Thursday 14 January 2021

How did South Africa get its name and should it change it?

There were 4 colonies, each with real names, 2 of which the British conquered via the Boer/South African Wars. The British then created the Union of South Africa from those nations, combining what were then British colonies to do so (Cape Colony, Natal Colony, Orange River Colony, Transvaal). For a lot of past century, Namibia (German South-West Africa) was included within that union as well, after it was taken from the Germans. 

What we call South Africa was never one nation before the British conquest, but several nations, and before that, land which was mostly empty due to lack of water supply without well digging technology, but which where habitable was controlled by warring tribes. Perhaps in future it will be given a new name, or will split again into new nations. 

The word Azania mentioned by some in the false belief that it was a prior name for the country, is not a past name for South Africa, but one used popularly by black nationalist groups during apartheid. 

There historically was a region called Azania in East Africa, which historically had been inhabited by Mediterranean peoples, and likely came from an Arab geographical term for East Africa. Although that term could also have its origins in the Arabic word for a black person, it seems to predate the migration period in which that part of Africa was discovered by the Niger-Congo tribes, and thus the geographic term is more likely, as it was not yet inhabited by people to fit that description.

South Africa is located in a subcontinent called Sub Saharan Africa and within that in Southern Africa. Most English speaking people know where and what South Africa is. They often also have a good if imperfect understanding of it.

Should South Africa do what eSwatini did and change their name? Probably not. People know it by the current name. It no longer plays such a prominent role in global politics that a new name is likely to become globally recognised. Perhaps in the 1990s, but in the world of today, the costs likely outweigh the benefits.

Abraham differed from the other men of his day by one attribute

I am part of an online group of people following the Ascention Chronological Bible in a Year (Fr Mike Schmitz's) podcast together. 

On that group, I was seeing quite a few posts by people shocked at the immoral actions of the early bible figures, as though we were reading about Christ instead. 

Abraham differed from the other men of his day by one attribute, he had faith. He and the others involved are known for this. They sin, they go astray, they make mistakes and engage in acts which by the Law of Moses or later law of Christianity, which is a higher bar even than that, would be sinful.

We are reading about flawed human beings, not Butler's Lives of Saints. God had to create the state of Israel and interact with it for thousands of years to even prepare the soil of the Earth for Christ to appear. It was long and hard work for God to even get humanity to that stage. 

I think it important that we take the position that we are listening to the bible to learn from it, not to judge its characters through a modern lens.

For instance, when Abraham was about to kill his adult son as a sacrifice to God, seemingly with the son not resisting, despite being able to, was he attempting murder? God punishes various Old Testament figures for not killing God's enemies when ordered to, for instance King Saul, and feels those who kill on his orders to be righteous. What is right or wrong is dependant on what God deems to be right or wrong. God showed not only that he would send his own son to die for us via the incident with Abraham and his son, but also that he was not a God of human sacrifice. A scapegoat was provided, to take the place of the human being, just as God becomes a scapegoat for our sins.

I have always seen the early parts of the Old Testament as God showing why his rules are what they are. As moral lessons as seen in the behaviour people adopt and the consequences for them and others. I have also always seen it as God showing the importance of faith before he teaches us his rules for living. Those rules are for and from faith.

Saturday 9 January 2021

Google Plus, censorship, and the future of Twitter et al

The current President of the United States, as of writing this sentence, Donald J. Trump, has just experienced what being unpersoned entails, something some of his supporters had long experienced. 

His Twitter account has been permanently banned, for saying he would not attend the Biden inauguration, seemingly. Facebook and Instagram have him suspended. Shopify has banned his store. His email provider has allegedly banned him and kept his email list from him. Whether the servers of his website do the same, or Visa and MasterCard ban him (the Andrew Torba treatment) is uncertain.

The creation of a left wing social media network by suppressing conservatives has been done before, in the form of Google Plus. I used to love using Google Plus, but it soon became very manipulated by Google. Trending and popular posts were almost never conservative, even when they got more pluses than liberal ones. Lynch mobs soon formed to go after and destroy conservatives on the platform. They were nasty and without mercy. Google Plus soon confirmed its status as a ghost town. Eventually, it was taken down by Google. 

There is also talk of charging Donald Trump and his son with inciting violence, due to the strong condemnation of the rushing of the Capitol on all sides of the establishment. 

Very little of my Twitter following is American, but even so, even I have seen the dip in my following as large conservative accounts say they are losing thousands of followers. Those lost followers are almost certainly people being banned now the Trump era is over and big tech need not fear Biden and the Democrats.

Assuming a repeat of Google Plus

Big conservative accounts will increasingly see their Tweets replied to by masses on the left, campaigns to deplatform even the mainstream among them, and rushes to attack their followers. The balance on Twitter will sway hard left, and the moderate will have much to fear even if they are on the left, as the hard left are emboldened. Eventually, the risk of losing your job in the real world won't be worth the vanity of having thousands follow you, for the average person. Getting a Blue Checkmark verifying your identity is already associated with being more or hard left. People also often associate blue checkmarks with cruelty and bad takes. Many no longer aspire to achieve that status, and mass following on Twitter may soon be a signal the average person doesn't want to give. Would you boast about having a massive MySpace or Tumblr following?

Without conservatives on platform, the left will turn on moderates and on their own. It will be cruel and will drive engagement away from the platform. Eventually, a platform kept alive by famous figures on both sides will go from being deemed a deeply toxic site to being deemed too toxic. Twitter, like Google Plus, will become a small website serving to organise the hard left.

But what is the larger impact?

The something like seventy million people who voted for Donald Trump are not dead. They have seen some people enter the American parliament, mess up a few papers, wonder around with a speaking platform, and shout slogans. They are likely to see those people jailed with hard time. 

They see Donald Trump deplatformed and denied service by various essential tech services. They may soon seen Trump and others charged and convicted for the people who entered the sacred space of the Capitol. 

The shooting of the unarmed air force veteran has met no outrage, nor the unexplained deaths of 3 other protesters (everyone in the end dies of a heart attack, that can't be cause of death, did they die from overuse of tear gas?). Instead we are told authorities went too easy on the larping Trump supporters by the same people who called the burning down of a police precinct, mass rioting, harassment, theft, vandalism and the murder of dozens: mostly peaceful protests, and who made heroes of those who did so, even those who set up their own independent states inside US cities. 

If the storming of the Capitol is only bad because of who did it, and would have seen those behind it gain billions of dollars in corporate funding and police kneeling before them if they were the right cause, what message does that send to John who lost his job due to lockdown?

What would you do if you were a Trump supporter in America in these circumstances? Likely deplatformed, demonized, and facing those who you believe stole an election from you, and who refuse to satisfy you with an audit or something else, because they really don't have to, having absolute power? Millions of people don't just go away. There was a chance to create healing and for the left to be magnanimous. That has been done away with.

Yesterday, I referred to China as the most powerful nation on Earth. An American friend corrected me, saying that that was America. That friend was wrong. As things stand, America likely faces years of unrest. 

People don't stop being people when you unperson them on social media. Treat a largely peaceful and rather dumb protest as insurrection and terrorism, and you may feel you are strongly condemning the bad guys ... but you are also signalling to them that running about largely peacefully protesting with your face showing and your identity made clear will see you incur the same punishment as terrorists ... That ups an ante. 

A country at real risk of widespread civil unrest and internal collapse cannot be called the most powerful nation on Earth. It just isn't, anymore. The freedom which put the States ahead of China is now largely a thin veneer, when oligarchs can unperson a sitting President on behalf of the present opposition party, a party which won an election where stories adverse to them were openly suppressed, such as the New York Post article, and where Big Tech clearly backed one side and likely swayed the election via its backing. That is a country likely facing years of internal strife.

Thursday 7 January 2021

Idle hands, a dangerous 'summer of love', and the storming of the Capitol by Q-Anon believers, Groypers, and MAGA supporters.

Idle hands do the devil's work. In the USA and across the globe, people have lost their livelihoods, and faced nothingness and despair, but face a lack of bread and circuses to distract them, as governments have closed entertainment venues, and mobs have roamed the streets, attacking diners who could get out, often based on their racial ethnicity.

Asymmetrical enforcement of law and order has alienated those who once supported police, whom they saw kneeling down to the left, and bashing in those who protested lockdowns or held religious ceremonies. Religion has often been one of those pressure valves which keep people calm, as has free speech. Both have been suppressed in much of the world.

Say the wrong thing in many countries, and you are jailed or fined. Say the wrong thing on social media and you are quickly punished or even banned. But banned people don't stop existing. They simply become more desperate and feel less heard.

Election transparency, poll watchers, voter ID, clean election rolls, lack of censorship of people who question the narratives. These things are essential in any democracy, not just so justice can not only be done but be seen to be done, but especially so those who feel affected negatively by election outcomes buy into them, and feel they have been heard.

Notice that those who stormed the Capitol did not listen to Donald Trump when he told them to go home. Some have been identified as either groypers (a white nationalist movement) or Q supporters (a conspiracy theory chucked off mainstream social media), although many likely had other agendas.

If you think Trump is over, you haven't been paying attention. Biden got elected despite refusing to condemn Antifa riots which burnt down cities. Many ordinary Americans are shocked and dismayed by their Capitol being stormed. Others, though, if you look at social media honestly, had a different reaction. Given that BLM has legitimized the riot as the voice of the unheard, among some, and gained massive publicity and policy changes through rioting and iconoclast actions in the USA and elsewhere, the far right has now learnt from them.

The establishment of course will condemn the actions of tonight. But Biden is set to have complete control of the USA federal government and has a further-left-than-Obama agenda to push through successfully.

With Antifa's 'summer of love' and the plentiful worldwide lockdowns, many conservatives have lost their respect for police and law and order. Many did cheer on the storming of the Capitol. Some as a joke, of course, - the scenes were absurd and laughable - but others quite genuinely. And with a left wing which has shut businesses, openly engaged in racially divisive narratives and projects, and supported or bailed out rioters who burnt at least one major police station to the ground, set up autonomous zones, and hounded citizens into suicide; a left which is gaining handsomely from not condemning these actions, those with sympathies for the stormers of the Capitol are likely only to feel even more desperate than before.

I stopped believing in censorship many years ago when I discovered research which found that allowing extremists to speak and debate prevented violence. Hostage negotiators keep terrorists talking until they can either defuse a situation or go in. People often, as Jordan Peterson points out, only think by speaking to others. Allow them only to speak to the likeminded or not at all, via censorship, and you might find you have further radicalized people who could have been deradicalized by exposure to other views and debate.

It seems those who planned to take over the Trump rally today planted bombs in both Democrat and Republican headquarters. This is not a movement of the establishment on either side. Also, it is not Antifa. Antifa expert Andy Ngo confirms it isn't them, and that gent dressed as a shaman is a believer in the Q conspiracy theory, and held a sign saying Q sent him, at an Antifa rally a while back. He is also known to local journalists.

The groypers went mad on social media before the storming of the Capitol, and pictures of the event show Groyper brand merchandise among the rioters. The man dressed as a shaman or Viking, is a well known supporter of the Q conspiracy theory.

It looks like police shot and killed several of the people who overran the Capitol. Media are blaming protesters for bringing those who died out to storm the Capitol. The movement which emerged however is likely to see the deaths as murder (supporters of it on Twitter are already saying as much).

Antifa, meanwhile, is once again rioting in Portland, as Andy Ngo reports.

Social media have briefly suspended Donald Trump's accounts and that of his lawyer. This despite him telling the rioters to go home.

I hope this is just a flash in the pan, and that normalcy can return to the USA. But given the very different responses of the establishment to the left and the right when they are violent, the agenda of the soon to be USA government, and the very badly managed response to legitimate concerns about election transparency: that justice not only be done but be seen to be done ... I fear that Tim Pool's predictions may well be true, and America may begin to see the far left Antifa and far right become more active in years to come, and low scale civil conflict blight American cities.

There is a reason hostage negotiators talk to hostage takers. Keeping someone talking saves lives. Censorship not only hurts the censored but society at large. In 2016, I explained the victory of Donald Trump as the will of the id of the American people coming out. In 2020 he received more votes than Barack Obama or any prior USA President, only defeated by Joe Biden in that regard.

With lockdowns creating idle hands and an unemployed underclass, the rise of China and mega corporations, and a landscape of increased censorship, all while the USA has had years of low marriage rates, something known to correlate with bare branches uprisings in the East ... caution should accompany any optimism about the new year.

2021 may be a bumpy ride.

Wednesday 6 January 2021

Sin of the victim virtue

There are two sins our society treats as virtues, which will undo us.

1) Not taking care of our own affairs (and forcing strangers to).

2) Separating sex from its permanent unitive or reproductive elements.

A group of people entirely dependent on politicians forcing others to care for their basic needs, who are then given the vote, will elect politicians to take for them, not governors to govern for them. Some safety net is fine, and can do good, but that is not what we often see.

Separating sex from its unitive element, has seen some communities have generations where children grow up with no father, known to increase poverty, crime, and violence.

Separating sex from its reproductive element and boasting at how much wiser we are than the ancients, has lead to a plummet in birthrates, a collapse in the transfer of heritage from mother to child, and a society where the old sacrifice the young, instead of for the young.

Monday 4 January 2021

We are all descendants of Seth, not Cain.

 The details are important. 

I had wrongly believed we were all descendants of Cain, just as I once wrongly believed Noah brought two of each kind of animal on the ark, not the 7 of some he did, and just as I once wrongly believed Moses was asking Pharoah to free his people from slavery, when he was asking the King of Egypt to let them have a festival to worship God in the desert. The Bible also records all the Egyptians, except the Israelites, selling themselves into slavery to Pharoah, for food during the seven years of famine, according with the historic fact that the Egyptians were forced to work by Pharoah between planting and harvesting their crops. 

I think someone wrongly told me that, via Noah, we were all descended of Cain. But the bible actually details all of Cain's descendants being wiped out in the flood, along with all of Seth's descendants who intermingled with Cain's descendants and were corrupted by their seemingly sinful ways. 

Noah is a descendant of Seth, the child Adam and Eve had to replace Able, whom Cain murdered. We are all descendants of Seth, whom the bible deemed to have been holy and whose descendants were deemed Sons of God, versus Cain's who were deemed Daughters of Man. While fallen, and born with original sin, that of Adam and Eve's pride, we are truly descendants of a noble line, Seth's, not that of a murderer, Cain, whose entire line was wiped out in the flood.

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