96 Comments
Oct 24, 2022·edited Oct 24, 2022

Ah, so you have uncovered an inspirer-of-fascists. A man of dangerous ideas. Of course, what you have actually done is devise what I suppose you consider a clever way to use a headline to taint a truly brilliant, decent, principled, courageous man, one who believed fervently in freedom, learning, and free inquiry such that he risked his life and helped keep hope alive through hundreds of underground seminars that he led in Eastern European countries during the years they were under the grip of Communism. Had you been at the ceremony where President Havel presented Roger Scruton the Order of Merit of the Czech Republic, I suppose you would have had no choice but to jump up, shouting: "Stop! This man's dangerous ideas inspire fascists!"

To give substance to your non-subtle accusation, to explain why you chose to try to associate Roger Scruton with fascism, could you set forth -- preferably in straight-forward, declarative sentences -- say, three of Roger Scruton's ideas that inspire fascists. That will give readers -- some of whom are not conversant with his thought -- a more solid ground on which to evaluate your smear.

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I think conservative philosophers still have a lot to offer, and if some of them were still alive and not concerned about protecting legacies or friendships (we grow old and comfortable too soon) they'd have some useful criticisms of MAGA.

For example -- for a long time, since the rise of Gingrich, I've often thought back to Russell Kirk and his condemnation of ideology. Back in the day, I'd reassure myself that my (former) side wasn't ideological, just principled. Hah!

Kirk condemned promises of earthly perfection. Not because it's not good to try to make things better, but because people tend to love their ideological visions of the good more than they love real people with all their stubborn messiness and unwillingness to submit to a particular ideology. Once people become seen as mere obstacles to perfection, rather than living, breathing people with families, hopes and dreams, awful consequences follow.

If Kirk could have seen it, I think he would have had a lot to criticize about Gingrich, Paul Ryan, and MAGA and their promises of heaven on earth -- if we could just balance the budget / cut entitlements / build the wall, we will achieve utopia. But those people, the hated libs, stand in our way.

And if he wouldn't have thought so in person, or his words are flawed, the good lessons are still worth learning and applying.

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Scranton cleanly and clearly articulated the conservative idea. Liberalism today is under siege, certainly from the authoritarian right, but also from the far left, which elevates group rights over individual rights, finds free speech problematic, and uses its opposition to oppression as an excuse reject reasoned argument. We are in a two front war.

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I think you have to assess the work of intellectuals in full context to determine what responsibility they have. Sometimes it's like recognizing that all Marxist-Lennist states seem to turn out really badly and the problem goes back to the theory. And sometimes its like Charles Manson telling his followers that The White Album has hidden messages about race wars.

On the broader issue of liberalism, it's a strange political philosophy. It sets some broad parameters and then lets people figure out the rest themselves. When people are up for it, it's really amazing. Millions of imaginations at work in ways great and small. But it also means that sometimes people make lots of bad choices that shouldn't be crimes and that's just not the way human beings think historically There's always a temptation to create a world that generates all of our preferences.. And I don't think it's wrong to wish things came out differently: better culture, more forests, whatever. But you can't always get your way with everything. And the system where you get everything you want always seem to be run by people with preferences for gulags and concentration camps.

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Not after they are dead.

I am sure the cruelty and barbarism of the current far right would appal Scruton.

The use and abuse of philosophers is not new for third rate intellects... it took a half century to rehabilitate Nietzsche after the Nazis were done with him.

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Re: Scruton, I have to admit, being a kid of a refugee from behind the Curtain, and Czechoslovakia at that, I have an *entirely* positive view of Roger Scruton Cafes (every former Warsaw Pact city over 100,000 pop. ought to have one to protect talismanically against the bad ideas and bad times of the past). It's entirely to be expected, I think, that the people of Central Europe, in light of Scruton's own activism on their behalf, and how his thought gels with countries emerging from a generations long cultural genocide under Soviet communism, will find a lot of appeal in what he had to say.

I'd submit that Scruton and his ideas are far from a problem here, as the fact that Viktor Orban would like to rehab some classic buildings in Budapest isn't the problem with Viktor Orban. I'd frankly question someone's sanity if they didn't prefer those to the communist concrete piles. A little romantic connection to the past isn't a bad thing here either. Roger was an expositor of an eternal conservative instinct that will always be with us and his is more or less close to the very best and soundest version you're ever going to get of it.

Frankly, let the rad trads swear undying fealty to Scruton. The man wasn't a cheat, a crook, and certainly not an authoritarian. They are welcome to lock themselves in to his beliefs and we should hold them to it.

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"I have an *entirely* positive view of Roger Scruton Cafes"

Does that include a positive view of how they're funded? Because it looks like they're funded by Orban's ministry of propaganda wearing a nearly-defunct pro-liberty foundation as a skinsuit:

https://thetriad.thebulwark.com/p/roger-scruton-and-the-fascists-who/comment/9923590

"They are welcome to lock themselves in to his beliefs and we should hold them to it."

If only we could. No doubt Scruton's widow, Sophie, who's likely not a political naïf herself, thinks she is. Perhaps taking Orbanist money to commemorate her husband's legacy even strikes her as subversive. But, since Orban's ministry of propaganda finds it worthwhile to fund these cafes, it must think it'll benefit somehow.

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WRT Metaverse:

I am an extremely online guy, in a somewhat different way than most younger people think about being online.

I have spent decades playing online games, frequenting message boards, communicating. When I stop and think about it I have spent substantially more time with my wife ONLINE, than I have in person. I met her online, I proposed to her online, we live separated for most of the year (and all of the last couple pandemic years) because she lives in Edmonton and I live near Las Vegas. I spend summers and holidays (in normal tears) with her.

I avoid social media like it will transmit a plague to me (because it will). No Facebook, no Twitter, no TikTok, etc.

I did not carry/own a smartphone until I needed one to play music in my new car. I barely use it. The screen and control scheme are too small and too irritating to me and I have ALWAYS hated talking on the phone--I think because my mother was ALWAYS on the phone.

And I am not a tech illiterate. I was playing with computers back in the 70s, learned how to program mainframes (and then PCs) used to teach Cisco Networking, Novell, and A+ Digital graphic design.

I don't suffer from FOMO, for the most part.

I have never been interested in virtual reality as it currently exists--as pointed out, it is actually inconvenient (and expensive). I doubt that VR will ever be good enough in my lifetime for me to be interested.

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Well said. I've always been a fan of "relevant technology", which for me means technology that enhances the quality of my life, and very seldom means added complexity.

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Technology enhancing quality of life without adding unnecessary complexity. Exactly. And, I might add, UNNECESSARY COST.

I'm not 'technology averse'. (Or cheap.) But I'm sure as hell not 'tech simply for the sake of tech' either. That's why I refuse to purchase a smart phone. Don't need all that 'tech' just to make or receive a call now and then, which is all I 'need' to do. And I have no interest in the other things a smart phone can do. Have this little gizmo sitting in my lap for that!

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I was forced to purchase a smart phone as the "dumb" phone I got was too dumb to allow me to put more than one phone number for my contacts, or include addresses, etc. All they had to do was upgrade my prior dumb phone, which was great and didn't have 56 apps attached to it that I had to disable, to 4G! But no-o-o. The tech boys put all kinds bells and whistles I did not want and dumbed down their smart phone (I can't even transfer photos to the computer!). When it comes to new tech, they seem determined to give people things they don't need/want, and make it harder to give them things they do want/need!

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"We’re all products of our place and time. In Scruton’s place and time, it did seem like liberalism was ascendant and that its overreach and failings needed conservative correction."

Much of Scruton's place and time was in the underground movement against communism in eastern Europe. For those NatCons who fancy themselves members of a "resistance" against some vaguely totalitarian something (which I believe is all of them), the romance of Scruton's resistance might be why they name cafes after him. And it *was* romantic, as Scruton describes in this speech:

https://victimsofcommunism.org/publication/sir-roger-scruton-bringing-light-behind-iron-curtain/

People joined the resistance because they fell in love, because "books were forbidden, therefore dangerous, therefore precious and loved", because it was "dangerous" -- thus exciting -- "to join things, dangerous to share any kind of social ambition or any sphere of private interests." After communism, Scruton asserted, "Many people, young people especially, in Eastern Europe today, look around at their social and political inheritance and ask themselves 'How do I belong to that?' Everything distinctive, everything that makes Poland Poland and Hungary Hungary, has been... separated from the present by the sterile desert of the communist years." Scruton's work in the underground, as he describes it, was to educate the underground in a "that" they could belong to. That "that" wasn't partisan, according to Scruton:

"We made a point of not being partisan. That was easy for me, because I am a conservative, and conservatives are not partisan, as you know.However, my colleagues were for the most part leftists"

There was international intrigue:

"The secret police had not done their homework and, by arresting Derrida, precipitated a diplomatic crisis that caused them to retreat in ignominy from all that they had planned. The experience improved Derrida immensely: his night in jail with a drunken gypsy cured him of his leftism. It also improved the secret police, who thereafter left our visitors alone."

All that was, for realsies, a resistance the NatCons can only cosplay at. I'm not surprised they idolize it. Ben Parker has his "Solidarnost" poster, too. Scruton knew that progressive vogues aren't in the same league as the threat of communism:

"There are many views like that, which are suddenly projected into prominence as icons of an emerging orthodoxy...—who could have foretold, for instance, that the divide between good and evil would be suddenly discovered to lie between rival views about bathrooms? Of course, all this has an air of comedy, compared with the censorship exercised by the fascist and communist students of the 20th century."

Scruton's stated philosophy of national identity is at odds with Orbanism:

"Those experiences taught me that there is a link, in the end, between humane education, focused on what is intrinsically valuable, and the consciousness of identity—of what I am and to what I belong. Our students had been torn from their roots by the communist system, and they wanted to rediscover those roots... I draw the lesson that the business of building a collective identity, which is not the business of the state but an aspect of national consciousness, is the enterprise that makes education worthwhile."

That speech of Scruton's reveals some blind spots. He can't see conservatives as partisan. He's unaware of the gender-studies folks who do have expertise in "the language of Chaucer or the meaning of German Romanticism", who've already succumbed to the "urge to read Dante". We all have blind spots: when I consider Scruton as an individual, his seem forgivable. I can see how his philosophy of education could be degraded into nationalism. Still, how good are the NatCons at engaging with cultural heritage, rather than braying about the importance of doing so without being particularly engaged themselves? Chatting up Tucker Carlson in the Scruton cafe isn't exactly reading Dante, either.

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Woof! Very well said. It puts Scruton in perspective for me. I had never heard of him before.

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I should correct something, though. I wrote,

"For those NatCons who fancy themselves members of a 'resistance' against some vaguely totalitarian something (which I believe is all of them), the romance of Scruton's resistance might be why they name cafes after him"

but it's no random NatCons naming cafes after Scruton. It's "the state-sponsored Batthyany foundation", the same foundation funding the Danube Institute.

https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2021/06/roger-scruton-hungarian-coffee-shop-markets-in-everything.html

and these cafes seem to have the blessing of Scruton's widow, who's donated memorabilia to them and attended some of their events. Prime minister József Antall of Hungary helped found the Batthyany foundation as a private institution in honor of Lajos Batthyány, a Hungarian prime minister under the Austrian empire who at first lobbied, then rebelled, for Hungarian independence.

"The Batthyány Foundation (BLA) was originally established in 1991 by the Association of Friends of MDF 'to support Hungarian public life based on common Christian values and democratic, representative governance.' It was a private foundation, financed mostly by donations. The original idea was to develop BLA along the lines of EPP’s Robert Schuman Foundation or CDU’s Konrad Adenauer Stiftung."

but, after the foundation had become a shell of itself, Orban's propaganda ministry began using it as a funding conduit for Orbanism. "For instance, in 2019, BLA received 3.5 billion forints (about $12 million) from the propaganda ministry."

https://hungarianspectrum.org/tag/batthyany-foundation/

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Very good points, Midge. I wish I’d gone into a little detail about BLA in the piece.

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Oct 23, 2022·edited Oct 23, 2022

Thanks!

Since the Pulaski Institution has an interest in place, who's doing what to capitalize on understandably fond memories of someone in a locale seems like the kind of story Pulaski could investigate better than a commenter who looked up some stuff while she was laid up with a cold. If there's enough there for a follow-up piece, we're interested.

I know the Manhattan Institute, which was supposed to be another conservative-but-liberal institution with a focus on place (the city, NYC in particular), has had problems with donor capture:

https://democracyjournal.org/arguments/think-tank-in-the-tank/

When the donor is Orban's propaganda ministry, that sounds even hairier.

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I imagine a follow-up piece could be done. I’ll be writing more over at Arc Digital in the future so there may yet be more to come.

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Thank you. I am getting old.

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founding

Aren't we all.

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Oct 22, 2022·edited Oct 22, 2022

I linked to one of the hyperlink sites and automatically my email address shows up on the link subscribe option on their website. So now my email link is on a site I have no interest in and I expect I'll be getting more spam than I'm already getting. I think that not being warned that hitting a hyperlink allows bulwark to disseminate my address is fucked up. You getting a kickback for that? No way to treat your members. No wonder the site is called embedded. And worse yet the article on the site is shite. Lastly, who the fuck is Taylor Swift and what's she selling?

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So... in reverse order:

1.) The whole Swift-tok thing flew over my head like an Iranian drone, and crashed somewhere behind me. I never saw it coming, and I still don't "get" it. Maybe it's a generational thing. IDK.

2.) You are so correct, JVL.. Meta is a silly redundancy and no one cares except poor Mark. We already have a meta verse, and we don't want a more limited version. When your internal customers think it's crap... perhaps it's best to pay heed.

3.) Is an intellectual responsible for the actions (and possibly misreadings) of their teachings? I must conclude, ultimately no, they are not.

Jesus' teachings are pretty solid, and a lot of folks who say they "follow" him, have simply perverted and inverted his teachings to harm others. Perhaps the same can be said of Scruton?

Time and Place matter. At the end of the day, we are each responsible for our own thoughts and actions.

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I don't entirely understand the Swift thing, but it reminds me of an experience I about 3 years ago when I was "radicalized" by the internet over something dumb. I was looking at houses. Many of them were "open concept" and regarded that trait as a major selling point, but I didn't really like them but it seemed that my opinion did not match the prevailing societal taste.

So one day, I typed "I hate open concept houses" into google, and low and behold there were others like me. People who appreciated walls! People who thought houses should feel cozy! People who didn't want to spend money on rugs to differentiate space in a warehouse-like room! I read think pieces on open concept houses. About how rooms should have district purposes to align with Buddhist mindfulness practices! About how the open concept kitchen was a tool of the patriarchy to make you cook and do childcare at the same time! About the energy efficiency of various floor plans!

I went from someone who didn't care for open floor plans, to someone who despised them for a myriad of reasons that had never occurred to me a week prior. This is the peril of the internet. The way the internet radicalized my opinion on something fairly meaningless opened my eyes to how people end up joining militias in chat rooms.

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I also hate open concept houses. I like rooms and doors. Open concept costs more to heat and cool as well. Maybe I am a throwback who loves privacy and perhaps those old houses were meant for me. Also, it can be hard to find well-made furniture that is not meant to furnish a warehouse room because of the open concept trend-- I require human-sized or maybe apartment-sized? furniture that can fit through a normal doorway.

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Yes yes! The house we bought was built in the 1940s and added onto, but the rooms just feel right sized, not too big, not to small. (It was almost bulldozed for a McMansion because it was on a decent sized lot). I really wanted a formal dining room, not because I'm Martha Stewart, but because I don't want to cook dinner and then look at all the dirty pots and pans in the kitchen as I eat. I'm also struggling with furniture. Everything made out of wood (chairs, chests, tables, dressers) has come from moving sales/thrift shops and is older and proportional to a "normal" house. But I'm struggling for sofas and chairs. Why so many sectionals??? And then why don't they make arm chairs any more, just accent chairs that seem to be mostly decorative?

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I love old homes but the home we have (the first one we purchased) was built in the 1970s and is under 1500 sq. ft in the suburbs outside a mid-sized city (we previously lived in first floor flat in a 3 plex built in the 1920s). However, this was before the open concept boom. We have a formal living room (front parlor and dining room in an "L") separate from the kitchen. There is a den next to the kitchen where we mostly watch TV. The sectionals today are huge. I just want an old couch preferably an old style Flexsteel that was made with springs and hard wood, not stapled nylon straps holding up the seat cushions. One that fit in an apartment (with a folding bed inside it for overnight guests)-- but the seat cushions robust enough that you can't even tell there is a hide-a-bed beneath you. Also, agree about the armchairs! The problem with scouting thrift shops, used furniture stores and Craigs List (I don't facebook, so no marketplace for me) is that you need to arrange for a truck and muscle to get your finds home.

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Yep, I lived in those duplexes/triplexes carved out of older homes in grad school, then in a 1300 sq ft 1920s house. And while it wasn't spacious, I just really grew to love the "everything in it's place" sort of mentality it evoked. The kitchen was a work place, the bedroom was for sleeping, the living room was for recreation, ect. We looked at some palatial new builds, and they made me feel weirdly stressed out. There was just so much purposeless space.

I posted an add at the local college advertising $100 to someone with a pickup, and it's worked great for everyone involved. I've done did it twice, and hung on to the number of one of the grad students so if a deal comes up I can have him and a friend take care of it all for me. But I've had so much trouble finding seating that's in between the giant, poofy, ugly sectionals and ornamental-looking decorative looking couches and chairs that are totally lacking the "curl up with a book" factor. But I'm gonna have to make a decision because the the stapled nylon straps in our Craigslist-procured loveseat are giving up. They've been tightened tight with a staple gun, but definitely one of those things with a finite lifespan.

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Actually the Triplex we lived in was designed as three different flats-- so no carve-outs (3 story building w/basement). Each Flat was the entire floor -- our ground floor flat had 3 bedrooms, large living room, dining room and then kitchen (large enough to put a table and chairs in with lots of cupboard space). The bedrooms were along the side -- all with doors. It had one full bath. We had a front screened in porch and a back screened in porch. The back stairs offered a back entrance and stairs to basement where we had a washer/dryer. Since we rented the first level, we also were able to get garage space and we took care of the mowing and snow removal. The rent at the time was $575/month (we moved in 1998). Our upstairs neighbors were fine-- we took pains to be cordial. We had neighbors next door who were horrible for a couple years-- crackheads/drug dealers until they finally left and the landlord there rented to a family from Jordan. Their upstairs neighbors were a decent family and from there we all endeavored to all get along. On the other side was a larger apt. building. Behind us was an elementary school and library. So one issue I had was people walking through our yard and disrupting my vegetable garden, trampling and raiding it... also my heart breaking seeing children walk by on their way to school without proper warm clothing (I was frequently running out to put mittens, hats and coats on them). We moved to the burb's for a better school district and safer neighborhood for our son to play in. Our old street had a lot of traffic speeding down the street and some had really loud engines, which would wake us and our son up at all hours. The weekend we moved, a major hurricane came through and if we were still there, a tree would have landed on our car. Back then, the house we purchased was $82K (a little higher than some of the other homes on the block) but we had been outbid on so many others, we were happy to get the contract. We live in an area with a lot of old house stock and, being part of the rust belt, we totally missed the mid 2000's housing bubble. The latest rise in housing value, we have been in a bit but not at the levels of other more popular regions. Still, the way we look at thing is this-- our son is almost 30 and will be finding his own house. That leaves the 2 of us in this house and we really don't need more room. If we feel crowded, it is time to get rid of stuff. We believe at some point we will be taking in a parent; so are considering adding a room with bath & kitchenette with handicap access to the first level.

I will have to use your idea of an ad to the local university (and state college as well).

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My favorite Roger Scruton book, “Fools, Frauds and Firebrands,” hilariously criticizes leftist intellectuals, particularly French philosophers. Naturally, the left strenuously objected, hurling considerable condemnation in Mr. Scruton’s direction. So, it is not original or surprising that Alan Elrod continues the torrent in his Arc Digital essay.

I’m wondering what makes a coffee shop a “Roger-Scruton-themed coffee shop.” Is there an aptly titled neon-sign over the entryway? Scruton mages? A published declaration? I suppose what’s important is the ‘Scruton-like’ temperament of the clientele. How that is ascertained is another matter. What’s more important is that the right has copied the ways of the left. You see, the coffee shop was once the forum of the left. As with demonstrations, lawsuits, etc. the right is counter-punching the left ‘aping’ the lefts tactics, and the left hates it!

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JVL wrote: "Reminding us that forced marches into the future aren’t always wise ..."

I'm not sure why the "forced" is in there, so I may be misinterpreting. But isn't a forced march into the future just one way of describing being alive? As long as one is alive, things will change. Or as Neil Peart (RIP) trenchantly put it: "Constant change is here to stay".

The rate of change is certainly an issue to some/many; some social psychologists think this is a continuum that identifies liberals and conservatives fairly well. But that's a very different, and much more specific, idea.

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No, I think the "forced" stuff is like when someone argues to you that "X is the future, so you have to get on board with X". You ask, "How do you know X is the future? Are you clairvoyant? Or are you just hoping to make X the future by insisting it has to be, even when it doesn't?"

Judging by the Meta read JVL recommended, Meta is trying to do that to its own employees. "Meta is the future!" "No, it's not! We don't even like using it!" "It's the future because Meta says it is!"

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Thank you for the reply; this makes more sense to me.

It's easy for companies to try to coerce certain behaviors from their employees while on the clock, as Meta is ... it's another thing entirely (for now, at least) for them to try to do that with their customers. I say this as an early and enthusiastic user of email and the internet way back in the day who dislikes Alexa and similar gadgets and will never buy one.

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We have banned Alexa from our house.

There's a Weird Al song where he describes technology pranking you by buying you "a warehouse full of pink leotards". I figure that, with Alexa AND small children in the house, that might actually happen. So, no Alexa for the foreseeable future.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvfD5rnkTws

And I don't like Siri, either. I told Siri this once, "Siri, you're an incompetent." She replied, "Searching the web for 'urine incontinence'."

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How did I miss seeing that video?! Thank you for sharing; it brought me a big laugh, as did your Siri story.

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Change is constant, and death is inevitable.

But it's one thing to die in your sleep. It's quite another for someone to murder you.

A "forced march" is more like murder than it is the normal flow into the future. Of course everything changes. I didn't read JVL as disputing that...

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Folks, it’s not about a straight line from any past Republican president to Trump. I grew up in a staunch Republican household, but there were many around us who couldn’t give 2 $hits about politics. Trump tapped in very deeply with those voters, despite the fact it was clearly a grift. Marks don’t typically know they’re being conned. Those traditional Republican voters would crawl across broken glass to vote for the next Reagan, the MAGAs would not. You see the predicament Republicans are in? I’ve heard every excuse in the book for why my Reagan Republican family will continue to vote straight ticket Republican. Yes, I blame them. Yes, I see them as very complicit for the mess we’re in. Yes, they’ve accused me of being a liberal, but I’m not sure that word means what they think it means. If just one third of the traditional Republicans refused to vote for an election denier than maybe a dozen of the 200 or so election deniers running for office would win. Sadly, almost all 200 may win.

I haven’t disowned my parents, although our soggy relationship started way before Trump came along. More to do with $hitty parenting than politics, but we’re on fine terms. What percentage of Bulwark + listeners have white collar parents? 75%? I hope we’re spending way more time convincing Nana and Papa that Republicans are a danger to our country than we are MAGAPatriot46 on Twitter. He or she isn’t budging. Don’t tell me how hard it is to convince your family, because your opinion matters to them. Your opinion means absolutely zero to MAGAPatriot46.

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Oct 22, 2022·edited Oct 22, 2022

If Hungary is a "traditional Christian society," why is Orban trying to reprogram it?

*Church attendance is pretty low in Hungary. Some claim that only 12% of the population attend church regularly while others come out with a higher figure of 22%. According to the latest study, “Beliefs about God across Time and Countries” by Tom W. Smith (University of Chicago), only 9.6% of the population has a strong belief in God as opposed to 35% in the United States and 25.8% in Ireland. Hungary is closer to Great Britain, Sweden, and the Czech Republic as far as religious devotion is concerned. At the same time the percentage of atheists is relatively high: 23.1%*

https://hungarianspectrum.org/2012/04/21/church-and-state-in-hungary/

*Hungary’s 2011 census revealed that 45.4 percent of the population doesn’t have any religious affiliation. Regular church attendance figures are harder to track down, but what studies I’ve found locate the rate between 12 and 22 percent.* https://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/posts/religion-in-hungary

Orban has inspired the Claremont/Federalist playbook, ie if you're losing the culture war, use government to shove your culture down people's throats.

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But Hungary is very much culturally "christian"; so it's irrelevant if they are religiously Christian or not.

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The scare quotes are very apt. It's like saying that it's irrelevant if evangelical Christians actually go to church or believe in the divinity of Jesus (a recent poll showed 43% do not) so long as they vote for Trump.

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yes, exactly.

I mean, does anyone believe there's anything remotely related to Christ's teachings (or his awesome example) in the behaviors of people like trump, orban, bannon, cruz, putin, mtg, gaetz, jordan... well we could go on and create a very long list. Painfully long.

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How many election deniers are ahead in the polls at this point? That's a painfully long list, indeed.

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I'm a proud owner of a Meta Quest 2 VR headset. It is an amazing experience but I don't use it very often. I got it because I wanted to see what the tech was all about. I'm a professional computer guy all my life but retired now. I like to keep up with the world. Here's my take on the metaverse.

As I said, it is an amazing experience but it has so far to go before it has any chance of being a place where we live a large part of our lives. The metaverse is populated by apps and games that mostly don't talk to each other. Each one uses the interface and visuals differently. There's not much commonality between them at all. This means there is a metaverse for each app/game. Not at all the promise of the metaverse. I'm not complaining. This is really how it will always be. If I'm shooting aliens on another planet, I don't care about a common interface. The specific interface of the game is an important part of the experience.

The metaverse (or metaverses) are searching for those areas of commonality and it is going to be a decade before we start to see where it is really going to go. Although we might expect Meta workers to embrace the tech more, they aren't that much different from regular folk. The management (and, perhaps, most of the workers) know that we are in an exploratory phase. It is time to throw stuff on the wall, see what sticks, and occasionally clean and repaint the wall in its entirety.

Meta has also realized that there is a professional market for VR which explains why their next headset is much more expensive and capable than the one I have. An early pro VR application was Boeing using them to aid workers in routing the miles of cable involved in assembling an airliner. Via a VR headset, the worker could literally see exactly where each cable goes, making the process go much faster and with fewer mistakes. I suspect we will find a huge number of applications for pro VR. Meta might make a lot of money off this and, at the same time, advance the software in an exploratory way.

In short, the VR world will be fantastic someday but I have no idea what it'll look like when we get there.

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