Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Red Pills

     The Wachowski brothers’ movie The Matrix had many virtues, but among its most enduring impacts is the proliferating use of the “red pill / blue pill” dichotomy. In its most common uses, it’s been lifted free of the movie’s the-world-is-a-simulation motif to denote that state of mind that refuses a popular illusion, urged upon us by many voices, in favor of the recognition of a possibly unpleasant truth.

     Among the phrases that embed this notion, I find red pill mentality to be the most appealing – and the most challenging to the purveyors of “blue pill” illusions. (Remember that in the movie, Joe Pantoliano’s character Cipher, who attempts to betray the rest of Morpheus’s crew to their deaths, decides that “ignorance is bliss.”) A red pill mentality has as its foundation the determination to see things as they really are: to hold fast to facts and bedrock reality. He who cultivates such a mentality may sometimes be fooled, but his unshakable loyalty to facts and sound reasoning will ultimately triumph over those who attempt to mislead him.

     The red pill mentality is becoming ever more important to the survival of freedom, capitalism, and the virtues that made America what it was and hopefully will be again.

     Watch as The Z Man analyzes a high-profile political phenomenon through a red-pill mentality: the rise of Donald Trump:

     This column by George Will is revelatory:
     He is an affront to anyone devoted to the project William F. Buckley began six decades ago with the founding in 1955 of the National Review — making conservatism intellectually respectable and politically palatable. Buckley’s legacy is being betrayed by invertebrate conservatives now saying that although Trump “goes too far,” he has “tapped into something,” and therefore. . . .

     Will starts out by asserting that conservatism was not always “intellectually respectable and politically palatable” and then he calls anyone not scandalized by Trump a subhuman. At least he did not demand they be shoved into ovens. He later goes on to say that a political party has a duty to defend its borders. This from a man who is an open borders fanatic. If you are a normal person who considers themselves a patriotic conservative, how can you not root for Trump over a man calling you a scumbag?

     This [is] where the red pill – blue pill concept comes in. Fox and the conservative media have been walking around thinking they are the authentic tribunes of the people. They truly thought they would be heroes to the cause by taking out Trump in the debate. Instead of their viewers throwing rotten cabbages at Trump, they were chucking them at Fox. Watching these folks, it’s clear they are off-balance and they don’t know what’s happening to them....

     The reformer wants to save things. The revolutionary wants to destroy. Perot was leading a reform movement. Trump is leading a revolution, whether he knows it or not. Maybe that’s why guys like George Will are suddenly incontinent over Trump.

     You don’t have to be a Trump supporter – I’m not – to appreciate the sense of terror running through the GOP Establishment and its hangers-on over Trump’s appeal. Part of the reason for it has yet to be plainly elucidated: Trump, for all his failings and shortcomings, is the epitome of self-confident masculinity. He says and does as he pleases. He doesn’t give a damn what anyone thinks of him. To the Republican kingmakers, that’s incompatible with their need to pander for votes.

     Another aspect of the red pill mentality is its insistence on seeing and pointing out patterns, conformances, and contrasts:

     To hear the professional left’s “culture commandos” tell it, revered conservative author, commentator, and documentary filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza is a criminal – and stark, raving mad. A search for D’Souza online, and will quickly show that he’s a “convicted felon.” His Wikipedia page, for instance, references him as an “Indian American political commentator, convicted felon and author” (emphasis added) – making sure his brush with the law is listed ahead of his status as a best-selling writer, and well ahead of his status as the most successful conservative documentary filmmaker of all time....

     Navigating the fine print, one eventually learns that D’Souza’s “crime” involved relatively minor campaign finance infractions committed on behalf of his friend Wendy Long during her 2012 U.S. Senate race....

     Let’s compare D’Souza’s “crime” to the conduct of former U.S. senator and Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards, who was indicted for allegedly funneling $1 million in campaign contributions to his mistress, Rielle Hunter. Edwards’s campaign finance scandal took place as he was running for president – and as he was conspiring to place the blame for his and Hunter’s love child on one of his staffers. Finally, the scandal took place as his wife was dying of cancer.

     Edwards got off scot-free. Not one of the charges against him stuck. And no one accused him of being crazy.

     This has special significance in light of the reluctant, sluggish response of federal authorities to Hillary Clinton’s blatant defiance of the laws concerning the handling of classified material. Virtually no one believes that Mrs. Clinton, demonstrably the poorer liar of that infamous duo, will suffer any criminal penalty for her multiple felonies. It’s even doubtful that she’ll lose the Democrat Party’s presidential nomination. Of far greater importance to her quest is Barack Hussein Obama’s opinion of her – and he was hob-nobbing with them on Martha’s Vineyard just this past weekend.

     Finally for this morning, we have yet another look at the “Sad Puppies” affair and the apoplexy it’s induced in the “social-justice warriors:”

     I think that each and every one of the puppies is to some extent the kid under the stairs. We are the odds that instead of looking inward at our rage, try to look forward for better things. We need reasons to escape the messes that are our lives, the worlds where we don’t quite fit. I think that we need the dream, as impractical as it is. We need our Thorbys or Harry Potters. We need to know that there is magic in the world because otherwise there is nothing but despair.

     The return for that is that we have to make some effort to make sure that the magic is there for the next ones to come along, whether it’s real thing like Space X and going to the moon or it’s the next Harry Potter. If we don’t at least try we are diminishing ourselves. We have an obligation to send the magic forward.

     I don’t think that the puppy kickers understand that anymore. A long time ago a clerk at a hobby store in NYC that’s long gone said that he didn’t model trains, that he kept his professional and personal life separate. There are certain advantages to that in that if the work turns sour, you don’t lose what you love. I think that that’s what happened to the puppy kickers. They’ve spent so much time in the minutia of editing, producing, marketing and printing books that to a large extent they forgot why they were there in the first place. Everything has become about the business to them, not what the business is about.

     That brings us to the awards. If you are in “the business” the advantage of an award is obvious. It’s the potential for additional sales. Especially for that turkey that you just bought because it had the right message and 80% of the copies keep coming back from the stores. Given the numbers it’s much easier to get a Hugo than to block buy a best seller and it’s a little easy to do something like this.

     What goes unsaid in the above is what “the business” of the SJWs who had dominated the last couple of decades at the Hugo Awards really is: The use of the hugely popular science fiction and fantasy genres to promulgate Leftism, with special emphasis on feminist and “social justice” tropes. A red-pill mentality recognizes this at once, merely by comparing the Sad Puppies’ slate for nominations to the novels and stories that predominated during the Nineties and Naughties. The facts, one recognized, harmonize perfectly with the campaign of vilification and slander the SJWs have mounted against the Puppies in the aftermath of their success.

     Red pill mentality is catching on. It’s not yet dominant – not nearly – but it’s definitely taking hold. A good thing, too, for there are portents of a changewind: a stirring in the air around us, socially, economically, and politically, that’s building slowly toward gale force.

     Change is hard. Change is destabilizing. It compels us to trim our sails, to secure our cargo, to keep a firm hand on the tiller and a wary eye on the seas. Sometimes it forces us to relinquish what we’ve assumed would be ours in perpetuity. It doesn’t matter whether we find whatever equilibria follow a time of changes preferable to what prevailed before it.

     The red pill man is alert for the currents that presage a changewind. He braces for it whether or not it’s of his making or to his liking. And in the aftermath he’s far more likely to be among those standing than among those who, desperate to believe that nothing could pull them off their feet, must struggle to their knees among the wreckage of what they had thought was unchangeably theirs.


GreenEyedJinn said...

Anything that promotes the DC status quo is absolutely of the "blue pill" mind-set. That's why both Fox on the right and ABC/CBS/NBC/CNN/MSNBC et al are both in a lather: their preeminence is challenged.
Promotion of SJW causes are precisely why I left Poul Anderson & Jack Chalker in the dust before I was 25. Slightly clever but fully predictable clap-trap and silly communalism. In science fiction, I think we see divisions mirroring the rest of America: do you prefer the red or blue pill? Tow the line of what is politically correct, or actually let your mind expand into something unique and perhaps uncomfortable?
Back to The Donald, while I might agree with you that I'm not "a Trump supporter," here is a thought experiment to consider: if it becomes a question of choosing Trump or Clinton, what should be done? For me, even I only agree with a candidate 50% of the time, it's still an easy choice compared to a candidate that I agree with less than 5% of the time. And both may have unknown agendas deep in their campaigns, but I'll still give additional credence to the candidate that is not intrinsically criminal.
I'm more happy skipping all the pills and will let the other side just deal with me undiluted. ;-)

Reg T said...

" The red pill man is alert for the currents that presage a changewind. He braces for it whether or not it’s of his making or to his liking. And in the aftermath he’s far more likely to be among those standing than among those who, desperate to believe that nothing could pull them off their feet, must struggle to their knees among the wreckage of what they had thought was unchangeably theirs."

As the saying goes, "From your lips to God's ears."