The Wheel Is Turning and You Can't Slow Down

Microsoft is running ads claiming that its cloud services are improving golf by allowing players to analyze every shot taken by every golfer in every tour event in great detail.

This is an example of the "iron cage" of competition that Max Weber talked about. The world is not a better place if the average tour pro now shoots a 69 or 70 instead of a 71. This "service" does not improve the quality of anyone's life. But once one player starts using it, every other player has to use it as well, or they will fall behind.

It is similar to steroids, or weight training, or swim training now lasting 6 hours a day instead of 2. They are all zero-sum games: it is hard for me to see how audiences are any more entertained by football players today, who spend hours a week in the weight room, than they were by players in my father's day, in the early 50s, when he tells me no players at all lifted weights. (And he played Division I ball against people like Jim Brown, and his brother was drafted by the Bears, so this was not low-level football.) But once one person begins spending a lot of time in the weight room, everyone else has to follow.

As the sage said:

The wheel is turning and you can't slow down
You can't let go and you can't hold on
You can't go back and you can't stand still
If the thunder don't get you then the lightning will

How Progressive "Morality" Evolves

I have a progressive friend. A couple of years ago, when the bathroom wars were just kicking off, he told me that "they" were now going too far: "It is ridiculous to think that men should be allowed to go in the women's locker room just because they claim they 'really' are a woman."

All I could do was quietly sigh. I knew he would be embracing the 'ridiculous' very soon. And sure enough, he is now completely on board with "gender bending" and bathroom free-for-alls.

Because here is how this "evolution" works: At first, just a few people on the fringe begin to embrace the latest assault, call it X, on traditional morality. They build up a small cadre of committed activists devoted to forcing everyone to accept X. During this stage, the average progressive will assert that X is "going too far," and will insist that he is completely against X.

But then one day, once a critical mass of activists has built up, the mainstream progressive outlets like the NY Times announce that they have "grown," and that they now approve of X. Everyone will then begin a few months' grace period, so that they have time to "think for themselves" long enough to reach the right conclusion: X is perfectly okay after all!

After the grace period is over, anyone who still hasn't "thought for themselves" quite enough will be told that they are now officially a hateful bigot. It is OK to shun them, fire them from their job, boycott their entire state, and so on.

So what's next? Infanticide, group marriage, and pedophilia have to be the top candidates for the next X. Approval for all three is already floating around on the fringes. Which one goes first will probably be a matter of which one builds a critical mass of activists the fastest.

And if you tell my progressive friend today that in three years, he will be in favor of at least one of those three things, he will be outraged. "Never," he would assure you, completely without meaning to lie, "would I embrace X!"

But as soon as the NY Times tells him he is a hateful bigot if he doesn't embrace X, you can be 100% certain he will fall in line.

PS -- By the way, I can tell this series of posts on progressives is really on target by how incoherently angry they are leaving reader rob!


Phony-Baloney Progressive Outrage

The NBA has announced that it might deny the state of Texas the possibility of hosting future All-Star games if the democratically elected legislature of the state passes a bill stating that men should use the men's bathroom, and women should use the women's bathroom. Apparently, this is a "human rights violation."

This is the same NBA that goes out of its way to play several games a year in China, a country that regularly employs slave labor in its factories.

Progressively Stupider Regarding Sex

Cop TV show. One cop sleeps with another cop's wife. The chief finds out.

CHIEF: You slept with Harrigan's wife?!

COP: That's none of your business!

Every culture known to history, before the one that arose in the West over the last few decades, has known that sex is very much a public matter: it produces children, families, dynasties, social bonding, social strife, jealousy, and murder.

But progressives are so stupid -- not that they necessarily have low IQs, but ideology makes you stupid! -- that they actually could put in a TV show that it is none of the chief's business if one of his officers is sleeping with the wife of another of his officers.

Progressives' "Multicultural Sensitivity"

What being "multicultural" means to a progressive:

1) A professor who students were all from countries where it is unthinkable to call a professor by their first name, forced them to call him by his first name. He didn't give a crap about their culture: what was important was to force progressive values on them.

2) A progressive, told that a Muslim woman who he would be meeting would not be comfortable shaking hands with a man, shook her hand anyway. He didn't give a crap about her culture: what was important was to force progressive values on her.

3) A progressive to whom I mentioned that my kids had attended Catholic school: "Yuck!" (Sticking out her tongue.) Tolerance only extends to exotic religions in far off places!

4) A progressive who moved into an Italian Catholic neighborhood: "I hate all of those statues of the Virgin Mary in the front yards!" Mind you, she moved into this neighborhood! The Italian Catholics had been there for 100 years.

"Tolerant" Progressives Try to Ban Milo, Then Riot When They Can't

Over 100 UCal Berkeley professors -- you remember Berkeley, the center of the free speech movement, right? -- signed a letter saying that Milo Yiannopoulos should not be allowed to speak on campus. When the university failed to cave in to their attempt to squash any non-progressive view, rioters showed up at the talk, "lit fires, overturned police barricades, smashed windows, and threw fireworks."

For progressives, tolerance means you can have sex with anyone or anything you want, just so long as you are a progressive.

The significance of ritual killing

I've been watching Gomorra, I show about the Neapolitan mafia. The head of the crime family at the center of the show is Don Pietro. His only son, Genny, is somewhat of a dweeb. Don Pietro is worried that, if he dies or is imprisoned, Genny won't be ready to take over the family. Therefore, he asks his trusted lieutenant, Ciro, to take Genny to do "that thing," to see if he is ready.

"That thing" turns out to be killing a random person, who has not done anything in particular to deserve killing. It is interesting to contemplate why this shows one "is ready." The effect is twofold:

1) By committing this horrific act, the killer shows that his loyalty to this particular group comes above every aspect of common human decency. The group can trust him to do anything at all it requires him to do.

2) All morally sane people would unequivocally condemn this action. But the group in question praises the action, telling Genny he has now "become a man." So, from that point on, the killer has two choices: if he rejects the group, he will be left alone to face the horror of what he has done. But if he sticks with the group, they will keep telling him that what he did was not just OK, but, in fact, praiseworthy. It is obvious which is psychologically easier.

If you spend a little while contemplating the above facts, then it will be obvious to you why Lena Dunham is sorry she hasn't had an abortion. She hasn't yet done "that thing" that will show she is ready to put aside all common human decency in order to fully commit to her "mob."


Closing in "solidarity" with immigrant workers

I stopped by a local restaurant last night. The place employs many illegal immigrants, pays them sub-standard wages, and offers them no benefits. The owner is so rough with these workers that they call him "the devil."

But... last night they closed in "solidarity" with immigrant workers! On a Thursday night, in February, when they would be making almost no money anyway.

And I would take large bets that all of the illegal immigrants were not paid for the night!

This could be an emblem of progressive "caring": empty, symbolic gestures intended to display one's tremendous moral stature, performed in lieu of actually having to do the hard work of really caring.


Deletion iterators

Often, deleting during iteration is problematic. So, in say Python, if you write:


for e in edges:
    if seen(e.v1) or seen(e.v2):
        delete e


you are in for some trouble.

And this is understandable. The default iterator is meant to get you through a sequence rapidly, and no one wants to drag along the baggage that would allow you to muck about with the sequence as you traverse it.

But why not have a second type of iterator that does allow deletion, which you would pull out just for the special cases where the above code is the sort of thing you need to do? Because I've had to "hand-roll" one of these every few months, it seems, and I bet others have as well.

Java has something like this with "fail-safe" iterators, but they seem to be for protection from another thread modifying the data while you iterate. In fact, the fail-safe iterator is guaranteed not to change while you are iterating.

Leftist violence

Reader Greg Pandatshang offers the following:
I was in a movie theater a couple weeks ago, and in the row behind me were two young women, who I'd guess are maybe undergrad sophomores, not particularly tall or athletic, talking about the Richard Spencer sucker punch brouhaha, pleased as punch. One of them remarked, "If I'd've been there, I would have done more than just punch him!" I'd suggest that this is indicative of the centre-left (and parts of the hard left) reaction to the late unpleasantness: they live in a fantasy world where the possibility that they might not win at violence doesn't even occur to them. What are the chances, really, that Luke Skywalker will lose the final duel with Darth Vader? And what are the chances, really, that a short female college kid will fail to give a grown-ass fascist man the beating he obviously deserves? In light of this fantasy, it becomes merely an issue of whether their side will choose to be nice and refrain from violence. No negative consequences (except for maybe the deplorables if they act up).

TDS updates

1) Here a CNN nincompoop says "Trump's travel ban fundamentally changes American history." Of course, progressive hero FDR grabbed American citizens, based on their ethnicity, and stuffed them in concentration camps for years... but Trump saying that non-citizens from a few troubled countries can't enter the US for 90 days is such a terrible act of discrimination that American history has been "fundamentally changed."

2) Yesterday I heard progressives talking about the "latest" Trump outrage: the NASA scientist who had to unlock his cellphone at the border. But stricter rules on cellphones went into place in 2014, under progressive hero Obama, and Trump's executive order said nothing about cellphones, and the order doesn't apply to American citizens, and Bikkannavar had not been to any of the countries named in Trump's order, and...

Well, it was extremely likely that this was simply the typical bumbling sort of overreach that happens at our borders all the time, especially since 9/11.

Soon I expect to hear, "Did you see in the news about that guy beating his wife? Right after Trump's travel ban!"