Cities and first world problems

The collective area of the world’s cities has doubled over last 20 years as edges of urban centres expand. A study out of China found that “more than 400 million [Chinese] farmers have left their land for the cities since 2000. And in the three years from 2011, the cement produced in China surpassed the output of the US for the entire 20th century, according to industry figures.” The trend for expanding cities is also seen in the US, but for different reasons. 

And to Norway, where a wokester has decided people need to know everything that’s wrong with his city’s history. Markus Moestue has come up with a “Critical Map” of Oslo, which highlights the sites that are must-see for Progressive tourists. These include a statue of Norway’s national hero (a slave owner), the residence of the royal family, who perpetuate inequality by being rich, and the HQ of an evil oil company who use their money to promote their business. If Mosestue sees his dream come true, more people will make maps like these and hate their cities too. So be sure to pack your outrage!

Quick Hits for the Eyebuds

🚄 A “hyper-tube” train tested in Korea has achieved a speed of 1000km/h
🔒 A Google VPN… Is that an oxymoron?
🎙️ Deepfakes come for Frank Sinatra and it’s kinda creepy
🌙 Jupiter’s ocean moon Europa probably glows
🌋 Astronomers say they’ve discovered a “hell” planet with lava oceans and raining rocks
🕷️ Steampunk spiders made from clocks and mechanical components
🍗 Three men and a chicken: Some bros have been banned from Yellowstone after trying to cook dinner in a hotspring
📺 Netflix is trialing “linear TV” in areas of France, like, you know, normal TV. Turns out lots of choice can be exhausting.

Teknae’s Swollen Hermeneutic

Be suspicious of “news.”

Humans crave conflict. Our bent/broked/fallen/”normal” understanding of the problem of “good” and “evil” leads us to conceive of our mythologies exclusively in the terms of heroes who slay monsters. The dilemma is that 1st-world molehill monsters can only help us justify our rebellious rage at God (and the dissatisfaction inherent in carnal love for American living) when we make mountain monsters out of them. This is how Twitter makes money. 

Or, when they feel like it, how any gaslighting power steals elections.

But before we tangent into a 51% mandate that Republicans follow completely different standards, expectations, and rules than the AP did for the last four years, let me just assert again that if learning the American Presidential election (or any election) endured or was won by fraudulent tactics comes as “news” to you, then you have already proven my point.

Evil men don’t do good things out of kindness. They only do it out of selfishness. And, as the tragedy of the commons demonstrates, nobody is motivated to look out for anyone else without skin in the game. 

If you believe that on this side of our Lord’s parousia the United States of America is beyond corruption or collapse, then I have a Small Catechism to sell you.

When no other monster is there to fight, my neighbor or brother will do in a pinch. That is the “news” evil men sell you as popcorn for the brain. Their consciences are seared. Those who listen to them become like them.

By the same token, be suspicious of your need to share. Remember that your information is the crop, and Twitter is the harvester, cutting the value off the top, repacking and selling it back to you from their mansions over the skies of Siliconopia. 

It remains, the more time you spend online, the more you submit yourself to these self-made overlords of information.

To believe that Christians, Christianity, or your local church and family structures can offer ourselves freely to the (atheistic/or-demonic) social and cognitive programming experiment that is the post-networked industrialization zeitgheist without ramification seems to me to be a perilous jettisoning of the fear of God.

If man’s incurvatus need to justify our inner psyches at the cost of being hijacked by an oligarchy of corporations whose sole purpose is to amplify “news” of the discord among us, all in order to profit from it at our expense isn’t enough to convince you that the ancient march of debt and ghettoized bond-servitude are present North American problems fast becoming future watersheds for you and your children, then nothing will.

I’m not paranoid. God is watching me. But give Ed Snowden a listen anyway: it will expand your mind. (Joe Rogan’s language is “NSFW”) 

  1. Joe Rogan Experience #1368 – Edward Snowden
  2. Joe Rogan Experience #1536 – Edward Snowden

Then remember that none of that matters. Only the Ten Commandments, the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer do. But all this other nonsense helps us remember why we need them so desperately.

Until next time,

Be strong, and let your heart know courage.
Rev. Fisk

The Great Divide

A recent Cambridge study claims that the partisan divide in the United States is approaching “levels of ethnic parochialism in Bosnia and Kosovo.” Spending some time on Twitter might make you think there is a dangerous “balkanization” afoot, and yet, hanging out in your average neighborhood,  you may wonder at the hype. Reality has a way of biting back and the white noise of propaganda can only distract for so long.  

Many on the Left view anyone who is not sold out to the Woke agenda as ignorant “deplorables,” but people see when celebrities excoriate anyone who won’t “believe all women,” but not when it’s their candidate in question. People see when the COVID heavies insist on keeping schools, churches, and conservative political events shut down, but laud Biden celebrations and BLM protests. People don’t want to defund the police and are tired of being told they are racists when they are not.

While a Biden/Harris presidency would likely be the Wokest yet, the alliances forming between classical liberals and conservatives under Trump are strengthening. Folks from all over the political map can agree that America is a great country and that the Constitution is worth defending. Across the nation, most people see that freedom of speech, religious liberty and open inquiry are foundational to a flourishing society.

“The truth will never be extinguished by human arms”

There is growing defense of freedom against the totalitarian Left, and people are waking up to the inconsistency of the elites and their news media. So be strong! “The truth will never be extinguished by human arms”, not even the strong arm of the White House.

When the [elite] levee breaks…

Silicon Valley doesn’t like Abigail Shrier’s book about how Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria is ruining the lives of teenage girls.
Glenn Greenwald didn’t mince his words: the inability of the US to count votes is dangerous. “An electoral system suffused with this much chaos, error, protracted outcomes and seemingly inexplicable reversals will sow doubt and distrust even among the most rational citizens.”

The Devil at Your Fingertips

  “Twitter is the devil.”

I’m not the one who said it during our MadPx Election Night Catastrophe Special. (If you missed out, the entire thing is also available in podcastable format, without all the live glitches!) But I couldn’t agree more.

I have rarely in my life been more disturbed by the demeanor of a human being than I was in watching @Jack (Twitter’s CEO Overlord) get grilled by Senator Ted Cruz. Aside from appearing as some diabolical fusion of Neander Wallace and Howard Hughes, he actuated Wallace’s 2049 demeanor of a man in control of the situation with absolute power, fearless of whatever perceived threat his opponent imagined it was mounting.

He looked and acted like a man without fear, testifying legalized misinformation with impunity while a vested US Senator howled at the moon.

The reason Christianity has lost the “culture war” is that we endeavored to fight it without our most important, serpentine art of war: divinely revealed anthropology.

Men are evil. But culture war Christianity has been fighting as though we were, at worst, neutral.

Oops?

Naturally born, without influence from the uniquely revealed Christian Word of God, man is a bestial, primal, carnal thing. To call this “sin” is to use the stigmatized jargon. Terminology be damned if we miss the point:
1) Evil is experienced naturally as the fallen orders of the cosmos expand and collapse around us.
2) Evil is experienced personally as the corruption of entire beings, personalities who while created good have elected to self-identify in a finalized state of natural evil.
That is: Evil doesn’t always have a face, until all the times when evil most definitely has a face.

Hence, if we will not sit with Job in the ashes this week, then we instead watch it tweeted bold and poisonous across all news fronts: “government by the people, for the people” is a mythology with giant, gaping cracks in it, through which the social media overlords of the future are driving the semi-truck of their globally hegemonic agenda.

It’s not diabolical on purpose. @Jack only wants to rule for the good of others, just like the rest of us who swear we wouldn’t likewise be driven mad by the single-life accumulation of such exorbitant wealth and power.

The chief message of Job, if I have learned from him at all, is that life can never be so terribly bad that it would not become exponentially better in time. This, however, is purely the purview of the Almighty LORD Jesus Christ. He gives, and he takes away, for his own end.

The difference between us and that ancient Melchizedekian-ish King of Suffering is that we have seen his fulfillment. We know that the end for which God gives each suffering moment is the resurrection of our flesh in justified glory, according to the risen promises of Christ.

All the more then, as both kingdoms and steeples totter, we can wait patiently.

He knows their works, and he overthrows them in the night: they are crushed. He strikes them dishonorably in public places, because they caused the cry of the poor to come to him; for he hears the cries of the afflicted. Job 34:25-28

Until next time,

Be strong, and let your heart know courage.
Rev. Fisk
“Twitter is the devil.”

Never let the truth get in the way of a good story

While the post-mortems from Election Day continue, the newest addition to “least trusted professions” must be pollsters (and probably straight after “fact checkers”). Regardless of when the dust finally clears, what is plain is that pollsters are asking wrong questions of the wrong people. But there is also plenty of evidence to show that the architects of many polls are flat-out ignoring the data they don’t like. The blue checks and talking heads might plead that polling is not an “exact science,” but the fact that the prevailing narratives diverged so markedly from reality, shows that objectivity is not the goal.

The lack of willingness to follow where the facts lead is not limited to polling. The pandemic, which has held the world captive for most of this year, has highlighted something that is happening in many places – scientific dogmatism. A recent article in Spiked, written by Norman Lewis, focused on the interesting studies of Robert Edgar Hope-Simpson, a British doctor who is mostly known for showing that shingles is a reactivation of the chicken-pox virus. 

Hope-Simpson spent a lot of time studying influenza and how it spreads. In the late 1970’s he challenged the prevailing idea that direct person-to-person transmission was the sole mode of influenza spread. He observed how the flu travelled around the world, and proposed causes for the seasonal nature of flu outbreaks. His conclusions about pre-existing immunity in populations and the effect of changing seasons in activating the virus lead him to posit that “it seems certain that the current concept of direct spread is impeding our understanding of influenza.” 

“Knowledge is… power [and] as with all science, it can ossify and become an orthodoxy that bars the way to further study.”

So what could account for the lack of interest in pursuing Hope-Simpson’s theory? Lewis proposes that suppressing flu viruses through hand washing and distancing and masks, gives people a sense of agency. He also argues that some wish to weaponize The Science for their own control: “Knowledge is… power [and] as with all science, it can ossify and become an orthodoxy that bars the way to further study.” If you have the result you want, why search any longer?

Sumantra Maitra wrote for The Federalist in the earlier stages of the pandemic, lambasting the way world leaders had scrambled to adopt policies based on faulty modelling. He says, “The phrase ‘settled science’ is a classic oxymoron. There can never be science that is settled…” He goes on, “This pandemic has highlighted how much of our public and social media are full of mindless drones [and] it has highlighted just how much of our scientific consensus is flawed.”

Maitra goes on to outline that what is on display here is not science, but Scientism. He describes scientism as “faith in the idea that all social problems have only one answer, through the process of science… Scientism elevates science to the point of a religion, thereby defeating the whole purpose of scientific inquiry.” Scientism is the new dogma, with science masquerading as a savior. But it is a golden calf, an imposter, a god formed in an image we prefer. The bitter reality for those who put their hope in Science is that following its doctrines can never cleanse your conscience. 

The quote often attributed to GK Chesterton is apt: “When Man ceases to worship God he does not worship nothing but worships everything.” St. Paul says that we (humanity) became futile in our thinking when we “exchanged the truth about God for a lie.” We end up worshipping and serving “the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever!” 

In stark contrast is the freedom we have in knowing that Christ is The Truth. The world he created is orderly and magnificent, even though it is corrupted by our sin. He upholds every atom with his Word and graciously reveals the intricacies of creation to humanity. With that sure foundation, discovering the truth about our world does not become an idol to which we desperately cling, but rather joyful fascination at the mind of our Maker.