Saturday, June 13, 2015

the valves that control transitude

Rachel Dolezal played a black woman but was outed as white. She was acting black, but was actually white. Actually white. So there's an interesting notion. In order to exclude Dolezal from the group "black," race, and its actualness, is invoked.

But the origin of race is this: several centuries ago, tribalist lines were rearranged according to a color-oriented phenotypic scheme to serve an emerging global order violently dominated by light-skinned humans. Blackness was created as an outgroup term by the same people who created whiteness as an ingroup term. But in order to resist white encroachment, appeals are made to blackness, which was created by whiteness. The actualness of both whiteness and blackness were created by whiteness.

Power externalizes costs while internalizing gains. Everything is power. Existence is power. Everything wants more existence, or, to repeat. 

Where tribal lines are drawn, you'll find valves. The group that controls the valve is the group that built it. For a new group to take power, it needs to define its outgroup and in doing so, build a new valve. Whiteness built the valve between itself and blackness. Whiteness will take what blackness has to offer but will give much less in return -- just enough to maximize the take.

Here's a metaphor: shit flows downstream. For blackness to say: "you can't enter here" is to build a dam, to control the valve to some extent. 

Blackness evolved for centuries without access to knowledge of the socially constructed character of race. Heels were dug in. Blackness did amazing things in the face of almost indescribable horrors. 

When the Dolezal story surfaced, comparisons were made to Caitlyn Jenner. If transgender is OK, why not transracial? Caitlyn had been Bruce Jenner, the epitome of white male bogus empowerment (my term for privilege). Moving from a downstream group to an upstream group is a good thing, on the lefty view (extensive norm). But wasn't Caitlyn Jenner moving downstream, collecting benefits without all the costs? That's where we get into the murky business of lived experience. You can make the case for Caitlyn's actually having suffered through the abuses heaped on trans-ness, but it's hard to show it, and she certainly "benefitted" empirically from being perceived as white, male, etc. 

Blackness and the exclusion of Dolezal is racist in the way that self-defense is violent. In a vacuum, excluding people from a group is bullshit. In a shitstorm, bullshit is often the best kind of shit.

Where a shat upon group's argument is victimhood, its virtue is the same as Democrats' and Republicans' "not them." Dichotomous excellence. Goodness is the sum of not-themness.

Where its argument is excellence, its argument is against other possible worlds and non-existence.

Its argument for excellence is an argument for power, and as such is rationalization.

Every group is shat upon. Every group is limited, every group dies. Every group is pushed in upon. Every group has the life sucked out of it.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

the power happiness relation and radical rage

When I'm not copying and pasting from facebook and forgetting to click "remove formatting," I'm linking to me covering Violent Femmes songs on facebook and forgetting to set the audience to "public." If you like that song, it's not a terrible rendition except for the parts where it is. Reposting.


Good political analysis is naturalistic -- it takes human intentions, which are mostly inscrutable, out of the picture. It doesn't matter what Joe Biden is thinking -- that information is almost useless. Actions tell the story.

But then there's a very strong tendency to jump back over from the high resolution naturalistic system approach, after the accurate analysis, to groundless assumptions about low resolution lived experience. While it's fine to usher in intentionality, much like evolutionary biologists do when they use the word "design," and say that a person who gets pass out drunk, for example, "gets what they wanted," it's a mistake to assume that the entirety of the experience was something they enjoyed or something that was good for them. That's an unwarranted jump.

Elliot Rodger, the "kissless virgin" who went on a killing spree last year in Isla Vista, CA got what he wanted. He was as "privileged" as they come. He was likely as miserable as any human has ever been. Read his Kampf, it's hard to miss. He was an evil bastard and he was a victim, if victim means a person who suffers a great deal. You can say he could have done this and that but you don't know and, in any case, he didn't. The relation between naturalistically getting what one wants (a system doing what it does, the way power works) and lived experience is complicated and mostly inscrutable.


Radicalism is the mirror image of oppression, just as real self-defense is the mirror image of aggression. If someone has their boot on your neck and you punch them, is it violence? Yes, but without a self-defense exception, you end up with a giant hole in human ethical thinking, which is a natural system with real effects, some of which are valuable.

Radicalism needs to be approximately as stupid as aggressive violence. The radical approach to Elliot Rodger is fuck that guy. The radical approach is rage. The radical approach is to deny his humanity, the fact that he suffered. If you're looking for an accurate naturalistic picture, this is a mistake. If you're looking to survive, or meaningfully resist oppression, there's a decent case for rage.