Yet Another Terrorist Attack

Another week, another mass casualty event in Europe perpetuated by a Mohammedan. There was a time when this sort of thing never happened. There was a time when it happened once in a lifetime.  There was a time when it happened once every few years. Accelerating and accelerating it seems that these types of attacks are now happening every few weeks. Europe is enjoying its own initfada.

The elite’s only response to this is, as usual, to tighten the police state. More security at more events, more police in combat gear patrolling the streets, more inconvenience for native populations. Being subject to a cavity search to board an airplane is, after all, a small price to pay for diversity, which I am reliably informed is our greatest strength.


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How To Learn Things For Free On The Internet

The great promise of the internet was the wealth of human knowledge immediately available to anyone with a connection. This promise has been kept. However, most people don’t take advantage of it. Constantly seeking ways to improve yourself is a requirement for an active individual. Keeping pace requires keeping up with new technology and new areas of study. Getting ahead demands a person teach themselves additional skills to find and explore new niches.

With that in mind, here are some of the tools I’ve used to learn through the internet:

Duolingo – Learn languages through a smartphone game. There are a wide range of modern languages. It focuses on gaining conversational level proficiency. I’ve been working on my French, and I’m hoping to get back to a level where I could take a try at Houellebecq.

Coursera – When it comes to learning college level material, Coursera is a great tool. It offers courses and specializations with video lectures for free, but includes a paid option with credit.

W3Schools – A good reference and tutorial for simple website building and scripting. Here you’ll find HTML, CSS, Bootstrap sections along with more complex tools like JavaScript and XML. If you’re looking to put together a basic website or tweak a website template, these are good tutorials to make you savvy enough to do what you want to do.

Old BooKs

The tools I use to find old books get their own heading. That’s because finding old works is often a tough exercise. The most difficult thing is learning to identify what old books you want to read. This could take the form of a reading list, such as the Harvard Classics, or this old Army field manual. When you’re working off of an outdated list, you have to find the works yourself. These are the sites I use, and how I use them.

Project Gutenburg – This is the first place I go to look up an old book. While it doesn’t always have what I’m looking for, what it does have is consistently well formatted and easy to use.

Wikisource – My main source for shorter writings as well as sources in non-English languages. The collection is more focused on short documents, so I tend to only visit here if there’s something short I have in mind.

Archive.org – This site attempts to included everything that exists in the public domain. In terms of public domain books, there’s no other site which will have what you want more often than this one.

Google Books – When there’s a book I’m interested in that’s still in copyright, Google Books is very useful.  Take for example Storing’s Complete Anti-Federalist. That book was published in the 1980’s, so I would have had to find it in a library to read it easily. However, Google Books had enough of the book, freely available, to largely reconstruct the sources the book made use of.

 

Trump in Saudi Arabia

This weekend President Trump visited Saudi Arabia, where he closed a huge arms deal and gave a speech on Islam. Many of his diehard supporters are feeling disappointed with this. I’m a bit more tepid about the situation.

The arms deal will give America lots of money, but a good number of those arms will probably end up in the hands of terrorists. That’s not a good thing. The deal does drain Saudi coffers and trade their gains from selling oil into weapons. This makes Saudi Arabia even stronger on the stage in the Middle East.

At the center of this discussion is what America’s stance on Saudi Arabia ought to be. The past 20 years have show the US to be very cozy with the Saudi regime. Consistency in foreign policy is important, and this arms deal continues the existing relationship between the US and the Saudis. Also, Saudi Arabia runs a stable country in a region that is notoriously difficult to control. Gibbon describes the Arabs as unruly nomads who ran over much of the world and ruled over it, while the people who stayed behind were ultimately still unruly and tribal. Stability is a good thing.

On the other hand, the Saudi government is the biggest sponsor of a hypercharged Islamism that is in stark contrast to the type of Islam pushed by Ottoman and Persian governments for centuries. This Islam is arguably closer to the original strain of the religion that lead to massive conquests. Fifteen of the nineteen hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi after all.

There’s a pull between the consistency & stability on the one hand versus standing firmly against Islamic extremism on the other. It seems we’ll be on the side of consistency & stability. At least we got $100 billion out of it.

Trump also gave a speech on Islam, which, given the lack of reaction, seems like it was mouthing the same types of platitudes we’ve come to expect from American presidents. All and all it looks like Trump will be keeping things the same on the foreign policy front, rather than changing them.

Discussion of Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire

About four years ago, I decided that I should read Edward Gibbon’s History of the Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire. Over a weekend I read through the first of six volumes in my set, covering the Age of the Antonines until the accession of Constantine the Great. After a long hiatus, I finally committed to finishing the series, which covers the reign of Constantine the Great, all the way down to Constantine the Eleventh, a period spanning more than a millennium. Today, I finished the series.

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Interesting Articles, 4/23/2017

Here are some articles I’ve read recently and found interesting:

Grace & Steel Ep. 78 – Talking to the Z Blogger is a podcast featuring one of my favorite bloggers & Baltimore resident, The Z Blogger. This is the first one he’s done, so it was nice to hear him talk at length.

Geographic Apartheid in Africa Exists to Entrench the One Party State– Looks at how California’s harsh regulations on new construction in coastal areas forces Hispanic immigrants into interior regions, which enables the super-majority of Democrats in the state legislature.

“The Ideas Made It, But I Didn’t” checks in with Pat Buchanan who has witnessed his political ideas triumph electorally with the election of Donald Trump.

The Strategy of a Thousand Statesmen considers the necessary task of building a new set of people to take over the true reigns of power in the United States.

Moldbug 10 Years On, A Critical Retrospective looks back at the work of Mencius Moldbug, an influential thinker in reactionary politics. It covers his main philosophies and look at how they held up, and how they changed over time.

 

Why You Should Join and Use Gab

Gab is a relatively new social network, centered around a microblogging platform which limits your posts to 300 characters. You might not want another social network in your life, or you may not wish to devote time to a social network that is just getting off the ground, but you should register an account and start using Gab right away. You can find me on http://gab.ai/CQW, it is where I do most of my social media posting these days.

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Articles Worth Reading Round-Up: 4/12/2017

Here are some pieces from the past few weeks that I think are worth reading.

James Burnham’s Managerial Elite presents the political philosophy of communist-turned-founding-memeber-of-American-conservatism, (of which there are many) James Burnham. It discusses one of the things he gets very right, the rise of managerialism. He presents manegerialism as a third alternative to socialist and laissez-faire economics that combines much of the worst of both systems.

A Cultural Phenomenology of Urban Exploration dives into the hobby of urban explorers who seek out abandoned decaying malls and factories. The emotions tapped by urban explorers reflect on common misgivings about modernity.

 

Review of Corrosion (The Corroding Empire Book 1) by Johan Kalsi

The proper way to review a book is a matter of some debate and differing philosophies and Corrosion by Johan Kalsi is one that could receive reviews with largely different content and conclusions based on the choices made by the reviewer in examining the work. Corrosion can be examined in a vacuum, in comparison to John Scalzi’s The Collapsing Empire or in comparison to the Isaac Asimov novel, Foundation. In the first case the novel was mostly successful in accomplishing the author’s goals. Pitted against Scalzi, the book would seem to be a resounding success. Finally, while it is impossible to properly compare it to Asimov at this stage, the novel develops a similar premise in a more expansive direction and uses different means to maintain cohesion between the stories.

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Harvard Classics, Volume 6: Robert Burns

The sixth volume of the Harvard Classics is exclusively poetry and songs from the famous and influential Scottish poet, Robert Burns. He his best known to me for the classic song “Auld Lang Syne” and the classic rock hit “John Barleycorn”. Encompassing 557 individual poems, this work was daunting. Not only am I not usually one for reading poetry, Burns usually writes in Scottish vernacular and often uses Scots Gaelic words in his poems. That’s in addition to the standard practice of using plenty of Latin and French borrowed words as well. Robert Burns seems to refer to Scotland as Caledonia more often than its actual name.  This makes these poems a challenge to read and comprehend for a reader like myself who is not only separated from the work by a significant language barrier but also by more than two hundred years of history. After reading the first hundred poems, the language became easier to deal with and the second half of the collection was a relative breeze once I had gotten used to his style.

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