Posted by: New Class Traitor | August 23, 2015

Burning Down The Field in Order to Save It

The title pretty much sums it up. Sarah Hoyt pulls no punches. Go read the whole thing.

According To Hoyt

So, I thought I didn’t care about the result of the Hugos, because in making the establishment lose their collective sh*t at the “non approved” nominations, we’d proven our point: that there is a political color bar in SF/F; that the self-proclaimed elites of sf view what fans like as problematic and therefore view the supposed “fan” award as the toy of the glitterati; and that NATIONAL PUBLICATIONS marched in lockstep with the narrative of a tiny clique over an award that in the past has sometimes been given with hundreds of votes (after which display it’s pretty hard to claim that the left doesn’t have a death lock on the media. And btw nothing was weirder than being told by the National Media we were the ones wanting to drive people off the field, while nominee after nominee was hounded off the ballot by leftist who — since WE…

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Posted by: New Class Traitor | August 22, 2015

In a place where there are no…

A brief vignette for the Sabbath:

During the long summer months, it is customary to read and study Pirkei Avot (freely: Ethical Maxims of the Fathers) following the Sabbath afternoon service.

This short tractate from the Mishnah has always been a source of inspiration to this writer. A full English translation can be found here, although I always would keep an eye on the Hebrew original.

One saying I will highlight today is at the end of Pirkei Avot 2:5: u-ba-makom she-ein bo anashim, tishtadel lihyot ish (ובמקום שאין בו אנשים תשתדל להיות איש). This statement, because of the multiple meanings of anashim, is almost as polyvalent as (l’havdil) that quintessential Southernism, “bless your heart”. I can think of at least three meanings:

  1. translating “anashim” literally as “men”:
    “and in a place/situation where there are no men, strive to be a man”. That is how the phrase is understood in modern Hebrew: in a situation where nobody has the required courage/cojones/beitzim, you should at least try to “grow a pair”.
  2. However, in Hebrew (which has no neuter gender), “anashim” can also refer to “men and women”, i.e., human beings. Or, in Yiddish, menschen (literally: human beings; idiomatically: upright, strong yet compassionate human beings). Then the quote becomes:
    “and in a place where nobody behaves like a mensch, try to be a mensch“.
    This is the reading beloved of liberal synagogues, but true to the “broken clock rule”,
  3. There is another reading that occurred to me the other day.
    When you see something that needs doing, it’s not obvious others are already doing it, and you can do something: take up your responsibility and do not assume others will do so in your place.

Shabbat shalom.

Dedicated to the speedy recovery of Sarah bat Sharon

Posted by: New Class Traitor | August 5, 2015

RIP Robert Conquest, 1917-2015

Robert Conquest, the historian and Sovietologist whose “The Great Terror” and “The Harvest of Sorrow” left a lasting imprint on our understanding of the Stalin regime, passed away at the ripe old age of 98. Roger Kimball has an obituary, as do the Wall Street Journal, the Daily Telegraph, and Steven Hayward at Powerline.

The first book by Conquest I encountered was the Harvest of Sorrow, on the man-made famine in the Ukraine (a.k.a. holodomor). For somebody who still believed European left-wing pieties about the Soviet regime, it was extremely disturbing reading. Only later did its contents thoroughly sink in.

Conquest apparently had a rather cheerful personality at odds with the extreme seriousness of his historical work. He appears to also have been something of a ladies’ man, although apparently his fourth and final marriage was a very happy one. Poetry (some of it quite ribald) was an apparent outlet for his more puckish side.

He started political life as a Communist, then had a ‘Road to Damascus moment’ once he saw the “workers’ paradise” from up close and joined the staff of the IRD, a bureau inside the Foreign Office that was created (during the postwar Labour government) to counter Communist agitation. After a career in England on the seam line between academia and politics, he crossed the pond and spent the rest of his life in US academia and think tanks. He was most closely associated with the Hoover Institute at Stanford University.

One of the more amusing quotes attributed to him was actually not his. When preparing an updated edition of his The Great Terror (drawing on newly available documents following the collapse of the Soviet Union), he was asked for a subtitle and allegedly suggested “I told you so, you f*cking fools!” Conquest himself clarified that the suggestion was actually by Kingsley Amis, who put it in Conquest’s mouth. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll guestblogging at Instapundit.)

No obituary of Robert would be complete without Conquest’s Three Laws:

  1. Everyone is conservative about what he knows best.
  2. Any organization not explicitly and constitutionally right-wing will sooner or later become left-wing.
  3. The behavior of any bureaucratic organization can best be understood by assuming that it is controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies.

May his memory be for a blessing.

Posted by: New Class Traitor | July 25, 2015

Argument and Offense

Verily, nothing new under the sun (Eccl. 1:9). 1,945 years ago to this day, the Second Temple was destroyed due to, it is written, “causeless hatred” (sin’at khinam). That is, the Judean rebels against Roman occupation were so preoccupied with internecine struggles and questions of “ideological purity” (sounds familiar?) that they lost their focus on fighting the joint enemy. In the aftermath, and foliowing an even bloodier failed uprising in 132-135 CE, my people were scattered all over the known world.

Even when history does not repeat itself, it rhymes. And that particular tragedy (collapse through internecine quarrels) has repeated itself over and over, in all sorts of societies and context, both as tragedy and as low comedy.
Right now, we see this happening among lovers of freedom. Rather than band together against the common enemy — statist soft totalitarianism — the circular firing squad has started between social conservatives, libertarians,…
I wrote some weeks ago about “polishing the candlesticks while the house is on fire” — this is more like “bickering about the wallpaper while the house is on fire”. First we put out the fire, then we can return to bickering.

According To Hoyt

Lately I’ve been seeing blow ups not only in all my groups on facebook, but on my private email lists, blow ups between people who granted have bloody nothing in common beyond opposing socialism.

This is perhaps to be expected.  I mean we’re living through the crazy years, the mania for eating dirt spreads to the South East, the “serious” discussion in Sci fi is “Should you even acknowledge gender”, we’re financing Iran’s quest for a bomb, Donald Trump tops (a minor, but much publicized) poll for president (with 17%) cats and dogs sleeping together.  The end of the world.

As I’ve said before I can judge the general mood of the nation by how fricking crazy the drivers are on the road.  And right now they’re pretty crazy.  And just as at other points of high tension, arguments and screaming are breaking out over the stupidest things.

I hate…

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Posted by: New Class Traitor | July 9, 2015

German, English and Word Quirks

Interesting post on quirks of English vs. German vocabulary. No comment section: one additional cause for English’s greater “mongrelization”, not pointed out in the article, is there being no authoritative PREscriptive standard for English — unlike the Académie de la Langue Française, the Rat für Deutsche Rechtschreibung, or (closer to my adoptive home) the Academy for the Hebrew Language. The de facto standards for English (Oxford, Merriam-Webster, Fowler’s Modern English Usage) are primarily DEscriptive: they mostly present how English is actually spoken and written rather than how it should be.

Cat Rotator's Quarterly

It’s funny. You can be familiar with something for years before you realize some of the major differences between it and what you are used to, and the hints that gives about the thought below and behind the thing. It wasn’t until I immersed myself in  architecture and art history German this spring that I realized that English eats words whole, while Germans translate them. I’d seen it before, but not to such an extent that it hit me like a two-by-four between the eyes. Kinda like fish not realizing they are wet.

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Posted by: New Class Traitor | July 4, 2015

Arthur Szyk, “Declaration of Independence”

Emailed by a friend, who took a cell phone picture of an original hanging in the West Point Jewish Chapel. Click on the reduced-size image for the full-size image.

For more about Arthur Szyk, see

Happy Fourth of July!


Posted by: New Class Traitor | June 29, 2015

RIP Chris Squire, Yes bassist and founding member

Chris Squire (March 4, 1948 – June 27, 2015) was the only continuous member of legendary progressive rock band Yes throughout all its many line-up changes.

A church choir singer growing up, his is one of the two backing voices in Yes’s trademark 3-part harmony vocals. But his biggest musical legacy undoubtedly is as one of a handful of innovators  responsible for taking the bass guitar out of its ‘harmonic foundation’ ghetto. In Yes (like in more modern bands like Primus, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Tool), the bass guitar was effectively a co-equal instrument that took on melody and especially countermelody roles.

Squire’s favorite instrument, the Rickenbacker 4001, was originally bought with an employee discount at the Boosey & Hawkes music store where he worked. Already having learned to play bass earlier, he developed his trademark technique on that 4001. The story goes that, after a bad acid trip, he was so afraid to go anywhere that he holed up in the apartment of his girlfriend for months and did (presumably almost) nothing but play bass, emerging with a unique style. Se non e vero e bene trovato. 

More prosaically, he adopted the split-amp technique pioneered by The Who’s John Entwistle, in which the treble of the instrument is sent through a lead guitar amplifier while the low end is routed to a bass amplifier, thus sacrificing neither low-end punch nor high-end clarity. Combined with the already bright sound a Rickenbacker with Rotosound strings produces, and Squire playing with a pick rather than finger style, one obtains an almost harpsichord-like sound that, from deep growls to sweet melodies high up on the G string, never fails to project.

A legion of rock bassists acknowledge his influence: whether you hear Geddy Lee of Rush or Justin Chancellor of Tool (to name just two very different musicians), you hear echoes of Chris Squire. Squire himself cited Jack Bruce (Cream), John Entwistle, and funk bassist Larry Graham (Sly and the Family Stone) as his primary role models.

He will be dearly missed, but the music he created with Yes contains many timeless classics. Below is posted not one of their marvelous prog epics like “Close to the Edge”, but the sensitive ballad “Onward”. After that, what I regard as Squire’s signature piece, “Heart of the Sunrise”.

Growing up, I couldn’t really hear most bands’ bass players due to the appalling bass response of my little tape recorder. Chris Squire changed all that — the brain will ‘fill in’ the missing fundamental of a tone if enough overtones are there. Thus, for the first time I acquired a sense of what this instrument can do.

Enjoy the great gig in the sky, brother.

Posted by: New Class Traitor | June 25, 2015

Steven Pinker on Taboos, Political Correctness, and Dissent

This short video produced by FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) is very much worth your time. Steven Pinker has been a longtime target as a ‘deviationist’ to the academic totalitarian Left for some time.

Via Greg Lukianoff, guest-blogging at Instapundit. #Academentia #whileFreedomDies #intellectualDiversity #fauxversity

Posted by: New Class Traitor | June 25, 2015

Naomi Shemer, “Sad to die in the beginning of summer”

Israeli songwriter Naomi Shemer foresaw she would pass away in the month of Tammuz, which on the Hebrew calendar corresponds roughly to late June – early July (depending on the vagaries of that lunisolar calendar).

The song is performed by Nurit Galron.

Atzuv lamut be’emtza haTamuz
diglei hakaitz nisa’im el `al
al rosh/berosh hatoren tor homeh ve’lo yech’dal
ki al keitzech ve’al k’tzirech heidad nafal

Atzuv lamut be’emtza hatamuz
davka ksheha’afarsekim beshefa
vechol hapri davka tzochek basal
ve’al keitzech ve’al ketzirech heidad nafal

Atzuv lamut be’emtza hatamuz
aval/achshav be’emtza hatamuz amut
el bustanei hapri shehityat’mu
heidad achar heidad nafol yipol
ve’al keitzech ve’al ketzirech ve’al hakol

It’s sad to die in the middle of Tammuz
Summer flags are carried to and fro
On the ship’s mast, a noisy line that won’t stop
For on your summer and your harvest, hurrahs fell

It’s sad to die in the middle of Tammuz
Right when the peaches are plentiful
And just as all the fruit laughs in the basket
And on your summer and your harvest, hurrahs fell

It’s sad to die in mid-Tammuz
But now I shall do so anyway
Upon the fruit gardens that were orphaned
Hurrahs afer hurrahs will surely fall
And on your summer and harvest and on everything

Posted by: New Class Traitor | June 23, 2015

Marriage is a State of Mind – Cedar Sanderson

In the comments to a poignant guest post by Cedar Sanderson on marriage, relationships, being denied happiness and finally finding it, “RES” coins what I would call “the negative Heinlein rule”.

Robert A. Heinlein famously defined love as the mental state in which “the happiness of another person becomes essential to your own”. RES instead proposed, “the state where another person’s pain is painful to you”.

This is reminiscent of the distinction between the Positive and Negative Golden Rules.
The Positive Golden Rule states: “Do as you would be done by”. If the person in question is a masochist who enjoys being tortured, I’ll pass.
The Negative Golden Rule, given here in its Talmudic formulation (Shabbat 31a), instead states: “That which is hateful unto you, do not do upon another. This is the whole Torah: the rest is [but] elaboration.”

On Heinlein’s original quote, commenter Wayne Blackburn reflects:
“Basically, the sentence is intended to impute a high, enduring correlation, as opposed to a weak and/or transient one. Once it is perceived that the partner is unhappy, the simple fact of working on correcting that difficulty can actually work to improve the emotional state of both. With a weak or transient correlation, there is not as much impulse to improve the other’s state of mind, as it does not impinge as strongly on your own.”

According To Hoyt

Marriage is a State of Mind – Cedar Sanderson

I have long been a fan of Dorothy Sayers. I don’t recall when I first read one of her books, but I know that I just recently read one of her essays on feminism and it sparked a thought – several thoughts, really – in my head. I wrote some of it down in Are Women Human? which is a composite of her essay of that title and my own thoughts.

As I was reacquainting myself with not only the fictional romance between Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane, but the true life of Dorothy Sayers, I was forced to reflect on my own life and relationships. There are some parallels to where I am now, and looking back, I can see clearly in hindsight where my path has taken me. You don’t see it, while you’re walking it. It’s only…

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Posted by: New Class Traitor | June 13, 2015

The Witch Hunt for Tim Hunt FRS

Compare and contrast:

A molecular biologist who won the 2001 Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine for his work on the proteins that control cell division gives a talk in which he makes a rather tasteless joke about women in the lab and how he would prefer . Instead of a public apology — which would have been reasonable — he finds himself out of a job.

Meanwhile, an idiot journalist who has never produced anything of value in her life called for a year of publishing only female authors. Consequences? None. An art director at the self-proclaimed leading publication house of speculative fiction finds it necessary to accuse writers she dislikes of neo-Nazism and white supremacism — accusations that make about as much sense as calling Elton John a womanizer, except that they are 1000x nastier — and suffers what consequences? None, unless one applies that word to  the elder statesman of the house disassociating himself from her statements and having her issue a ‘non-apology apology’.

A society that ostracizes the makers and coddles unproductive critics is indeed “on a downward spiral”. Who is John Galt again?

Guest post at Sarah Hoyt’s place.

According To Hoyt

Psychological displacement in management, politics, and the culture wars – New Class Traitor

All of us have a number of psychological mechanisms for coping with “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”. Some are adaptive (anticipation, humor, building social support networks, …) while others are maladaptive.

Displacement (a term originally coined by Sigmund Freud) is one such maladaptive strategy: the mind substitutes a “safer” goal, object, or target for one deemed to be unattainable or overly dangerous. Some classic examples of ‘displacement’ are a bully picking on a weak kid in response to being picked upon by a bigger bully, or the abusive mid-level employee who works out pent-up rage at bosses or customers on his underlings. Or, for that matter, the frustrated-at-work husband or wife doing so on their spouse.

Like all of us who have dealt with management (in my case, from both sides of the fence) I…

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No, you did not fall through the looking glass. A half-dozen GOP Senators led by Cory Gardner indeed want to force makers of contraceptive pills to file a request for over-the-counter status with the FDA.

That some hard social conservatives would be opposed is a given, but that the federally subsidizd abortion mill known as Planned Parenthood would do so seems counterintuitive — except of course to inveterate cynics like myself.

Leave it to Steven Den Beste, the retired “USS Clueless” blogger, to hit the nail on the head:

It’s not ideology, it’s rent seeking. PP’s doctors are major sources of doctor prescriptions for birth control pills, and PP gets paid for every prescription. If birth control pills become OTC, PP will lose that revenue

Commenter  “Wildoates” clarifies:

it’s not about actually providing conception control to women, it’s about being the gatekeeper to providing conception control (and other so-called women’s health issues) to women, and the many dollars that follow from that. If you own the only ferry on that particular river, you get the tolls. People start building bridges upstream and you’re doomed.

I never was in any doubt as to what PP et al. really were — it is still amusing to see them so blatantly act like it though

Posted by: New Class Traitor | May 25, 2015

Civil servant driven to suicide by specious racism accusation

Ein li milim/I have no words.

Behold the hideous face of the Socialist inJustice WarriorsTartuffes. Damo al rosheihem/His blood is on their heads.

Posted by: New Class Traitor | May 9, 2015

Protected: When The Heart Rules The Mind, Chapters 1-10

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Posted by: New Class Traitor | May 8, 2015

Good News Friday

Happy VE-day, and here’s Anne’s weekly summary of good news from my adoptive homeland. Some really good stuff this time.

Anne's Opinions

After yet another contentious and tense week, thank goodness it’s Friday and time to post another Good News Friday installment.

Dionne Warwick coming to perform in Israel Dionne Warwick coming to perform in Israel

We’ll start with some entertainment news. Despite US singer Lauryn Hill cancelling her scheduled concert in Israel due to pressure from the BDS bigots, the equally (or more) popular Dionne Warwick has no such qualms and stated that she has no intention of giving in to BDS pressure:

After entertainer Lauryn Hill cancelled her show in Israel for political reasons, American diva Dionne Warwick said Wednesday that she has no plans to cancel her upcoming Tel Aviv performance, saying that “art has no boundaries.”

A statement released to the press read that Ms. Warwick “would never fall victim to the hard pressures of Roger Waters, from Pink Floyd, or other political people who have their views on politics in Israel.”

Outspoken Israel critic…

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Posted by: New Class Traitor | April 28, 2015

I am a climate skeptic who believes in global warming

A pretty good summary on where CAGW skeptics (a.k.a. “climate realists”) agree with climate alarmists (more than you might think), and where they part company.

Watts Up With That?

Guest essay by Richard J. Petschauer

A skeptic that believes in global warming? How can that be? We have been told that climate skeptics, sometime incorrectly called “deniers”, still believe the earth is flat and disagree with 97% of scientists. Well, first of all, most of us have seen a globe and know what it represents. Second, do you know on what these scientists agree? If not, don’t feel bad. Those making these claims, mostly politicians, probably don’t know either. Actually, a rather poor survey was done looking at a summary of many technical papers. If any one of many climate related points were made, they were put in the 97% camp. This article would probably have qualified too.

But the real question, not covered in the survey: How fast will the earth warm if we do nothing to curtail the growth of man made carbon dioxide emissions? And how…

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Posted by: New Class Traitor | April 14, 2015

The Architecture of Fear

Reflecting on Sarah Hoyt’s long and thoughtful article on the Sad Puppies vs. “Social Justice Warrior” fracas at the Hugo Awards:

It is actually a good illustration of the difference between a positive-sum game and a zero-sum game. To the Sad Puppies camp, writing sci-fi is a positive sum game. You have more writers of varying political stripes (or of no discernible stripe at all), you have more and more diverse fiction, which will appeal to a broader range of people, which will get more people to read and buy sci-fi, and everybody is happy.

To the SJWs, however, what they truly care about is a positional good, namely intellectual and moral superior status over others. (Cf. this interesting piece on  “Virtue signaling” .) Competition for any purely positional good is a zero-sum game, and the more people participate the less is there to go around. So for the SJWs, throwing up barriers to entry and ostracizing people are rational strategies (in pursuit of an irrational goal).

And as the causes and mascot group they ostensibly champion gradually gain acceptance, their response will of course be to become ever more shrill and radical — because if suddenly everybody at least pays lip service to that particular cause or mascot group (or simply accepts it as part of the landscape) then there is no longer any virtue to be gotten in doing so, except by drastically escalating demands.

The end game, in this case, will be ten people and a dog buying the latest 99.4% pure LGBTQWERTYZ-friendly SJW novel, and them congratulating themselves on being the only people sophisticated enough to understand this transgressive piece of dreck. And then another group comes along saying that 99.4% isn’t pure enough, and ostracizes the first…

There are actually virtue inflation cycles in organized religions as well, with one believer trying to outdo the other in piety. Closest to home in that regard: there were the most extreme ultra-Orthodox who during the recent Passover would not rely on the municipal water supply because somebody might have dropped some bread in the Sea of Galilee and thus contaminated the water with some ppb quantity of leaven (consumption of which is strictly forbidden during Passover). In a country where the majority of people (including yours truly) already keeps kosher to some degree and still more respect the additional stringencies during the week of Passover, simply keeping kosher for Passover may be enough for those who observe these commandments for their own sake — but it will not meet the needs of status seekers (which exist in every culture and every field of human endeavor) as they will only be ‘special’ by going to ever greater extremes precisely when more people adopt the basic strictures.

Coming back to sci-fi: the fact that Sad Puppies  not only includes women and minorities (besides being politically much more diverse than the ingroup) — and that authors like Sarah Hoyt even use sympathetic homosexual characters as protagonists — actually means precisely that the SJWs have to become that much shriller to continue to be the ultra-precious moral snowflakes. So expect the more inclusive that “our” side will become, the more hysterical and outré will be the escalation in demands from the SJWs. State-financed species reassignment surgery anyone? (“I am a dinosaur trapped in a human body”)

According To Hoyt

Years ago on this blog I talked about Technique of The Coup D’Etat by Giovanni Guareschi and I typed  the beginning in here.  I shall copy that. (Assume typos are mine.)

At ten o’clock on Tuesday evening, the village square was swept with wind and rain, but a crowd had been gathered there for three or four hours to listen to the election news coming out of a radio loudspeaker. Suddenly the lights went out and everything was plunged into darkness. Someone went to the control box but came back saying there was nothing to be done. The trouble must be up the line or at the power plant, miles away. People hung around for half an hour or so, and then, as the rain began to come down even harder than before, they scattered to their homes, leaving the village silent and deserted. Peppone shut himself up in the…

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Posted by: New Class Traitor | April 1, 2015

All The Scarlet Letters

Sarah Hoyt is back from surgery — and how! This post about “scarlet lettering” of authors (sci-fi, in her case) by SJW “gatekeepers” for having politically incorrect thoughts — and how such gatekeepers fear and loathe indie publishing because it is not “pod nash kontrol” (Russian for ‘under our control’). Long (as usual for Sarah :)) but very much worth reading all the way through.

According To Hoyt

One of the most interesting things – and by interesting I mean scary – about the reaction to Sad Puppies 3 is that many people who are anti-puppy (always wanted to write that) were mad at Brad for “not telling people you were putting them on the slate.”

Okay. The accusation is not true. Brad actually told people, except for a couple he legitimately forgot to contact.

But let’s not defend Brad on that front, because when we are defending him on that front, we’re already swallowing whole a pretty bizarre assumption of the other side.

Instead, let’s step back and take a deep breath.

What are the Hugos?

They’re awards, right? They’re awards given, supposedly, for the best science fiction and fantasy of the year, right?

In theory, theoretically as it were, who is supposed to nominate: why, Lord love a duck, right? Any reader of science fiction who…

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Posted by: New Class Traitor | February 12, 2015

Tim Cook reportedly headed to Israel for opening of new Apple offices

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