Are timeshares a scam, or merely a ripoff?

I can’t believe I did this.  I got suckered into another timeshare spiel.  (At least I didn’t get suckered into the timeshare itself!)  After the last spiel, I thought I’d never do that again.  Argh…  I learned my lesson for real this time; I’d prefer to be waterboarded.

My first timeshare experience

One of my girlfriends (the big bodacious one) used to have three timeshares with the same company.  Surely that seems like overdoing it.  The thing is that she got a much better deal on them than you’ll get these days, and was “grandfathered” into a special program.  The way it would’ve worked is that she could’ve stayed at one place for six days, then taken the next day to drive somewhere else, then stayed at another of their facilities, et cetera and ad infinitum.  She figured that it was going to be like a rotating retirement home.  The company quit offering arrangements like that, so you can forget about it if you want a similar deal.

However, she seldom actually used the place.  We stayed there one time, and that’s it.  There were ways you could rent it out to other people.  Since it was near a major convention area that frequently gets accommodations all booked up, that should’ve made the thing pay for itself.  One of our friends actually worked for a company that made those arrangements.  Despite all that, nothing ever came of it.

Anyway, she talked me into attending one of their presentations.  For submitting to a couple hours of that, we’d get free vacation tickets, even if I didn’t buy.  With great reluctance, I went.  So we got the rundown on how it worked, with a video presentation.  Then we got to talk with one of the sales droids.  I got the spiel where we took our current estimated annual vacation expenses, then extrapolated things into the future.

The point was that the deal looked expensive, but I’d save money over time, especially with rising inflation figured in.  I caught them in some fuzzy math, but didn’t call them out for cheating.  I had to feign narcolepsy to get out of the spiel.  I was dead tired anyway, so method acting wasn’t hard.

Then my girlfriend lost her job.  (It’s all a long story.  Her former manager deserves to be stripped naked, covered with barbecue sauce, and tossed into a pen with a dozen junkyard dogs.)  After she no longer could pay the timeshare, I bailed her out a couple times – what a mistake!  The bills kept coming, and unfortunately I never found any pirate treasure buried in my back yard.  So after she couldn’t pay the bills for it, they filed a foreclosure action on her.

Then they went through the motions in court of selling the “property”.  She actually went down to the courthouse to see all that.  Note well, a timeshare is an option to use a room for a limited time every year.  That’s not the property itself, which always belongs to the company, so what’s the deal with going through the hoopla of selling it?  I figured they’d pull a number out of their asses and charge her for it; like I said, they’re skilled at fuzzy math.  However, she’d be a better one to tell the story of that particular dog-and-pony show.

The next timeshare spiel

So we were on vacation at a fashionable tourist destination commonly called Lost Wages.  My finances were already stinging from unexpected vet bills and car repairs.  (The first was a catalytic converter that cost me a king’s ransom to fix so I could pass inspection.  Later, it had a brake malfunction on the freeway.  NOT fun, and we came within inches of splatting into construction barrels.)  Still, the trip was booked, so backing out was not an option.

A friendly droid came up and offered us free comps on shows and other attractions.  Hey, what a deal, right?  I figured she was a hotel rep.  Later, I found out it was going to be a timeshare spiel.  Alarm bells went off, but in a desperate effort to keep further costs down, I figured that I’d let them make their case for two hours, and I’d get some tickets.  We had to put down a $40 deposit for the thing.  Against my better judgment, we ponied up.

After tossing sixty bucks into the slot machine, Lady Luck forsook me.  She wasn’t being kind to my girlfriend either.  Yes, I’m aware that those machines are designed to separate you from your money.  (Heck, that’s the purpose of the Vegas Strip itself.)  Mainly I like the people-watching and the free drinks.  She gets more out of the casino experience, though.  On the way back, I got bit by a foo-foo dog.  I thought that was funny, but perhaps it was a bad omen?  Anyway, we retired to our room and slept off our travel fatigue.

So in the morning, we went to the blessed timeshare presentation.  Much like before, it started with a video explaining the deal.  This plan had a point system, and you could use your X number of yearly points on rooms in different locations that were priced differently in terms of points.  I believe a maximum stay would be seven days in a year.  Maybe that’s in Mule Shoe, Kentucky or something.  In Hawaii, you’d burn through your yearly points in three days.

Then we got assigned to a sales droid.  The guy did put on good rapport, and had decent sales vibing.  Still, there was just something about him that set me on edge.  This will sound strange, but he gave the impression of being a shark in human form.  If he’d turned to someone casually and then bitten off a hunk of raw flesh, it wouldn’t have surprised me much.  Come to think of it, he did look a bit like an alien.  Perhaps he’s one of the disguised Space Lizards I wrote about in Tomorrow the Stars?

We drove to their nearby hotel.  Overall, it did look pretty good.  Actually, the only better one I’ve stayed in is the Plaza in NYC – deep in the heart of the Mothership – and that one’s pretty top-notch.  They even had a couple of swimming pools and a mini-theater.  So yeah, it’s indeed a nice place.  Still, I’m a cheapskate, and I’m fine with anything that’s not a crack motel.

We got back, and the Space Lizard whipped out the paperwork.  I was still a little tired.  (I’m a terrible Mormon, hopelessly hooked on caffeine.)  Despite that, as well as being a dumb blond from Flyover Country, I was able to crunch numbers in my head.  The figures weren’t looking good to me, as I’ll explain shortly.  He tried to haggle.  That didn’t work, so then he laid on a guilt trip.

That didn’t work either.  One of the cool things about being a White Nationalist is that I’m immune to feeling guilty about doing things that aren’t actually wrong, likewise (of course) about bad things I didn’t do personally.  Anther deplorable right-winger benefit includes a free set of high-gain bullshit detectors.  Other than that, I’m a stubborn bastard, and I escaped unscathed.  I would imagine that many other people might’ve buckled under the pressure.

Timeshares by the numbers

So the deal as it was presented to me was that there would be a $25K mortgage on it, payable over ten years.  (That involves interest, which will be an extra cha-ching.)  So that means over two hundred bucks a month for a decade.  However, when I flat out refused, the Space Lizard offered to waive the mortgage entirely.  Generous guy, right?

On top of that is $200/month in maintenance fees.  That’s not for ten years; that continues in perpetuity.  I’m a cheap bastard, and that would eat into my beer budget too much.  (My favorite is Pay Lay Ale.  That’s a Mormon joke, BTW.)  So even though the mortgage turned out to be optional after all, it was still no bueno.

What happens if you want to call off the deal later on?  You can’t get their hand out of your pocketbook.  The best thing you can do is get someone to buy out your obligation.  For this reason, there are hordes of people on EBay trying to sell their timeshares for one measly buck after they’d paid thousands into them.  (If you really want one of those things, why not find one of these woebegone souls and make their wishes come true?)  What happens if you stop paying?  From my girlfriend’s earlier experience, I knew that meant that you’re screwed, and not in the fun way.

This isn’t like an apartment where you simply can move out after your yearly lease is up.  Besides finding someone to sell it to (good luck with that!) or having your credit ruined, the only other way to get out of a timeshare is DEATH.  I’m not sure what the company does to the customer’s heirs, but they’ll have to deal with it; after people end up six feet underground in a pine box, finally it’s no longer their problem.

OK, so they have to build these places and maintain them.  I get that.  Also, what I saw did look pretty snazzy.  However, there are also nice hotels which likewise have to defray construction and upkeep costs, but are cheaper.  You book the room as needed, and aren’t locked into an obligation that lasts until you’re pushing up daisies.

Now let’s have a closer look at the numbers.  So the deal I was presented is to option a stay that’s one week, tops.  For that, you have to pay $2,400 a year in maintenance fees.  You’ll pay over twice that for ten years if you didn’t haggle away the silly “mortgage”.  Now, let’s pro-rate one week’s stay, merely for the annualized maintenance fee.

Again, this must be in a low-demand area to get a whole week, or the point cost means you’re getting fewer days.  This is like paying about $343 a night.  If you got suckered into the “mortgage” too, then you’re looking at more like $700/night for the first ten years.  Think you might be able to find other decent accommodations in Mule Shoe, KY that are a bit cheaper?  Again, if it’s in a popular place like Hawaii, you only get a three day stay, with the pro-rated room rate equivalent to over twice that.

Finally, if you don’t get the chance to use their service that year, then it’s tough luck.  That’s not their problem.  You’re still paying for it that year, even if you get nothing out of it.  (That’s how it rolled for my girlfriend most years.)  Later, we were chatting with some fellow damn Vegas tourists about all that.  Those guys got stuck with a single-facility timeshare in Mexico.  It’s now in a no-go zone because of drug cartel activity, but they still have to pay for the thing.

Anybody – does this still sound like a good deal?  I may be a dumb blond, and surely a real dimwit compared to a Space Lizard, but at least I know better than to get locked into something like that.

Are timeshares a scam, or merely a ripoff?

Online censorship is getting ridiculous

If you’ve ever bothered to read user agreements or terms of service, you’ll usually find verbiage forbidding politically incorrect speech.  Usually it’s just a couple of lines.  Thus, it’s easy to miss, since it’s inside a long, dry legal document that says essentially “Megalocorp can do anything, and you can’t sue us if we screw you over.”  However, they don’t even need a reason.  When the Silicon Valley control freaks click the “ban” box, sometimes it’s not because you used naughty words, but because they don’t like your ideas, even if you expressed them somewhere else.

Sometimes it gets quite persnickety.  One of my friends is a Warcrack addict.  One time, a team member wouldn’t join him in battle, and he told his reluctant comrade, “Don’t be a faggot.”  For that, the Warcrack mods sentenced him to a week in the penalty box for homophobia.  Not that it really matters, he didn’t actually mean “gay”, he essentially was calling the other guy a wimp.  My friend was pretty astounded by that.  Our generation was raised on the proverb, “Stick and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”

Twitter’s politically correct control freaks

Some other terms of service get much more extensive.  For example, Twitter has gone nuts with that lately.  They ban anyone for the NPC meme under their dehumanization policy, which means no robots or animals.  If you want to get technical about it, then you can’t call pacifists and warmongers “doves” and “hawks” any more.  Communists will be bitterly disappointed, since they’ll have to give up “capitalist pigs” and “imperialist running dogs.”  But what are we going to call fat, hairy gay guys now that “bears” is out of the question?

The “otherkin” present a potential dilemma here.  Some of them think they’re nonhuman fantasy creatures (look up “Elven Nation Manifesto” if you want some chuckles).  Others think they’re common animals, either physically or spiritually.  Some might consider themselves mechanical objects too – which includes robots.  So to follow their rules, if a guy thinks he’s a cat, then you can’t indulge him and call him a cat on Twitter, even if he wants everyone else to go along with the make-believe.

Speaking of delusional people who think they’re something they’re not, Twitter has forbidden “misgendering” and “deadnaming” (I didn’t know that word existed).  Basically, these newly made up words mean that if you refer to Caitlyn Jenner as “he” or “Bruce”, you’re gone.  If a man puts on a dress and calls himself a woman, you may not question that, or else!  Instead, you must buy into “her” reality, or at least pretend to believe it.  Your own beliefs about all that certainly don’t matter.  (If I start calling myself Napoleon, will they let me be emperor of France?)  If you’re on Twitter, just remember the following:

  • If a man calls himself a cat:  you cannot agree.
  • If a man calls himself a woman:  you must agree.

Twitter’s “Trust and Safety Council” has spoken loud and clear about this politically fashionable mental illness, among other subjects.  However, what does any of this have to do with trust and safety?  Is the name some Orwellian construction, like “Ministry of Peace”?  Either way, they’ve taken it upon themselves to dictate what views may not be expressed on their platform.  Fringe gender theories – which twenty years ago even most liberals would’ve found silly – are but one particular in the Party Line.  Thank the Gods that I’m not on that crappy platform!

3DXChat’s politically correct control freaks

If you haven’t heard of 3DXChat, you’re not alone; neither did I until recently.  It’s a sexually oriented virtual reality environment, I guess like Warcrack with nookie.  No, I’ve never been on it; I have two girlfriends, so I don’t feel like paying a subscription to create interactive animated cyber-porn.  This is about the last place you’d expect to find heavy-handed political correctness.  However, a pretty good chunk of their rules is exactly that, along with a lot of micromanagement.

After their “we can do anything” legalese, the following specifics are named.  I have to wonder what sort of contingencies some of them were meant to prevent.

“2.01. Excessive profanity and inappropriate language is not welcome.”

So you’re in this sex chat thing, and you can’t use naughty words?  Do you have to use the proper Latin terms for body parts and sex acts while narrating your encounter, or is romance novel type dialogue okay?

“2.02. Insults, personal attacks, abuse or harassment are not tolerated on any level.”

That’s what a block feature is for.  Don’t they have one?

“2.03. Derogatory comments based on race, nationality, religion, culture, underage sex, or underage sexual preference are prohibited.”

This one goes a little beyond politically correct.  Saying “I don’t like kiddy fiddlers” will get you banned.  Does this place have lots of people who will be offended by being called chickenlovers or something?  Granted, people with certain proclivities might be offended, but must the company must make an effort to spare the delicate feelings of degenerates?

“2.04. Allusion of racial or national supremacy, as well as discriminative propaganda on any level is prohibited.”

While grinding your digitized junk with someone else, remember not to say anything like “Greece is great!”, “China is the center of the world!”, “Nihon ichiban desu!”, or “Britannia rules the waves!”  Anyway, I have to wonder why they so greatly fear that someone will use their dirty chat service to spread “discriminative propaganda”.  Who do they think they are – Twitter?

“2.05. Spamming or posting nonsensical messages is prohibited in the chats. This also includes excessive use of caps.”

uSING ALL CAPS?  hOW TERRIBLE, Zomg!  nOW i’M CLUTCHING MY PEARLS!

“2.11. Discussion on, or linking to illegal activities, such as illicit drugs, is prohibited. This includes but is not limited to the linking of, or discussion on, websites dedicated to vulgar, racist, abusive, illegal, or any other content prohibited by the EULA, or linking to the resources that contain such advertisement or content.”

“So yeah, I was smoking a joint the other day, oh, and before we get back to that story, let me share a link with you to the Truly Tasteless Jokes fan club.”

“2.14. Death threats and other threats of violence in real life, directed either against individual users, game masters or administration of the project, are prohibited.”

Why do they even need a contingency like this?  Let me see…  “When we were having cybersex, your avatar gave mine virtual AIDS!  I’ll have my revenge!”

“2.17. Discussion of social, religious, political, illegal or other controversial topics that may create offense is prohibited. This includes but is not limited to negative portrayal of religious and political figures is prohibited.”

Uh, guys, if someone says “I [love | hate] [Trump | Hillary | Pope Francis | the Dalai Lama]” and you don’t like it, there’s already a remedy.  Just block the user, like you would for anyone who’s bugging you for other reasons.  Anyway, how much of this are they really expecting on a service about digital nookie?

“2.18. Discussion of decisions or sanctions made by Game Masters or Administration in all game chats and channels is prohibited.”

You’d better not say that the referee made a bad call.  Anyway, I’m a little curious about these games – maybe they have naked ice hockey tournaments?

“2.19. Any kind of provocations for other players to violate the EULA as well as additions to it is strictly prohibited.”

“Hey, PenisColossus2016, let’s break item 2.17, how about it?  I’ll start putting down Justin Trudeau, and you start dissing the Archbishop of Canterbury.”

“2.21. Any attempt to create nicknames, groups, or organized communities of players associated in any fashion with organizations which violate any applicable laws or regulations is prohibited. This includes but not limited to, direct or indirect references to Nazi symbols, abbreviations and well known leaders.”

Did someone get “triggered” over the “NSDAP Gangbang Tag Team” or something?

Whew!  So section 3 is about “Names (Players and Rooms), Avatars, Images/Video, Signatures & Room logos”.  It begins:

“Certain content for names, avatars, images/video, signatures & clan logos, have no place on the 3DXCHAT forums or within the 3DXCHAT game, due to their extremely offensive, annoying or inappropriate nature.”

A non-exhaustive list follows.  I mean, it’s a cybersex server; we can’t have people thinking it’s some kind of disreputable joint, now can we?  You may not have the following “Names, Avatars, Images/Video, Signatures & Clan logos ….”

“3.01 that contain profanity, including its abbreviated form.”

So forget about naming your avatar BiggusDickus or DTF2018.  Remember, this is a respectable cybersex server!

“3.05 which have (in any way) racist or nationalistic implications which may create offense to a certain nation, ethnic, religious or racial group.”

Did they make this rule after having a lot of problems with user names like NorthKoreaSucks, GypsiesAreCrooks, or ScientologyIsGoofy?

“3.06 that contain an allusion of racial or national supremacy, as well as discriminative propaganda on any level.”

Okay, so no virtual orgy room called “We Support Segregation”.  Roger that.

“3.07 which contain insults or derogatory comments based on race, nationality, religion, culture, mental stature, sex, or sexual preference”

So you can’t create a “Faggot Funhouse” or “Homo Hotel” even if you’re gay?

“3.08 which have an association with pedophilia, sexual abuse; or have an offensive connection to the human body or bodily functions.”

It sounds like people with certain (ahem) bodily function fetishes are out of luck.  Also, chickenlover usernames or rooms are beyond the pale, but remember not to call a chickenlover a chickenlover, or that’s an item 2.03 violation.

“3.10 which contain excessive gore or violence, or are obscene/vulgar.”

Why, no, we certainly can’t have that on a visually enhanced X-rated chat server!  What kind of a place do you think this is?

“3.11 which make reference to addictive or illegal substances or their use, or any other illegal activities.”

You better not name your avatar LucyInTheSkiesWithDiamonds or GangsterOfLove.

“3.12 that contain Logotypes, symbols, emblems or figures connected in one way or another with organizations, that violate or were violating existing laws and rules; i.e. anything that may provoke strong negative reaction/association or promote national/ethnic/religious hatred. (For example, using different variations of Nazi symbolic, abridgments and signs [88, 14, 420, SS], or similar stylizing [such as, 55] as well as credentials, names and surnames of Nazi leaders.)”

Okay, so no “11th SS Panzergrenadier Division Wiking” party room then.  I’m sure that was a terrible problem before they made up that rule.  Other than that, getting their panties in a wad about numbers is pretty silly.

“3.13 that contain reference to current mainstream religions that may create offense, i.e. names such as God, Jesus, Allah, etc.”

OK, so your username can’t be HungLikeShiva, but you can probably get away with Priapus.  It’s not clear whether or not BigAbdallah or JesusGonzalezHungLikeABull would work.

“3.14 that are connected with negative historical or political personalities, first of all those who are judged by international courts for crimes against humanity, those that generally arouse feelings of suffering or disgust in the majority of people, as well as members of currently existing terrorist organizations;”

Then usernames like IvanTheTerrible, VladTepes, ErszebetBathory, IdiAmin, and SlobodanMilosevic are not allowed.  I’m not sure whether or not you can get away with LBJ or RichardNixon.

WTF was all that?

So here we have a site where you’re a cartoon and can give another cartoon a hi-res facial.  Quite oddly, their rules are so politically correct that it hurts.  In fact, a very large section of their rules was about that.

You’d think that being a sex site, they might have different rules, maybe like “no donkey punch, Dirty Sanchez, incest, necrophilia, or sheep bothering”.  There is only a small amount of that, but there is a considerable focus on politically correct protected categories, and a particular obsession with NS ideology.  If you happen to be a leftist pixellated porn connoisseur, fortunately you still can get away with something like the “Young Octobrist Teabagging Hut”, the “Viet Cong House of Nookie”, or whatever.

What exactly possessed them to make up all these persnickety rules?  Did the Hilfsgemeinschaft auf Gegenseitigkeit der ehemaligen Angehörigen der Waffen-SS create a virtual party house there, where they spoke too freely about the good old days whenever they weren’t occupied with digitized poontang?  Or did some apple-polishing hall monitor grow up, major in sociology at Berkeley, then become a cybersex mogul?  I can imagine another scenario that might have caused their odd NS fixation.  Skip the following if you can’t take a joke:

PCLC:  “Politically Correct Law Center, Muffy Millennial speaking, how may I help you?”
Kinky:  “Hi, I’m Kinky Lipshitz, and I need to file a complaint.”
PCLC:  “We’ll be happy to help, Mr. Lipshitz.  What happened?”
Kinky:  “You see, I was in 3DXChat, which is a virtual reality porno game thing, right?”
PCLC:  “The PCLC investigates, monitors, and ruins the reputations of people who have different opinions than us.  Did you need technical support for your cybersex app?  I can look up their helpdesk if you like.”
Kinky:  “Oh no, this was a hate crime, all right.  So I was in a virtual bedroom, unzipped my virtual pants, and pulled out my virtual shlong.  Then someone took a look at it and called me ‘Clip Tip’.  How infuriating!  I’ll have you know, my briss was done by the most accomplished mohel in Brooklyn.”
PCLC:  “Okay, I can tell you’re very proud of it.  I’ll see what we can do to make sure you’re never called ‘Clip Tip’ online again.”
Kinky:  “Please, Muffy, you’ve got to do something – I will not have anyone making fun of my top-grade kosher salami!  I’m telling you, my mohel is a miracle worker.  If you saw it, then you’d agree that it’s the most beautiful shlong you’d ever laid eyes on.  It looks like it came off of an angel, I tell you!  I’m sure the bitch who said that was a Nazi!”
PCLC:  “I understand your concern.  I’ll escalate this hate crime immediately to the Wrongthink Prevention Department.”
Kinky:  “Oh, thank you so much for saving me from the cyber-Nazis!  What happens next?”
PCLC”  “We help Internet companies rewrite their terms of service so that politically incorrect views can’t be expressed online.  We got all the major social media companies converged already.  We’ve had problems with some of the smaller platforms, but we pressure them and write them up in our report if they refuse to comply with our demands.  However, unfortunately it looks like we haven’t yet got all the cybersex companies on board with our hate speech censorship policies.”
Kinky:  “How can I ever repay you?”
PCLC:  “I’ll gladly add you to our mailing list for donations.  You’ll be happy to know that ‘watchdog’ foundations like us are the only thing preventing a second holocaust.”
Kinky:  “Oh shit!  I’d better cut you a check right away!”

Okay, so that was a little flippant and silly.  Still, foundations like that do exist, and they’re promoting online censorship.  Journalists have gotten into that act, too.  While they’re supposed to be doing their jobs, they’re combing through YouTube clips and the like, looking for things to report.

Why censorship is wrong

Viva Pinochet

The hyper-PC policies of a cybersex site are rather absurd, but simply a symptom of the times.  What’s more pernicious is how this has overtaken the more serious online forums (Twitter is just the beginning of a long list).  They’ve taken it upon themselves to make certain perspectives, or even entire topics, off limits.  Things like globalist social engineering and population replacement migration are wrecking countries across the Western world, and even threaten the future of civilization, but they’ve decided that you can’t talk about any of that.

For a century, tight corporate control over the mass media prevented open discussion about anything the Powers That Be found inconvenient.  Now that the Internet allows the public to talk back, they’re working themselves into a frenzy to put a lid on it.  Still, they really should reconsider.  As one notable figure put it:

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

The dangerous right wing extremist who said that was a guy named John F. Kennedy; maybe you’ve heard of him.

Online censorship is getting ridiculous

Sociology classes are a scam and have been since the beginning

Colleges today have a number of “soft studies” departments newly made up in the last few decades.  These include women’s studies, gay studies, gender studies, various ethnic studies (the ones that aren’t about culture, but about promoting resentment), whiteness studies (which is all about pushing guilt trips and collective suicide), and even fat studies.  The primary focus of them – in fact, their only purpose – is to push propaganda.  This is one of the ways that SJWs and NPCs get programmed.

Unfortunately for any students who get a major in those worthless programs, they’ll find that their degrees have little market value in the real world.  In fact, there’s a good chance that it will hurt someone’s job prospects.  If you were an employer, would you want to hire a brainwashed zombie who wasted four years being deep fried in propaganda, and came out with a bad attitude because of it?

Then there’s a much older form of soft studies:  sociology.  Consider it to be the entire cultural Marxism buffet, serving up a bit of all the above resentment-and-victimology studies.  When I went to college, I was mildly curious until I quickly heard about all the propaganda aggressively pushed on the students.  It was common knowledge around campus, but what one of my friends told me stands out in particular:

“I’ll get an ‘F’ on this paper if I don’t lie.”

So that was in the 1980s.  However, the politicization goes far back.  The following comes from someone who got curious about it and took a sociology class at Brown in 1939 (bonus points if you can guess who this was).  He found it to be a maddening experience overall.  The major items are the following:

  • Sociology is a remarkably fuzzy science;
  • The subject matter was presented very evasively; and
  • The only definite theme was constantly pushing the idea that outcomes of individuals are dependent entirely on the environment in which they’re raised, and heredity has nothing to do with anything.

The final point is basically Rousseau’s “blank slate” idea on steroids.  It’s backed up by leftist “scientists” who faked their research, like Franz Boas, Trofim Lysenko, Margaret Mead, and Stephen Jay Gould.  Can bad societies produce bad outcomes?  I’ll have to admit that they’ve partially vindicated their own theory.  Five decades of aggressive liberal social engineering have produced Clown World.  So they’re partially correct, but unfortunately leftist solutions are ass backward.

As you read the following, remember that this was an experience from nearly eight decades ago.  Undoubtedly that was a lot tamer than the propaganda deep-fry I heard about in the 1980s, to say nothing of whatever goes in the colleges of today.

What is a sociology class like?

Communist NPCs

Meet your new professors

But then, in 1939, I sat in “Sociology I” class and tried my best to make some sense out of it all. I had been happy at the chance to study sociology, as it appeared to me logical that there must be some fundamental principles of the development of the social relationships of life, as I had discovered simple basic principles of other affairs I had looked into. I was most eager to learn these basic principles of the operation of human society so that I could understand the events around me and perhaps even predict sociological occurrences in accordance with the principles I would be taught. I have since learned that there are such principles, particularly in Adam’s The Law of Civilization and Decay and even better, in The Crowd by LeBon.

But it would be many, many years before I would fight my way into the intellectual sunshine of such simple, fundamental and logical presentations of the facts of social life. In Professor Bucklin’s classroom on society, all was the most depressing darkness and confusion. It all sounded most enlightening, of course. There were lots of brave new words, ethnic groups, etc., but try as I might, I could not get to the bottom of it all to find any idea or principle I could get hold of. Everything was “by and large” and “in most cases” and “on the other hand” and “So-and-so says, but Dr. So-and-so says absolutely not.” Muddiness of mind was not deplored, but glorified. I buried myself in my sociology books, absolutely determined to find out why I was missing the kernel of the thing.

The best I could come up with was that human beings are all helpless tools of the environment; that we are all born as rigidly equal lumps and that the disparity of our achievements and stations was entirely the result of the forces of environment – that everybody, therefore, could theoretically be masters, geniuses and kings if only we could sufficiently improve everybody’s environment. I was bold enough to ask Professor Bucklin if this were the idea and he turned red with anger. I was told it was “impossible” to- make an generalizations, although all I was asking was for the fundamental idea, if any, of sociology.

I began to see that sociology was different from any other course I had ever taken. Certain ideas produced apoplexy in the teacher, particularly the suggestion that perhaps some people were no good biological slobs from the day they were born. Certain other ideas, although they were never formulated nor stated frankly, were fostered and encouraged – these were always ideas revolving around the total power of the environment. Slowly, I got the idea. At first, I just used it to get better grades. When I wrote my essay answers in examinations, I poured it on heavily that all hands in the civilization in question were potential Leonardo da Vincis, no matter how black they were, nor how they ate their best friends for thousands of years; and that with a quick change in environment, these cannibals too would be writing arias, building Parthenons and painting masterpieces.

But then I began to wonder “how come”? Certainly, environment was important. Anybody could see that. But it was obviously negative. You can make a helpless boob out of a born genius by bringing him up in a dark closet, but you can’t make a genius out of a drooling idiot, even by sending him to Brown. Was it just old man Bucklin who was insane with environment? Or was it the whole subject? I went to the library and read more sociology books. They were universally pushing the same idea. I began to make fun of sociology in the college paper in my column and got into more trouble. Some of the columns were ‘killed’ before seeing the light. I was still too ignorant to know that I was fighting Lysenko and Marx and the whole Soviet theory of environmentalism – which has captured and hypnotized or terrorized our intellectuals – and I imagined I was battling just one foolish college course!

During my second year at Brown, my picture of the world darkened as I discovered more and more intellectual dishonesty in this university which had first seemed almost heaven itself to me. I still knew little or nothing about Communism or its pimping little sister, ‘liberalism’, but I could not avoid the steady pressure, everywhere in the university, to accept the idea of massive human equality and the supremacy of environment. In every course, I was repelled by the intellectual cowardice of the faculty in failing to stand up for any doctrine whatsoever.

I majored in philosophy and, while I admired the intellectual brilliance of my professors, particularly Professor Ducasse, I was hugely disappointed in the headlong retreat of all the faculty whenever they were asked their own opinions as to the objective truth in any matter. I was told that “eternal seeking” is the way to knowledge and there is no denying that, but lively discussion is also vital to any advance of knowledge and you cannot have any lively discussion where the opposition either doesn’t exist or melts away like a wraith when you seek to take hold of it.

I was running into the disease of our modern life: cowardice and pathological fear of a strong personality or strong ideas. Dale Carnegie has codified and commercialized this creeping disease as “how to win friends and influence people”, which boils down to the essential principle of having no personality or strong feelings or ideas and becoming passive and empty so that “the other fellow” can display his ideas and personality. But he, too, is trying to become popular by being passive and dispassionate, so that the result is like connecting two dead batteries: no current. Such human robots are suited to enslavement by a 1984-type society, but not to life in a bold, free society of men. This is the way women should be, perhaps, but not our men and especially not our leaders.

I found the same feeble feminine approach in every subject except in the sciences, and for these last, I was very grateful. In geology and psychology I could find a few principles and laws which stayed there when I reached out to grasp them, and so I reveled in these subjects and rebelled to the limit of my capacity in the others. In sociology I went so far as to write an insolent examination paper which almost got me thrown out of Brown. We were asked to write an essay answer on the factors leading to criminality and delinquency.

I wrote nothing but a fable about a crew of scientific geniuses who set out for Africa to see what made ants act like ants. They searched around until they found a lot of anthills, observed them for many years and finally came up with the discovery that when ant eggs were hatched in tunnels in a certain kind of hill in Africa and grew up among six-legged creatures called “ants”, they themselves were so affected by this strong environment that they became, themselves, ants and waved their antennae like ants, scurried around aimlessly like ants, looked like ants and were ants!

Once again, I was hauled up before the administration for this impudence and almost thrown out. However, I was given another opportunity to write the exam and for the sake of my dear good grandmother and my patient, loving Aunt Margie, I sat down and wrote what I knew they wanted – a piece showing how unfortunate and most excellent babies were invariably driven to stealing from their parents, relatives and friends, robbing strangers at gunpoint and finally axing somebody in sheer desperation at their nasty environment. This was passed with a C plus.

Sociology classes are a scam and have been since the beginning

Where to get Game by Roosh V / Daryush Valizadeh

A little while ago, Roosh V. released a new dating guide for men called Game.  It’s become difficult to find this, for reasons explained further on.

You can get the ebook, as well as previous ones if you like, at his site.

You may also purchase a print edition.

The full product description is here.

Actually, I bought the entire ebook package.  Great stuff – I encourage you to buy a copy too!

Since I wrote my own game guide, why would I buy books about a subject I’m already quite familiar with, as well as give a competitor free advertising?  It’s because I dislike corporate censorship.  For this reason, I’m happy to do business with those who’ve been subjected to it, as well as give them a signal boost.

Was Game banned for politically motivated reasons?


Amazon banned Game mere days after its release.  What passages did they find objectionable?  As he explained, they never gave a reason, and Amazon has products that are objectively much more “extreme”.  Hell, did they even read it before the pulled the plug?  Also, several other books got banned nearly simultaneously; they’d been on the site for years, so what suddenly prompted this?  As he noted in his video, it’s like something out of Kafka’s The Trial, where throughout the entire book you never actually find out what charges the defendant is facing.

The weird thing is that (unlike some of his blog postings) most of his books don’t have substantial ideological content.  Particularly, the Bang series is just stories about dating women in foreign countries.  Censoring books that slaughter leftist sacred cows has become an all-too-familiar thing lately, but what’s so controversial about nightlife guides?  Since they have yet to point to any specific passages and say “You’re not allowed to write this”, then this can only be more of the extralegal harassment that Roosh has been receiving for quite some time.

All this began when ignorant Social Justice Warriors began deliberately misrepresenting what he wrote and started an online dogpiling campaign.  Then journalists started repeating it as if it were true.  They did so without bothering to check the facts, which they could’ve done very easily simply by taking a couple of minutes to read what he actually wrote.  As for this latest development, if you believe the timing is a coincidence, then I have a nice oceanfront resort in Nevada that I’m offering for sale.

Roosh suspects there was some “watchdog” group behind it.  These are tricky pro-censorship outfits that get lots of donations by scaring senior citizens into thinking they’ll stop a second holocaust by cutting them a check.  Whoever did it knew he was releasing a new book, and actually it quickly became a bestseller.  Therefore, whoever is behind it decided to apply pressure to get the new book off of the market and deprive him of his livelihood.

After that, it was up on Barnes & Noble for a bit, and became an even larger bestseller there.  Then they banned it too.  If they gave a real reason for why, I have yet to hear it.  If nobody can point to a single passage in Game as objectionable, then it’s probably nothing to do with the book at all, but instead about other ideas he has expressed elsewhere.

Why is corporate censorship wrong?


Back in the Soviet Union, if the Powers That Be didn’t like what a dissident had to say, they’d throw him into the gulag.  Some countries today have laws about “hate speech” (which means whatever they want it to mean) or talking about unauthorized historical narratives.  Therefore, they also can lock people up for unorthodox opinions just as the Soviets did.  However, other countries such as the USA don’t do things like that.  For those with views similar to the Politburo, how can they make someone an “un-person” these days?  The next best thing is to use their buddies in the corporate world to punish dissidents.  They’ll deplatform people, get them fired from their jobs, and otherwise make it impossible to share their opinions or even earn a living.

Those who think this is awesome will say that private companies can do whatever they want.  (If the same thing were being done to them, you can bet your bottom dollar that they’d be furious about it.)  It’s a similar problem when libertarians think that something bad is only wrong if it’s the government doing it to them.  There’s one little problem with all that.  When a company gets a high enough market share – I believe the threshold is about 40% – then it must start abiding by provisions relating to monopolies.

Thus far, the legal frontiers have been about restraining anti-competitive practices.  However, when a company gets that large, it no longer should be able to practice censorship on a whim.  In fact, the Marsh v. Alabama Supreme Court case, 326 U.S. 501 (1946), provides some precedent on this.  In any event, wrongly depriving people of their livelihood is grounds for a lawsuit.  One of these days, some Silicon Valley corporation is going to get themselves burnt over things like that.

Even during the height of the Cold War, did the Communist Party USA ever have problems renting its headquarters in lower Manhattan?  Was the phone company or electric company able to deny service because they didn’t like their politics?  Were they forbidden access to the US Mail to distribute the Daily People’s World?  Nope.  I doubt they had problems so much as booking a hotel room for a conference, even during the 1950s.  Think about that one for a minute.

Why would a book company want to ban a bestseller?  It makes money for them, after all.  This is what happens when SJWs are allowed to run rampant as faceless corporate bureaucrats.  I’ve praised Amazon before – they truly are an innovative company, and they have a first-rate front end interface – so I’m saddened by this.  Hopefully they’ll stop doing things like that.

Where to get Game by Roosh V / Daryush Valizadeh

What is the lumpenproletariat?

The proletariat is a social class containing blue-collar workers.  In historic times, these were the wage slaves who just barely got by.  The owners of the factories, mines, and so forth typically exploited them, endeavoring to pay them as little as possible.  (As for today, well, not too much has changed.)  One of the goals of Socialism is to elevate the proletariat’s status.  The proposed means is via state-owned businesses; the historical track record isn’t too promising, but that’s another matter for now.

“Lumpenproletariat” is a derivative term, prefixed by the German word for “rags”.  That represents a worse-off class, particularly the homeless, criminals, and others at the economic fringe.  They have either very unsteady employment, or none.  Since there are these types even in good times, the problem is one of motivation.  This group generally encompasses drifters, slackers, ne’er-do-wells, etc.  The phrase “no visible means of support” comes to mind.  It’s a subject that appears occasionally in Communist writings.

Marxist approaches to the lumpenproletariat

Once again, going back to the point in the first paragraph, Socialists generally are interested in blue collar guys who punch a clock and perform manual labor every workday – “Workers of the world, unite!” and all that.  Those are the folks who would be interested in trade unionism, which they hoped would be the gateway drug to worldwide proletarian revolution and all that.  However, people who do no constructive labor – or as little as possible to survive – don’t really qualify; they’re not even workers.  Still, there’s actually quite a bit of variation in the Party Line on this point.

One traditional take is that the lumpenproletariat isn’t worth considering, since they’re natural reactionaries.  That one seems to be a bit of a stretch.  Some of those folks might have strong political beliefs, but they’re generally not activists.  Opinions are likely to be all over the place, but there’s no special reason to believe that many of them are fans of Friedrich Hayek, Corneliu Codreanu, Pat Buchanan, Julius Evola, Mencius Moldbug, or some other flavor of “reactionary”.

Another opinion is that lumpenproletariat members are natural anarchists.  That one seems closer to the mark; those guys often do have a problem with authority.  A related notion is that they’re just too unreliable to be useful for Communist activism.  On the right, such types obviously would be an absolute liability.  Being a leftist means never having to worry about optics (more on that subject in a later discussion).  Even so, any cause will need more than just warm bodies; a bunch of screwballs who can’t get their act together will be nothing but trouble.

Finally, there are those who hope to radicalize the lumpenproletariat.  The reasoning goes that since they’re the worst off in society, they’d be the most motivated.  The problem is that being motivated really isn’t in the nature of bums and slackers to begin with.

Then Franz Fanon – best known for writing books lately used to instill White guilt in college students – had a curious redefinition.  He described colonized peoples as the lumpenproletariat, who would go smash the bourgeoisie and all the rest of it.  That’s a pretty screwy formulation.  Someone in an actual colony (and there aren’t many real ones left) making fifty cents a day hacking down sugar cane certainly isn’t a bum.  He’s a manual laborer who happens to have a remarkably shitty tightwad of a boss.

Karl Marx, the big banana himself

Interestingly, Marx was basically a card-carrying lumpenproletariat member, though he certainly didn’t boast of it.  Friedrich Engels owned a factory (silly class enemy!) and repeatedly offered to give Marx a tour to see for himself how one operated.  However, Chuck just wasn’t interested.  Therefore, during all his life, he never stepped inside a factory (much unlike Yours Truly), despite writing about the subject at great length.  Reading up on factories was everything that the champion of the proletariat needed to know, apparently.  This is also much unlike Adam Smith, who wrote a classic case study about one.

Marx himself came from a fairly well-off family:  yes, a bourgeois by birth.  However, he frittered away his inheritance, and then had to survive off of handouts from his buddy Engels.  Laziness and heavy drinking didn’t help, and because of that, his family lived in miserable poverty.  He dabbled with journalism occasionally, but other than that, the champion of the proletariat never worked a day in his life, and certainly not any manual labor.  Being educated, he could’ve gotten a decent job if he wanted.  Even someone who wasn’t educated could’ve been a sailor, worked in a factory, or found some other gainful employment.

What’s the deal with that?  When work in my own chosen profession dried up, I had to do day labor in construction for a little over two years.  (So I took a job away from an illegal alien – now there’s a switch!)  I got heat exhaustion frequently, but that’s what it took to pay the bills.  Filing bankruptcy and then living off of The System was unacceptable to me.  Actually, I still do construction as a side project occasionally.  It’s called being practical.  Karl Marx, however, was an intellectual; therefore, he was too good to work.  He just wanted everything handed to him because he deserved it.

Actually, that explains a lot about his mindset, and that of some of his more naïve followers cranked out by today’s universities.  They don’t understand that production doesn’t happen by magic, or that wealth must be maintained.  Many of those behind decolonization liberation movements found out the hard way too.  The mentality goes that someone else has a pile of treasure, you steal it, and now you’re set up for life.  Zimbabwe is one example of many.

An economic planner from East Germany or Czechoslovakia would’ve known better, of course.  They had to get things done as best they could, within the framework of the system handed to them.  Outside the realm of pure theory, things work a little different when the rubber hits the road.  Anyway, I’m going to start getting trolled by Communists again, this time for insulting the Prophet.  Comrades, the truth hurts.

My Fascist solution

Yes, poverty is a drag, to put it mildly.  This is especially so if it’s a chronic condition in someone’s life.  Fortunately, there’s this thing called social mobility.  A drifter doesn’t have to remain a drifter.  Getting jobs back to this country will be a necessary first step.  That means tuning out all those neocon whiz kids and other free trade worshipers (cough, Krugman, cough) who don’t realize that peasants can’t afford durable goods.

Other than that, society does have a problem with increasing extremes of wealth.  However, Socialism doesn’t have a good track record of fixing things.  If it did, I’d be down for that.  Instead, the answer is Distributism.

What happens with able-bodied slackers who, after adequate opportunity is provided, still refuse to work?  Western welfare states (“Socialism Lite”) have a lot of tolerance for that, engineered to create a dependent voter bloc.  However, true Socialist societies did not.  It’s more realistic that way, actually; society should have less indulgence for slackers.  Handing out checks just perpetuates the problem.  If they feel like being unproductive, ever after opportunities to better themselves are there, they can go nibble grass or something.

What is the lumpenproletariat?

What a hell of a month it was

Normally I like October.  However, I am so fscking glad that the month is over.

I want to waterboard some veterinarians now

To make a very long story short, I’ve been having to deal with a sick cat, and I really don’t need this crap.  So, I’ve been getting about 3-4 hours of sleep at night.  The messy state of the healthcare system is a major topic in politics.  It turns out that it’s pretty messy even for animals.

Unluckily, I’d been locked into a corporate chain vet that has a reputation for price gouging.  After they screwed the pooch, I also had to deal with an overnight emergency vet service.  I hate going there, because they’d royally pissed me off a few years ago by doing bait-and-switch pricing on a cremation.  (That’s the worst possible time to jack with a customer.)  I went back to the corporate vet to follow up, and they flat out refused to help, even though they’d taken care of the exact same problem a few years back.

Both told me I had to go to some intensive care service for Yuppie cat ladies, which would set me back $2100, according to the late-night vet.  The one recommended by the corporate vet (which they probably get kickbacks from) would’ve involved several thousands of dollars, with uncertain chances of success.  When I was reluctant to do so, both of them were like, “Oh, so you want her to die, huh?  Well, we can get it all over quick if that’s how you feel.”  Both told me she wouldn’t survive the night if I didn’t do so.  Uh, she’s still here, assholes; I’ll bet you’re really disappointed.

Well, screw that.  I luckily was able to get into a locally-run vet.  One of my girlfriends highly recommends them.  I prefer small businesses to corporate chains because I believe in Distributism, but usually they’re too booked up.  I explained that I knew they were capable of taking care of the problem, and unfortunately I don’t have any pirate treasure buried in my back yard.  After two productive days later, the cat is much better.  Still, all the vet bills from everyone is a sum of about $1400, and I could’ve saved a thousand if I’d been able to get my cat into this place first.  After spending all that money on pussy in a month, now I feel like Charlie Sheen.

Anyway, blessings to all the furballs out there.  Pets are wonderful friends on four feet.  As for veterinarians, the good ones rock, and the bad ones can go put the lotion in the basket.

Miscellaneous items

The Dunning-Kruger Effect is an interesting find in psychology.  It turns out that people who are incompetent believe themselves to be highly competent.  Meanwhile, those who actually are highly competent will doubt themselves and underestimate their competence.  So now there’s a scientific explanation for clueless know-it-alls.  They know not, but know not that they know not.

I just looked up the Honey Boo Boo show to see what it was all about.  Apparently it was a reality TV series which included many characters who got pregnant in high school by guys who didn’t stick around.  They liked to date sex offenders and other criminals.  Aside from that, several characters were extremely overweight.  The eponymous star of the show was a kiddie beauty contestant well on the way to being pretty darn pudgy too.  (Hopefully she ends up with better tastes in men later in life.)  Golly jeepers, I miss out on so much by not owning a TV, don’t I?  So what was the real point about this show anyway – making fun of poor people?  How enlightening!

Finally, it’s November so I’m thinking of doing this NaNoWriMo thing.  Well, maybe.  I might use the characters of Space Vixen Trek episodes 0 and 13 to do a superhero story.  Naturally, I’ll have to put some icky aliens in it.  So as I understand the rules, I have to crank out a workable first draft of at least 50,000 words.  I’m already a day behind, and will lose a couple of days since I’ll be on the road, but I might could give this one a whirl.  However, because of my OCD-style editing practices, this doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll have it uploaded in December.  To get psyched for it, I’m watching Superhero Movie.  Right after the opening credits show Harvey Weinstein, a character grabs his crotch.  Good one!!

What a hell of a month it was

The nature of addiction: why do people get hooked on drugs or irrational behavior?

Addiction is a very old problem, with serious consequences for society, and for individuals too.  The compulsion caused by chemical slavery is so bad that crackheads will sell their bodies to get a little rock the color of toenail fungus.  They’re not all from bad neighborhoods; some came from nice families and made a dumb mistake.  Men will do that too; that Less Than Zero stuff is for real.  I’ve never smoked Satan’s boogers; I’d rather drop a cinderblock on my foot.  However, I had a dream about it once, and it was like confronting an evil spirit.

Modern science gives us a better idea of what’s going on, but treating it has been a frustrating pursuit.  There are drug therapies out there – good pills to get over bad pills, essentially.  Still, it’s been pretty well demonstrated that an opiate is an opiate.  Certain antidepressants might help recovering addicts, though they’re not perfect and can have undesired side effects of their own.  Ultimately, so far there’s no silver bullet, and perhaps there never will be.

The traditional focus has been on chemical addictions, which have been documented since the ancient Greeks, if not longer.  Then there are the behavioral addictions which have received much more attention in modern times.  Here’s what we do know at least.

Chemical addictions

hell

The way mood-altering drugs work is by changing the activity of neurotransmitters.  The big three are serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.  Some drugs bind to one or more of these receptors, imitating the natural chemicals already floating around in the synapses.  Others inhibit the reuptake of these neurotransmitters, which increases the amounts existing in these connections between the brain cells.  Some do both; for instance, cocaine is a dopamine agonist and also inhibits its reuptake.  (It’s all fun and games until you’re feeling invisible spiders crawling all over you.)  There are also cannabinoid receptors and opioid receptors, which God or evolution put there for unknown reasons.  Alcohol, benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanax, etc.), and barbiturates operate on the GABA receptors.

So effectively this temporarily raises the wattage in these neural circuits.  These various neurotransmitters do different things, which is why getting drunk is a different high than getting stoned, etc.  If these drugs are taken regularly, then homeostasis kicks in, and the brain starts producing less of its own natural neurotransmitters.  That’s what gets people hooked.  This means that when addicts go cold turkey, they feel terrible until the homeostasis process starts increasing natural neurotransmitters to normal levels again.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen overnight.  For example, it takes two or three weeks of constant opioid use to get hooked.  After discontinuation, withdrawal symptoms will slowly subside at the same rate.  The Viet Cong therapy for heroin addicts was pretty effective, which involved tossing them into an oubliette for three weeks.  That’s a lot faster than a methadone taper-down program, and being put in a hole in the ground surely wouldn’t easily be forgotten.

So that’s how drug tolerance sets in, and eventually addiction.  It’s been said that the first time someone sniffs coke will be the best high he or she ever gets from it.  After that, cokeheads are simply trying to re-create the experience with increasing quantities.  It becomes a perceived need, like hunger and thirst, which the user never had before.

Another factor is downregulation.  Unnaturally elevated levels of neurotransmitters will make their receptors less sensitive.  When an addict isn’t high, the natural neurotransmitters are at a reduced level, and what little is there is has become less effective.  That’s why addicts deprived of their drug of choice will feel like chewing gum on the bottom of a shoe.  This is usually reversible with time, but not always.

Eventually, hardcore cocaine addicts (and abusers of other substances that affect dopamine) may develop anhedonia, the inability to experience pleasure.  At the extreme, they even can fry their dopamine system entirely and develop Parkinson’s.  All throughout, death by overdose is a real possibility.  (All these are more reasons why cocaine dealers and smugglers deserve to be taken out and shot.)  Finally, some drugs cause outright brain damage, like meth or inhalants.  MDMA (Ecstasy) burns out synapses, a process that begins pretty quickly.  That’s the reason they get “e-tarded”.  Why do you think they call it dope?

Behavioral addictions

Other than getting a chemical high, there are behavioral ways that people modulate their neurotransmitters to produce thrilling or otherwise pleasurable feelings.  This is why people ride roller coasters, chow down on food, and (of course) get laid.  What could be more natural than that?  I’ve tried skydiving once; it was a pretty rattling experience, but afterward I wondered why anyone would stick a needle in his arm when he could jump out of a plane instead.

Still, excess is a danger, a fact known to ancient Greek, Chinese, and Persian philosophers.  In The Republic, Plato pointed out that a life of excess produces higher highs and lower lows, but the lows predominate.  Meanwhile, in a life of moderation, the modest highs predominate over the modest lows.  Therefore, moderation is rational.

Immoderate food consumption can be a problem, which I’ve had to deal with myself.  Kleptomania and pyromania are behavioral addictions too; they get hooked on the rush of committing crimes.  Video games can be habit forming, leading to vast amount of wasted time and lost productivity.  However, occasionally deaths have resulted from self-neglect or neglect of children during all-day poopsocking sessions.  These behaviors might start out as being fun, but eventually become a drag, though it’s still difficult to quit.

Flashing, voyeurism, and other perversions can constitute behavioral addictions.  An unexpected effect of modern technology is that porn induced erectile dysfunction has become an epidemic among 20-somethings.  Typically, they’ll have to start watching more extreme content to get the same thrill.  So they might start out watching bikini models, then a year later they’re beating off to tentacle porn.  Rather oddly, there are many anecdotal reports of straight guys sometimes ending up watching gay stuff.  Some get curious enough to bang a dude and get grossed out by the experience, they aren’t actually gay, so they don’t really like giving blowjobs and all that.

Behavioral addictions can be pretty stupid and irrational, of course.  Still, that’s what happens when things like that get established in the limbic system’s pleasure / reward circuits.  MRI studies show parts of the brain lighting up during a porn session, the same ones that light up in cocaine addicts.  There’s no dumb dust involved, but someone doing an hours-long edging session to hardcore porn is tweaking his dopamine too.

Chemical addictions also have a behavioral component.  A junkie cooking heroin in a spoon will get a thrill in anticipation even before the needle goes in.  It’s much like Pavlov’s dog slobbering as soon as he heard the dinner bell.

Attempts to understand addiction

So in one way, addictions are essentially very bad habits.  The traditional explanation was moral weakness.  In more recent times, addiction started being seen as a psychological problem.  Others considered it a disease.  This results in reducing the stigma which (as the theory goes) will encourage people to seek help without feeling bad about it.

A schizophrenic can’t help being crazy, and (again, as the theory goes) neither can an addict.  Thus, it’s no more of a moral fault than catching the flu.  Other than that, “alcoholic” sounds at least a little better than “habitual drunk”.  When it was a new word, it put a fresh spin on things.  Still, we’ve stepped too far away from personal agency.  Furthermore, when people do bad things, they should feel bad about it, and others should call them out on it.  Ultimately, people have the capacity to choose between right and wrong.

Would anyone smoke crack right in front of a policeman?  Of course not; the crackhead will choose to wait for an opportunity to do so unobserved, since getting busted means going to jail for six months.  Therefore, addictive behavior is a choice, though it’s a lot harder to “just say no” after someone is hooked.  So addicts who want to quit have to become their own policeman.

The twelve step model

The famous 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are the following:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

AA and similar programs do work for many people.  If it gets them where they want to be, then they should run with it.

Still, I do have a few quibbles with some of it.  The thing about being totally powerless over alcohol, to the point that only an act of God will work, seems somewhat disempowering.  Further, all that might be pretty hard to swallow for an atheist.  Step 3, however, does very clearly indicate that a rational choice is involved in breaking free of this bad habit.  If a wino doesn’t want help, will God miracle him out of his bottle of Thunderbird?  Probably not.

So the power of reason is the essential part, and I’m sure Plato would’ve agreed.  The rational mind belongs in the driver’s seat.

The nature of addiction: why do people get hooked on drugs or irrational behavior?