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Thursday, February 16, 2006



Instapundit discusses "who's more fanatical - left or right?" and references Janes Law - " The devotees of the party in power are smug and arrogant, the devotees of the party out of power are insane". Pretty good stuff. Then, at the end of Jane's comments is the real payoff - a link to a series of essays on evolutionary psychology addressing such questions as "Why women have breasts", "Why I hate chimps", "Why samurai killed themselves" and much, much more. Really delicious.

Then Eric Raymond hits one out of the park, his best since the seminal "The Cathedral and the Bazaar". This time he addresses the most destructive memes in our political culture and traces their roots to the Cold War. It's an amazing story, still developing as the old Soviet archives are aired. Here's a sample:

"The most paranoid and xenophobic conservatives of the Cold War were, painful though this is to admit, the closest to the truth in estimating the magnitude and subtlety of Soviet subversion. Liberal anticommunists (like myself in the 1970s) thought we were being judicious and fair-minded when we dismissed half of the Right’s complaint as crude blather. We were wrong; the Rosenbergs and Alger Hiss really were guilty, the Hollywood Ten really were Stalinist tools, and all of Joseph McCarthy’s rants about “Communists in the State Department” were essentially true. The Venona transcripts and other new material leave no room for reasonable doubt on this score.

While the espionage apparatus of the Soviet Union didn’t outlast it, their memetic weapons did. These memes are now coming near to crippling our culture’s response to Islamic terrorism."

And one more:

"The first step to recovery is understanding the problem. Knowing that suicidalist memes were launched at us as war weapons by the espionage apparatus of the most evil despotism in human history is in itself liberating. Liberating, too, it is to realize that the Noam Chomskys and Michael Moores and Robert Fisks of the world (and their thousands of lesser imitators in faculty lounges everywhere) are not brave transgressive forward-thinkers but pathetic memebots running the program of a dead tyrant."

You should read the whole thing.

One last thing I learned recently, from The Ministry of Minor Perfidity:
"There has never been a major world leader named 'Floyd'.” Maybe that's a good thing.

I can't really remember, but life must have been very boring before the Web.

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