican, and (2) A docile, lovable leftist, they know that Carrico will be forced to vote for their third choice--another genocidal empire-builder who talks about domestic social policy--every time.

Where is the proof that Hillary will be "swayed" by her constituents who will vote for her no matter what? Or Democrats like her? There is none. There is, instead, consistent proof that America has always been a progressive nation of militaristic expansion lightly seasoned by domestic social niceties. Here's a nice little link with a bunch of things Carrico already knows: Putting Today's Wars in Perspective.

Exact same thing, over and over, for more than two hundred years. And Carrico, like the intelligentsia before him--like the influential progressive PhD academic who created the Federal Reserve and brought America into the total warfare age--shows himself, by supporting Hillary, to be just another wealthy white American supporting imperialism. What a surprise, says history, sarcastically. What a surprise that a well-off white man thinks it's his burden to support a colonial tyrant who promises to make the world a better place by killing someone else's children.

* * *

(Dr. Carrico, you're most welcome at any time to postdate the prose in this post by responding to the original twelve questions in First of the Killaries. You can respond as "Anonymous," and just say that you're Dale Carrico, if you have a problem with the Captcha. This one would enjoy the chance to go through the dialectic with a real-you's answers.)

Updated 05/17/2015, 5:45 AM ET. Dr. Carrico has responded:
"Oh, I see. You're just a troll. Boring."
(That was it)

Nice responses below, Anonymi; there'll be a follow-up post for you.


  1. This critique applies to voting specifically, yes. But I don't think it applies to anyone decent, if this ever happens, who is involved in politics against their better judgment. Those who don't care about their self-preservation usually do not go into politics, and if they do, they need to pretend for such a long time in order to acuire power, that the end result is inevitably Machiavelian.
    At that point, if there is any decency left, the only way it can be expressed is by making a good faith effort in determining the consequences of different courses of action and choosing the least cruel one.

    So unless you manage to enforce some conservative return to feudalism where at least nominally politics involved sense of mutual obligations and faithfulness to other-worldly ideals, you have nothing left to do but cheer for the disintegration of the current order altogether and hope for isolated sprouts to grow under it.
    (Which is fine by me. Civilization is bullshit.)
    No one has found a way to move past the original sin and reach the state where our modest powers are deployed for justice.
    Until someone does, our choice is between two types of barbarism, and I certainly prefer the benign Rousseau-ian barbarism.

  2. hess is the man:

    The bourgeois is consequently by nature a creature of weak impulses, anxious, fearful of giving himself away and easy to rule. Therefore, he has substituted majority for power, law for force, and the polling booth for responsibility….It is clear that this weak and anxious being…qualities such as his can play no other role in the world than that of a herd of sheep among free roving wolves.

  3. You are also neglecting another, and very severe, problem, which is that those refusing to cave to injustice - or fighting for justice at any cost - just as easily end up perpetrating evil.

    For example, even the most noble insurrection *WILL* result in the deaths of children etc. So, is that worth it if you do win? Or take the classic dilemma - give us two innocents to kill to avenge our death, or otherwise we burn the entire village. Do you remain righteous and cause everybody's death, or do you commit injustice, and spare everybody except two completely innocent victims.

    So, there...

  4. BTW, speaking of the domestic niceties that could hypothetically justify indian extermination, I must emphasize that the Indians had:

    - reasonable working hours
    - clean environment
    - good life expectancy
    - social security
    - meritocracy
    - women's rights
    - etc.

    Long before the fucking European showed up

  5. Having been a former student of Carrico at SFAI, I can say that he comes off as being very deranged in his world views. What is it about a Phd in Rhetoric that causes a person like him to become arrogant and condescending to anyone disagreeing with him ? I hope that SFAI kicks him out of the school.