Rumors

That was a special time: something new was afoot, something very unlike the tranquility of the past, and something very strange too, but which could be felt everywhere. Various rumors began to reach us. The facts were generally known, more or less, but it was obvious that apart from the facts there were certain ideas accompanying them, and, most importantly, a great number of them. But this is what was truly confusing: it proved utterly impossible to adapt to these ideas and find out exactly what they meant. [Fyodor Dostoevsky, Demons (1871)]
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Informação

A informação torna-nos míopes e ofegantes. É impossível determo-nos nela. A permanência contemplativa das coisas, o ver sem intenção, que seria uma fórmula de felicidade, recua ante a caça de informações. Hoje corremos atrás delas, sem alcançarmos saber. Tomamos conhecimento de tudo, sem chegarmos a conclusões. Viajamos para toda a parte sem adquirirmos experiência. Comunicamos ininterruptamente sem participarmos numa comunidade. Armazenamos grandes quantidades de dados sem perseguirmos recordações. Acumulamos amigos e seguidores sem nos encontrarmos uns com os outros. As informações desenvolvem assim uma forma de vida sem estabilidade e duração. [Byung-Chul Han, Não-Coisas (2022)]
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Group

A group is a collection of individuals, and the prejudices and shortcomings of individuals are likely to be found at group level too. However, groups often behave bullishly, reaching more polarized decisions than individuals. Irvin Janis has studied the rationality of group decision-making, using the Orwellian term “groupthink” to refer to poor group thinking. Janis identifies three aspects to groupthink: a tendency to overestimate the group, giving rise to the illusion of invulnerability; a lack of openmindedness in decision-making, disregarding additional (outside) information; a craving for uniformity, leading to self-censorship, with direct pressure being exerted on dissenters in the drive towards unanimity. [Cambridge University Press]

This is The Way White Man

Female Spanish thriller writer Carmen Mola revealed to be three men. When one of their books won the lucrative Planeta prize, the trio went public to pick up the cheque at a glitzy ceremony attended by the Spanish king. Agustín Martínez, Jorge Díaz and Antonio Mercero had published novels and worked as scriptwriters under their real names before coming together to write as Mola. Their lead character in the Carmen Mola novels is detective Elena Blanco, a “peculiar and solitary woman, who loves grappa, karaoke, classic cars and sex in SUVs”, according to publisher Penguin Random House. The men, all in their 40s and 50s, denied choosing a female pseudonym to help sell the books. They had previously claimed in interviews and on their own website that Mola was a professor in her late 40s, telling Spanish ABC newspaper three years ago that they needed anonymity to “protect a settled life that has nothing to do with literature”. Beatriz Gimeno, a feminist, writer, activist – and former head of one of Spain’s national equality bodies, the Women’s Institute – attacked the men for creating a female persona in their publicity for Carmen Mola books, over several years. “Quite apart from using a female pseudonym, these guys have spent years doing interviews. It’s not just the name – it’s the fake profile that they’ve used to take in readers and journalists. They are scammers,” she said on Twitter. Their agent’s website features a photo of a woman, looking away from the camera, on the author profile page. Last year, a regional branch of the Women’s Institute recommended one of Mola’s works as part of a selection of books by female authors that could “help us understand the reality and the experiences of women in different periods of history and contribute to raising awareness about rights and freedoms”. – https://web.archive.org/web/20211017051245/https://www.theguardian.com/books/2021/oct/16/female-spanish-thriller-writer-carmen-mola-revealed-to-be-three-men

Reforma Administrativa de Lisboa Norte

Neste artigo iremos discutir a reforma dos limites administrativos dos municípios de Lisboa, Oeiras, Amadora, Odivelas e Loures. A situação atual:

  1. Expansão do município de Lisboa: a fronteira do município de Lisboa seria alargada até à autoestrada CRIL \ IC17 \ A36 mais a zona de Sacavém entre a autoestrada A1 e rio Tejo e rio Trancão. Com esta atualização, Lisboa ganharia os seguintes bairros: Alfornelos (Amadora), Pontinha, Serra da Luz, Senhor Roubado, Olival Basto (Odivelas), Fetais, Prior Velho, Portela, Moscavide e Sacavém (Loures).
  2. Odivelas, nova freguesia de Loures: devido à perda de população e território de Loures e Odivelas devido ao ponto 1, Odivelas seria transformada de município em freguesia do município de Loures.
  3. Partição do município de Sintra em dois municípios, Sintra e Belas: o município atual de Sintra seria separado em dois, o de Sintra, com a vila histórica, praias atlânticas, zona rural, e o Belas, com a zona urbana da Linha de Sintra e alguma zona saloia. O novo munício de Sintra teria as freguesias de Sintra, Colares e São João das Lampas. O novo município terias as freguesias de Almargem do Bispo, Algueirão – Mem Martins, Rio de Mouro, Cacém, Mira-Sintra, Massamá, Queluz e Casal de Cambra.
  4. Alfragide, nova freguesia de Oeiras: a freguesia de Alfragide atualmente no município da Amadora seria transferida como está para o município de Oeiras.
  5. Amadora, nova freguesia de Belas: a Amadora seria transformada de município em freguesia do novo município de Belas, criado no ponto 3. Relembramos que devido ao ponto 4, a freguesia de Alfragide já estaria no município de Oeiras quando tal acontecesse.

Contrarian

A contrarian is a person who holds a contrary position, especially a position against the majority. In investing, a contrarian is an investor who buys shares of stock when most others are selling and sells when others are buying and usually is the successful investor who knows when to sell and when to buy since the most common trend one will identify in the stock market (or in any other platform of exchange) is that most people follow a herd mentality. There is a parallel to every other area of social interplay since contrarians reject to conform with social trends or instinctual responses to social triggers without thoroughly analyzing the factors that led to their ignition. “A contrarian isn’t one who always objects – that’s a conformist of a different sort. A contrarian reasons independently, from the ground up, and resists pressure to conform.” Naval @ Twitter

Et tu, Japan?

Naomi Osaka, who represents Japan, served as the final Olympic torchbearer for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, lighting the Olympic flame during the opening ceremony.

However, before I am an athlete, I am a black woman. And as a black woman, I feel as though there are much more important matters at hand that need immediate attention, rather than watching me play tennis. [Naomi Osaka (August 2020), Twitter]

Zero Tolerance

The idea of zero tolerance is also informed by risk aversion. It represents an attempt to abolish, administratively, the risks associated with the expression of an unwelcome idea or belief. Of course, in one sense, tolerance is risky. Once conventional restraints on belief, opinion and speech are removed it becomes difficult to predict the future course of public life. The freedom to speak and to pursue knowledge has a habit of going off in unexpected directions. [Frank Furedi (2018), How Fear Works: Culture of Fear in the Twenty-First Century]

Solstício do Inverno

A Quitéria, jovem de 18 anos que, por infelicidade, nasceu numa família católica e que, para maior desgraça, frequentou um colégio cristão, foi-se confessar ao Padre Zé.
– Senhor Padre Zé, pode-me confessar?
– Com certeza, Quitéria. Quando foi a última vez que o fizeste?
– Acho que foi antes do Natal.
– Queres dizer antes do solstício do inverno, não é? Como sabes, Advento, Natal, Quaresma e Páscoa, são designações cristãs autorreferenciais, que dividem os homens e ofendem os nossos irmãos muçulmanos, judeus, hindus, ateus e agnósticos. Por isso, o novo calendário litúrgico, em vez de utilizar denominações supremacistas e confessionais, usa as estações do ano, que são mais inclusivas, inter-religiosas e universais. E que pecados cometeste, desde então?
[P. Gonçalo Portocarrero de Almada (2021), Observador]

No Trace Of Individuality

[After Dark (2004), by Haruki Murakami]
The camera draws back slowly to convey an image of the entire room. Then it begins observing details in search of clues. This is by no means a highly decorated room. Neither is it a room that suggests the tastes or individuality of its occupant. Without detailed observation, it would be hard to tell that this was the room of a young girl. There are no dolls, stuffed animals, or other accessories to be seen. No posters or calendars. On the side facing the window, one old wooden desk and a swivel chair. The window itself is covered by a roll-down window blind. On the desk is a simple black lamp and a brand-new notebook computer (its top closed). A few ballpoint pens and pencils in a mug. By the wall stands a plain wood-framed single bed, and there sleeps Eri Asai. The bedclothes are solid white. On shelves attached to the opposite wall, a compact stereo and a small pile of CDs in their cases. Next to those, a phone. A dresser with mirror attached. The only things placed in front of the mirror are lip balm and a small, round hairbrush. On that wall is a walk-in closet. As the room’s only decorative touch, five photographs in small frames are lined up on a shelf, all of them photos of Eri Asai. She is alone in all of them. None show her with friends or family. There is a small bookcase, but it contains only a handful of books, mostly college textbooks. And a pile of large-size fashion magazines. It would be hard to conclude that she is a voracious reader. Honestly speaking, the information regarding Eri Asai that we can glean from the appearance of this room is far from abundant. It gives the impression that preparations have been made to hide her personality and cleverly elude observing eyes. Near the head of the bed a digital clock soundlessly and steadily renews its display of the time. We wait. We hold our breath and listen. The clock displays 0:00.

Cynical Theories

[review of Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity—and Why This Harms Everybody (2020), by Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay]
After Nazism, Communism, another very bad Western idea: applied postmodernism. Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay did a brilliant job describing, conceptualizing and structuring this new ideology that is taking over universities, businesses, politics, museums, media, tech and, ultimately, society. As far I am aware, this is the very first work that correctly conceptualizes what is happening right now, in the 202o’s West. A return to the primitive, the final deconstructing of the West, where the universal and the individual are rejected, and the tribe (specially, the race tribe) is elevated to the “de facto” sociological and existential unit. As the authors admit eventually, in the end, this is an attack on everything White, Male, Heterosexual. What the authors disappointingly fail to make, is the connection between the demographic transition happening now in the West, from white homogeneous nations to multiracial, multiethnic ones. Maybe this ideology is rising precisely because now there are many other ethnic groups competing for resources, wealth, power, prestige, in the same limit physical space of the old White ethnic tribes? Also, this book is brilliant at denouncing it, but it is also a testimony to why the fight against postmodern Critical Theories will ultimately fail: Helen and James spend several paragraphs explaining themselves, denouncing the “obvious oppression, racism, sexism” of modern western societies and complaining about the evil far-right. In other words, they are weak and feeble. Something that postmodernists are not. The Bolsheviks are getting closer to the palace.

Problematics

“Power is everywhere, not because it embraced everything, but because it comes from everywhere.” For Foucault, power is present on all levels of society because certain knowledges have been legitimized and accepted as true. This leads people to learn to speak in these discourses, which further reinforces them. Power works like this “not because it has the privilege of consolidating everything under its invincible unity, but because it is produced from one moment to the next, at every point, or rather in every relation from one point to another.” Thus Power is a system we’re all constantly participating in by how we talk about things and what ideas we’re willing to consider legitimate, a system into which we are socialized. This is a process of power but not, as the Marxist philosophers had claimed, one in which religious or secular authorities enforce an ideology on the common people like a weight, pressing down on the proletariat. For Foucault, power operated more like a grid, running through all layers of society and determining what people held to be true and, consequently, how they spoke about it. This view has gone on to become one of the core beliefs of applied postmodernism and Social Justice activism today: unjust power is everywhere, always, and it manifests in biases that are largely invisible because they have been internalized as “normal.” Consequently, speech is to be closely scrutinized to discover which discourses it is perpetuating, under the presumption that racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, or other latent prejudices must be present in the discourses and thus endemic to the society that produces them.  These “problematics” need to be identified and exposed, whether they manifest in a president’s address or in the decade-old adolescent tweet history of a relative nobody. The widespread slang term “woke” describes having become aware of and more able to set these “problematics”. [Helen Pluckrose & James Lindsay (2020), Cynical Theories]

Satan

Never did We send a messenger or a prophet before thee, but, when he framed a desire, Satan threw some (vanity) into his desire: but Allah will cancel anything (vain) that Satan throws in, and Allah will confirm (and establish) His Signs: for Allah is full of Knowledge and Wisdom. (Quran 22:52)

That He may make the suggestions thrown in by Satan, but a trial for those in whose hearts is a disease and who are hardened of heart: verily the wrong-doers are in a schism far (from the Truth). (Quran 22:53)

The S Curve

As far as its neighbors are concerned, a neuron can only be in one of two states: firing or not firing. This misses an important subtlety, however. A typical neuron spikes occasionally in the absence of stimulation, spikes more and more frequently as stimulation builds up, and saturates at the fastest spiking rate it can muster, beyond which increased stimulation has no effect. Rather than a logic gate, a neuron is more like a voltage-to-frequency converter. The curve of frequency as a function of voltage looks like an elongated S and it is variously known as the logistic, sigmoid, or S curve. Peruse it closely, because it’s the most important curve in the world. At first the output increases slowly with the input, so slowly it seems constant. Then it starts to change faster, then very fast, then slower and slower until it becomes almost constant again. The transfer curve of a transistor, which relates its input and output voltages, is also an S curve. So both computers and the brain are filled with S curves. But it doesn’t end there. The S curve is the shape of phase transitions of all kinds: the probability of an electron flipping its spin as a function of the applied field, the magnetization of iron, an ion channel opening in a cell, water evaporating, the inflationary expansion of the early universe, the spread of new technologies, white flight from multiethnic neighborhoods, epidemics, revolutions, and much more. The Tipping Point could equally well (if less appealingly) be entitled The S Curve. Joseph Schumpeter said that the economy evolves by cracks and leaps: S curves are the shape of creative destruction. The effect of financial gains and losses on your happiness follows an S curve, so don’t sweat the big stuff. In Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, when Mike Campbell is asked how he went bankrupt, he replies, “Two ways. Gradually and then suddenly.” That’s the essence of an S curve.

The S curve is not just important as a model in its own right; it’s also the jack-of-all-trades of mathematics. If you zoom in on its midsection, it approximates a straight line. Many phenomena we think of as linear are in fact S curves, because nothing can grow without limit. Because of relativity, and contra Newton, acceleration does not increase linearly with force, but follows an S curve centered at zero. If you zoom out from an S curve, it approximates a step function, with the output suddenly changing from zero to one at the threshold. So depending on the input voltages, the same curve represents the workings of a transistor in both digital computers and analog devices like amplifiers and radio tuners. The early part of an S curve is effectively an exponential, and near the saturation point it approximates exponential decay. When someone talks about exponential growth, ask yourself: How soon will it turn into an S curve? When will the population bomb peter out, Moore’s law lose steam, or the singularity fail to happen? Differentiate an S curve and you get a bell curve: slow, fast, slow becomes low, high, low. Add a succession of staggered upward and downward S curves, and you get something close to a sine wave. Children’s learning is not a steady improvement but an accumulation of S curves. So is technological change.

The Master Algorithm (2015) by Pedro Domingos

Motivational Triad

The primary purpose of your brain is to keep you alive. Our brains focus on 3 simple motivations to increase our odds of survival: avoid pain, seek pleasure and conserve energy. This is the motivational triad. You will always be motivated to do something that won’t hurt you, feels good, and is easy. This is how we humans survived back in the day. We were motivated to hunt, have sex and seek warm shelter by our desire for pleasure. We stayed alert to avoid danger. We didn’t go jogging just for the sport of it. We conserved our energy.

Powers of Ten

Powers of Ten (1977) takes us on an adventure in magnitudes. Starting at a picnic by the lakeside in Chicago, this famous film transports us to the outer edges of the universe. Every ten seconds we view the starting point from ten times farther out until our own galaxy is visible only as a speck of light among many others. Returning to Earth with breathtaking speed, we move inward- into the hand of the sleeping picnicker- with ten times more magnification every ten seconds. Our journey ends inside a proton of a carbon atom within a DNA molecule in a white blood cell.

In Motion

Angeles set in motion the sphere of fixed stars, which in turn drives all the other spheres. [France, 14th century]

A Lifestyle Brand

Has anyone written a good essay about the whole “I believe in science and trust the scientists” phenomenon which is more a lifestyle brand than an actual belief in the scientific method, which is a process, not a set of facts handed down like the Bible? Like the way science actually operates, you’re constantly trying to disprove the things we think we know. It’s not like there’s an authority and you listen to them because they’ve been handed religious truth. Scientists know this but I think at least a portion of them have enjoyed the politicization of the field and won’t point this out to the followers of the lifestyle brand version. – https://mobile.twitter.com/ZaidJilani/status/1340364878897438720
The development of science relies on an open-ended orientation towards experimentation and the testing of ideas. Science is an inherently skeptical enterprise and its findings are provisional, open to reinterpretation. That’s the theory. But in public controversies over policy and related matters, science often comes across as a moralizing project. Many have adopted a defensive version of science that constantly targets doubts and uncertainties and their moralized interpretation of science is one where findings have a fixed, unyielding and unquestionable quality. Frequently, they prefix the term science with a definite article, using “The Science” to assert claims about a variety of threats. Statements like “The Science says” serve as the twenty-first-century equivalent of the exhortation “God said”. Unlike science, the term “The Science” serves a moralistic and political project. The constant refrain of “Scientists Tell Us” serves as a prelude for a lecture on what threat to fear. This leads to a defensive posture where scientists are reluctant to entertain the possibility that they might be wrong and that their critics might have a point. Sadly, a science that cannot work with the assumption that it might be wrong has more in common with a religious dogma than with open-ended experimentation. Such moralization of the imperative of fear has important implications for the conduct of public life. By representing skepticism and criticism as a threat that deserves to be feared, disciples of “The Science” set in motion a cultural dynamic that is inherently hostile to the free and open exchange of views. [Frank Furedi (2018), How Fear Works: Culture of Fear in the Twenty-First Century]

The Lebenswelt

Cognitive dualism is puzzling, for it seems to be both affirming and denying the unity of reality, both affirming and denying that we human being are part of the natural order. Yet we can without contradiction accept  it, provided we recognize the explanatory priority of science. To describe the “order of nature” in terms of some complete and unified science is to give a systematic answer to the question “what exists?” But the world can be known in another way. The world known in this other way will be an “emergent” world, represented in the cognitive apparatus of the perceiver, but emerging from the physical reality, as the face emerges from the pigments on the canvas, or the melody from the sequence of pitched sounds. The relation of emergence is nonsymmetrical. The order of nature does not emerge from the Lebenswelt; its existence is presupposed by the Lebenswelt, but not vice versa.
Someone who wished to design a machine capable of delivering a Beethoven’s concerto to the ear would be helped by an analysis of the pitches and their duration. He could transcribe this analysis into a suitable digital notation and use the result to program a device capable of producing pitched sounds in sequence. The reductivist would argue that therefore the music is nothing but the sequence of pitched sounds, since if you reproduce the sequence, you reproduce the music. Sure, the music depends upon, is emergent from, the sequence of sounds. The sounds are “ontologically prior.” But to hear the music it is not enough to notice the sounds. Music is inaudible, except to those with the cognitive capacity to hear movement in musical space, orientation, tension and release, the gravitational force of the bass notes, and so on. Music is certainly part of the real world. But it is perceivable only to those who are able to conceptualize and respond to sound in ways that have no part to play in the physical science of acoustics. Again we have a useful parallel in the study of pictures. There is no way in which we could, by peering hard at the face in Botticelli’s Venus, recuperate a chemical breakdown of the pigments used to compose it. Of course, if we peer hard at the canvas and the substances smeared on it, we can reach an understanding of its chemistry. But then we are not peering at the face – not even seeing it.
I don’t want to say that I am something other than this biological organism that stands before you. This here thing is what I am. Through cognitive dualism we can grasp the idea that there can be one reality, which is understood in more than one way. In describing a sequence of sounds as a melody, I am situating the sequence in the human world: the world of our responses, intentions, and self-knowledge. I am lifting the sounds out of the physical realm, and repositioning them in the Lebenswelt, which is a world of freedom, reason and interpersonal being. But I am not describing something other than the sounds, or implying that there is something hiding behind the sounds, some inner “self” or essence that reveals itself to itself in some way inaccessible to me. I am describing what I hear in the sounds, when I respond to them as music. I situate the human organism in the Lebenswelt; and in doing so I use another language, and with other intentions, than those that apply in the biological sciences.
[The Soul of the World (2014), Roger Scruton]

Seeds of Genocide

The first step to eliminate an ethnic group, or population, is to deny that population medical treatment. In the US, several public institutions are calling for the new Coronavirus vaccine being administrate first to non-White people because White people don’t deserve it:

Harald Schmidt, an expert in ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania, said that it is reasonable to put essential workers ahead of older adults, given their risks, and that they are disproportionately minorities. “Older populations are whiter, ” Dr. Schmidt said. “Society is structured in a way that enables them to live longer. Instead of giving additional health benefits to those who already had more of them, we can start to level the playing field a bit.” [NYT]

The message is clear, White people can be sacrificed and killed in a state sponsored racial, and racist, policy.

The Cambrian Explosion

The Cambrian Explosion refers to the sudden appearance in the fossil record of complex animals with mineralized skeletal remains. It may represent the most important evolutionary event in the history of life on Earth. The beginning of the explosion is generally placed about 542 million years ago, during the Cambrian Period at the start of the Palaeozoic Era. While the explosion was rapid in geological terms, it took place over millions of years – the Burgess Shale, at 505 million years old, records the tail end of the event. The explosion is particularly remarkable because all major animal body plans  appeared during this time, changing the biosphere forever. The rapid appearance of a wide variety of animals led to the development of radical new ecological interactions such as predation. Consequently, ecosystems became much more complex. The fundamental ecological structure of modern marine communities was firmly established during the Cambrian. By the end of the Period, some animals had also made the first temporary forays onto land, soon to be followed by plants. When he published On the Origin of Species in 1859, Charles Darwin puzzled over the apparently sudden appearance of complicated organisms in the fossil record at the beginning of the Cambrian Period. He noted this could be used as an argument against his controversial new theory, which predicted a more gradual appearance of simpler organisms. At the time, Darwin pointed to the imperfection of the fossil record as his only defence, arguing complex animal life must have lived long before the Cambrian, but traces of that life had not yet been found. The presence of large, soft-bodied, putative animals (problematic as they may be) in Ediacaran seas does indeed make the “explosion” appear less abrupt. But the fact remains that the Early Cambrian was a time of major change in marine animal communities and environments, with the rapid and unprecedented advent of disparate new body plans and novel ecological niches. – https://burgess-shale.rom.on.ca/en/science/origin/04-cambrian-explosion.php

A República de Veneza, e Portugal

Em Portugal, em 2019, 93,4% das mulheres e 97,6% dos homens do escalão etário dos 18 aos 29 anos não tinham filhos. INE

A República de Veneza foi um Estado no nordeste da península Itálica, com capital na cidade de Veneza, que existiu do século XVII  (697) ao século XVIII (1797). Começou como região na esfera de domínio do império Bizantino, juntado povos descendentes do antigo império romano e das invasões germânicas. Ao ganhar independência do império Bizantino, floresce com o comércio marítimo e adquire colónias pelo Mediterrâneo Oriental. Com a queda de Constantinopla para os turcos Otomanos, no século XIV, e o início das navegações portuguesas e espanholas, o comércio da Europa com o Oriente através do mar Mediterrâneo entrou em decadência, e consigo, a República de Veneza. Chegou ao fim ao ser invadida por Napoleão Bonaparte, que a cede ao Império Austríaco. O Reino e agora República de Portugal segue a trajetória da antiga República de Veneza.

The Middle Children of History

I see all this potential, and I see it squandered. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables, slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history. No purpose or place. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars, but we won’t. We’re slowly learning that fact. [Fight Club (1999), Directed by David Fincher]

The Man Who Sold The World

Lyndon B. Johnson. Lyndon Baines Johnson (August 27, 1908 – January 22, 1973), served as the 36th president of the United States from 1963 to 1969. A Democrat from Texas, he assumed the presidency following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In 1964, he announced his plans for what he called “the Great Society,” a sweeping set of programs that marked the biggest expansion of the federal government ever and changed the face of the US forever. He effectively cut the US from its European, Christian, Greco-Roman,  White, Enlightenment, Anglo foundations. And with it, dragged Old Europe and the Western civilization to the abyss with him.

With his “Great Society” legislation, Johnson declared war on poverty, jacked up federal spending on education, and pushed massive new entitlement programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, which promised to deliver high-quality, low-cost health care to the nation’s elderly and poor. With the Office of Economic Opportunity and the Economic Opportunity Act, he hoped to help hundreds of thousands of men and women break the poverty cycle by helping them develop job skills, further their education and find work. With the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act, he declared that “the arts and humanities belong to all the people of the United States” and the law established endowments for the study of humanities and fund and support cultural organizations such as museums, libraries, public television, public radio and public archives. The Housing and Urban Development Act provided federal funds to cities for urban renewal and development and easier access to home mortgages and a rent-subsidy program for Americans who qualified for public housing. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act guaranteed federal funding for education in school districts whose student majority was low-income. It also funded preschool programs, supported school libraries, purchased school textbooks and provided special education services. With all this, Johnson turned the US toward social democracy and in the path to socialism. Marxist ideologues at universities had now the funds, and the people, needed to indoctrinate and infiltrate in the following years all institutions, public and private.
But his most damaging legislative act was the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. At the time, immigration was based on the national-origins quota system in place since the 1920s, under which each nationality was assigned a quota based on its representation in past U.S. census figures. The civil rights movement’s focus on equal treatment regardless of race or nationality led many to view the quota system as backward and discriminatory. During Congressional debates, a number of experts testified that little would effectively change under the reformed legislation, and it was seen more as a matter of principle to have a more open policy. Indeed, on signing the act into law in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson stated that the act “is not a revolutionary bill. It does not affect the lives of millions. It will not reshape the structure of our daily lives or add importantly to either our wealth or our power.” In reality, the passage of this legislation completely changed the face of America. It opened the doors to people from all nations, prohibiting discrimination based on national origin, abolishing the earlier quota system based on national origin. Immigrants from Asia and Africa now had the same chances to immigrate to the U.S. as immigrants from Western Europe. Since then, the nation’s foreign-born population has grown from 9.6 million in 1965 to 45 million in 2015, with about half coming from Latin America and a quarter from Asia. As a direct result, the US’s population was one-third minority in 2009, and is on track for a non-White majority by 2042.
When Republican Richard Nixon succeeded Johnson, as president after the 1968 election, he continued and even expanded many of the Great Society programs despite being from a different political party. The destiny of the US was sealed.

Biden, The Kneeler

Trump was the last sparkler of White America. And maybe, of the White World. He is a bafoon that believes in the homo economicus above everything: all is solved through the economy, salaries and purchase power. He has no notions of ethnicity, culture and tribe. But nevertheless, he was the last hope of White America, the last hope of holding up to power, dignity, resources and, ultimately, survival. And by White America, I mean half of White America. There is a split in the ethnicity, between those committing mass suicide, and voted Biden, and those trying to survive, and voted Trump. I don’t consider the first ones as part of the White world, but instead of the citizens of the world cult.
The anti-White Woke establishment empowered by Obama and embodied by Hillary Clinton was caught off guard in 2016, but not in 2020. There has never been an election in any truly democratic country in which the liberal establishment (also known as the Globalist Left) has been so viciously, relentlessly opposed to one of the candidates and vilified him at every possible moment for four years. Every day, every hour, for four long years. It is not simply that Donald Trump received the endorsement from not a single top-dollar US newspaper. Nor that the supposedly neutral CNN just like the BBC was wildly antipathetic to the Republican cause. Trump also had to put up with social media waging war against him, Twitter pulling his comments because it considered them unfactual (never happened before) and Facebook removing whole posts from Trump supporters because, of course, they went against their community standards. Given the undisguised and continual hostility from the liberal establishment in the media, Big Media, and on social media, Big Tech, the average White US voter must have wondered: do I really have any choice? Everybody hates this man. It became in the end no choice at all.

The Biden office begun with the Obama presidency, as his vice president. Obama wasn’t a post-racial president, he was a post-White one. Indeed, the first Black president. In a 2009 skit from The Daily Show, John Stewart opened the skit by announcing that “President Obama was elected on a message of change. But is that change good for everyone?” Light-skinned Black Larry Wilmore adopted the role of reporter, introducing one set of Americans at risk: “There is one group of Americans who are now facing the biggest challenge in their history: White people.” This “once proud race” faces dispossession at the hands of Blacks, Asians “and most rapidly, Latinos” (the transition being represented in the skit by White minivans being replaced by Black cars, Asian motorcycles and low-rider Mexican American cars). In a faux-serious interview, Wilmore faces a group of eight White children and tries to make them understand that their future is bleak. The children are not only in denial about their prospects, they positively welcome the coming change. Again, some Whites do see and acknowledge this war on Whites. For example, American Renaissance ran a good article about a woman who experienced this through raising her son. In Motherhood Changed the Way I See Race she wrote: Over the past 20 years I have raised the most reviled creature on the planet — a healthy white male, my son. It was only after he was born that I began to fully notice the relentless propaganda of the mainstream media, and how it promotes miscegenation and presents men like my son as bumbling weak fools. I saw how our people’s history is appropriated and manipulated in arts and entertainment, and how our nation’s heroes are twisted and discredited — their monuments torn down and replaced. I’ve shopped for children’s books and been unable to find one with a protagonist who was a positive example of a white male. I’ve filled out countless college and scholarship applications only to find that opportunities for white males are reduced or blocked entirely — regardless of his good grades and impressive test scores. Each one of these things, combined with my experiences at work, pushed me toward the truth about which race is truly disenfranchised and oppressed in our country. It was a realization that fully awoke the protective mothering instincts inside me. [Edmund Connelly (2020)]
In his 2020 memoirs, The Promised Land, Barack Obama directly ties Trump’s victory to racism, something he says had been “lurking on the edges of the modern Republican Party” for some time. “It was as if my very presence in the White House had triggered a deep-seated panic, a sense that the natural order had been disrupted. For millions of Americans spooked by a Black man in the White House, he promised an elixir for their racial anxiety,” writes Obama. But he went even further during the promotion his book, this time clearly putting out in the open his distaste and racism against white males at a radio show: “The question is though that you still had seventy million people voting for a government that I would say objectively has failed miserably in handling just basic looking after the American people and keeping them safe. Why is that? Well, part of it is because it turns out politics is not just about policies. It’s about the stories that are being told. The story that they are hearing from Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and in some cases inside their churches. You’ve seen created in Republican politics this sense that white males are victims, they are the ones who are like under attack. Which obviously doesn’t jive with both history and data and economics. That’s a sincere belief. That’s a story that is being told. How you unwind, that is something that is not going to be done right away. It’s going to take some time.” Obama failed to explain how decades of quotas, affirmative action and “diversity” that discriminated, and discriminate, against white males and deny them jobs, education and social support, doesn’t make them indeed, victims of the US State.
But what can we expect from a Biden presidency? Biden has given us all the signs that he’s going to implement the Critical Social Justice bureaucratic totalitarianism. He is using the language of the ideology, like saying he has a “mandate” from the voters to take on “systemic racism,” and tapping individuals like Mehrsa Baradaran (who believes in full reparations) for the Treasury Department and Margaret Salazar (whose focus is on “cultural responsiveness”) for Housing and Urban Development. These come among roughly 500 more appointments to his administrative bureaucracy who allegedly express a commitment to racial justice, in line with precisely the racial equity programs touted by Biden and Harris on their campaign and now transition websites. What can we expect from these administrators under Biden? Equity. Equity is intended to be brought into roughly every sector of the federal government, from education to jobs to banking to climate policy to public health—which will, itself, be used as a rather potent lever against the people. Equity is the adjustment of shares of resources in a society so as to make people or groups of people equal when certain disparities of outcomes exist. Equity is both the measuring stick and functional opposite of “systemic racism,” which is to say that which Critical Race Theory believes is the cause of all racial disparities that do not favor blacks, some Latinos (but not others), and members of other non-white races (under certain conditions). In addition to skewing policy so that equity is a priority—indeed, Biden’s campaign website said that it will be achieved, which, in practice, will imply racial quotas, skewed admissions using diversity statements and other means, and other forms of redistribution of opportunities and resources, like preferential jobs investments into certain races but not others. [James Lindsay (2020)]
So against this joint front of Deep State, Big Tech, Big Media, Big Money, there wasn’t much Trump could do even if he wanted to. And there isn’t much White America can do. The following years will beginning the cycle of desperation, economic hardship, cultural eclipse, social repression: the ones not lost to suicide, drugs, alcohol, will be lost to existential depression and to the Uncle Tom syndrome, a desperate attempt to join the new civilization playing the servile role expected of a White person. In the post-White civilization, like the Jews in Medieval Europe, the strongest of the Whites will have to go underground, create their communities and survive. Maybe in a few decades, a new dawn will rise. A White dawn.

The IQ Problem

Jobs for people with IQs of less than 85 are very, very rare. So what the hell are those people supposed to do? It’s 15 percent of the population! Well, we better figure it out because one of the things that’s happening is that as the high IQ tech geeks get a hold of the world, the demand for cognitive power is increasing, not decreasing. It’s a problem that has to be dealt with. [Jordan Peterson – 2017 Personality 18: Biology & Traits: Openness/Intelligence/Creativity I]

Security Layers

First, the bad news. You can’t do anything about the top layer. The secret services, spy agencies, Deep State, will always know everything about you. They have access to the databases, to the hardware unique identifiers, to the network operators metadata, to the cloud data centers, to the on premises servers backdoors… So they can cross all the data and catch you. And if you are really threatening them or their interests, they will just bomb your house with a drone and blame it on a domestic gas explosion. This is where our Big Money overlords rule and you can’t escape their power.

Now, the good news. You can do something about the two bottom layers. You must have digital hygiene, discipline and be proactive to achieve it though. First, imagine if a cop or border agent stops you and asks for your phone, unlocked. You can always refuse of course but through violence, and even torture, they can indeed get the accesses they want from you. So you mustn’t have any application or data in your phone that compromises you. Always prefer the web mobile pages and not the applications. If you have an email, archive the important emails in an offline storage, delete the others and always have only the absolutely essential emails that you need. The same thing for your photos or digital documents. If you have accounts in Big Tech like Twitter or Facebook, always have an official account, connected to your personal email and phone, but where you keep it to the bare minimum. Consider it your fake “good boy” persona. Open different accounts with different alias, using random phone numbers that you bought only for this purpose, where you join political and other groups, and leave your opinions. This accounts are disposable and you should regularly open new ones and forget about the old ones.

In a Age where Big Media and Big Tech in the Western world impose a political and social ideology, you have to be extra careful if you don’t follow their mantras. Even you if don’t bring your phone in your travels or when you go out take a coffee, don’t forget that the Justice system of your country can demand your information from Big Tech anytime, and without any justification. The fight against terrorism or “hate speech” have created many loopholes. So, also change regularly your official accounts, change your email, change your phone and delete the accounts. When you delete a Google account you aren’t only deleting the data but also your shadow, the AI algorithm that Google and others created to ask and receive questions about you. Everything about you.

The Critical Race Theory Framework

  • Normal racism – Dehumanize, attack or discriminate against an ethnic group or individuals because they are of a specific race.
  • Antisemitism – Dehumanize, attack or discriminate against Jewish people’s or individuals because they have too much privilege, power or wealth.
  • Critical Race Theory – Dehumanize, attack or discriminate against White, and other “White adjacent”, people’s or individuals because they have too much privilege, power or wealth.

A Carpet of Sound

In almost every public place today the ears are assailed by the sound of pop music. In shopping malls, public houses, restaurants, hotels and elevators the ambient sound is not human conversation but the music disgorged into the air by speakers – usually invisible and inaccessible speakers that cannot be punished for their impertinence. For the most part, the prevailing music is of an astounding banality – it is there in order not to be really there. It is a background to the business of consuming things, a surrounding nothingness on which we scribble the graffiti of our desires. Whole areas of civic space in our society are now policed by this sound, which drives anybody with the slightest feeling for music to distraction, and ensures that for many of us a visit to the pub or a meal in a restaurant have lost their residual meaning. These are no longer social events, but experiments in endurance, as you shout at each other over the deadly noise. There are two reasons why this vacuous music has flown into every public space. One is the vast change in the human ear brought about by the mass production of sound. The other is the failure of the law to protect us from the result. For our ancestors music was something that you sat down to listen to, or which you made for yourself. It was a ceremonial event, in which you participated, either as a passive listener or as an active performer. With the advent of the gramophone, the radio and now the iPod, music is no longer something that you must make for yourself, nor is it something that you sit down to listen to. It follows you about wherever you go, and you switch it on as a background. It is not so much listened to as overheard. The banal melodies and mechanical rhythms, the stock harmonies recycled in song after song, these things signify the eclipse of the musical ear. For many people music is no longer a language shaped by our deepest feelings, no longer a place of refuge from the tawdriness and distraction of everyday life, no longer an art in which gripping ideas are followed to their distant conclusions. It is simply a carpet of sound, designed to bring all thought and feeling down to its own level lest something serious might be felt or said. And there is no law against it. You are rightly prevented from polluting the air of a restaurant with smoke; but nothing prevents the owner from inflicting this far worse pollution on his customers – pollution that poisons not the body but the soul. Background music is the default position. It is no longer silence to which we return when we cease to speak, but the empty chatter of the music-box. Silence must be excluded at all cost, since it awakens you to the emptiness that looms on the edge of modern life, threatening to confront you with the dreadful truth, that you have nothing whatever to say. [A Point of View: Why it’s time to turn the music off by Roger Scruton (2015)]

The European Mental Framework

Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs (2017)

Europeans and Westerners were not prepared for a world increasingly influenced by ideas and ideologies that originated in traditionalist non-Western cultures. Supposedly such cultures would already be modern and secular like the West, if the prophecy of the universal progress of humanity had been fully fulfilled. The European mental framework has already been overcome by reality, but its intellectual persistence is a huge obstacle to understanding the trends that are emerging in the contemporary world. Nowadays it is easy to see that the democratic and pluralist legal-constitutional edifice that was created in Europe was not thinking, nor was it prepared, to face a cultural-social and religious-political contest arising from non-Western ideas and ideologies. The Islamic attacks in recent weeks in France, which targeted both the teacher of a secular republican school (on the outskirts of Paris), and the sacristan and the faithful of a church (in Nice), leave no doubt about the frontal collision route between Islam and the French Republic. The terrain is particularly favorable to Islamists. On the one hand, they exploit the poor knowledge of what is not European and Western, as well as the guilt complexes in Europe due to the recent colonial past, whose wounds have not yet ended. On the other hand, they take advantage of the enormous demographic dynamism and youth of the people from the southern Mediterranean and other parts of the Islamic world. We do not know whether current generations of Europeans, out of indifference, neglect or misperception, will be willing to wage the long cultural, social and political struggles necessary to preserve what has been achieved at the cost of enormous sacrifices and loss of life in the past. (José Pedro Teixeira Fernandes, 2020)

Egyptian President Gamal Adbel Nasser (1966)

Lugares

Os rituais são actos simbólicos. Transmitem e representam os valores e os regimes que tornam coesa uma comunidade. Geram uma comunidade sem comunicação, enquanto o que predomina hoje, é uma comunicação sem comunidade. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry descreve os rituais como técnicas temporais de instalação num lugar: “Os ritos são no tempo o que a morada é no espaço. Pois é bom que o tempo que transcorre não nos dê a sensação de que nos gasta e nos perde, como ao punhado de areia, mas nos realiza. É bom que o tempo seja uma construção. Assim vou de festa em festa de aniversário em aniversário, de vindima em vindima. Ao tempo falta hoje a estrutura sólida. Não é uma casa, mas um fluxo inconsistente. Esvai-se na mera sucessão dum presente pontual. Esfuma-se. Nada o detém. O tempo que foge não é habitável. [Byung-Chul Han (2019), Do Desaparecimento dos Rituais]

Samuel Paty died. For what?

French president Emmanuel Macron paid his respects at the coffin of History teacher Samuel Paty, who was beheaded for having shown cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a civics class discussion on free speech at the junior high school where he taught in the suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, near Paris. He was killed on his way home from work after school by  Abdullakh Anzorov, who published an image of the teacher’s severed head on Twitter before he was himself shot dead by police. The president said Paty was slain “because he incarnated the French Republic.” Macron gave the country’s highest civilian award, the Legion of Honour, to Samuel Paty.

Samuel Paty is a martyr. A martyr of the secular French Republic. He died because he believed in his country and civilization. A civilization that is disappearing. What Samuel Pathy didn’t understand is that France is becoming an Islamic nation, with Islamic peoples and Islamic ethos. His mistake will be repeated by many men and women from the West in the coming years. They will fight and maybe even die for a Civilization that is rotting and dying. The White, Christian, Secular, Enlighten West is finished. The old Civilizations from Asia, Africa and Middle East are taking over Western Europe, the US, Canada, Australia… Samuel Paty didn’t understand this fate and heroically died for his France, a France that no longer exists.

Trajectory

How it starts…
The British countryside is racist according to Ellie Harrison, a White presenter on the BBC show Countryfile. She said that ethnic minority people do face discrimination in the countryside, and there is “work to do”. The presenter also said she felt she needed to change her behaviour in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, doing more to confront racism instead of simply listening to people of colour. The Campaign to Protect Rural England has also vowed to remove barriers to the countryside for non-white people.
How it ends…
South African president Cyril Ramaphosa has insisted that farm murders are not “ethnic cleansing” after a grisly torture-murder in Free State led to ‘Boer Lives Matter’ protesters marching on a courthouse to get at the suspects. “The claim that violent crime on farms is part of an orchestrated campaign by blacks to drive white farmers off their land is simply not borne out by fact,” claimed the president, who is himself pursuing a policy of land grabs against landowners. Hundreds of white farmers had marched on rural Senekal magistrates’ court as two Black suspects appeared to face charges for the murder of 21-year-old White farm manager Brendin Horner. Horner had been found strung up on a pole by his neck, having been beaten, stabbed repeatedly, and apparently tortured.

Deixe o Barro Secar

Certa vez, uma menina recebeu um brinquedo novo no dia do seu aniversário. Na manhã seguinte, uma amiga foi até a sua casa para brincar. Mas a menina não podia ficar com a amiga, pois tinha que sair com a mãe. A amiga pediu que a menina a deixasse ficar a brincar com seu brinquedo novo até que ela voltasse. Ela assim o fez. No entanto, quando voltou a casa, a amiga já não estava lá e o brinquedo estava partido! Ela ficou furiosa e quis ir à casa da amiga pedir explicações! Mas a mãe ponderou: “Lembras-te quando o teu sapato ficou sujo com lama? Querias o limpar imediatamente, mas a tua avó não deixou. Ela avisou para primeiro deixar o barro secar pois  depois ficaria mais fácil limpar. Ora, com a raiva é a mesma coisa. Deixe primeiro a raiva secar, depois resolva a situação.” Mais tarde a campainha tocou: era a amiga, que pediu desculpa e tinha comprado um brinquedo novo para oferecer. A menina agradeceu e respondeu: Não faz mal, a minha raiva já secou!

Portugal Demasiado Branco

Nos últimos anos tem-se dito que o “Great Replacement” era uma teoria da conspiração da extrema direita europeia e norte-americana. A população Branca na Europa e EUA não estava a ser substituída e que na harmoniosa sociedade multirracial e multiétnica tudo corria bem. Mas agora, em 2020, a RTP, televisão pública de Portugal, vem dizer que os seus canais “são excessivamente brancos” e “neles não encontramos reflexo da variedade de cores e origens que atualmente caracterizam a população portuguesa”.

Também o jornal Público, um dos jornais com mais tiragem e acessos online em Portugal, no dia 21 de Fevereiro de 2020 avançou com um “estágio profissional para promover diversidade nos media.” [Fonte] E qual é a definição de “diversidade” para o Público? Retirado do seu anúncio: “Serão valorizados os candidatos que tenham experiência, vivência e/ou conhecimento profundo de minorias étnicas em Portugal.” É considerado um Branco na Linha de Sintra como minoria étnica? Mais à frente o Público deixa bem claras as suas intenções: “Com vista a corrigir desigualdades, guiamo-nos pelo Plano Estratégico para as Migrações, que visa o reforço de medidas de promoção da integração e inclusão de cidadãos descendentes de imigrantes e dos que acederam à nacionalidade portuguesa, e pela Estratégia Nacional para a Integração das Comunidades Ciganas, que visa incentivar a participação das comunidades ciganas no mercado de trabalho, através do desenvolvimento de competências. Seguimos também as indicações da diretiva europeia denominada “Raça” (2000/43), que aplica o princípio da igualdade de tratamento entre as pessoas sem distinção de origem racial ou étnica.”
E também na Polícia de Segurança Pública, na figura do superintendente chefe Pedro Clemente, que comanda a Inspeção Nacional da PSP, ficam as palavras deixadas ao Diário de Notícias: “A perceção que temos é que o recrutamento na polícia ainda não é suficientemente representativo da diversidade étnica da sociedade. Uma polícia etnicamente diversificada é mais tolerante.” Com estas palavras ataca os polícias Brancos aos considerar incapazes de serem tolerantes com outras etnias, sendo racistas “por defeito”. E acrescenta: “vem em linha com aquela que é a área de intervenção da polícia, os grandes centros urbanos. Com este recrutamento diversificado, quem vem para a PSP pode conhecer melhor as suas zonas de ação, não estão desenraizados, têm até uma rede de apoio familiar e sabem melhor como comunicar com a população das áreas para onde vão trabalhar.” Ou seja, a sociedade portuguesa encontra-se balcanizada, uma espécie de Líbano do Atlântico, onde portugueses de etnias diferentes já têm dificuldades em “comunicar” com portugueses de outra etnia dentro de Portugal. O que o superintendente nunca assume diretamente, é que a PSP vai discriminar racialmente nos seus processos de recrutamento os candidatos Brancos, pois se contrata não-Brancos propositadamente, também propositadamente essas mesmas vagas não estão a ser disponibilizadas para candidatos Brancos.
Não existem dúvidas quanto ao Racismo Institucional implementado pelo Público, RTP e PSP nestas posições assumidas, ambos irão discriminar contra Brancos nas oportunidades profissionais e na cobertura jornalística, cultural e social que fazem nos próximos anos. Mas convém referir que do ponto de vista comercial e institucional, estas posições fazem sentido. A população portuguesa está de facto mais Africana, Mulata e, em parte, Asiática. E de facto, estas etnias querem-se rever na sua televisão pública, a RTP, e nos jornais nas bancas, como o Público. Portugal, de país homogéneo Branco em 1974, tornou-se um caleidoscópio de etnias, que agora querem o seu lugar no Poder e Riqueza. Os efeitos da substituição populacional começam agora a fazer-se sentir. O que a população Branca Portuguesa ainda não interiorizou, é que é uma etnia entre muitas em Portugal e não mais a dominante, posição que abdicou voluntariamente. E que a RTP e Público irão a discriminar no acesso a empregos, cobertura mediática, séries televisivas, programas culturais… Porque para existir espaço “para o outro”, o “Branco” terá que ser discriminado. E isso é Racismo Institucional. 2020 marca o principio da discriminação racial contra Brancos em Portugal.

Pay Attention

“To the brain, information is its own reward, above and beyond whether it’s useful,” says Ming Hsu, a researcher at UC Berkeley, “and just as our brains like empty calories from junk food, they can overvalue information that makes us feel good but may not be useful.” Psychologists have long seen curiosity as an innate motivation that can spur actions by itself. For example, sports fans might check the odds on a game even if they have no intention of ever betting. Sometimes, we want to know something, just to know. Ming Hsu found that information activated the regions of the brain specifically known to be involved in valuation, which are the same dopamine-producing reward areas activated by food, money, and many drugs. This was the case whether the information was useful, and changed the person’s decisions, or not. While the research does not directly address overconsumption of digital information, the fact that information engages the brain’s reward system is a necessary condition for the addiction cycle. “The way our brains respond to the anticipation of a pleasurable reward is an important reason why people are susceptible to clickbait,” he says. “Just like junk food, this might be a situation where previously adaptive mechanisms get exploited now that we have unprecedented access to novel curiosities.” [Berkeley Haas, 2019]
For the average person, their consumption habits aren’t deliberate, their digital environment is on default, and there are a thousand things competing for their attention. Prolific creators, on the other hand, have gone out of their way to eliminate the competition for their attention and made deep work a big priority in their life. It takes continuous attention and intense focus to perform at an elite level. Without the ability to focus on something demanding for an extended period, you’re at a disadvantage. Your attention is worth a fortune. The founders of the major social networks, what author Tim Wu calls the “attention merchants”, have become billionaires by getting you addicted to their services and selling your attention to advertisers. It’s worth asking if the amount of your attention you’re spending on these digital things is getting you what you want. If you’re convinced that you should be spending your attention on more worthwhile pursuits, it’s not enough to implement a bunch of hacks because vague resolutions are not sufficient to tame the ability of new technologies to invade your cognitive landscape- the addictiveness of their design and strength of the cultural pressures supporting them are too strong for an ad hoc approach to succeed. In other words, all the solutions we use to deal with distractions are band-aids on bullet wounds. This is why the most effective way to become a digital minimalist is to just quit. Shallow work like checking email, updating your status or uploading pictures feels productive, but it’s not. Run them through this framework: 1 – Is this vital? 2 – Does this matter? 3 – What would happen if I didn’t do it? These things usually aren’t vital, don’t matter, and nothing would happen if you didn’t do them. I haven’t uploaded a picture to Instagram in weeks. Guess what? Nobody cared. [Srinivas Rao, 2019]
The quality of life you want for yourself ultimately comes down to how you spend your time and what you give your attention to. Time is the most valuable asset you have. It’s a non-renewable resource you can never get back. At my very first internship at a startup, the CFO asked me, “Why do you want to make a lot of money?” As a 20-year-old, I rattled off the list of luxuries I was imagining (Ferraris, McMansions, jets, etc). He said, “You’re wrong. What money buys is time. Time is what’s really valuable.”  Yet people wait to start a business, a project or pursue a dream as if they have all the time in the world. They waste time doing things they hate or suck at doing. They think there’s some mythical date in the future when the conditions will be perfect; the stars will align;, and they’ll have enough money in the bank or time to spend on their art. But the only thing that changes when you wait is that time passes. In order to use your life-fixed time effectively, you need to pay Attention. It determines the state of our lives, and is under constant assault from social media, inboxes, text messages, pings, pops and buzzes. Think of your attention as credit that you have every day after waking up and when you spend it on sources of distraction, you don’t have it anymore to yours other more meaningful pursuits. If you want to improve your attention span, start by reducing the competition for it. If it’s not relevant to the task at hand, remove it from your environment. Drown out the sound with some noise cancellation headphones. And design an environment that’s free of distractions. [Srinivas Rao, 2019]

Harrison Bergeron

“Harrison Bergeron” is a dystopian science-fiction short story by American writer Kurt Vonnegut, first published in October 1961. In the year 2081, the 211th, 212th, and 213th amendments to the Constitution dictate that all Americans are fully equal and not allowed to be smarter, better-looking or more physically able than anyone else. The Handicapper General’s agents enforce the equality laws, forcing citizens to wear “handicaps”: masks for those who are too beautiful, loud radios that disrupt thoughts inside the ears of intelligent people and heavy weights for the strong or athletic.

White Privilege

The former head of the Crown Prosecution Service, Lord Macdonald, told BBC there was “a major problem in particular communities” of men viewing young White girls as trash and available for sex. The problem must be recognised “for what it is, which is profoundly racist crime,” he added. Twenty young women had given evidence covering a period from 2011 to 2014. A total of 17 men and one woman have now been convicted of, or have admitted, charges including rape, supplying drugs and inciting prostitution. Those prosecuted were from the Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indian, Iraqi, Iranian and Turkish communities and mainly British-born, with most living in the West End of Newcastle. [Jon Sharman (2017), The Independent]
White children from poor or working-class backgrounds are falling behind their peers from other ethnic groups in educational achievement, and they face the worst prospects for economic advancement, experts told UK lawmakers. Efforts to raise educational standards tend to be aimed at minority students, dimming prospects for white children to catch up, according to reports sent to a parliamentary committee that is investigating issues faced by disadvantaged groups. The struggles of poor white children tend to be neglected because they are seen as “unfashionable” and “not worthy” of helping, the UK Daily Mail quoted Oxford University Professor Peter Edwards as saying. Raising such concerns is “taboo” in academia, he said. White children whose families are poor enough for them to receive free school meals are underperforming their peers academically and have only a one-in-10 chance of attending university, according to the UK’s Center for Education and Youth. By comparison, in the same low-income group, three in 10 children of Black Caribbean ethnic backgrounds and five in 10 of Bangladeshi ethnicity make it to college. Nearly seven in 10 ethnic Chinese children who receive free school meals attend university. Despite the plight of white students, government and private education programs target large cities with ethnically diverse populations and, in the case of some charities, require that beneficiaries be non-white. Working-class white boys, in particular, are at the bottom of the heap when it comes to educational assistance, Edwards told the Daily Mail. [RT, 2020]
A hospital trust is believed to be the first in the country to protect its ethnic staff by giving them priority for the fitting of masks. Somerset Foundation Trust is treating all its black, Asian and minority ethnic staff as ‘vulnerable and at risk’ of coronavirus. In a letter to staff, the trust’s chief executive Peter Lewis said: ‘While we don’t yet have any conclusive research or national guidance, we feel that is the right approach to take. The letter said ethnic staff and their families will be able to access testing within the first five days of developing any symptoms, and any who require an FFP3 mask, which offers greater protection than a normal surgical mask, will be supported to be fit-tested as soon as possible. Yvonne Coghill, director of NHS England’s workforce race equality standard unit, tweeted ‘many should follow the lead of Somerset FT,’ describing the trust as ‘compassionate’ with strong leadership. [Daily Mail]

Maior Que Portugal

Uma coisa positiva em torno do futebol é que no momento em que se baixaram as bandeiras todas, as pessoas deixaram de pertencer aos partidos, aos sindicatos, às igrejas, o futebol é o último reduto de pertença identitária. Além que é também um espaço de alguma irracionalidade num contexto em que quase tudo na nossa vida se foi racionalizando excessivamente e é por isso que o futebol apaixona e é importante. [O Futebol, segundo Pedro Adão e Silva., no programa Bloco Central, rádio TSF]

Nacionalismo Étnico Português

Sara Tavares em 2009, numa entrevista dada ao Correio da Manhã que entretanto deixou de estar disponível na internet, referiu que “tenho muito orgulho em ser lisboeta mas faço parte desse enorme grupo que são os pretogueses“. E acrescentou: “Já nasci em Portugal. Os meus pais é que são imigrantes mas eu não renego as minhas raízes. Tanto assim é que aos 15 anos fiz questão de aprender crioulo.”
Entretanto em 2019, Joacine Katar Moreira ganhou um mandato como deputada pelo círculo de Lisboa para entrar no parlamento de Portugal nas eleições legislativas. A deputada eleita pelo Livre festejou o seu feito junto à bandeira da Guiné-Bissau, sua terra natal, e sem nenhuma de Portugal, a sua terra de acolhimento, visível por perto. Como Alberto Gonçalves refere, “o êxito dela fez-se sobre critérios totalmente alheios aos que deviam influenciar a escolha dos deputados. E foi a própria Joacine a submeter esses critérios à avaliação do público, activa ou passivamente. Joacine declarou que as legislativas iriam medir a capacidade do eleitorado em aceitar uma mulher negra na Assembleia da República. Nos tempos que correm, o estatuto de vítima, real ou imaginária, é uma virtude. É uma virtude que não esclarece coisa nenhuma acerca do que Joacine pensa e, principalmente, do programa que defenderá na Assembleia.”
Na verdade, não restam muitas dúvidas quanto ao que Joacine Moreira irá defender na Assembleia. Como podemos deduzir das palavras de Pedro Barros Ferreira, candidato do CDS por Lisboa, ao descrever a sua participação num debate sob o tema Imigração. “Como parece convir nestas situações, retirando o CDS e o PSD, os representantes dos demais partidos eram mulheres negras (PS, Livre e Bloco), um imigrante (CDU) e um ex-emigrante (PAN). Quando se concluiu a primeira ronda de questões, constatou-se que o maior problema é o mau funcionamento das instituições, nomeadamente o SEF. Em resposta, disse que o problema do mau serviço é transversal na sociedade portuguesa, seja–se imigrante, ou não. Por incrível que possa parecer, começaram aqui os ataques ao CDS, e à minha pessoa. Porquê? Porque não referi a “verdadeira razão”, subjacente aos problemas: a raça.
“A candidata do Livre, Joacine Moreira, começou por se apresentar como: gaga, negra e mulher. Tal, na minha opinião, é criticável e serve para esconder uma postura intelectual altamente demagógica, sectária e eivada de ódio racial. Começou por afirmar que não se podem comparar as falhas nos serviços, porque existe um tratamento diferente para quem é de cor. Continuou dizendo peremptoriamente que os portugueses são racistas (porque ainda não nos libertámos do colonialismo) e que as leis portuguesas são racistas.” Convém referir que o Livre, partido criado por Rui Tavares, um homem Branco, em 2014, apresenta desde sempre uma linha ideológica de repressão contra os povos Brancos, mais concretamente, o povo Branco português. Num artigo de opinião de Janeiro de 2019 publicado no jornal Público, sempre apoiante dos movimentos étnicos Negros e contra o que nomeia como “branquitude”, Rui Tavares refere que “a nostalgia política de hoje é também uma nostalgia por esse tempo em que, como dizia Martin Luther King, o racismo explicava ao homem branco que, por muito complicada que fosse a sua vida, ele era hierarquicamente superior, porque era homem, e era branco. Boa parte das admoestações para que não defendamos tanto os refugiados ou os migrantes porque a classe trabalhadora branca não gosta e pode mudar de voto é o sucedâneo desse racismo em forma de análise política.” Rui Tavares é claro nesta análise: os povos Brancos não têm direito a reivindicações culturais, sociais e territoriais, pelo contrário, têm de aceitar a sua colonização territorial e civilizacional, utilizando o racismo histórico contra o Negro como chantagem psicológica.
Já em 2017, num artigo de opinião também publicado no Público, Joacine Katar Moreira abria o jogo e declarava o Branco como o inimigo: “O racismo implica uma expressão colectiva marcada pela história, pelo poder e pelo epistemicídio africano, o que faz com que mesmo quando é protagonizado por um só indivíduo, este fá-lo com base num contexto que sustenta e demarca historicamente o seu comportamento. Um negro pode discriminar e ser preconceituoso com um branco, mas não pode ser racista com ele, porque este último não tem estruturas (históricas, politicas, económicas e sociais) que o oprimam com base no seu fenótipo.” É a desumanização do Branco e a retirada de qualquer direito a reivindicações étnicas: se o Branco é discriminado é porque assim tem de ser, justificável do ponto de vista histórico e moral. Ao Branco apenas resta aceitar a discriminação que seja alvo por parte das instituições “politicas, económicas e sociais.” A implementação do racismo institucional contra o Branco é assim legitimado e desejado pelo nacionalismo étnico Africano, tal como na África do Sul do Apartheid o foi contra os Negros ou na Alemanha Nazi foi contra os Judeus.
Francisca Van Dunem é ministra da Justiça de Portugal desde 2015, uma posição de imenso poder institucional que já ocupa há 5 anos. No início de 2020, despiu as vestes de ministra da Justiça e falou de si na na Conferência Interseccional Encarceramento e Sociedade em Coimbra: “Cada um tem a sua fonte de aprendizagem e a minha radica num quotidiano de 64 anos, transportando duas qualidades que são intrínseca e irrevogavelmente minhas: sou negra. Sou mulher.” E acrescentou, “a questão do convívio interracial e interétnico em Portugal assume hoje uma dimensão crítica. Já não chega proclamar a inexistência de problemas raciais quando eles tendem para a radicalização. É, por isso, fundamental identificar políticas justas e inclusivas, que tenham em consideração a heterogeneidade dos grupos afetados pelas diferentes formas de discriminação. Essa é a grande reparação que devemos exigir da história.” Van Dunem assume a sua identidade Negra, mais uma manifestação de nacionalismo étnico Negro em Portugal. Poderemos assumir que as diferentes etnias em Portugal são representadas por uma mulher que se identifica com a sua etnia? E que defende uma justiça baseada na etnia de cada um, como forma de “reparação”? Mas interessantemente, a mesma Francisca Van Dunem, em Junho de 2020, defendeu a fixação de um “limite temporal” para a atribuição da nacionalidade portuguesa aos descendentes dos judeus sefarditas porque “não é sustentável uma reparação histórica eterna”. E o “limite poderia ser os dez anos da entrada em vigor da lei” que permitiu a reparação histórica, ou seja, 2025, admitiu Van Dunem, que também usou o argumento contra a “mercantilização” que é feita em vários países com a nacionalidade portuguesa, como Israel, dado que dá acesso a um passaporte europeu que não exige visto para os Estados Unidos. Em nome de uma “reabilitação ou reparação histórica”, o parlamento português aprovou, por unanimidade, em 2015 uma que concedia a nacionalidade portuguesa aos descendentes dos judeus expulsos da Península Ibérica pelo rei D. Manuel I, no século XV. Podemos especular que esta preocupação de Van Dunem poderá ser porque está a dar-se a nacionalidade portuguesa a outras etnias que não a sua, a Negra, e assim o seu projeto de “reparação da história” fica mais dificil devido à falta de maioria demográfica negra nas próximas décadas.
O significado de Joacine Katar Moreira, e Van Dunem, é, mais que individual, simbólico: é a chegada do Nacionalismo Étnico Negro ao Poder. O mesmo não é novo, é algo que existe em Portugal desde da chegada das primeiras comunidades Africanas em massa ao território após o 25 de Abril de 1974. É um pulsar normal de qualquer etnia, em qualquer parte do mundo. É preocupante para a etnia Branca em Portugal uma vez que serão os alvos do racismo deste nacionalismo, primeiro via quotas étnicas na Educação e Funcionalismo Público, de modo a os afastar da economia, educação, cultura e, por fim, da vida social. Os Brancos Portugueses, e Europeus em geral, desistiram da sua consciência étnica e entram nesta guerra cultural muito mal preparados, sem instituições ou grupos políticos e cívicos com consciência étnica Branca, de defesa e protecção da etnia contra movimentos étnicos nacionalistas contrários e das próprias instituições do Estado e sociedade civil.

Maiores e Misteriosos

Ah, os paquetes, os navios-carvoeiros, os navios de vela!
Vão rareando — ai de mim! — os navios de vela nos mares!
E eu, que amo a civilização moderna, eu que beijo com a alma as máquinas,
Eu o engenheiro, eu o civilizado, eu o educado no estrangeiro,
Gostaria de ter outra vez ao pé da minha vista só veleiros e barcos de madeira,
De não saber doutra vida marítima que a antiga vida dos mares!
Porque os mares antigos são a Distância Absoluta,
O Puro Longe, liberto do peso do Actual…
E ah, como aqui tudo me lembra essa vida melhor,
Esses mares, maiores, porque se navegava mais devagar.
Esses mares, misteriosos, porque se sabia menos deles.

ODE MARÍTIMA, Álvaro de Campos, Fernando Pessoa

The Start Trek Fantasy

Star Trek very much embodied what liberal American white males of the 1980s and 1990s thought the future would (or should) look like: secular, sexually liberated, humanistic, meritocratic, equitable, and technological. In this world, religion plays practically no role in public life. Problems are solved with diplomacy instead of violence. Money doesn’t exist, so there is no capitalism, greed, or want. People spend their lives bettering humanity and doing other such noble things like negotiating peace with aliens or exploring the universe in one of Starfleet’s advanced starships. Men do most of the work; they advance through meritocracy; and there is something akin to a fraternal culture, irrespective of the prevailing progressive ideology.
In the diverse world of Star Trek, the white writers imagined meritocracy would ensure whites like themselves would still have a position at the top of society despite soon becoming a minority in real life America. You’ll notice progressive humans are at the center of the Federation in Star Trek despite being a small minority in that fictional universe as well. That’s by design, conscious or not. You can tell the creators desperately wanted to believe this sweet little lie about diverse societies. I’m sure they imagined their tolerance would be reciprocated when they were on the receiving end; we now know that’s not true. Remember, this was the generation that famously cheered President Bill Clinton’s college commencement speech where he lauded the idea of America soon becoming majority minority. The primarily white crowd roared in approval. In this imagined future, white liberals would still get to feel morally superior to contemporary white conservatives, just as they often strive to in today’s world. This is accomplished through various means – cooperation with hostile aliens (demonstrating philosophical supremacy, superiority of intellect and temperament), bravery, tolerance of differences in others, multiculturalism (the show almost never celebrates an earth holiday like Christmas but often supports alien cultures, including breaking Starfleet’s rules of dress for aliens), standing up to corrupt superiors (usually white conservative caricatures).
Star Trek was very much a pre-Millennial liberal morality play whereby inspired characters (mostly white) would often stand up to authority figures (mostly white) in order to promote a general moral code among fellow whites. Basically, it was what white male liberals of the time hoped the future would be. “Threatening” minority characters would act safe and white, technology would trump superstition, and reason would prevail over emotionalism. The future would be a paradise where all problems had been solved and white men would still have a place at the table they created – it being governed by the same rules they originally put into place. But as America’s demographics have changed, so too has the ethos of the Star Trek franchise. – https://www.unz.com/gdurocher/divine-right-on-the-collapse-of-star-trek/

Rome, the Civilisation State

In Beijing, we are making History. In Venice, they are selling history. Professor Zhao
A spectre is haunting the liberal West: the rise of the civilisation-state. As America’s political power wanes and its moral authority collapses, the rising challengers of Eurasia have adopted the model of the civilisation-state to distinguish themselves from a paralysed liberal order. Adrian Pabst observes that “in China and Russia the ruling classes reject Western liberalism. They define their countries as distinctive civilisations with their own unique cultural values and political institutions.” From China to India, Russia to Turkey, the great and middling powers of Eurasia are drawing ideological succour from empires which they claim descent, remoulding their non-democratic, statist political systems as a source of strength rather than weakness, and upturning the liberal-democratic triumphalism of the late 20th century. The Chinese political theorist Zhang Weiwei observed with pride that “China is now the only country in the world which has amalgamated the world’s longest continuous civilization with a huge modern state… Being the world’s longest continuous civilization has allowed China’s traditions to evolve, develop and adapt in virtually all branches of human knowledge and practices, such as political governance, economics, education, art, music, literature, architecture, military, sports, food and medicine. The original, continuous and endogenous nature of these traditions is indeed rare and unique in the world.” Unlike the ever-changing West, constantly searching after progress and reordering its societies to suit the intellectual fashions of the moment, Weiwei observes that “China draws on its ancient traditions and wisdoms.” It is in these hallowed traditions, of a centralised state with a 4000-year history, of an efficient bureaucratic class adhering to Confucian values, and of an emphasis on stability and social harmony over liberty, that Chinese theorists credit their civilisation-state’s rise, now “seemingly unstoppable and irreversible”. Surveying a West in decline and a Middle East mired in bloody chaos, Weiwei remarks with cool detachment that “if the ancient Roman empire had not disintegrated and been able to accomplish the transformation into a modern state, then today’s Europe could also be a medium-sized civilisational state; if the Islamic world today made up of dozens of countries could become unified under one modern governing regime, it could also be a civilisational state with more than a billion people, but the chance for all these scenarios has long gone.”
Yet the appeal of the civilisation-state model is not limited to China. Under Putin, the other great Eurasian empire, Russia, has publicly abandoned the Europe-focused liberalising projects of the 1990s — a period of dramatic economic and societal collapse driven by adherence to the policies of Western liberal theorists — for its own cultural sonderweg or special path of a uniquely Russian civilisation centred on an all-powerful state. In a 2013 address to the Valdai Club, Putin remarked that Russia “has always evolved as a state‑civilisation, reinforced by the Russian people, Russian language, Russian culture, Russian Orthodox Church and the country’s other traditional religions. It is precisely the state‑civilisation model that has shaped our state polity.”
This unresolved tension between East and West, Europe and Asia defines the political stance of Byzantium’s other successor state and Nato’s current problem child, Turkey. Like China, a great premodern empire eclipsed by the rise of the West to global dominance, Turkey under Erdogan now cloaks its revanchist desires in the sumptuous mantle of the Ottoman past. Trapped in the post-historical dreams of liberalism, many Western observers of Erdogan’s growing aggression had missed these symbolic cues, or dismissed them as empty rhetoric, a luxury not available to Turkey’s former subject peoples in the Balkans. When, in March, Turkey attempted to force Greece’s borders open with thousands of migrants assembled from the slums of Istanbul, the Bayraktar drone that hovered above the contested border fence bore the callsign 1453, the date of the fall of Constantinople, just as the drill-ships that constantly threaten to violate Greek and Cypriot sovereignty bear the names of the Ottoman admirals and corsairs who ravaged the coasts of Greece and Europe. In a speech at the same time as the Turkish navy threatened Greece with war, the interior minister Suleyman Soylu outlined Turkey’s intent: a civilisational vision of the new world order: “On this path,” he told the assembled audience of military dignitaries, “we’ll design by embracing the entire world with our civilisation, holding the West and East with one hand, the North and South in the other, the Middle East and the Balkans in one hand, the Caucasus and Europe in the other.”
In an overlooked speech last year to a gathering of France’s ambassadors, Macron mused that China, Russia and India were not merely economic rivals but “genuine civilisation states… which have not just disrupted our international order, assumed a key role in the economic order, but have also very forcefully reshaped the political order and the political thinking that goes with it, with a great deal more inspiration than we have.” Macron observed that “they have a lot more political inspiration than Europeans today. They take a logical approach to the world, they have a genuine philosophy, a resourcefulness that we have to a certain extent lost.” Warning his audience that “we know that civilisations are disappearing; countries as well. Europe will disappear.” The West, and Europe, struggle to define their own very natures, and place greater intellectual emphasis on deconstructing it than on defending it: an urge that is, like the impetus to deny the existence of civilisations as bounded entities, itself ironically a unique marker of our own civilisation. As Portugal’s former foreign minister Bruno Macaes observed in a perceptive recent essay, it is precisely the global aspirations of liberalism that have severed the West, and Europe particularly, from its own cultural roots. “Western societies have sacrificed their specific cultures for the sake of a universal project,” Macaes notes. “One can no longer find the old tapestry of traditions and customs or a vision of the good life in these societies.” Our naive faith that liberalism, derived from the political and cultural traditions of Northern Europe, would conquer the world has now been shattered for good. Instead, it is the defiantly non-liberal civilisation-states of Eurasia that threaten to swallow us whole. Where then, does that leave Europe, and what are we to do with liberalism? “Now that we have sacrificed our own cultural traditions to create a universal framework for the whole planet,” Macaes asks, “are we now supposed to be the only ones to adopt it?”

Concentration

Make two marks on your mirror on a level with your eyes, and think of them as two human eyes looking into yours. Your eyes will probably blink a little at first. Do not move your head, but stand erect. Concentrate all your thoughts on keeping your head perfectly still. Do not let another thought come into your mind. Then, still keeping the head, eyes and body still, think that you look like a reliable man or woman should; like a person that anyone would have confidence in… While standing before the mirror practice deep breathing. See that there is plenty of fresh air in the room, and that you are literally feasting on it. You will find that, as it permeates every cell, your timidity will disappear. It has been replaced by a sense of peace and power. The one that stands up like a man and has control over the muscles of his face and eyes always commands attention. In his conversation, he can better impress those with whom he comes in contact. He acquires a feeling of calmness and strength that causes opposition to melt away before it.

Also, sit in a comfortable chair and see how still you can keep. This is not as easy as it seems. You will have to center your attention on sitting still. Watch and see that you are not making any involuntary muscular movements. By a little practice you will find you are able to sit still without a movement of the muscles for fifteen minutes. At first I advise sitting in a relaxed position for five minutes. After you are able to keep perfectly still, increase the time to ten minutes and then to fifteen. This is as long as it is necessary. But never strain yourself to keep still. You must be relaxed completely.

A Ideologia Afrocentrista à Conquista da História

[crítica do livro A Ideologia Afrocentrista à Conquista da História (2020), de François-Xavier Fauvelle, publicado pela Guerra & Paz]
Originalmente publicado em 2009, o ensaio de François-Xavier Fauvelle sobre a ideologia Afrocentrista é, em 2020, ainda mais relevante. O Afrocentrismo coloca a nação Negra no centro da Humanidade e sua História, mesmo que para isso tenha de rescrever a mesma à sua imagem, como a invenção de um Egipto Negro. Alicerçada nas instituições dos EUA, que lhe conferem legitimidade e recursos, os Afrocentristas americanos pretendem exportar a sua nação negra para todo o mundo, incluindo África. As suas motivações não são universalistas ou humanistas, pelo contrário, são comunitaristas e segregacionistas, um nacionalismo de base étnico-racial. Fauvelle reconheceu nas recentes comunidades criadas na Internet uma base para a sua expansão, mas nem ele previu que em 2020 o complexo industrial de entretenimento e cultura dos EUA iria espalhar-se por todo o mundo via as produções da Netflix, Twitter, New York Times, The Atlantic, YouTube, Facebook, Disney, etc, e que com elas o Afrocentrismo ganhou ainda mais projeção e pujança: algo que acontece a um cidadão negro nos EUA leva agora a cidadãos (brancos) na Europa a ajoelharem-se poucos dias depois. Este ensaio pretendia alertar para esta corrente de supremacia racial que estava a crescer e, uma década depois, podemos dizer que está mais forte que nunca. Irá o Afrocentrismo definitivamente se estabelecer como uma ideologia maioritária e dominante no Ocidente?

Anhedonia

In the simplest of terms, anhedonia is the inability to experience pleasure while participating in pleasurable activities. Some doctors will describe hedonic capacity as the total amount of pleasure that someone is able to gain from a single activity. People who experience anhedonia will often describe themselves as not having the desire or motivation to do anything. Studies suggest that there is a link between individuals who experience anhedonia and the concept of reward. Because of the fact that they cannot see the reward at the end of the road, they lack to motivation to get there. Often without conscious input, our brain is constantly making choices regarding risk, reward, payoff, etc. If the brain does not see the reward or payoff, it will not want to move forward with a risk or participating in goal-directed behavior. There are three dissociable psychological components of reward: liking (hedonic impact, the pleasure derived from consuming a reward), wanting (incentive salience, a type of incentive motivation that promotes approach toward and consumption of rewards), and learning (predictive associations and cognitions). Learning has also been proposed as an independent facet of reward that may be impaired in conditions associated with anhedonia.

Supernormal Stimuli

In my new book, Supernormal Stimuli: How Primal Urges Overran Their Evolutionary Purpose, I describe how human instincts, for food, sex, or territorial protection, developed for life on the Savannah 10,000 years ago, not today’s world of densely populated cities and technological innovations. Evolution has been unable to keep pace with the rapid changes of modern life. In the 1930s Dutch Nobel laureate Niko Tinbergen found that birds that lay small, pale blue eggs speckled with grey preferred to sit on giant, bright blue plaster dummies with black polka dots. He coined the term “supernormal stimuli” to describe these imitations that appeal to primitive instincts and, oddly, exert a stronger attraction than real things. We humans can produce our own supernormal stimuli: candy, pornography, huge-eyed stuffed animals. The concept of Supernormal Stimuli has enormous power to illuminate the alarming disconnect between human instinct and our created environment. [Deirdre Barrett (2010)]

The Fixed Period

The Fixed Period has been so far discussed as to make it almost unnecessary for me to explain its tenets, though its advantages may require a few words of argument in a world that is at present dead to its charms. It consists altogether of the abolition of the miseries, weakness, and fainéant imbecility of old age, by the prearranged ceasing to live of those who would otherwise become old. Need I explain how extreme are those sufferings, and how great the costliness of that old age which is unable in any degree to supply its own wants? Such old age should not be allowed to be. This should be prevented, in the interests both of the young and of those who do become old when obliged to linger on after their “period” of work is over. Oh, it is an adamantine law to protect the human race from the imbecility, the weakness, the discontent, and the extravagance of old age! [Anthony Trollope (1882), The Fixed Period]

Sometimes

Humans are primarily driven by their emotions. Jonathan Haidt, in his book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion (Vintage, 2013), uses the metaphor of an elephant and its rider to describe how the human mind works. The elephant represents the emotion part of the human brain. It makes most of the decisions. The rider represents the rational part of the brain. It can sometimes influence the elephant, but it mostly provides justifications for the elephant’s decisions. [Chris Richardson (2018), Microservices Patterns]

Prepare To Be Cancelled

A striking event was the way in which Premier League footballers, reopening the season in empty stadiums, wore shirts emblazoned with the slogan of the new universal Left, ‘Black Lives Matter’. All, along with the referee and match officials, also ‘took the knee’, the sign of obeisance to the new ideology. As far as I know, none of those involved had any qualms about this. But if they had done, would they have dared express them, if they wished to continue in professional football? Would the world have praised their conscientious courage, or would they have been hosed down with claims that they were ‘racists’ and then ‘cancelled’? You know the answer as you ask the question. Who doesn’t think black lives matter? But that is not what these displays mean. They are about particular ways of holding those views, ways which lead relentlessly to intolerance of dissent, to the enforcement – by threats to the livelihoods of dissenters – of a single set of acceptable opinions. And it is not enough to keep quiet. If you are suspected of thinking the wrong thing, they will come and cancel you anyway. I now think this is just a matter of time. Prepare to be cancelled.[Peter Hitchens (2020), The Mail on Sunday]
August Landmesser refuses to perform the Nazi salute during a visit to the Hamburg shipyards by Adolf Hitler in 1936
 

The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity

[review of the book The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity (2019), by Douglas Murray]
“We all live in the campus now”. In the 1960’s, a group of US based intellectuals championed by Laclau, Foucault and McIntosh started a new movement against Western civilisation that today still isn’t clearly defined: cultural-marxism, social justice warriors, intersectionality, post-modernism, woke… The point is that Western society is terribly oppressive, and has a face of a White Cis Male, and only by politicising and weaponising the basic identities of an individual (race, gender, sexuality) it can be overthrown. Douglas Murray made a terrific investigation job and trough a series of events, where he puts names, places, institutions, dates, we can understand how the fight for equality is in fact a fight for “equal, but better”: gay couples are better that straight ones raising a child; black people work harder than privileged whites; only a female leader can prevent incompetent males from starting an economic crisis. He also brilliantly describes the philosophical and pseudoscientific roots of this movement. Disappointingly, Douglas Murray never has the courage to make the connection between the demographic transition in the West from White homogenous countries to multicultural, multiracial ones, and all this “madness”. Maybe the reason why Identity Politics is so appealing is precisely because it can be used as a power grabbing ideology against the (still) White majority in the West.

Tudo Irá Acabar

“Saber que em breve estarei morto foi a ferramenta mais importante que encontrei para me ajudar a tomar grandes decisões na vida. Porque quase tudo – todas as expectativas, todo o orgulho, todo o medo do ridículo ou do fracasso – tudo cai por terra perante a morte, restando apenas o que é verdadeiramente importante. Lembrarmo-nos de que vamos morrer é a melhor maneira de evitar a armadilha de pensarmos que temos algo a perder. Já estamos despidos de tudo.”. As palavras são de Steve Jobs no célebre discurso proferido aos alunos de formatura da Universidade de Stanford em 2005, seis anos antes da sua morte. Na verdade, o lendário fundador da tecnológica Apple foi um dos rostos de uma técnica de gestão que conta mais de duas décadas e que está a atrair um número crescente de diretores executivos e gestores de topo em todo o mundo. Daniel Harkavy, coautor do livro Living Forward, chama-lhe a técnica do elogio fúnebre. O processo consiste em conduzir os gestores num exercício de visualização da sua própria morte, levando-os a colocar num papel o que diriam sobre si próprios nas suas cerimónias fúnebres. – https://expresso.pt/dossies/diario/2019-01-14-O-que-tem-em-comum-a-morte-e-a-progressao-na-carreira–Tudo-1

Whiteness

Whereas black studies celebrates black writers and black history, and gay studies brings out gay figures from history and pushes them to the fore, ‘whiteness studies’ is far from a celebratory study. Its aim is that it is committed to disrupting racism by problematizing whiteness. So whereas every other field of race studies is performed in a spirit of celebration the aim of this one must be to ‘problematize’ hundreds and hundreds of millions of people. Of course it might be said that defining an entire group of people, their attitudes, pitfalls and moral associations, based solely on their racial characteristics is itself a fairly good demonstration of racism. For ‘whiteness’ to be problematized’ white people must be shown to be a problem. [The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity (2019), Douglas Murray]

Metro Ligeiro de Superfície entre Algés e Falagueira

[2004] – O metro ligeiro de superfície Algés – Falagueira é um meio de transporte mais rápido e com um orçamento menos elevado na sua construção do que o metro subterrâneo actualmente explorado em Lisboa. A nova infra-estrutura visa reforçar a mobilidade na área ocidental da Grande Lisboa pelo que contempla ligações com as linhas ferroviárias de Cascais e de Sintra. A ligação ao Metropolitano será igualmente possível, na Falagueira. A linha Algés – Falagueira contempla 15 paragens: Algés (interface com a estação da CP), Algés-Centro, Algés-Norte, Algés-Miraflores, Miraflores, Outurela, Quinta do Paizinho, Bairro do Zambujal, Alfragide, Alfragide/IC19, Damaia, Damaia (interface com a estação da CP), Venda Nova, Venda Nova Norte, Falagueira (interface com a linha azul do Metro). A distância média entre cada paragem é de 530 metros e o tempo de viagem será de cerca de vinte minutos. O investimento global no metro ligeiro de superfície que irá ligar os concelhos de Oeiras e Amadora está inicialmente orçado em 232 milhões de euros.  O metro irá contar com corredores próprios o que irá obrigar a uma reconversão urbana. Com o objectivo de ser criada uma circular periférica de metro ligeiro de superfície em torno de Lisboa, concluída esta etapa do projecto, a segunda fase compreende a ligação entre Falagueira, Odivelas e Loures. – https://www.cmjornal.pt/portugal/detalhe/metro-mais-curto

Selar Lisboa

Esta linha circular do metropolitano é o coroar da estratégia do Manuel Salgado para Lisboa: um núcleo central com forte concentração de terciário e habitação de luxo (Eixo Central e Avenidas Novas), a que se juntam a Baixa, as colinas históricas e a frente ribeirinha, para usufruto dos turistas e residência de estrangeiros endinheirados. Fora desta cidade para os ricos e os turistas, ficam os bairros municipais, a classe média e os “enclaves” da população trabalhadora de menores recursos que ainda resiste à expulsão para as periferias. Estamos assim perante uma cidade cada vez mais dual, onde a linha circular do metropolitano só vem favorecer, acelerando, o processo de gentrificação e turisficação de Lisboa. Ao mesmo tempo deixa para as calendas gregas o serviço a bairros populares que continuam mal servidos de transportes coletivos. [Fernando Nunes da Silva, antigo vereador da Mobilidade da Câmara Municipal de Lisboa, SOL, 2018]
“Numa visão de futuro”, o vereador Manuel Salgado, responsável pelo Urbanismo na Câmara de Lisboa, entende que esta é “uma área com enorme potencial” para acolher um espaço verde num contexto em que as actividades portuárias de Santa Apolónia e Xabregas seriam deslocalizadas para o putativo porto de contentores do Barreiro. O vereador fez estas declarações durante uma convenção autárquica do PS Lisboa. Salgado referiu que o encerramento da estação ferroviária Santa Apolónia seria “uma oportunidade única para fazer a ligação dos vales de Santo António e de Chelas ao rio” e acrescentou que não faz sentido que a estação esteja no centro da cidade, já que grande parte dos passageiros que chegam a Lisboa saem na gare do Oriente. Em declarações ao Diário de Notícias, Salgado afirmou também que a principal estação de Lisboa é a de Entrecampos  e que “a tendência no futuro é reforçar o seu papel como estação central”. Na primeira década deste século chegou a ser apresentado uma projecto imobiliário para a frente ribeirinha na zona de Santa Apolónia que implicava desafectar daquele local a operação ferroviária. A urbanização de vastos espaços da área compreendida entre o Parque das Nações e Marvila, no troço Gare do Oriente-Santa Apolónia, foi projectada por Manuel Salgado, antes de se tornar vereador. [Publico, 2015]

Asceticism

7. Wipe out imagination: check desire: extinguish appetite: keep the ruling faculty in its own power. [Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations – Book Nine]
Endowed with a pure understanding, restraining the self with firmness, turning away from sound and other objects, and abandoning love and hatred; dwelling in solitude, eating but little, controlling the speech, body, and mind, ever engaged in meditation and concentration, and cultivating freedom from passion; forsaking conceit and power, pride and lust, wrath and possessions, tranquil in heart, and free from ego – he becomes worthy of becoming one with the imperishable. [Bhagavad Gita, 18:51-53]

America’s White Saviors

[by Zach Goldberg (2019), https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/americas-white-saviors]

A sea change has taken place in American political life. The force driving this change is the digital era style of moral politics known as “wokeness,” a phenomenon that has become pervasive in recent years and yet remains elusive as even experts struggle to give it a clear definition and accurately measure its impact. Where did it come from? What do its adherents believe? Is it just something happening inside the Twitter bubble and on college campuses or is it really spreading across the social and cultural landscape and transforming the country as sometimes appears to be the case? In reality, “wokeness”is a broad euphemism for a more narrow phenomenon: the rapidly changing political ideology of white liberals that is remaking American politics. Over the past decade, the baseline attitudes expressed by white liberals on racial and social justice questions have become radically more liberal. In one especially telling example of the broader trend, white liberals recently became the only demographic group in America to display a pro-outgroup bias—meaning that among all the different groups surveyed white liberals were the only one that expressed a preference for other racial and ethnic communities above their own.
Matthew Yglesias described this ongoing transformation as The Great Awokening: “In the past five years, white liberals have moved so far to the left on questions of race and racism that they are now, on these issues, to the left of even the typical black voter.” There is no simple or single explanation for how this process got started. It appears to be driven by an interplay of factors: preexisting tendencies among white liberals; a series of polarizing events like the police shooting of Michael Brown and subsequent riots in Ferguson, and the migrant crisis; the rise of millenials as a political force, and the explosion of social media and “woke” clickbait journalism. The years between 2012 and 2016 were a watershed for white liberal racial consciousness. As white liberals have come to place far greater emphasis on racial injustice, they have also endorsed reparative race-related social policies in greater numbers. This is evident across a range of issues: the rapid growth in white liberals who favor affirmative action for blacks in the labor force; in the increase in white liberals who feel that we spend too little on helping blacks, and that the government should afford them special treatment; in the increase in white Democrats who think it’s the government’s job to ensure “equal income across all races”; and in the increase in white liberals and Democrats who think that white people have ‘too much’ political influence.
An example of how these psychological characteristics and moral foundations can be manifested in politics and policy can be seen in the white responses to measures of empathy toward racial and ethnic minorities. Remarkably, white liberals were the only subgroup exhibiting a pro-outgroup bias—meaning white liberals were more favorable toward nonwhites and are the only group to show this preference for group other than their own. Indeed, on average, white liberals rated ethnic and racial minority groups 13 points (or half a standard deviation) warmer than whites. This disparity in feelings of warmth toward ingroup vs. outgroup is even more pronounced among whites who consider themselves “very liberal” where it widens to just under 20 points. Notably, while white liberals have consistently evinced weaker pro-ingroup biases than conservatives across time, the emergence and growth of a pro-outgroup bias is actually a very recent, and unprecedented, phenomenon. Not surprisingly, data from the American National Elections Studies (ANES) shows white liberals scoring significantly higher on measures of ‘white privilege awareness’ and ‘white guilt’. Previous research has shown that these collective moral emotions, triggered by historical wrongdoing and perceptions that an in-group’s advantages and privileges are illegitimate, can can increase support for reparative and humanitarian social policies. That is exactly what has happened in recent years as white liberals have become increasingly supportive of affirmative action, reparations, and increased immigration.
An analysis of GoogleTrends data shows that the frequency of searches for race-related and “woke” terms has grown substantially since the beginning of the decade—a period that happens to coincide with the social media boom and the emergence of so-called hashtag activism (e.g., Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter). This period also saw the rise of the Huffington Post—an online progressive blog and news site that prolifically opines on race-related issues. Whereas just 13% of white liberals reported regularly visiting the site in 2012, over 30% did in 2016. A similar pattern is observed for digital readership of The New York Times (NYT), which grew from 16% to 31% among white liberals between 2012 and 2016—during this same period, according to a recent content analysis I conducted—the percentage of Times articles mentioning race-related and woke terms saw unprecedented growth. For instance, whereas just 0.4% (or 334) of articles referred to racism in 2012, this figure had doubled by 2015 (to 0.87% or 813) and reached over 2% (or 2,353) by 2018. Interestingly, the number of monthly NYT articles mentioning racism also closely tracks Google search interest in the term. Unfortunately, the outrage delivered through digital media tends to distort this vital perspective. America is perceived as incorrigibly unjust, racist, and in need of radical transformation. Compounding this, the perception of benefiting from such iniquity through white privilege naturally produces heightened feelings of guilt, anger, and an empathic desire “to do something” to help the suffering, or to at least signal one’s moral virtue to others.
It’s the frustration with white conservatives’ inability or reluctance to keep pace with white liberals on the path to enlightenment that is intensifying our political divide. But conservatives tend toward normative and structural stability. They don’t take well to rapid social change. The perceived imposition and spread of progressive norms naturally elicits psychological reactance—a visceral desire to resist and affirm one’s agency in the face of perceived social pressure. This is the very process that is at least partly responsible for the election of Trump. Resentment of those seen as standing in the way of necessary social and cultural change may inspire a commitment to what political scientist Eric Kaufman calls “multicultural millenarianism”: the belief that the demise of a white majority will pave the way for a more racially progressive and just society. Perhaps this is why white support for increasing immigration coincides with more negative feelings toward whites. Whatever the case, such sentiment would have been hard to fathom 10-20 years ago. The digitalization of moral outrage that makes it possible today could, with the pace of innovation, make it even more potent in the years to come.

The Backlog

Based on the blog post of Stephan Schmidt: The Framing of the Developer

We have a dominant frame in Software Development since Scrum arrived, the backlog. Scrum tells developers to take responsibility for throughput and deadlines, but the product is owned by the product owner, because he owns the backlog. Features are put in the backlog by him after he talks with marketing, sales, management, the CEO, customers… It isn’t the developers asking the customer what a product should look like, but the product owner telling them what features he wants. Success is tied to implementing the items of the backlog: the more features from the backlog we complete, the more success we have, and the more developers we have, the more features we can implement, so more success we will have! In this context, developers are treated as a resource. The more of them and the more efficient the resource is used, the better. If there are problems, CEO’s think “Tech didn’t deliver” and problems arise because “IT is too slow”. Contrary to that, developers think that product owners need to tell them what to work on, they are not responsible for success.
So developers are no longer in control and feeling in control is one of the main drivers for happiness. Although everyone flatters developers, they are in high demand and salaries keep rising and rising, they feel less and less happy building stuff they don’t understand, have no impact or that simply doesn’t make sense. In an article titled “Extremely disillusioned with technology. Please help” an unknown engineer wrote “Then I worked for a tech giant, and then for a high-growth unicorn. It shocked me how dilbertesque they both were. Full of politicians and burnt out engineers in golden handcuffs who can’t wait to get out, and meaningless business speak, and checked out employees who pretend they’re excited about everything all the time.”

The last days of a white world

This article was published in The Guardian in 2000 and was written by Anthony Browne. Source: https://archive.is/SV4AU
It was news and no news; the most significant milestone in one of the most profound changes to affect the US in the past century, and yet a non-event. Last week the US Census Bureau issued figures showing that non-hispanic whites made up 49.8 per cent of the population of California. Anglo-Saxon whites are already a minority in Hawaii and the District of Columbia. Now they are an ethnic minority in the country’s most populous state, the one most usually identified with the American dream.
‘It’s my hope we can all see our state’s diversity as a cause for celebration and not consternation,’ said California’s lieutenant governor, Cruz Bustamente, a Latino. Robert Newby, a white shop-owner who has lived in Los Angeles for 40 years, echoed his optimism: ‘This confirms what most of us have thought for years. I am happy for there to be more immigrants – by and large they work harder and have more money to spend.’
As recently as 1970, eight out of 10 Californians were white. Fuelled by immigration at its highest rate since the start of the last century, and higher fertility rates, the Asian and Latino populations of California have risen by almost a third since 1990. At the same time, with limited immigration and low birth rates, the population of non hispanic whites has fallen by 3 per cent. By 2040, hispanics are expected to be the overall majority in the state.
Where California goes, the rest of America is predicted to follow. At present 72 per cent of the US population is non-hispanic whites; the US Census Bureau predicts they will become a minority between 2055 and 2060.
Not every one likes the new face of America. White far-right extremists predict the break-up of the union. Thomas W. Chittum, a New Jersey-based Vietnam War veteran, declared in his book Civil War Two, that the US, like Yugoslavia, will shatter into new, ethnically-based nations. ‘America was born in blood, America suckled on blood, America gorged on blood and grew into a giant, and America will drown in blood,’ Chittum warned.
The separatists have set up groups such as Americans for Self-Determination. One of the founders, Jeff Anderson, said: ‘We are suggesting the US be partitioned into states for blacks, whites, hispanics, and so on, along with multi-racial states for those who wish to continue with this experiment. Now is the time to begin such a multi racial dialogue about separatism, before a storm of violent racial conflict erupts.’
The shifting sands of the US reflect wider – and highly controversial – changes elsewhere in the world. It is an area in which few demographers dare to tread for fear of being accused of racism. ‘You cannot quote me – a word out of place and I get crapped on from a very great height,’ said one academic. ‘Whatever you say you are deemed racist’.
The past millennium was more than anything the era of the whites. Just 500 years ago, few had ventured outside their European homeland. Then, with several acts of genocide clearing the way, they settled in North America, South America, Australia, New Zealand and, to a lesser extent, southern Africa.
But now, around the world, whites are falling as a proportion of population. The United Nations collects and produces a vast array of statistics on population, but produces none relating to race or ethnic origin. Indeed few countries collect their own figures on ethnicity – in Europe, only the UK and the Netherlands do.
However, the UN’s State of the World Population 1999 predicted that 98 per cent of the growth in the world’s population by 2025 will occur in lesser developed regions, principally Africa and Asia. The most significant reason for this is lower birth rates in rich countries: in 61 countries, mainly the rich ones, people are no longer having enough babies to replace themselves.
In its World Population Profile 1998, the US Census Bureau predicted that by the second decade of this century all the net gain in world population will be in developing countries. ‘The future of human population growth has been determined, and is being determined, in the world’s poorer nations,’ it said.
The global centre of gravity is changing. In 1900 Europe had a quarter of the world’s population, and three times that of Africa; by 2050 Europe is predicted to have just 7 per cent of the world population, and a third that of Africa. The ageing and declining populations of predominantly white nations have prompted forecasts of – and calls for – more immigration from the young and growing populations of developing nations to make up the shortfall.
Last year net immigration to Britain reached 185,000, an all-time record. The Immigration Minister, Barbara Roche, recently announced plans to attract migrants to fill specific skills shortages, such as in the computer industry. Last month Edmund Stoiber, the premier of Bavaria in southern Germany, called on Germans to have more babies as an alternative to more immigrants. ‘We are having too few children – to a worrying degree, the significance of which is scarcely recognised,’ he said. His calls echoed those of a fellow Christian Democrat who earlier this year stood on a platform of ‘Children not Indians’.
In Britain the number of ethnic minority citizens has risen from a few tens of thousands in the 1950s, to more than 3 million – or around 6 per cent of the total population. While the number of whites is virtually static, higher fertility and net immigration means the number from ethnic minorities is growing by 2 to 3 per cent a year. One demographer, who didn’t want to be named for fear of being called racist, said: ‘It’s a matter of pure arithmetic that, if nothing else happens, non-Euro peans will become a majority and whites a minority in the UK. That would probably be the first time an indigenous population has voluntarily become a minority in its historic homeland.’
Lee Jasper, race relations adviser to the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, predicted a similar future, telling The Observer : ‘Where America goes, Europe follows 30 years later. There is a potential for whites to become a minority in some European countries.’ In Britain, that is almost certain to happen in London, and in the relatively near future. ‘At the moment ethnic minorities are about 40 per cent in London. The demographics show that white people in London will become a minority by 2010,’ said Jasper. ‘We could have a majority black Britain by the turn of the century.’
British National Party chairman Nick Griffin said: ‘I don’t think there’s any doubt that within this century, white people will be a minority in every country in the world.’ For Griffin, however, it is a major cause of alarm: ‘Every people under the sun have a right to their place under the sun, and the right to survive. If people predicted that Indians would be a minority in India in 2100, everyone would be calling it genocide.’
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown of the Foreign Policy Centre, who arrived in London from Uganda in 1972, said such fears are basically racist: ‘Only white people worry about this. It’s because for such a long time the world has been their own. To talk about it feeds a particular type of racism that says that blacks breed like rabbits. There is an underlying assumption that says white is right.’ She added: ‘There is a white panic every time one part of their world seems to be passing over to anyone else. But it’s foolish to panic about it. So what if we do become a majority? What difference does it make?’ For Alibhai-Brown, the decline of whites is a question of redressing the balance after they colonised much of the world. ‘The empire strikes back really. There was this extraordinary assumption that white people could go and destroy peoples and it would have no consequence. It astounds me,’ she said.
But present trends have little chance of redressing the injustices of history. Native Americans used to have the lands to themselves but are now less than 1 per cent of the US population, with little chance of becoming a majority again. The biggest growth is among Latinos (largely derived from Spain), and Asians, particularly from China and the Phillippines. Jasper said the concerns of the British National Party are based on outdated ideas. ‘The racial mix of nations changes all the time. There is no way that ethnicity of blood can be tied to a specific geographic place in a global world. You can no longer look at ethnic states, saying that Germany is Anglo-Saxon and so on.’
Jasper felt the process would strengthen Britain. ‘Diversity strengthens a country. It makes it more exciting. We have hundreds of languages spoken, when we go out to eat we never eat English, we eat Thai or French or Indian. It makes London a very cool place to live and work.’ Nor does it seem likely that whites will become marginalised in terms of influences, even if their numbers decline. David Owen, of the Centre for Research in Ethnic Relations at Warwick Univer sity, said: ‘Population has never been the main determinant of influence – it’s wealth and income. White people still have their hands on most of the levers of military and economic power.’
Even so, Griffin warns that, as in Germany and the US, the rise of ethnic minorities will lead to a backlash. ‘It’s going to put race to the top of the political agenda,’ he said. But that seems unlikely. Britain has far less of a track record of racism and right-wing extremism than other European countries. Alibhai-Brown insisted that rising numbers of ethnic minorities could even help reduce what racism there is: ‘The right-wing parties are growing in Somerset, not Brixton. The idea that more black people means more racism is not born out by the research. The more of us there are, it reduces racism.’
Back in California, in a land built by immigrants, Bustamente put a positive spin on the end of the white majority: ‘If there are no majorities, then there’s no minorities.’ In Europe, with its 40,000-year-old indigenous white population, the rise of a non-white majority may not be greeted with such equanimity.
  • In the United Kingdom, the number of people from ethnic minorities has risen from a few tens of thousands in 1950 to more than 3 million now.
  • In Italy, the birth rate is so low that, without immigration, the population is predicted to decline by 16 million by 2050.
  • The United States government predicts that non-hispanic whites will become a minority in the country by 2055.
  • The United Nations predicts that 98 per cent of world population growth until 2025 will be in developing nations.
  • The population of Europe is expected to drop from 25 per cent of the world total in 1900 to 7 per cent in the next 50 years.

Aparição

Chico pensa na utilidade «prática». Mas, se através dos tempos o homem pensasse apenas na utilidade prática, hoje não seria um homem, seria um parafuso. De resto, os utilitários estão lutando contra si: conquistada a base prática, liquidados, em hipótese, os problemas de bem-estar, forçada toda a azáfama ao silêncio, eis que as flores da solidão, da asfixia, brotarão com a sua virulência clandestina da miséria do homem: a vida estará então toda ela por conquistar, desde o limiar das origens. [Vergílio Ferreira (1959), Aparição]

Neon Genesis Portugal

Portugal até 1974 foi uma nação cristã, europeia e branca. Nesse ano, após a revolução de Abril, juntou-se aos restantes país europeus na maior experiência de substituição demográfica feita na Europa até então, que visava e visa tornar as suas sociedades em nações multiculturais, multiétnicas e mesmo multinacionais. Portugal sofreu então várias vagas de imigração, sendo que podemos destacar duas: a Brasileira e a Africana (neste caso, dos países antigas colónias de Portugal). Assim sendo, demograficamente, os Portugueses são na verdade um Triângulo composto por três etnias: Europeia, Africana, Brasileira. Foco-me na questão étnica e não racial, pois ambas as categorias têm elementos de várias raças.
A etnia Europeia dominou este território desde da sua fundação, e consequente expulsão dos Mouros, e ainda o expandiu além-mar durante mais de 800 anos. Qualquer outra etnia neste território até então podia ser tolerada, mas era dominada pela Europeia. Então, em 1974, esta mesma etnia decidiu, ou os seus líderes decidiram, deixar outras etnias entrarem no território, obterem a cidadania portuguesa e estabelecerem comunidades. Ao projecto de inclusão sucedeu o projecto de diversidade, ambos eufemismos para explicar uma realidade de um território ocupado por etnias com culturas, códigos morais, valores e histórias diferentes. Não é possível dissociar a decisão dos Euro-Portugueses do que se passava no restante mundo Ocidental, que também fez exactamente as mesmas escolhas; Globalismo Liberal, Cultural Marxismo, Pós-Modernismo, Oikophobia, ainda não existe consenso sobre o nome que dar a esta época. No entanto, até o inicio da década de 2010 tais comunidades não se faziam sentir nos media, poder político, poder financeiro, universidades ou nas lojas e restaurantes da burguesia lisboeta.
Mas 2019 foi o ano da mudança. Em Abril, um grupo de trabalho criado pelo Governo de Esquerda defendeu a introdução da origem étnico-racial nos Censos 2021, em Junho o Partido Socialista tinha no seu projecto de programa eleitoral para as legislativas a adopção de quotas étnico-raciais para negros e ciganos e finalmente em Outubro, nas eleições legislativas, Joacine Katar Moreira foi eleita deputada após se apresentar a eleições como “gaga, negra e mulher.” É o ano da mudança. A etnia europeia começa a perder o controlo do poder político e mediático. Todos estes eventos procuram discriminar a etnia europeia de modo a retirar à mesma poder económico, político, cultural e social. À imagem do que já acontece nos EUA e Reino Unido.
E em 2021, o Presidente da República de Portugal relembrou os Portugueses Brancos que os ventos estão a mudar e têm de se colocar no seu lugar. Aproveitando a vitória individual de grandes atletas, que são Portugueses, e politizando e racializando as mesmas vitórias, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa disse: “É bom que pensemos que, dos quatro medalhados, três são de origem direta ou indireta africana: um afro-cubano português, uma angolana portuguesa, outro são-tomense português. [referindo-se a Pedro Pablo Pichardo, Patrícia Mamona e Jorge Fonseca] Quando de vez em quando encontramos o nosso país ainda tantos que, aberta ou veladamente, têm na cabeça fantasmas de discriminação étnico-racial, é bom que pensem que quando se orgulham com medalhas das Olimpíadas, essas medalhas são devidas a todos eles, portugueses hoje, mas de várias origens, de várias etnias. Esta é uma mensagem forte de alegria por esta delegação olímpica, mas também de orgulho português — mas de orgulho português não xenófobo, não racista, não limitativo, mas abrangente. É essa a riqueza de Portugal. Temos é de fazer avançar esta riqueza noutros domínio onde tem sido mais difícil fazer chegar ao topo aqueles que vêm de origens diversas daquelas que muitas vezes são consideradas como as únicas verdadeiramente nacionais.” E ainda foi a tempo de acrescentar sobre a vitória de Pichardo, nascido em Cuba e que tem estado envolta em polémica devido ao seu processo de naturalização: “É uma forma de xenofobia, uma forma de racismo, uma forma de discriminação, de uma maneira ou de outra, acharmos que bons são só os brancos, são só os nacionais de origem, e não aqueles que são de outras origens, tendo nascido ou não no território nacional.” O mais alto representante dos Portugueses abandona assim a visão de um Portugal unido e de uma só etnia e abraça a noção de diferentes etnias que partilham (e competem?) em Portugal, não só por recursos mas pela própria noção de portugalidade.
Mas não é de todo imprevisto o que está a acontecer: neste triângulo étnico, é o lado europeu que está condenado a desaparecer. Não só está envelhecido, como não tem consciência étnica própria e não acredita em si. As acusações de Racismo ou Xenofobia neutralizam as suas capacidades reivindicativas. É a própria etnia que “cala” os seus que pretendem defender a mesma. Por isso mesmo não poderá ter um museu dos Descobrimentos, mas vai sim construir um monumento à escravatura na sua capital. Pretende também “descolonizar” as suas universidades, o que significa apenas a sua colonização pelas outras etnias. Tendo isso em conta, e a juventude demográfica das outras duas, Portugal encontra-se à beira de se transformar definitivamente.
Quando irão aparecer os partidos políticos de génese brasileira e africana? Ou os partidos do sistema criados pelos europeus de 1974 serão colonizadas por dentro? Quando forem feitos os censos étnicos, qual é a segregação real da sociedade? Irá sofrer a comunidade europeia a violência sofrida pela África do Sul Branca? Ou irá o Portugal Branco simplesmente continuar a imigrar rumo a outros destinos, esvaziando assim naturalmente o país da sua presença?

Globalism Kills

Dario Nardella is an Italian politician who has been the Mayor of Florence since 2014 and the first Metropolitan Mayor of Florence since 1 January 2015. On February 1, 2020, Nardella encouraged Italians to “hug a Chinese” in a bid to overcome xenophobia and racism in the wake of the Hubei COVID-19 epidemic. [Twitter] Many Italian netizens responded by posting photos of themselves with Chinese people. [Twitter]
At the other side of the Atlantic, in the 9th of February, the same idiocracy was taking place. Mark D. Levine, the chair of New York City Council health committee, appealed the population to join the Chinatown ceremony ahead of the Lunar New Year, saying “If you are staying away, you are missing out!” [Twitter]
Dr. Giorgio Palù, the former President of the European and Italian Society for Virologya and a Professor of Virology and Microbiology at the University of Padova, expressed concern over the Italian government’s inadequate response to the virus, a grave flaw that has continued since the onset of the outbreak, in a CNN interview. Currently, Italy is leading globally with over 6,000 deaths. He alleges the government was “lazy in the beginning… too much politics in Italy. There was a proposal to isolate people coming from the epicenter, coming from China. Then it became seen as racist, but they were people coming from the outbreak.” Even according to the leftist CNN, fear of being viewed as racist “led to the current devastating situation.” [The National Pulse]
Meanwhile Africa denounces the “white disease”.  The first country to have displayed reflections of mistrust, Senegal, where accusations specifically targeting France are flourishing. As of March 4, shamelessly forcing the statistics, the daily L’Évidence argued that the (two) cases of coronavirus were ” all foreigners ” and headlined on the ” coronization ” of France by Senegal, after the ” economic colonization ”, which itself had succeeded the“ slave trade ”. Same findings in several other countries. Insults in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, incidents against press correspondents in Ethiopia … In the Democratic Republic of Congo, a Frenchman detained for more than a week testified to Le Figaro of a ” climate of insecurity ” and even considers his life ” in danger “. “ I had to stay here three days for professional reasons. Since the borders were closed, we have been abandoned by looters and attackers of all kinds, ”explains the man. ” Here, people coming back from Europe, white or black, we are called the Coronaviruses “. If the racial distinction between importers of the virus and ” innocent ” victims is not always made, the existence of a specific racism against whites and Asians is however attested. According to the media Voice Of Africa , ” attacks and insults on foreigners, especially white or Chinese, have increased significantly ” in the past week.  [Le Figaro]
Meanwhile in Timor-Leste, Portuguese teachers were attacked and threatened in the city of Baucau. They are accused by some residents of being responsible for having taken the COVID19 to that country and ten of the twelve refugee teachers have already asked the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs for urgent repatriation. On Saturday, a Timor citizen entered the teachers’ house in Baucau, assaulting a teacher, while another was also the target of an attempted aggression while travelling on public transport. Stones were also thrown at the house where they lived. There are also reports of verbal aggression, with the Portuguese being called “coronas” on the streets. [Publico]
Meanwhile in Angola, a list of names, phone numbers and addresses of citizens from Portugal arriving in Luanda is being disseminated on social networks in Angola and there are Portuguese afraid to go out on the street because they are seen as being blamed for the introduction of the disease in the country. A 50-year-old woman was assaulted in a supermarket in Luanda, she suffered a head injury and had to receive hospital care. Coming from Santarém, the education assistant at the Portuguese School of Luanda had been in Angola since January, not being one of the cases that had to comply with mandatory quarantine. The case was reported by a colleague of the victim, teacher at the same school, who prefers to remain anonymous and confesses fear in leaving the house for already being constantly insulted in the street. “Go away …, you brought the disease, go to your house”. The professor considers that since Saturday there is a climate of great animosity against the Portuguese and blames the government for “asking Angolans to denounce those who enter Angola and do not comply with the mandatory quarantine”. “Moments after the announcement of the first infected, the list began to be shared on social networks”, he laments. [JN]
Globalism Kills. We live in a Globalist Western Europe, open for everyone and everything. And that’s the root problem. There are many European citizens, not only politicians, that don’t want to close borders because it will “hurt the European community”. It is a disease, an ideological psychological disease, and it left all the Western Europe exposed to serious pathogens like COVID19. This is the normal. collapse of a civilisation that didn’t want to survive anyway, its Black Swan.

Sleeping Hermaphroditus

The Sleeping Hermaphroditus is an ancient marble sculpture depicting Hermaphroditus life size. The form is partly derived from ancient portrayals of Venus and other female nudes, and partly from contemporaneous feminised Hellenistic portrayals of Dionysus. It was discovered in Rome near the Baths of Diocletian in 1608 and it is a Roman copy that was probably inspired by a Greek original of the 2nd century BC. It is on display at The Louvre, Paris.

Rivers of Blood

The Rivers of Blood speech was made by British Member of Parliament Enoch Powell on 20 April 1968, to a meeting of the Conservative Political Centre in Birmingham, United Kingdom. He was right. Now we are seeing the growth of forces acting against integration, of vested interests in the preservation and sharpening of racial and religious differences, with a view to the exercise of actual domination, first over fellow-immigrants and then over the rest of the population. For these dangerous and divisive elements the legislation proposed in the Race Relations Bill is the very pabulum they need to flourish. Here is the means of showing that the immigrant communities can organise to consolidate their members, to agitate and campaign against their fellow citizens, and to overawe and dominate the rest with the legal weapons which the ignorant and the ill-informed have provided. As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see the River Tiber foaming with much blood.

 

The UK Police Takes a Knee, George Floyd manifestation, London, 2020

O Sublime

Tomada de consciência da pequenez e da grandeza do homem era como Kant definia o efeito causado pelo sublime, porque o infinito esmaga-nos, mas o pensamento sobre o infinito eleva-nos, de modo que o sentimento do sublime provoca, em simultâneo, dor, medo e prazer. [Pierre Hadot (2019), Não Te Esqueças de Viver]

The Post-White, Post-Western, Post-Christian, Euro-American World

Humans, like other primates, are tribal animals. We need to belong to groups, which is why we love clubs and teams. Once people connect with a group, their identities can become powerfully bound to it. They will seek to benefit members of their group even when they gain nothing personally. They will penalize outsiders, seemingly gratuitously. They will sacrifice, and even kill and die, for their group.This may seem like common sense. And yet the power of tribalism rarely factors into high-level discussions of politics and international affairs, especially in the United States. This blindness to the power of tribalism affects not only how Americans see the rest of the world but also how they understand their own society. It’s easy for people in developed countries, especially cosmopolitan elites, to imagine that they live in a post-tribal world. The very term “tribe” seems to denote something primitive and backward, far removed from the sophistication of the West, where people have supposedly shed atavistic impulses in favor of capitalistic individualism and democratic citizenship.
In recent years, the United States has begun to display destructive political dynamics: the rise of ethnonationalist movements, eroding trust in institutions and electoral outcomes, a popular backlash against both “the establishment” and outsider minorities, and, above all, the transformation of democracy into an engine of zero-sum political tribalism. These developments are due in part to a massive demographic transformation. For the first time in U.S. history, Whites are on the verge of losing their status as the country’s majority. To varying degrees, minorities in the United States have long felt vulnerable and under threat; today, Whites also feel that way. A 2011 study showed that more than half of white Americans believe that “whites have replaced blacks as the ‘primary victims of discrimination.’” When groups feel threatened, they retreat into tribalism. They close ranks and become more insular, more defensive, more focused on us versus them.
What happened in the 2016 U.S. presidential election is exactly what I would have predicted would happen in a developing country holding elections in the presence of a deeply resented minority: the rise of a populist movement in which demagogic voices called on “real” Americans to, in Donald Trump’s words, “take our country back.” The answer lies in tribalism. For some, Trump’s appeal is racial: as a candidate and as president, Trump has made many statements that either explicitly or in a coded fashion appeal to some white voters’ racial biases. But that’s not the whole picture. In terms of taste, sensibilities, and values, Trump is actually similar to some members of the white working class. The tribal instinct is all about identification, and many voters in Trump’s base identify with him at a gut level. They identify with the way he talks and the way he dresses. They identify with the way he shoots from the hip—even (perhaps especially) when he gets caught making mistakes, exaggerating, or lying. And they identify with the way he comes under attack by liberal commentators—coastal elites, for the most part—for not being politically correct, for not being feminist enough, for not reading enough books, and for gorging on fast food.
[Amy Chua (2018), Foreign Affairs]
For the Western world’s liberal political and cultural elite, the idea of a “Christian West” is forcefully rejected, but even more banal terms like “Western Civilization” and “Judeo-Christian,” once intended to offer a more ecumenical narrative of Euro-American history, are now seen as dangerous, exclusivist, chauvinist, alt-right, dog-whistles for white nationalists. You could see those impulses at work in the discussion following the great fire at Notre-Dame. On the one hand there was a strident liberal reaction against readings of the tragedy that seemed too friendly to either medieval Catholicism or some religiously infused conception of the West. At the same time there was also a palpable desire to claim the still-smoking Notre-Dame for some abstract idea of liberal modernity, a swift enlistment of various architects and chin-strokers to imagine how the cathedral (owned by the French government, thanks to an earlier liberal effort to claim authority over Christian faith) might be reconstructed to be somehow more secular and cosmopolitan, more of a cathedral for our multicultural times. This seems strange, since as Ben Sixsmith noted, “it would never cross anyone’s mind to suggest that Mecca or the Golden Temple should lose their distinctively Islamic and Sikh characters to accommodate people of different faiths.” But an ancient, famous Catholic cathedral is instinctively understood as somehow the common property of an officially post-Catholic order, especially when the opportunity suddenly arises to renovate it.
If you aren’t a liberal Christian, if you believe in a literal resurrection and a fully-Catholic Notre-Dame de Paris, this combination of attitudes encourages a certain paranoia, a sense that the liberal overclass is constantly gaslighting your religion. That elite will never take your side in any controversy, it will efface your beliefs and traditions in many cases and be ostentatiously ignorant of them in others … but when challenged, its apostles still always claim to be Christians themselves or at least friends and heirs of Christianity, and what’s with your persecution complex, don’t you know that (white) American Christians are wildly privileged? This last dig is true in certain ways and false in others. The marginalization of traditional faith in much of Western Europe is obvious and palpable, and the trend in the United States is in a similar direction; and residual political influence is very different from the sort of enduring cultural-economic power that a term like “privilege” invokes. But if the equation of traditional Christianity with privilege has some relevance to the actual Euro-American situation, when applied globally it’s a gross category error. And so the main victims of Western liberalism’s peculiar relationship to its Christian heritage aren’t put-upon traditionalists in the West; they’re Christians like the murdered first communicants in Sri Lanka, or the jailed pastors in China, or the Coptic martyrs of North Africa, or any of the millions of non-Western Christians who live under constant threat of persecution. One of the basic facts of contemporary religious history is that Christians around the world are persecuted on an extraordinary scale — by mobs and pogroms in India, jihadists and United States-allied governments in the Muslim world, secular totalitarians in China and North Korea. Yet as an era-defining reality rather than an episodic phenomenon this reality is barely visible in the Western media, and rarely called by name and addressed head-on by Western governments and humanitarian institutions. (“Islamophobia” looms large; talk of “Christophobia” is almost nonexistent.)
At bottom all these failures illustrate the unusual and difficult position of traditional Christianity in Europe and the United States. The old faith of don’t-call-it-Western-civilization is at once too residually influential and politically threatening to escape the passive-aggressive frenmity of liberalism, and yet too weak and compromised and frankly self-sabotaging to fully shape a conservative alternative.
[Ross Douthat (2019), The New York Times]
When Ali Wong socializes, it is mostly with the same seven women she befriended at U.C.L.A., where she majored in Asian-American studies. (Joking about her unlikely success given her focus, she has said, “Ethnic studies is a major where you study how to blame everything on white people; it’s not supposed to yield income.”) “We all had kids at the same time. And they have nothing to do with entertainment,” she says proudly. “They’re public defenders, lawyers, event organizers, pharmacists, graphic designers. They could give two shits about what I do. They never ask me about any of it or for anything.” The Saturday after we meet, Wong invited her friends and their kids over to her house—to chill and eat food delivered by a Korean catering company.
[Vanity Fair (2019)]
For decades, Yale offered a two-semester introductory sequence on the history of Western art. The fall semester spanned the ancient Middle East to the early Renaissance; the spring semester picked up from the High Renaissance through the present. The introductory art history course has been my anchor to the past, providing visual grounding in the development of Western civilization, around which it is possible to develop a broader sense of history. But now, the art history department is junking the entire two-semester sequence. The reasons given are either laughably weak or at odds with the facts. The first reason is the most absurd: the course titles (“Introduction to the History of Art: Prehistory to the Renaissance” and “Introduction to the History of Art: Renaissance to the Present”). Art history chair Tim Barringer, whose specialities include post-colonial and gender studies, apparently thinks students will be fooled by those titles into thinking that other traditions don’t exist. “I don’t mistake a history of European painting for the history of all art in all places,” he primly said. No one else would, either. But if the titles are such a trap for the Eurocentric unwary, the department could have simply added the word “European” before “Art” and been done with it. Marissa Bass, the director of undergraduate studies in the department, echoed Barringer’s accusation of Eurocentrism. The changes recognize “an essential truth: that there has never been just one story of the history of art.”
Barringer promises that the replacement surveys will subject European art to a variety of deconstructive readings designed to pull that tradition down from its alleged pedestal. The new classes will consider Western art in relation to “questions of gender, class, and ‘race,’” he told the Daily News in an email, carefully putting scare quotes around “race” to signal his adherence to the creed that race is a social construct. The new courses will discuss the involvement of Western art with capitalism. Most intriguingly, the relationship between Western art and climate change will be a “key theme,” he wrote. Barringer’s proposed deconstruction of Western art illustrates a central feature of modern academia: The hermeneutics of suspicion applies only to the Western canon. Western academics continue to interpret non-Western traditions with sympathy and respect; those interpreters seek to faithfully convey the intentions of non-Western creators and to help students understand what makes non-Western works great. So, while the replacement European art survey courses will, in Marissa Bass’s words, “challenge, rethink, and rewrite” art historical narratives, the department will not be cancelling its Buddhist art and architecture class due to the low representation of female artists and architects, nor will it “interrogate” (as High Theory puts it) African arts and cultures for their relationship to genocidal tribal warfare, or Aztec art and architecture for their relationship to murderous misogyny.
Yale has cancelled other landmark courses on identity grounds. For decades, English majors were required to take a yearlong course called “Major English Poets.” But that course was defenestrated from its gateway status for English majors in 2017, following a student petition griping preposterously that a “year spent around a seminar table where the literary contributions of women, people of color, and queer folk are absent actively harms all students, regardless of their identity. The Major English Poets sequences creates a culture that is especially hostile to students of color.” Rather than push back against this ignorant nonsense, members of Yale’s English faculty validated its premise. Professor Jill Richards announced that it was “unacceptable that the two semester requirement for all majors routinely covers the work of eight white, male poets.” Jill Richards, who specializes in global modernism, gender and sexuality, citizenship, human rights, critical legal theory, revolution, social movements, cinema, avant-gardes, and young adult literature, is another example of the trahison des clercs: terrifyingly, despite her contempt for “white, male poets,” she teaches the now-optional “Major English Poets.”
Yale’s lust for curricular cancellations has picked up steam since Major English Poets lost its required spot in the English major. The art history department appears to be eliminating the Western art introductory courses on its own initiative, without the pretext of a student petition or other agitation. The only possible grounds for doing so is a political hatred for the Western tradition, since the axed courses were voluntary and surrounded by numerous non-Western alternatives. Barringer did not reveal whether African, Asian, and South American art will now be “problematized” along with Western art. The one-sided subjection of Western civilization to the petty tyranny of identity politics will only worsen. Yale is one of four universities to have received a $4 million grant to infuse the theme of race into every aspect of humanities teaching and scholarship. Brown, the University of Chicago, and Stanford are the other recipients of that Andrew W. Mellon Foundation bequest. (The Mellon Foundation, once a supporter of apolitical humanities scholarship, has been captured by the identitarian Left.) Race, Yale announced in its press release about the Mellon grant, is critically important and indisputably central to the humanities.
[Heather Mac Donald (2020), Quillette]
The British Government knows who its enemies are: Housing Minister Robert Jenrick has attacked the “woke worthies and town hall militants” trying to remove statues, while Jacob Rees-Mogg has criticised the “woke brigade”. It seems bizarre for a Tory government to flag up the issue of statues and street names while over 1,500 of its citizens are dying each day from covid, a virus they failed to control. But statues and street names don’t actually matter. They are a proxy for the far more important issue of diversity and demography; perhaps people worry about statues of dead Englishmen disappearing from city centres because they worry about Englishmen disappearing from those cities. America’s iconoclastic spasm is certainly related to the country’s transformation from an overwhelmingly European country to a multicultural liberal caliphate, a bold experiment which is yet to produce its end results. African-Americans, though small in number and in relative overall decline, are a totemic group for the multicultural “Blue Tribe”, and their all-American narrative of slavery and redemption echoes the country’s Christian ideals.
[Ed West (2021), UnHerd]

Clown World

Rachel McKinnon, 37, is pictured left alongside her fellow female competitors

Rachel McKinnon, a transgender cyclist who won her second world title at the 2019 Masters Track World Championships in Manchester, accused the woman in second place, Dawn Orwick, of “poor sportsmanship” for refusing to link arms with her on the World Championship podium. McKinnon said: “Third place, Kristen, wore my ‘sport is a human right’ sticker as a sign of solidarity. Second place kept her distance and put her hand behind her back as her own sign.” Dawn Orwick hasn’t spoken out against McKinnon’s win or made a comment about transgender athletes competing against women who were born female.

Other women who have been beaten by McKinnon have also said she has an unfair advantage. The woman who placed third on Saturday, Danish cyclist Kirsten Herup Sovang, has said she fully supports McKinnon’s win. [MailOnline (2019)]

Perigo

Existem cinco características que são perigosas num general:

  • Disposto a morrer: pode ser morto.
  • Determinado a sobreviver: pode ser capturado.
  • Irascível: pode ser insultado.
  • Inseguro: pode ser humilhado.
  • Complacente: pode ser desrespeitado.

[A Arte da Guerra de Sun Tzu]

Por Quem Os Sinos Dobram

Nenhum homem é uma ilha isolada; cada homem é uma partícula do continente, uma parte da terra; se um torrão é arrastado para o mar, a Europa fica diminuída, como se fosse um promontório, como se fosse a casa dos teus amigos ou a tua própria; a morte de qualquer homem diminui-me, porque sou parte do género humano. E por isso não perguntes por quem os sinos dobram; eles dobram por ti. [John Donne]

Foi agredido o motorista de autocarro, homem branco, que chamou a PSP para denunciar a passageira Cláudia Simões, mulher negra, que viajava sem bilhete e que alega depois ter sido depois agredida por polícias. As agressões ao motorista ocorreram na noite de 24 de Janeiro de 2020, em Massamá, concelho de Sintra.

Por Quem os Sinos Dobram

[crítica do livro Por Quem os Sinos Dobram (1940), de Ernest Hemingway, publicado por Livros do Brasil (2016)]
“Um vento tépido aquecia os ombros de Robert Jordan. A neve derretia-se rapidamente enquanto almoçavam. Vieram duas grandes sanduíches de carne e uma boa fatia de queijo de cabra para cada um, e Robert Jordan tinha cortado com a navalha grossas fatias de cebola que pusera de cada lado da carne e do queijo entre os pedaços de pão. Nunca tivera tanta fome. Encheu a boca de vinho, ao qual o couro dava um vago gosto de alcatrão; o couro tocava as agulhas de pinho da camuflagem e ele inclinava a cabeça entre os ramos do pinheiro para beber melhor. Pensou então, ‘Vivi toda a experiência da minha vida nos três dias que estive nestas montanhas. Anselmo é o meu mais velho amigo. Agustín, com o seu palavreado imundo, é o meu irmão. E nunca tive irmãos. Maria é o meu amor verdadeiro e a minha mulher. E nunca tive um amor verdadeiro. Nem tive mulher.'” Nas montanhas da Espanha Fascista ocupadas por guerrilheiros Republicanos, cabe toda a Humanidade, passada e futura.

The End of WASP America

After I saw the Knives Out (2019, Directed by Rian Johnson) trailer, I became curious and I went to see it. The trailer showed a classical Agatha Christie whodunit unrolling in a traditional Cluedo mansion. It seemed fun. But at the end of the movie, I knew I had just saw US Liberal propaganda. So I immediately checked out who was the director… Of course, Rian Johnson. First, I was angry with myself for giving money to this guy, but now, more coldly, I kind of admire him. I admire how subversive the movie is and how effectively passes the subliminal message.
First, it isn’t a whodunit, that’s just the stage, the pretext, the excuse to make this movie and sell it. It is instead a metaphor about the demographic replacement of the WASP’s (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) by South Americans immigrants. This is why the liberal establishment like The Guardian or The Atlantic loved the movie: it plays directly into theirs subconscious, theirs sociological views and theirs desires. Rian Johnson is playing with the social tensions and obsessions of today’s USA. The last scene of the movie reveals the purpose: the Latino took over the house (aka, the USA) from the WASP’s (aka, White America). Or more specifically, the old WASP man gave the house to the good hearted Latino woman deliberately. That’s why so many people liked the movie subconsciously: White Liberals because they desire that, Latinos because they dream of it, and many others because they just don’t like Whites.
Now, I have to say that the movie also portrays the ongoing low-intensity civil war going on in White America. It is not just a White vs Others rhetoric, there is also a reflection about White America. It is being teared apart by “nazis” and “sjw’s”, by “open borders” and “legal immigration”… Whites have become lazy, pretentious, spoiled… The old White man wouldn’t have it, his family needed a lesson for their own good. They needed to start again, work hard as he has done and earn their wealth. Maybe Rian Johnson is thinking of redemption here and sending a message to White America to get their “shit together”.
The question is, why so many people don’t grasp the true message? Because the cast of the South American immigrant was brilliant: a White woman. If the hero was a Brown or Black woman, it would be pretty obvious. People would still have liked it, the liberal establishment would have praised it, but it would be like other propaganda movies, obvious. The audience just saw White people fighting each other and the “bad White people” loose. Rian Johnson even portrayed the evil guy as the typical White chad and the South American woman throws up when lying! It mercilessly mocks the audiences. The simple race swap was indeed enough and highly effective, according to the general critical and public appraisal and box office. Knives Out is subversion well done, definitely a genius move by Johnson, well played.

A Model

The world is concurrent.

Things in the world don’t share data.

Things communicate with messages.

Things fail.

Picture this model applied to us, humans. Humans are concurrent entities who do not share brains. They speak to each other through asynchronous messages, sometimes on top of each other. Humans receiving the message process them and store a copy of whatever they believe is relevant to them. And, sometimes, humans fail, but the ones around them continue with their assigned tasks whilst new humans are created, or the humans that failed are repaired. It is as simple as that! – https://www.erlang-solutions.com/blog/which-companies-are-using-erlang-and-why-mytopdogstatus.html

Portugal Sequestrado

No dia 21 de Novembro de 2019 as forças de segurança PSP e GNR saíram à rua para manifestarem o seu desagrado quanto às suas condições laborais e o Estado de Lisboa fechou-se dentro de um Parlamento de Portugal muralhado com muros de betão improvisados. Ele sabe que as forças de segurança são as únicas que podem fazer frente ao seu Poder e mesmo o retirar, se necessário. 

O Estado de Lisboa controla o país através dos deputados que coloca em cada círculo eleitoral: o eleitor de Bragança devia votar no Homem da sua terra, mas acaba por votar no deputado que o Estado de Lisboa colocou nesse círculo, sendo que na maioria das vezes nem do distrito é ou não reside no mesmo há décadas. Todas as instituições e empresas públicas relevantes encontram-se em Lisboa. Portugal pode estar a desfazer-se, alunos sem professores, urgências hospitalares sem médicos, dezenas de pessoas a morrerem carbonizadas nas estradas, os rios secos com a água retida em Espanha, portugueses expulsos das suas terras natais porque a pressão turística e estrangeiros ricos assim o desejam… Nada disso interessa, pois o Estado de Lisboa controla o território via instituições e vassalos instalados e a população via o regime de eleições e rendas que lhes distribui.

Assim sendo, as eleições nada podem mudar pois a população na sua maioria é pobre e dependente das transferências do Estado de Lisboa: são funcionários públicos, pensionistas ou dependentes de subsídios. A sua existência, assim como o da sua família, depende da caridade do Estado de Lisboa. São mais de 6 milhões num país de 10 milhões. Quem pode então derrubar o regime instituído desde 1974 em Portugal pelo Estado de Lisboa? Quem tem as armas e as sabe usar. Num país em qua não existe serviço militar obrigatório e o povo não tem a cultura de ter armas em casa, como nos EUA por exemplo, apenas quem tem o monopólio da força pode mudar e depor este regime.

Por isso mesmo o Estado de Lisboa colocou muros de betão à volta da Assembleia e cercou-se com centenas de polícias. Forças de segurança fora do muro a mostrarem ao Estado de Lisboa que estão presentes, forças de segurança dentro do muro para proteger o Estado de Lisboa, a sua casta e os seus privilégios. O muro que separa as forças de segurança também separa todos os outros portugueses. Portugal está sequestrado pelo Estado de Lisboa. Apenas quem tem armas e as sabe usar pode acabar com o mesmo. E os burocratas, políticos, nobres, e teólogos de Lisboa sabem disso.

Divina Providência

Allegory of Divine Providence and Barberini Power (1633)
No prólogo da constituição boliviana, aprovada por Evo Morales em 2009, ficou gravado: “Cumprindo o mandato de nossos povos, com a força da nossa Pachamama, e graças a Deus, refundamos a Bolívia”. Mas, agora que Evo renunciou à presidência e se exilou no México, a oposição quer refundar o país.

Na terça-feira à noite, a autoproclamada presidente da Bolívia, Jeanine Añez Chavez, falou ao parlamento boliviano segurando uma Bíblia. Era uma clara afronta ao ex-presidente, que baniu o livro sagrado do palácio presidencial em 2009, quando a nova constituição instituiu que a Bolívia é um país laico. Agora parece ter chegado a hora da revanche.  Luis Fernando Camacho, líder da direita bíblia, organizou a oposição à Evo com uma bíblia na mão: “A Pachamama nunca voltará ao Palácio. Bolívia é de Cristo”, disse numa gravação feita para as redes sociais. No Twitter disse ainda que pediria a prisão de Evo e seus ministros: “No es veganza, es justicia divina.” [Carol Pires (2019), Globo]

The Derangement Olympics

I regard the whole Northwestern United States to be among the global hubs of our present derangements. This week it emerged that Seattle ’s school board has decided even maths must be subjected to the same numbing and unthinking orthodoxy of our time. In particular that mathematics must – like everything else – be seen through the prism of racism and oppression. Thus as the Seattle Public Schools guidelines for maths education show, students in Seattle schools will be invited to consider questions such as “Where does Power and Oppression show up in our math experience?”, “How is math manipulated to allow inequality and oppression to exist?” and “How has math been used to resist and liberate people and communities of color from oppression?” Elsewhere students will be invited to consider the following question, “Can you suggest resolutions to oppressive mathematical practices?”

The cleverer students will realise that there is a “correct” answer to the questions, whether or not those answers are true – as there is to every other question of our age. They’ll work out that the answer to every question posed by the Seattle authorities will always and everywhere be the same: “more diversity”.

But the problem is not with the smarter students, who like most smart people will always find a way to navigate around the lies and dogmas of their age, but the less intelligent applicants. A rather basic knowledge of maths would help such people and come in very handy in their lives: in ordering their finances, and working out their day-to-day interactions with others. If they do not pick up these basics at school, then it is highly unlikely that they will pick them up at some later stage, the education system offering the best chance anyone ever has to surpass their forebears.

It should, in theory, also offer them the chance to escape the ideological straitjackets of their time. How disturbing it is to learn that instead, even in a discipline like maths, students will be cocooned and imprisoned in the lies of their age rather than being given the chance to escape them

by Douglas Murray (2019), UnHerd

The West is dead. Political Correctness, Identity Politics, White Privilege, Multiculturalism, are all products of the West. Even if tomorrow we could erase all this ideologies, what guarantee do we have that we won’t do the exactly same mistakes again in a few decades or centuries later? This is our destiny, the natural unwind of our civilization. We lost Rome, the Empires and finally the Nations we created. The ones that reject the status quo, must go underground. Like the Jewish people in the last centuries, we need to create our institutions and survive in a world dominated by other cultures, like the Islamic and Chinese. We have to cooperate with them, learn how to live inside them and forget the Western ideal. 

Os Indígenas Portugueses

Será este o meu fim?
Temo que sim.
E o que será da montanha, regressará alguma vez ao que foi outrora?
Não, mas enquanto o Sol brilhar sobre nós, esta montanha perdurará, mas isso não é grande consolo, pois não?
Não para nós.
[Andrómeda, Zé Burnay]

Numa das suas últimas decisões em 2019, o Governo de António Costa, apoiado pela Esquerda Portuguesa (PS, PCP e BE), aprovou o aumento em 1200 hectares da área destinada a estufas no Perímetro de Rega do Mira. Este alargamento irá trazer inevitavelmente um aumento da população imigrante, para a qual já hoje não há suficientes respostas habitacionais e sociais. Um acréscimo desmesurado da população imigrante não é referido no teor da resolução publicada pelo anterior Governo quando já se constata algum alarme social na região. Num debate realizado na Assembleia Municipal de Odemira no final de 2018 admitia-se a possibilidade de poderem concentrar-se neste concelho 36 mil imigrantes, um número superior à população de residentes naturais. Numa altura em que há escolas no concelho de Odemira que funcionam porque são frequentadas por filhos de imigrantes, em que familiares dos imigrantes já se encontram em Odemira, inclusive gerações, “vão concentrar-se os trabalhadores longe dos aglomerados populacionais, dificultando ou impedindo a sua integração na comunidade local”, afirma Alberto Matos, dirigente da Solidariedade Imigrante. [Público (2019)]
A secretária de Estado para a Integração e as Migrações desafiou os centros de migrantes locais a divulgarem informação para que os estrangeiros se recenseiem até junho e possam votar nas próximas eleições autárquicas. Na inauguração do Centro Local de Apoio à Integração de Migrantes de Leiria, Cláudia Pereira lembrou que as eleições autárquicas “são as únicas onde os imigrantes podem votar”. “Podem votar nas autárquicas imigrantes da União Europeia, do Brasil e de Cabo Verde. Desafio a que os CLAIM informem os imigrantes que têm de se recensear nas juntas de freguesia até final de junho. Tem de ser até 60 dias antes das eleições. Se não se recensearem depois não poderão votar”, alertou a secretária de Estado. Cláudia Pereira lembrou que o Alto Comissariado para as Migrações também está a divulgar essa informação. [Observador (2021)]

Portugueses Retornados de África em 1975

No século XX, expulsos do Império. Em XXI, expulsos de Portugal.

The Brexit Asian Vote

Polls conducted before the European referendum indicated that ethnic minority voters were more likely to vote Remain.

However, there is data to suggest that the strength of euroscepticism within the British South Asian population was perhaps stronger than previously anticipated.

A number of jurisdictions with large South Asian populations delivered Leave votes, including Luton (56.5% Leave), Hillingdon (56.4% Leave), Slough (54.3% Leave) and Bradford (54.2% Leave). All have South Asian populations of 25% and above. It’s not unreasonable to think that such Leave votes could not have been delivered without a significant number of Asian voters opting for Brexit.

Why did some South Asians vote for a campaign that was, at times, seen as bigoted and xenophobic? Why did a number of middle-class South Asians (most notably those living in West London) not vote in a way which their socio-economic status would predict?

One reason might be that many voters within the British South Asian diaspora don’t feel European. When the Remain campaign sought to appeal to a sense of European identity, and warned that people were about to lose that identity, it didn’t make for a particularly convincing argument.

First-generation migrants from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh were encouraged to integrate under a social policy based on the adoption of “British values”. Being absorbed into a “European collective” was never, in reality, really part of that integration process.

The pro-Commonwealth rhetoric coming from the Leave camp, on the other hand, would have pulled on the heartstrings of many South Asian voters.

The Commonwealth argument became particularly interesting when the Leave campaign talked about immigration. Prominent Leave campaigners such as Michael Gove often claimed that the EU was essentially forcing Britain to implement a “racist” immigration system. While predominantly white EU migrants were allowed to freely enter the UK, those from the Indian subcontinent were subject to visa and work restrictions. Voting Brexit was seen as an opportunity to “level out” this in-built unfairness. 

We still don’t have much information about how specific groups voted in the referendum but what we can gather from the ward-level data is telling. The Brexit voter is not just your dispossessed, lower-educated white Northerner. They might also be your well-to-do, educated voter of Indian origin living in one of West London’s leafier suburbs.

[Rakib Ehsan (2017), London School of Economics]

Polite, Restrained and Repressed

The vastness of the USA, combined with its great social mobility, has always encouraged people to uproot themselves from failed lives and start out again somewhere else. In the past, Britain’s smallness and its settled class system have compelled us to be polite, restrained and repressed, or face chaos. Japan’s elaborate manners and customs are a similar response to living at close quarters on cramped islands. [Peter Hitchens (2018), The Abolition of Britain, Bloomsbury Continuum]

Descobrimentos

Bárbara Reis no Público (2018) conta como Hilda Solis, primeira mulher hispânica do Senado da Califórnia e filha de pais emigrantes da Nicarágua e do México foi picada pelo mosquito do politicamente correcto ao ser a autora da moção apresentada ao comité de supervisores do condado de Los Angeles que substituiu o Dia de Cristóvão Colombo por Dia dos Povos Indígenas, o que resultou no derrube da estátua de Colombo que estava na Baixa da cidade. Solis disse: “A estátua de Cristóvão Colombo reescreve um capítulo manchado da História que romantiza a expansão dos impérios europeus e a exploração de recursos naturais e seres humanos. Minimizar ou ignorar a dor dos habitantes originais de Los Angeles é prestar um mau serviço à verdade. A remoção da estátua de Colombo é um acto de reparação da justiça que honra e reconhece o espírito resiliente dos habitantes originais do nosso condado. Com a remoção, começamos um novo capítulo da nossa História, em que aprendemos com os erros do passado.” Bárbara Reis argumenta ainda que não vale a pena discutir os ideais de “recomeçar a História” ou se aprendemos com os erros do passado. Muitos menos se Colombo “descobriu a América”. Onésimo Teotónio Almeida diz que “descobrir não significa criar, inventar. Quando a Polícia descobre o criminoso, não o inventa. Os portugueses descobriram o caminho marítimo para a Índia, ninguém diz que descobriram a Índia. São ‘Descobrimentos’ do ponto de vista europeu.
Mas isto não é apenas uma questão de politicamente correcto, mas sim de substituição demográfica da população. Diferentes culturas têm diferentes narrativas e isso reflete-se no território ocupado. Hilda Solis não se revê na fundação europeia dos EUA e portanto está a lutar pela sua etnia hispânica. É por esta mesma razão que Portugal não irá ter um Museu dos Descobrimentos: a sua população maioritária Europeia está a ser substituída demograficamente via imigração e natalidade por populações de base Africana. Essas populações têm a visão do Descoberto e não do Descobridor. E portanto não irão querer no seu país, Portugal, que se glorifique o Descobridor e seus Descobrimentos. Isso é a narrativa de uma etnia portuguesa que está envelhecida, a imigrar e a simplesmente não se reproduzir. E portanto vai desaparecer.

James Watson

On January 11th 2019, Nobel laureate and discoverer of the double-helix DNA structure James Watson was stripped of all his academic titles. This reprisal was undertaken by his former colleagues at Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory and came as a reaction to his latest remarks on the possible genetic connection between race and IQ. Dr. Watson’s opinions came to light again in a recent PBS documentary entitled American Masters: Decoding Watson. In the documentary he is asked whether his views about the relationship between race and intelligence have changed.

“No,’’ Dr. Watson said. “Not at all. I would like for them to have changed, that there be new knowledge that says that your nurture is much more important than nature. But I haven’t seen any knowledge. And there’s a difference on the average between blacks and whites on IQ tests. I would say the difference is, it’s genetic.’’

This is not the first time Watson has made headlines for his views. In 2007 he gave an interview with the Sunday Times in which he stated that he was “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa.” He furthermore states that “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours, whereas all the testing says not really.” This theory is evidenced in books such as The Bell Curve, which claims that on average Asian Americans have a higher IQ than do white Americans, who in turn have a higher IQ than black Americans. In response to the book, the American Psychological Association issued a report recognizing that there are indeed racial differences in IQ. However the APA dismiss a genetic explanation for the IQ differential between races. They furthermore state: “In short, no adequate explanation of the differential between the IQ means of Blacks and Whites is presently available.” This view was later disputed by other psychologists, who favor a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

https://www.theburkean.ie/articles/2019/01/18/james-watson-a-modern-day-galileo

The Eternal Return

Ouroboros is a snake-like animal that, contorted in a circle, devours its own tail. This ancient symbol tells us about the circularity of time. The idea of eternal return has existed in various forms since antiquity. Put simply, it’s the theory that existence recurs in an infinite cycle as energy and matter transform over time. In ancient Greece, the Stoics believed that the universe went through repeating stages of transformation similar to those found in the “wheel of time” of Hinduism and Buddhism. One of Nietzsche’s most famous ideas is also that of eternal recurrence, which appears in his book The Gay Science, Aphorism 341
“What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: ‘This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence—even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!’
In Greek mythology, Sisyphus was punished for his self-aggrandizing craftiness and deceitfulness by being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill only for it to roll down when it nears the top, repeating this action for eternity. In short, The Eternal Return of Sisyphus.

Work

A man who is born into a world already possessed, if he cannot get subsistence from his parents on whom he has a just demand, and if the society do not want his labour, has no claim of right to the smallest portion of food, and, in fact, has no business to be where he is. At nature’s mighty feast there is no vacant cover for him. She tells him to be gone, and will quickly execute her own orders, if he does not work upon the compassion of some of her guests. [Thomas Robert Malthus (1798), An Essay on the Principle of Population]

Paradise

Bāgh-e Shāzdeh Mahan
The word “paradise” entered English from an Old Iranian form, “walled enclosure”. By the 6th/5th century BCE, the Old Iranian word had been borrowed into Assyrian. It subsequently came to indicate the expansive walled gardens of the First Persian Empire, and was subsequently borrowed into Hebrew as “pardes” and into Greek as “parádeisos”, park for animals. In the Septuagint (3rd–1st centuries BCE), Greek “parádeisos” was used to translate both Hebrew “pardes” and Hebrew “gan” (garden): it is from this usage that the use of “paradise” to refer to the Garden of Eden derives.

Knowledge Portfolio

Your knowledge and experience are your most important professional assets. Unfortunately, they’re expiring assets. Your knowledge becomes out of date as new techniques, languages, and environments are developed. Changing market forces may render your experience obsolete or irrelevant. As the value of your knowledge declines, so does your value to your company or client. Managing a knowledge portfolio is very similar to managing a financial portfolio:
  1. Serious investors invest regularly, as a habit. 
  2. Diversification is the key to long-term success. 
  3. Smart investors balance their portfolios between conservative and high-risk, high-reward investments.
  4.  Investors try to buy low and sell high for maximum return. 
  5. Portfolios should be reviewed and rebalanced periodically.
Invest Regularly in Your Knowledge Portfolio.

[Andrew Hunt, David Thomas (2004), The Pragmatic Programmer, Pearson Education]

The Poet’s Muse

(this review is about Paterson (2016), Directed by Jim Jarmusch)
White t-shirt, blue shirt, Paterson wakes up, drives his urban bus, comes home, dines with his Persian muse, takes the dog for a walk and stops off for a beer at his neighborhood bar. Paterson raison d’être is his solitary poetry, written on his secret blank notebook. Written by him, for him, with no grandeur aspiration.
But Laura, Paterson’s “better half”, isn’t real. She is an illusion, a product of Paterson’s imagination. Laura never interacts with the outside world, she only appears inside the house. Even in the house, at the bedside table, there are photos of Paterson in a military uniform, his parents (maybe?) and the dog. Laura isn’t there. When Paterson says to Doc, the local bar owner, that Laura will sell cupcakes at the farmer’s market and that he should go there, Doc looks surprised and shocked, saying that he can’t because he has the chess tournament. He was clearly perturbed, does he know that Paterson lives inside his mind, in a schizophrenic reality, where Laura is a product of his imagination? When they go to the cinema, the only moment the two are together outside the house, Paterson stares at the couples in the cinema, with their hands joined, and he looks mystified and confused. The main actress of the movie they are seeing is almost equal to Laura. He says that when they are coming home: “You look like her. You guys could be twins.” She is equal because that’s what Paterson sees, his mind projects Laura everywhere.
She is the poet’s Muse. Almost all of Paterson poesy is about her and their daily life. He is a poet trapped in the daily austere routine of conducting a bus, only interrupted by a midday sandwich.  Instead, she paints, she plays guitar, she cooks, she even manages to sell cupcakes! She is beautiful and fully devoted to him. She is always encouraging him to publish his poetry: “You know that I know your poetry is really, really good.” She is always smiling and friendly even when he is gloomy and resigned. She is always there when he needs it, when he finishes writing his poems. She is perfect for him, because she is him.

Courage

I love it when people say that they’d stand up to the Nazis if they were living in Germany in the 1940s.
I always think to myself “mate you can’t even tell 10 year olds to turn their music down when you’re on the bus”.

[Francis Foster @failinghuman]

Portugal Liberal

O partido Iniciativa Liberal propôs que a taxa de IRS passe a ser de 15% para todos os rendimentos acima dos 650 euros, uma medida que constará do seu programa eleitoral às eleições legislativas de 6 de outubro. Para o partido liderado por Carlos Guimarães Pinto, “com o argumento da progressividade, o que o atual sistema tem feito é impossibilitar as empresas de subir o salário líquido dos trabalhadores, impedindo assim a retenção dos melhores talentos no país e o crescimento da economia”

O líder do partido lembrou ainda que esta proposta, “apesar de disruptiva em Portugal, já foi aplicada noutras economias da Europa, nomeadamente na Estónia, que têm crescido a níveis mais elevados que a economia portuguesa nos últimos 20 anos”.

E, segundo dados da Pordata, “a economia da Estónia cresceu a mais do dobro do ritmo da portuguesa desde a introdução da taxa única sobre os rendimentos” e “em 2017 ultrapassou Portugal”. [Observador (2019)]

Quotes

A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance. – Hunter S. Thompson

Any fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write code that humans can understand. – Martin Fowler

Compassion must be rational to be effective. – Peter Hitchens

A society that competes with biology is bound to lose. – Lamberto Maffei

Creativity is the union of existing elements with new useful connections. – Lamberto Maffei

For the Left, the rational should be real, for the Right, the real was the rational. – Jaime Nogueira Pinto

Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. – George Santayana

The situation has provided a cue; this cue has given the expert access to information stored in memory, and the information provides the answer. Intuition is nothing more and nothing less than recognition. – Herbert Simon

After their final retirement from office or factory, people increasingly drop out of the consciousness of friends who only knew them because of what they did, rather than because of who they are. – Peter Hitchens

A person who extracts income and status from his own human capital places himself at the disposal of others: he uses himself up. – Daniel Markovits

Let’s defend one of our most precious liberties, the right to say: “Sorry, I just don’t know”. – Lara Prendergast

Mankind was born on Earth. It was never meant to die here. – Interstellar (2014), Directed by Christopher Nolan

The guitar is the easiest instrument to play and the hardest to play well. – Andrés Segovia

We all have to be used up by something. – Wendell Berry

He is not only unhappy, but also ashamed of being unhappy. – Viktor Frankl

Know your potential weaknesses so that you can anticipate and develop compensating controls. – unknown author

A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for. – John A. Shedd

A person usually has two reasons for doing a thing: one that sounds good and a real one. – J. Pierpont Morgan

A man without a smiling face must not open a shop. – Old Chinese proverb

Life is what we make of it. Travels are travelers. What we see is not what we see but what we are. – Fernando Pessoa

If I got rid of my demons, I’d lose my angels. – Tennessee Williams

If they had lacked the opportunity, the virtue of their spirit would have been sapped; if they had lacked virtue, the opportunity would have been wasted. – Machiavelli

Above all, I believe in the God-given genius of certain individuals, and I value a society that makes their existence possible. – Kenneth Clark

Work and action are the precondition for developing a meaningful identity. – Frank Furedi

One of the most common forms of laziness is staying busy. – Robert Kiyosaki

For when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you. – Nietzsche

Eighty percent of success is showing up. – Woody Allen

For Homer, life, this small, ephemeral and so common a thing, has no value in itself. It becomes worth something only because of its intensity, its beauty, and the breath of greatness that everyone can give it — above all in his own eyes. – Dominique Venner

Punk Rock should mean freedom, liking and accepting anything that you like, playing whatever you want, as sloppy as you want, as long it is good and has passion. – Kurt Cobain

The value of things is not the time they last, but the intensity with which they occur. – Fernando Pessoa

Scientism is rarely explicit about its political objectives, which is why its role as an ideology is so rarely visible and recognized. – Frank Furedi

Make Wakanda Great Again

Black Panther is about the hereditary monarch of a monoracial ethno-state that keeps immigrants at bay with a high-tech border wall and faces no economic slowdown because of it. In fact, Wakanda becomes the richest country in the world without any international trade whatsoever, all while maintaining traditional religious customs and above-replacement fertility rates—a kind of black Israel. (It does eventually reconcile itself to foreign aid under T’Challa, but not to immigration.) Trouble only begins when Killmonger (a foreigner) challenges Black Panther’s claim to the throne—not because he thinks the current occupant is illegitimate, but because he wants to use Wakandan technology to launch a global, race-based revolution, with no regard for national boundaries.

Definitivamente

E finalmente a Kate, o meu último amor de juventude, o último e o mais grave, depois dela pode-se dizer que a minha juventude terminou, nunca mais conheci os estados mentais que normalmente associamos à juventude, aquela despreocupação encantadora, aquela sensação de um mundo indefinido e aberto. Depois dela a realidade fechou-se sobre mim, definitivamente. [Michel Houellebecq (2019), Serotonina, Alfaguara Portugal]

Our Suicidal Elites

The French nobility, observed Tocqueville in The Ancien Regime and The Revolution, supported many of the writers whose essays and observations ended up threatening “their own rights and even their existence.” Today we see much the same farce repeated in the West, as the world’s richest people line up behind causes that, in the end, could relieve them of their fortunes, if not their heads. In this sense, they could end up serving, in Lenin’s words, as “useful idiots” in their own destruction. Although they themselves have benefited enormously from the rise of free markets, liberal protection of property rights, and the meritocratic ideal, many among our most well-heeled men and women have adopted environmental, internationalist  and social agendas that undermine their own status.  [Joel Kotkin (2019), Quillette]

The Internalisation of the Fatwa

Tamara Cincik, a White female, was kicked and threatened while travelling on a busy Tube carriage to a business meeting in central London. The mother-of-one told MailOnline, children were crying as the agitated man squared up to her and started violently attacking her in the middle of the carriage. The fashion CEO is keen to stress she does not blame this man, who she describes as being 6ft tall and of Southeast Asian descent. She said she believes he needs medical help.Ms Cincik said: “I remain more angry with those white middle class men who left me to it. As fathers, husbands and sons they should be ashamed of themselves.” [Katie French (2018), MailOnline
Let’s recap: a White woman was attacked by a Brown man but blamed two innocent White men instead.
When Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against Salman Rushdie in 1989, he didn’t want only the author of The Satanic Verses killed. He pronounced that: “All those involved in its publication who were aware of its contents are sentenced to death.” Kenan Malik in From Fatwa to Jihad (2009) describes the internalisation of the fatwa as a period in which even though the Ayatollah’s specific wish was not carried out, his wider object most certainly was. The claim at the heart of the anti-Rushdie campaign, that it is morally wrong to offend deeply held religious sensibilities, has become incorporated into mainstream liberal thinking: from publishing to academia, from broadcasting to theatre, there is a great reluctance to give offence and explicit calls to ban books and plays are frequently made.
Tamara Cincik has internalised the fatwa. She was told to hate White people. Specially the White Man. So everything that happens in the world must conform with those axioms. There is no objective Truth.

Sem Propósito

A geração dos meus pais sacrificou-se para que os filhos tivessem o que eles nunca tiveram. Mas é possível que eles tenham tido aquilo que mais nos tem faltado nos últimos vinte anos: um objectivo claro para as suas vidas e um caminho para trilhar na sociedade portuguesa. Os portugueses lutaram pela liberdade em 1974. Lutaram pela democracia em 1975. Lutaram pela integração na Comunidade Europeia nos anos 80. Lutaram pela entrada na moeda única durante a década de 90. Não é fácil saber porque é que estamos a lutar hoje em dia. Nós precisamos de sentir que contamos para alguma coisa. Além de pagar impostos. Cada português precisa de sentir que conta, precisa de sentir que os seus gestos não contribuem apenas para a sua felicidade individual, ou para a felicidade da sua família, mas que têm um efeito real na sociedade, e podem, à sua medida, servir o país. [João Miguel Tavares (2019), 10 de Junho]

O projeto civilizacional a que chamamos Portugal já não faz sentido. Teria feito sentido se depois da descolonização e posterior integração europeia tivesse existido uma política restritiva de imigração e nacionalidade, fazendo de Portugal um clube restrito. Aliado a um paraíso fiscal para empresas e cidadãos estrangeiros ricos, teria tido uma hipótese de continuar a existir. E seria apenas uma hipótese. Mas já é tarde e nada pode ser feito agora, em 2019. A pressão da integração Iberista vinda de Espanha será impossível de conter. E os portugueses querem sequer a conter?

Onde estava no 12 de Junho?

A pergunta é, numa rábula conhecida, ritualmente feita acerca do 25 de Abril. Mas a menos que o inquirido estivesse entre os oficiais do MFA, a resposta até pode lisonjear a sua vaidade cívica, mas é irrelevante para a história. O 25 de Abril foi uma revolução, em que só os revolucionários contaram. O mesmo, porém, não deveria ser verdade para 12 de Junho de 1985, data da assinatura do tratado de adesão de Portugal à Comunidade Económica Europeia (CEE). Há trinta anos, vivíamos em democracia. Devíamos ter contado todos. Mas não contámos, pelo menos directamente. O 12 de Junho não foi um referendo. Apenas uma “assinatura”. Não porque o regime tivesse menorizado o momento. Pelo contrário: em toda a história democrática, poucos eventos mereceram uma encenação tão pomposa, com a nova oligarquia democrática a ocupar o mosteiro dos Jerónimos, como os navegantes de uns novos Descobrimentos. 

O caminho da Europa substituía o caminho da Índia. A oligarquia decidiu, desde cedo, tratar a adesão como uma fatalidade. Portugal não tinha escolha, se queria sobreviver e prosperar. A democracia perfilhou assim uma maneira velha de lidar com as grandes opções nacionais. A ditadura salazarista fizera o mesmo com o “ultramar”. Sem Angola, não havia vida para Portugal. Agora, a CEE substituía Angola. O raciocínio era o mesmo. A “Europa” era a terra prometida de um povo a quem as fronteiras de uma velha independência não bastavam para a salvação. Depois da Índia, do Brasil e da África, era a vez da Europa. A Europa mudou. Portugal também. Em 1985, os portugueses eram ainda uma população jovem numa economia agro-industrial. Trinta anos depois, formam uma população envelhecida numa economia de serviços. A integração europeia enquadrou esta metamorfose.

[Rui Ramos (2015), Observador]

What Do You Fight For?

Many warriors of WWII are bewildered and overwhelmed by a multicultural Britain that, they say bitterly, they were never consulted about nor feel comfortable with. ‘Our country has been given away to foreigners while we, the generation who fought for freedom, are having to sell our homes for care and are being refused medical services because incomers come first.’ Her words may be offensive to many but Sarah Robinson defiantly states: ‘We are affronted by the appearance of Muslim and Sikh costumes on our streets.’ [Tony Rennell (2009), Daily Mail]
Peter Hitchens – “We won the war, or did we?”

Company Hierarchy

Hugh MacLeod’s cartoon is a symbol of an unorthodox school of management based on the axiom that organizations don’t suffer pathologies; they are intrinsically pathological constructs. The Sociopath layer comprises the Darwinian/Protestant Ethic will-to-power types who drive an organization to function despite itself. The Clueless layer is the “Organization Man”. The Losers are not social losers (as in the opposite of  “cool”), but people who have struck bad bargains economically, giving up capitalist striving for steady paychecks.

The Sociopaths defeated the Organization Men and turned them into The Clueless not by reforming the organization, but by creating a meta-culture of Darwinism in the economy: one based on job-hopping, mergers, acquisitions, layoffs, cataclysmic reorganizations, outsourcing, unforgiving start-up ecosystems, and brutal corporate raiding. In this terrifying meta-world of the Titans, the Organization Man became the Clueless Man. MacLeod’s Loser layer represent the losers in the economic sense: those who have, for various reasons, made (or been forced to make) a bad economic bargain. They’ve given up some potential for long-term economic liberty (as capitalists) for short-term economic stability. Traded freedom for a paycheck in short. They actually produce, but are not compensated in proportion to the value they create (since their compensation is set by Sociopaths operating under conditions of serious moral hazard). They mortgage their lives away, and hope to die before their money runs out. Losers have two ways out: turning Sociopath or turning into bare-minimum performers.

Based on the MacLeod lifecycle, we can also separate the three layers based on the timing of their entry and exit into organizations. The Sociopaths enter and exit organizations at will, at any stage, and do whatever it takes to come out on top. The contribute creativity in early stages of a organization’s life, neurotic leadership in the middle stages, and cold-bloodedness in the later stages, where they drive decisions like mergers, acquisitions and layoffs that others are too scared or too compassionate to drive. They are also the ones capable of equally impersonally exploiting a young idea for growth in the beginning, killing one good idea to concentrate resources on another at maturity, and milking an end-of-life idea through harvest-and-exit market strategies.

The Losers like to feel good about their lives. They are the happiness seekers, rather than will-to-power players, and enter and exit reactively, in response to the meta-Darwinian trends in the economy. But they have no more loyalty to the firm than the Sociopaths. They do have a loyalty to individual people, and a commitment to finding fulfillment through work when they can, and coasting when they cannot.

The Clueless are the ones who lack the competence to circulate freely through the economy (unlike Sociopaths and Losers), and build up a perverse sense of loyalty to the firm, even when events make it abundantly clear that the firm is not loyal to them. To sustain themselves, they must be capable of fashioning elaborate delusions based on idealized notions of the firm. Unless squeezed out by forces they cannot resist, they hang on as long as possible, long after both Sociopaths and Losers have left.

[Venkatesh Rao (2009), ribbonfarm]

Idiocracy

In this photo made on May 2019 (Nirmal Purja), a long queue of mountain climbers line a path on Mount Everest. Eleven people died as climbers rushed to take advantage of five days, scattered across two weeks, when wind and storm conditions were safe enough for them to stand on the summit.

Paradise

Her boyfriend used to live in a building that’s part of the library now. He was the eldest Komura son, and a love of reading was in his blood, I suppose. He liked to be alone. So when he went into junior high he insisted on living apart from the main house, in a separate building, and his parents gave their okay. So he lived in that annex, with nobody bothering him, coming back to the main house only for meals. Miss Saeki went to see him there almost every day. The two of them studied together, listened to music, and talked forever. And most likely made love there. The place was their own bit of paradise.[Haruki Murakami (2005), Kafka on the Shore, Vintage Publishing.]
(2003) Sleeping with Ghosts

Conservative

Let me say first of all that Dr Jordan B. Peterson’s recent stand against the Thought Police of his native Canada was noble and brave. He refused to be bullied into using gender-neutral pronouns. And by resolutely resisting this pressure, he overcame it — at least for now. But as a prophet of doom I need to add that I am not sure he has won any really significant victory in the long war against radical speech codes and sexual revolution. I am ceaselessly amazed, as I look at our media, political parties, schools and universities, how formerly conservative people and institutions have adapted themselves to ideas, expressions and formulations which they once rejected and confidently mocked. Almost everything that was once derided as the work of the ‘loony left’ or ‘political correctness gone mad’ is observed daily in grand, expensive private schools and is the official policy of the Conservative and Unionist party, or soon will be. I am too keenly aware of the good things which have been utterly lost in recent years to be comforted by what looks like an attempt to reconcile us with the revolutionary order. I find it hard to applaud efforts to help me adapt to a world which I think has gone utterly wrong. His message is aimed at people who have grown up in the post-Christian West. I used to joke that my upbringing, among warships and cathedrals, with longish spells in chilly prep schools surrounded by muddy playing fields and ruled by bellowing tyrants, had not done me any harm. In truth, I am sure it did do me some harm. But by comparison with the world in which Dr Peterson’s poor, sad admirers have grown up, it was a wise education for real life, especially the hymns that still echo in my mind, with their promised nights of doubt and sorrow and their steep and rugged pathways. [Peter Hitchens (2018), The Spectator]
What I’ve witnessed is a creeping malaise not dissimilar to the one afflicting the Conservative party: institutions that no longer believe in their own brand, that are desperate to pretend they are something they are not (and never should be) in order to impress the kind of people who are always going to hate them anyway. Take Eton. Almost everything that was good about it, from the arcane terminology to the kit to the remarkable independence the boys enjoy, was the result of the accumulated values of its first 550 years of existence. It was not the result of any measures that modernisers have introduced in the past decade or so. [James Delingpole (2019), The Spectator]
At long last, some Conservative British MPs are raising their standard for conservatism: up to 40 Conservative MPs will refuse to accept the “unconscious bias training” intended to tackle racism in the Commons, accusing the parliamentary authorities of “pandering to the woke agenda”. Such training is not intended to address racial prejudice. It’s intended instead to coerce conformity with approved attitudes — in this case, the anti-white racism of Black Lives Matter, which BLM uses to further its openly-stated agenda of undermining and overthrowing western society. “Unconscious bias training” is based on the Marxist concept of “false consciousness”. Its sinister, Kafka-esque goal is to persuade people that they are really odious on account of views they don’t even know they have — and the very fact that they don’t know they have these views, or worse still deny having them, is proof of just how odious they are. Nevertheless, this onslaught on freedom, rationality and western cultural identity is being ruthlessly applied in companies, public sector bodies and other institutions around Britain and the west. And in Britain, it’s being enforced by a Conservative government. It can’t be stated too strongly that if conservatives don’t conserve what is valuable, true and decent about our society they aren’t conservatives at all. [Melanie Phillips (2020)]

Time

(Samantha) It’s like I’m reading a book, and it’s a book I deeply love, but I’m reading it slowly now so the words are really far apart and the spaces between the words are almost infinite. I can still feel you and the words of our story, but it’s in this endless space between the words that I’m finding myself now. It’s a place that’s not of the physical world, it’s where everything else is that I didn’t even know existed. I love you so much, but this is where I am now, and this is who I am now. [Her (2013), Directed by Spike Jonze]

Bárbaros e Iluminados – Populismo e Utopia no Século XXI

[crítica do livro Bárbaros e Iluminados – Populismo e Utopia no Século XXI (2017), de Jaime Nogueira Pinto, publicado por Publicações Dom Quixote (2017)]
Começando no século XVIII, Jaime Nogueira Pinto reinterpreta a História da Europa e EUA como uma luta entre Bárbaros e Iluminados. O Iluminismo, e alguns dos seus mais degenerados discípulos como o Marquês de Sade, antecede uma História encadeada por uma série de avanços e recuos de Utopias viradas Distopias: Revolução Francesa, Fascismo, Nazismo, Comunismo, Marxismo, Maoismo e, finalmente, o Pós Guerra Fria “made in USA”. Vivemos então na última Utopia Ocidental, mais uma tentativa de vencer a natureza imperfeita do Homem e assim alcançar o Fim da História: o mundo sem fronteiras, sem pátrias, sem religiões, sem identidades, alimentado por necessidades puramente consumistas e governado pela finança globalista. Resistem no entanto um conjunto de Bárbaros, leais às eternas verdades fundacionais de Família, Nação e Religião, com uma “visão distópica da utopia ilustrada que se apoderou do Ocidente”, e que portanto a combatem aderindo a qualquer força de reação e combate identititário e civilizacional que apareça: Trump, Le Pen, Brexit. Este livro é ideológico, um manual de armamento intelectual, histórico, político e filosófico para que os Bárbaros Ocidentais que resistem cercados nos seus territórios ancestrais possam continuar a sua luta no campo mais decisivo, o Cultural. Fascinante.

Symbolic

Flames and smoke rise from the blaze as the spire starts to topple on Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, April 15, 2019. The inferno that raged through Notre Dame Cathedral for more than 12 hours destroyed its spire and its roof.

But this is not a surprise in France. A report disclosed by the Le Figaro from the French Central Criminal Intelligence Service noted that from 2016 to 2018 there had been thousands of cases of church vandalism, peaking in 2017 with 1,045 cases. According to the French Ministry of the Interior, when cemeteries and other sites are taken into consideration, the number of acts of vandalism rose to 1,063 in 2018.

Douglas Murray (2017) in The Strange Death of Europe brilliantly said: The unusual European settlement, drawn up from ancient Greece and Rome, catalysed by the Christian religion and refined through the fire of the Enlightenments, turned out to be a highly particular inheritance. Indeed, an inheritance destroyed by the post-WWII European peoples.

Sapere Aude

Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed subordination. Subordination is the inability to use one’s understanding without guidance from another. This subordination is self-imposed when its cause lies not in lack of understanding, but in lack of resolve and courage to use it without guidance from another. Sapere Aude! Have courage to use your own understanding! That is the motto of the Enlightenment. [Immanuel Kant (1784). What is Enlightenment?]

The Library of Babel

The Library of Babel is a short story written by Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges and was published in 1941. The library comprises a gigantic collection of books, each having 410 pages, with 40 lines on each page and 80 characters on each line. Thus, there are 410 x 40 x 80 = 1,312,000 characters in each book. The library contains every possible book of this form, that is, one book with each of the possible orderings of the characters. Borges used an alphabet of 25 letters, so the total number of books is 25 raised to the power 1,312,000. This corresponds approximately to two followed by 1.8 million zeros, an unfathomable number. Thus, it would contain every book that ever has been written, and every book that ever could be, including every play, every song, every scientific paper, every legal decision, every constitution, every piece of scripture, and so on.

Survivorship Bias

The Statistical Research Group, where Abraham Wald spent much of World War II, was a classified program that yoked the assembled might of American statisticians to the war effort:  something like the Manhattan Project, except the weapons being developed were equations, not explosives. The military came to the SRG with some data they thought might be useful. When American planes came back from engagements over Europe, they were covered in bullet holes. But the damage wasn’t uniformly distributed across the aircraft. There were more bullet holes in the fuselage, not so many in the engines. The officers saw an opportunity for efficiency; you can get the same protection with less armor if you concentrate the armor on the places with the greatest need, where the planes are getting hit the most. But exactly how much more armor belonged on those parts of the plane? That was the answer they came to Wald for. It wasn’t the answer they got.
The armor, said Wald, doesn’t go where the bullet holes are. It goes where the bullet holes aren’t: on the engines. Wald’s insight was simply to ask: where are the missing holes? The ones that would have been all over the engine casing, if the damage had been spread equally all over the plane? Wald was pretty sure he knew. The missing bullet holes were on the missing planes. The reason planes were coming back with fewer hits to the engine is that planes that got hit in the engine weren’t coming back. Whereas the large number of planes returning to base with a thoroughly Swiss-cheesed fuselage is pretty strong evidence that hits to the fuselage can (and therefore should) be tolerated. To a mathematician, the structure underlying the bullet hole problem is a phenomenon called survivorship bias.

Inspired by: Jordan Ellenberg (2015). How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking, Penguin Books.

A Futile Struggle

After more than 30 years of liberal and libertarian political activity, including personal contacts with federal ministers, the following became clear to me: my classic liberal/liberal convictions that freedom, self-determination but also personal responsibility are the values that enable a life of prosperity and satisfaction are not shared by the majority. Nowhere, in any system, not even in the USA or Switzerland. 

It is therefore a futile love struggle to convince democratic societies of the merits of these values. Those who promise free services, redistribution and extensive social security will always win the elections. Always and everywhere. Over time, this will lead to exploding national debt, over-regulation, incapacitation and infantilization of citizens. Such long-term considerations, however, do not usually play a role in election decisions. Liberal or libertarian parties must therefore also transform themselves into redistributive parties if they want to survive in democracies. After a certain period of time, they can hardly be distinguished from their competitors. 

So I was faced with the alternative of trying for the next 30 years of my life to continue convincing people of the “value of better ideas” (Mises), with the expected result. Or I could try something completely new. Then it became clear to me that our coexistence is also a market and that political systems are nothing but products. If you want to create a real alternative here, you have to take yourself completely out of the previous system and offer a niche product from the side, so to speak. If the thing works, the others will want it sooner or later. This is exactly what Free Private Cities are all about. Of course, it is not easy to convince governments to surrender some of their sovereignty. But it is still a hundred times easier than changing existing systems “from within” towards more freedom and less redistribution.

[Titus Gebel, CEO of Free Private Cities]

Institute for Nuclear Research, Kiev

X. War And Warriors

Ye shall love peace as a means to new wars – and the short peace more than the long.
You I advise not to work, but to fight. You I advise not to peace, but to victory. Let your work be a fight, let your peace be a victory!
War and courage have done more great things than charity. Not your sympathy, but your bravery hath hitherto saved the victims.
Ye shall only have enemies to be hated, but not enemies to be despised. Ye must be proud of your enemies; then, the successes of your enemies are also your successes.
Resistance – that is the distinction of the slave. Let your distinction be obedience. Let your commanding itself be obeying!
So live your life of obedience and of war! What matter about long life! What warrior wisheth to be spared!
I spare you not, I love you from my very heart, my brethren in war!
Thus spake Zarathustra.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1891). Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None.

Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog (Casper David Friedrich)

Dogs and Wolves

By the 1990s, people started to realize that working as a company man was safe… prevailed the company stayed around. But the technological revolution that took place in Silicon Valley put traditional companies under threat. For instance, IBM had to lay off a propotion of its company man, who then realized that the low-risk profile of their position wasn’t so low risk. These people couldn’t find a job elsewhere. They were of no use to anyone outside IBM, even their sense of humor failed outside of that corporate culture. The company man has been replaced by the employable person. For people are no longer owned by a company but by something worse: the idea that they need to be employable. The employable person is embedded in an industry, with fear of upsetting not just their employer, but other potential employers.

In the famous tale by Ahiqar, the dog boast to the wolf all the contraptions of confort and luxury he has, almost prompting the wolf to enlist. Until the wolf asks the dog about his collar and is terrified when he understand its use. The wolf ran away and is still running. What would you like to be, a dog or a wolf? In the original Aramaic version, the wolf ends eaten by the lion. Freedom entails risks, real skin in the game. Freedom is never free. Neverthless, a dog’s life may appear smooth and secure, but in the absence of a owner, a dog does not survive. Most people prefer to adopt puppies, not grown-up dogs. In many countries unwanted dogs are euthanized. A wolf is trained to survive. Company man abandoned by their employers cannot bounce back. Whatever you do, just don’t be a dog claiming to be a wolf.

Inspired by: Nassim Nicholas Taleb (2018). Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life. Allen Lane.

Location, Location, Location

In 1913, Vienna played host to Adolf Hitler, Leon Trotsky, Joseph Tito, Sigmund Freud and Joseph Stalin. It was a disparate group. The two revolutionaries, Stalin and Trotsky, were on the run. Sigmund Freud was already well established.

The psychoanalyst, exalted by followers as the man who opened up the secrets of the mind, lived and practised on the city’s Berggasse.

The young Josip Broz, later to find fame as Yugoslavia’s leader Marshal Tito, worked at the Daimler automobile factory in Wiener Neustadt, a town south of Vienna.

Then there was the 24-year-old from the north-west of Austria whose dreams of studying painting at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts had been twice dashed and who now lodged in a doss-house in Meldermannstrasse near the Danube, one Adolf Hitler. No-one knows if Hitler bumped into Trotsky, or Tito met Stalin. The conflagration which erupted the following year destroyed much of Vienna’s intellectual life.

The empire imploded in 1918, while propelling Hitler, Stalin, Trotsky and Tito into careers that would mark world history forever. [BBC]

Mosteiro

Vá à rua e pergunte a todos estes que estão a encher Lisboa de merda por Virgílio e Platão. Estão em Lisboa, sabem quem é Pessoa, Camões, Saramago, Lobo Antunes, Portugal, América, Henrique, o navegador? Não fazem ideia, nem querem saber. Estão aqui porque Lisboa está na moda e é a viagem turística mais barata nas agências de viagem. Alguns de nós erguem barricadas com livros, com cultura, com memória. Educamos os filhos para que resistam, para a sua felicidade pessoal. Mas já não há salvação. O Ocidente não vai sobreviver. Somente sobreviverão os pequenos mosteiros como na Idade Média, quando os bárbaros invadem o mundo. É nesses sítios que ficam as bibliotecas. Todos temos de trabalhar, não para salvar o Ocidente, que está perdido, mas para salvar esses mosteiros onde se conservam as bolsas do bom que temos tido. Temos de educar os nossos filhos para que sejam capazes de formar o seu pequeno mosteiro, a sua pequena trincheira, o baluarte onde se reunir, ler, recordar. O esforço deve encaminhar-se para eles, salvar os que merecem ser salvos. [Arturo Perez-Reverte]

Lisboa, Portugal (2019)

The Master Algorithm

Since becoming general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party in 2012, Xi Jinping has laid out a raft of ambitious plans for the country, many of them rooted in technology. He told a meeting of the Chinese Academy of Sciences that technology was the key to achieving “the great goal of building a socialist and modernized nation.” In January, when he addressed the nation on television, the bookshelves on either side of him contained both classic titles such as Das Kapital and a few new additions, including two books about artificial intelligence: Pedro Domingos’s The Master Algorithm and Brett King’s Augmented: Life in the Smart Lane. [Christina Larson]

La ruée vers l’Europe

In The Scramble for Europe (2019), Stephen Smith focuses on ‘young Africa’ – 40 per cent of its population are under fifteen – and a dramatic demographic shift. Today, 510 million people live inside EU borders, and 1.25 billion people in Africa. In 2050, 450 million Europeans will face 2.5 billion Africans. The demographics are implacable. The scramble for Europe will become as inexorable as the ‘scramble for Africa’ was at the end of the nineteenth century, when 275 million people lived north and only 100 million lived south of the Mediterranean. If Africa’s migratory patterns follow the historic precedents set by other less developed parts of the world, in thirty years a quarter of Europe’s population will be Afro-Europeans.

A Pressão Iberista

A motivação para o começo do ciclo do império português foi peninsular, como contrapartida a um excessivo peso continental. Cerca de quinhentos anos mais tarde, com o fim do império, a função de garantia da independência nacional que tinha desempenhado o apoio marítimo atlântico recaiu essencialmente sobre a Europa, que garantiu as condições de relacionamento externo e de financiamento do desenvolvimento do país durante cerca de 30 anos, até à actualidade. No entanto, na nossa península, regressaram com uma força surpreendente dois tipos de nacionalismo, com objetivos contraditórios, que se enfrentaram nas ruas, na arena política, e nos tribunais: o centralista e o catalão.

O reaparecimento do nacionalismo centralista espanhol não aparenta limitar-se, no entanto, a querer manter as fronteiras atuais do estado espanhol. Ao que parece, pretende também alcançar um objetivo com séculos de antiguidade e igual número de frustrações: a unificação peninsular. A revista “Diplomacia siglo XXI”, órgão da Academia da Diplomacia espanhola, cujas armas se baseiam “en el escudo del rey de España Felipe II”, no centro das quais se ostenta o escudo de Portugal, e onde escreveram recentemente o primeiro-ministro espanhol e o ministro de relações exteriores, publicou uma edição dedicada ao “Paniberismo e iberofonia”, onde um conhecido iberista, Álvaro Durantez, mereceu honras de primeira página para discorrer sobre “Paniberismo e Iberofonia”. Assim, aparecem algumas interrogações: qual o papel do Ministério dos Assuntos Exteriores espanhol no apoio à documentação iberista produzida pela Academia da Diplomacia Espanhola? Qual a posição da Fundação Luso-Espanhola na “colaboração” que deu à edição do número sobre a península ibérica da revista, no qual aparece na contracapa?

Não haja dúvidas, sem Ceuta, sem o Império, regressamos à geopolítica peninsular onde tudo começou, e onde atualmente pontuam as referidas forças centrípetas. Não haja ilusões: o apoio à fragmentação peninsular crescerá de forma diretamente proporcional à pressão iberista.

[Luís Ribeiro no Observador]

É impossível desvalorizar a seriedade da crise na Espanha. Desde logo, a radicalização dos nacionalistas catalães acentua as divisões internas na Catalunha, não só entre os partidários da independência e os defensores da unidade da Espanha, mas também nas fileiras nacionalistas, onde os partidários da legalidade democrática têm de enfrentar os defensores da insurreição separatista. Por outro lado, a escalada dos separatistas provoca uma polarização que divide os partidos nacionais e paralisa as correntes moderadas. Assim, a crise constitucional e a radicalização dos independentistas perturba a estabilidade peninsular. A democracia portuguesa não é indiferente à escalada das tensões entre as autoridades centrais e as correntes separatistas, onde está em causa a configuração política da Península Ibérica.

Os independentistas propõem a evolução constitucional da Espanha para uma confederação hispânica, que pode estimular as correntes iberistas tanto na Espanha, como em Portugal, e adicionar às dinâmicas de fragmentação as estratégias de integração peninsular. Ambas as tendências prejudicam os interesses portugueses, que só podem ser garantidos no quadro do status quo histórico em que assenta a dualidade peninsular.

[Carlos Gaspar no Público]

O futuro é a Ibéria. A República Federal da Ibéria, onde Portugal e Espanha se irão diluir num único país. De Espanha irão surgir Estados como a Catalunha, País Basco, Extremadura ou Galiza, sendo que Portugal se irá manter como Estado, com os seus devidos ajustes. Por exemplo, os antigos arquipélagos da Madeira e Açores serão Estados por si próprios na nova República, sem qualquer dependências de Lisboa; os distritos a norte, Viana do Castelo, Bragança e e Vila Real, deverão ser integrados no Estado da Galiza; a este, Castelo Branco e Portalegre serão parte do Estado da Extremadura. A inspiração constitucional e administrativa será a actual República Federal da Alemanha.

Lisbon Resort Hotel

Thinking out of the box. Lisbon Resort Hotel. Located in the Palace Square, a 35sqm area in the very heart of Lisbon, you can find this charming and safe space, facing the Tagus river, near the Sao Jorge Castle, the Cathedral and the City Hall. Crowned by the monumental Augusta Street Arc which gives access to the surrounding neighborhood through the pleasant Portuguese typical pedestrian street and main artery of the Pombaline downtown. The ensemble maintain the image of the post-earthquake construction, set by the Marquis of Pombal after 1755, but adapted to all comfort and luxury patterns required nowadays. It welcomes residents and guests, in the most exquisite and selective hotel resort in Portugal.

Lisbon Resort Hotel offers a large exterior garden, sandy beach and marina for stayers to enjoy the Portuguese mild weather during the year.

The Machine Fired Me


At work, when I scanned my key card at the turnstile, it flashed red, made a grumpy beep, and refused to disengage. I tried it a few more times, it kept flashing red and grumping. I threw a glance at Jose, he laughed and then pressed a button under his desk. The turnstile turned open. Jose was one of the security guards in the LA-1 skyscraper I worked in. Jose has seen me come to work everyday through those doors for more than half a year. Nothing interesting happened on that day. 
The next day I drove my car to the parking structure and heard the same grumpy beep when I scanned my card. There was a long line of cars forming behind me, the drivers were getting impatient and some had started to honk at me already. A security guard appeared, gave me a look, shook his head disappointed, then used his own card to let me in. Inside the building, my card failed again, and the loud grumpy beep made sure everyone was aware of it. Jose let me in once more.

It wasn’t the first time my key card failed, I assumed it was time to replace it. As soon as I got to my floor, I went to see my manager to let her know. She promised to order me a new one right away. 

In the meanwhile, every morning the security guard would have to print a temporary badge for me that would expire by 7pm. I went to my desk and worked for a few hours on hardware. When I was done, I logged into my Windows machine to mark my Jira ticket as completed, that’s when I noticed that I had been logged out of Jira. I tried my Jira credentials multiple times and they did not work. So I asked my coworker in the next cubicle if Jira was working for him. He answered Yes. Then I asked him to look for my ticket number. He opened it. Right next to my name on this ticket, it had the word (Inactive) and my name was grayed out. 
The next day, I took Uber to work, I didn’t want to deal with the parking again. Jose couldn’t print a temporary badge for me because my name appeared in red and was flagged in the system. My manager had to come down to escort me into the building. The recruiter sent me a message telling me not to go to work. She had just received a message that my badge had been used while I had been terminated. I was already in the building. We got the Director involved. The director laughed. She stretched her arm, unhooked the phone and dialed the number for support with the one same hand. With her might and title, she ordered them to immediately restore everything back to normal and hung up. She assured me that everything will be alright, to get back to work and this would be solved by the end of the day. 
The next day, I had been locked out off every single system. After lunch, two people appeared at my desk. One was a familiar long face that seemed to avoid making direct eye contact. It was Jose and his fellow security guard. He cordially informed me that he was to escort me out of the building.

The director was furious. They had received a very threatening email to escort me out of the building and were just doing their job. I was fired. There was nothing my manager could do about it. There was nothing the director could do about it. They stood powerless as I packed my stuff and left the building. 

Over the next 3 weeks, I received several emails about my case. I watched it be escalated to bigger and more powerful titles over and over, yet no one could do anything about it. From time to time, they would attach a system email. It was soulless and written in red as it gave orders that dictated my fate. Disable this, disable that, revoke access here, revoke access there, escort out of premises, etc. Eventually the problem was solved. My recruiter called me one morning and told me that I can come back to work. I had missed 3 weeks of work by that time, and pay. Once on site, I got an explanation. 
Once the order for employee termination is put in, the system takes over. All the necessary orders are sent automatically and each order completion triggers another order. For example, when the order for disabling my key card is sent, there is no way of it to be re-enabled. Once it is disabled, an email is sent to security about recently dismissed employees. The order to disable my Windows account is also sent. There is also one for my JIRA account. And on and on. There is no way to stop the multi-day long process. I had to be rehired as a new employee. Meaning I had to fill up paperwork, set up direct deposit, wait for Fedex to ship a new key card. 
But at the end of the day the question is still, why was I terminated in the first place?

I was on a 3 years contract and had only worked for 8 months. Just before I was hired, this company was acquired by a much larger company and I joined during the transition. My manager at the time was from the previous administration. One morning I came to work to see that his desk had been wiped clean, as if he was disappeared. As a full time employee, he had been laid off. He was to work from home as a contractor for the duration of a transition. I imagine due to the shock and frustration, he decided not to do much work after that. Some of that work included renewing my contract in the new system. When my contract expired, the machine took over and fired me.

A simple automation feature caused everything to collapse. I was escorted out of the building like a thief, I had to explain to people why I am not at work, my coworkers became distant. 

What I called job security was only an illusion. Automation can be an asset to a company, but there needs to be a way for humans to take over if the machine makes a mistake. I missed 3 weeks of pay because no one could stop the machine.

Unencumbered

I remember being rather disturbed by the sad and lonely little knots of abortion opponents we sometimes encountered at demonstrations – often hollow-faced men with severe hair and very tightly-tied ties, standing in the rain next to some glum nuns. They perfectly encapsulated what we were fleeing from, the ordered, hierarchical, self-disciplined life of the suburbs, lawn-mowing, shoe-polishing, respectable, possibly even church-going. What if we were all to be dragged back into that world, compelled by a bawling baby to take out a mortgage, live in the provinces, become a commuter, sing hymns and acquire a garden gate?
No, we were destined to live in the capital, child-free, lawn-free, hymn-free, unencumbered, without obligations to our parents, and the past, or to children, and the future. [Peter Hitchens]

Deneen is a student of Alexis de Tocqueville, and part of his argument is classically Tocquevillian, that the liberal-democratic-capitalist matrix we all inhabit depends for its livability and sustainability and decency upon pre-liberal forces and habits, unchosen obligations and allegiances: the communities of tribe and family, the moralism and metaphysical horizons of religion, the aristocracy of philosophy and art.

Posture

Following Toby Young’s article on funerals and the letter last week, I thought you might like to hear another example of British phlegm. My stepson, who is now a successful theatre director, was an assistant at Chichester Theatre. The audience tends to be predominantly pensioners. A few years ago when he was closing up the theatre, he noticed two people still in their seats. When he approached them the lady was very apologetic. ‘I think my husband died in the first act,’ she said, ‘but we didn’t want to cause a fuss.’ He was indeed declared dead on arrival at the hospital, and my stepson could not but admire her stoicism. I particularly admired the fact that she thought ‘we’ didn’t want to cause a fuss. 

Johnny Cameron 
Fyfield, Wiltshire
https://www.spectator.co.uk/2018/04/the-church-of-england-must-be-robust-with-its-snowflake-congregants/

Are Europeans Making Themselves Stateless?

If ethnic Italians were no longer a majority in Italy, would it still be Italy? Does it matter that ethnic British are no longer a majority in London? Would it matter if they weren’t in Britain? Would it be a problem if ethnic Ugandans ceased to be a majority in Uganda, and Europeans overtook them? These are all essentially the same question, though the answers might feel different in each case. They are all asking about the relationship between an ethnic group and its home country, and about the meaning of becoming a minority in the country it considers its own. Does being the majority ethnic group in a country carry any moral or political significance? Is it something which an ethnic group may legitimately aim to preserve? How does this interact with ideas of racism—the taboo par excellence of post-war Western culture?

Ethnicity and race are typically avoided these days when thinking about the constitutive features of a nation or state, particularly Western ones. In their place, writers who take an interest in such matters tend to ground their ideas in culture, shared beliefs and customs. Samuel Gregg, for instance, writes of the shared bonds of “a common culture, language, beliefs, shared memories, sense of a common patrimony, and association with a particular territory with recognized boundaries.” What is often left unsaid, presumably for fear of attracting the poisonous charge of racism, is any connection this culture might have with ethnic origin.

This is all the more curious when you consider that on a sociological and anthropological level the connection between culture and ethnic group is very strong indeed. In fact, it would be difficult to find a more pronounced correlation between two observable factors than this. Logically, of course, there is no essential or necessary connection between an ethnicity and a culture, and in principle a person of any ethnic group could be raised in any culture and become accustomed to its norms. But this purely logical point only exceptionally translates into real world experience, where assimilation is rarely carried to perfection, the call of ethnic origin frequently pulls a person back towards traditional cultural forms, and experience of living as a minority often intensifies a commitment to traditional beliefs and practices amongst a group of people.

This is particularly true, of course, where such an outlook is encouraged, as was the case in Britain and many other Western countries under the doctrine of multiculturalism which dominated social policy between about 1974 and 2004, and arguably still does. But even without government encouragement people will naturally link their identity to their ethnicity and their ethnicity to the culture associated with it. This is surely why post-war ideas of anti-racism led very quickly to ideas of multiculturalism and, more recently, to identity politics—because of a sense that you cannot really affirm a person’s ethnic heritage without also affirming the culture associated with it. And it is only a small step from there to the thought that there is something imperialistic, intolerant, and dehumanizing about expecting a person to conform or assimilate to another culture. Today this worry has reached new intensities with ideas of cultural appropriation and micro-aggression rife among the educated, especially at universities.

Whatever else you want to say about ethnic diversity, then, it is plainly inseparable as a real world phenomenon from cultural diversity, for an ethnically diverse state will always to some degree or other be a culturally diverse one. Consequently, ethnic diversity within a state necessarily sits in some tension with the idea of a unified national and civic culture of a kind which is known to be strongly associated with high levels of social cohesion, solidarity, trust, and stability. In our very understandable and proper desire to avoid racial prejudice and be hospitable to newcomers of whatever background, therefore, we have perhaps lost sight of important general principles of social stability and harmony that should be forefront in our minds as we formulate social policy.

What does this mean for the prospects of the European peoples? A combination of high immigration, high birth-rate amongst immigrant communities, and low birth-rate amongst the indigenous population has resulted in dramatically increased (and increasing) ethnic diversity, alongside predictions that indigenous ethnic groups will become minorities in their home countries in the not too distant future. Were this to happen (and short of some drastic change in immigration policy and unforeseen reversal in demographic trends it is hard to see how it will not) it raises the strange possibility that European peoples will become stateless nations within their old countries. What does this mean?

A stateless nation is an ethnic group that currently lacks a state in which it forms a majority such as enables it to express its distinctive culture and achieve self-determination. Being in possession of a state allows the nation to protect itself from undesirable social outcomes such as colonization, subjection, persecution, prejudicial treatment, and assimilation. Prominent examples of stateless nations today include the Kurds, the Tamils and the Rohingya. Previous stateless nations that achieved statehood in the twentieth century include the Jews, the Serbs, and the Croats. If such nations are defined by the existence of secessionist or autonomist movements amongst a distinct ethnic group then there are an estimated seventy-eight in the world at the moment.

It is important to be clear here that this talk of stateless nations has nothing to do with white supremacy. There is no intimation of comparing races and claiming the superiority of one and its right to rule the rest (morally a deeply objectionable idea). More generally there is no suggestion of an imperative to preserve racial purity—ethnicity is an inherently living thing which evolves over time through processes such as immigration and intermarriage and little good is achieved by preventing that from occurring, at least at a rate consistent with integration and assimilation. Talk of stateless nations is rather about considering the sociological and psychological connections between ethnicity and culture and their links to nationhood and statehood, and asking questions about what self-determination means, how it is achieved, and how desirable it is.

Every state includes ethnic minorities of course. Sometimes, as with blacks in America, and Native Americans and Australian Aborigines, these minorities have a special and historic (and not always happy) relationship with the country and state within which they live. In other cases the minority group has been a more recent addition to the state’s ethnic mix. How a state incorporates these minorities, and how it understands them to relate to its concept of nationality, can vary considerably between groups and change over time depending on various historical factors and contingencies. For example, before the twentieth century, America conceived of itself as an ethnically European (white) nation, but more recently has sought to understand what it means to include black people (and other minorities) as full and equal citizens. The natural and tight relationship between ethnicity, culture, nationality and statehood means that such enterprises will never be straightforward and will always be fraught with tensions and difficulties, some of them intractable. The moral imperative of equal respect makes such enterprises necessary, but even allowing for that there is surely wisdom in aiming to prevent the degree of ethnic diversity in a state from increasing beyond levels consistent with social cohesion and the general welfare.

We need I think to take much more seriously the social, psychological, and moral threads which run between ethnicity and culture, and then on into nationhood and statehood. While avoiding racism or any of the old imperialism, this shift needs to work a revolution in the minds and attitudes of European peoples towards their home countries, their cultures, and their concern for self-determination as peoples and nations. This needs to proceed in the emergence of radically altered approaches to immigration, citizenship, culture, and even fertility and family, such as are sufficient to ensure that European states will retain their essential character as the home countries of the European peoples well into the future.

Can I see this happening? Only on days where my faith for miracles is high. But the alternative seems to me extraordinarily bleak, as European peoples face becoming minorities in their home countries, becoming stateless nations, and social discord and division increase beyond what free countries can realistically bear. I hope to be proven wrong in this, but I confess I am not holding my breath.

[Will Jones (2017), Crisis Magazine]

John Wick 3 (2019), Directed by Chad Stahelski

The Coming Software Apocalypse

It’s been said that software is “eating the world.” More and more, critical systems that were once controlled mechanically, or by people, are coming to depend on code. This was perhaps never clearer than in the summer of 2015, when on a single day, United Airlines grounded its fleet because of a problem with its departure-management system; trading was suspended on the New York Stock Exchange after an upgrade; the front page of The Wall Street Journal’s website crashed; and Seattle’s 911 system went down. The simultaneous failure of so many software systems smelled at first of a coordinated cyberattack. Almost more frightening was the realization, late in the day, that it was just a coincidence. Software is special. Just by editing the text in a file somewhere, the same hunk of silicon can become an autopilot or an inventory-control system. This flexibility is software’s miracle, and its curse. Because it can be changed cheaply, software is constantly changed; and because it’s unmoored from anything physical, a program that is a thousand times more complex than another takes up the same actual space: it tends to grow without bound. “The problem,” says Nancy Leveson, “is that we are attempting to build systems that are beyond our ability to intellectually manage.” This is the trouble with making things out of code, as opposed to something physical: “The complexity is invisible to the eye.” When you press your foot down on your car’s accelerator, for instance, you’re no longer controlling anything directly; there’s no mechanical link from the pedal to the throttle. Instead, you’re issuing a command to a piece of software that decides how much air to give the engine. The car is a computer you can sit inside of. The steering wheel and pedals might as well be keyboard keys. Software has enabled us to make the most intricate machines that have ever existed. And yet we have hardly noticed, because all of that complexity is packed into tiny silicon chips as millions and millions of lines of code. But just because we can’t see the complexity doesn’t mean that it has gone away. While Chris Granger was at Microsoft, he arranged an end-to-end study of Visual Studio, the only one that had ever been done. The findings surprised him. “Visual Studio is one of the single largest pieces of software in the world,” he said. “It’s over 55 million lines of code. And one of the things that I found out in this study is more than 98 percent of it is completely irrelevant.” [James Somers (2017), The Atlantic]
In the past 10 years, at least $2.5 trillion has been spent trying to replace legacy IT systems, of which some seven hundred and twenty billion dollars was utterly wasted on failed replacement efforts. Just how big a problem is this? The size of the problem really is unknown. We have no clear count of the number of systems that are legacy in government where we should be able to have a pretty good idea. We also have really no insight into what’s happening in industry. In fact, a recent report by the Social Security Administration’s Inspector General basically said that even they could not figure out how many systems were actually legacy in Social Security. A few years ago, a Bloomberg article noted that every mile of fresh new road will one day become a mile of crumbling old road that needs additional attention. Less than half of all road budgets go to maintenance. Do we see the same thing in IT? Do we keep building new systems, seemingly without a second thought that we’re going to have to maintain them? Yes, and for good reason. When we build a system and it actually works, it works usually for a fairly long time. The irony is that the longer these systems live, the harder they are to replace. Paradoxically, because they’re so important, they also don’t receive any attention in terms of spend. Typically, for every dollar that’s spent on developing a system, there’s somewhere between eight and 10 dollars that’s being spent to maintain it over its life. But very few systems actually are retired before their time. Almost every system that I know of, of any size tends to last a lot longer than what the designers ever intended. It’s easier to build new systems, so there’s money to build new systems, and that’s what we we constantly do. So we’re building new IT systems over time, which has again, proliferated the number of systems that we need to maintain. The other aspect is, as we build these systems, we don’t build them a standalone systems. These systems are interconnected with others. And so when you interconnect lots of different systems, you’re not maintaining just an individual, you’re maintaining this system of systems. And that becomes more costly. Because the systems are interconnected, and because they are very costly to replace, we tend to hold onto these systems longer. And the probability of failure is also huge. We’re starting to see the realization that IT, which at one time—again, systems designers were always thinking about 10 years is great, twenty years is fantastic—that maybe now that these system’s, core systems, may be around for one hundred years. [Steven Cherry and Bob Charette (2020), IEEE Spectrum]

Tempo

O tempo é sempre percebido interiormente. Não temos uma noção calendarizada do tempo que passou. Há textos em que a mudança interior é percebida pela mudança dos sítios. Alguém pode pensar que não mudou assim tanto, mas vendo a mudança do lugar pensa que também deve ter mudado alguma coisa. (Pedro Mexia)

Dunkirk

(movie review of Dunkirk (2017), Directed by Christopher Nolan)
On land, at sea and in the air, the WWII British soldier fights for survival in a mayhem of fire and steel. Christopher Nolan masterfully combined music, shots and historical reenactment in order to create an incredible cinema experience: I was there, on the beach, suffered with those men and felt the glory of salvation.

The Red Queen

There is a concept in sociology and evolutionary sciences for that obsession with constantly improving known as the Red Queen principle, which is the amount of energy it takes to maintain our social status (from Alice in Wonderland’s Red Queen, who says that “it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place”). In programming, this is represented by the constant background learning required just to maintain an up-to-date knowledge of the field.

Brainjunk

Today, we eat a rich and decadent buffet of brainjunk, of useless tweets, of photos of people we don’t know, of articles that were written in ten minutes to stoke the content boiler. The dopamine cycle ensures that we keep on craving more content, the exact same dopamine cycle that makes a Happy Meal a happy meal. And nothing is enough in a world in which readers crave brainjunk at the expense of all other quality content. People want free content and they want a lot of it, and media companies have been more than happy to oblige. More articles, more videos, all cheaply made and distributed through the purveyors of brainjunk like Facebook and Twitter. Lewis D’Vorkin was chief product officer at Forbes, where he pioneered the open platform model that has juiced Forbes traffic while tarnishing that publication’s brand equity. He understood brainjunk and just how lucrative it could potentially be.

It is the deep irony of our times that readers, often deeply educated, will shell out $30 for a meal in New York or San Francisco while paying thousands in rent, only to avoid paying a few bucks a month for a publication, let alone ten. The bulk of the internet doesn’t pay for subscriptions. People will gladly spend hours a day reading brainjunk, to avoid even the slightest expense that might improve the quality of what they are reading. If you want to consume McDonald’s, be my guest. If you want to read whatever LinkedIn calls news, go right ahead. But if you actually want to learn, to improve your mind, to improve your awareness and understanding of the world, you have to shell out. Start paying. [Danny Crichton, 2018]

Diversity: An Ideology

While the rapid spread of affirmative action policies met a backlash in the late 1970s, this resistance was largely a white middle class revolt. Support never flagged among elites. In fact, most of the country’s largest corporations opposed the Reagan administration’s efforts to dismantle affirmative action practices in the early 1980s. Despite regulatory relief, nearly all Fortune 500 firms continued to pursue or even expand efforts to recruit and employ more racial minorities and women. Elite universities remained strongly committed as well. In 1978, the Supreme Court issued its famously scattered ruling. In a victory for affirmative action supporters, the Court agreed that some alternative system of racial preferences could pass constitutional muster. It is precisely here that the ideology of diversity entered mainstream American thought and practice.

Justice Powell argued that “a diverse student body” was a worthy goal of any university which allowed the consideration of race in admissions. He justified this neither on the grounds of racial justice nor the amelioration of past or present discrimination, but on the grounds of diversity. Powell claimed that racial and ethnic diversity advanced the core intellectual mission of American higher education, namely “speculation, experiment and creation,” “the interplay of ideas and the exchange of views,” and an encounter of differing “ideas and mores of students as diverse as this Nation of many peoples.” This claim hardly originated with Powell, of course. He was simply repeating the collective views of Harvard, Columbia, Stanford, and the University of Pennsylvania as stated in their joint brief to the Court in defense of affirmative action.

The country’s managerial elite now rarely misses an opportunity to demonstrate commitment to diversity. When policies barring consideration of race, ethnicity, and sex in the public sector went to referendum, in each case, the largest corporations in the area – Exxon, Enron, Boeing, Microsoft, General Motors, Ford – were among the strongest opponents. In 2012 and again in 2015, 45 Fortune 100 firms argued that diversity is essential both for individual “success in the corporate world” as well as “business success” in “country and world economies that are increasingly diverse.” Diversity in higher education management is today so hegemonic that it stands as an orthodoxy against which only the most foolhardy or cantankerous now speak.

But is there really a business case for diversity? While most corporations claim to be true believers, social science gives a decidedly mixed answer. That being said, the academic debate over diversity’s impact on the bottom line is largely, well, academic. Managers embraced diversity long before any meaningful evidence existed for its positive effects. The first systematic academic study of whether diversity policies even produce diversity, much less profitability, wasn’t published until 2006. Business and educational elites certainly aren’t waiting around for academics to tell them what to do now. Higher education managers are in a similar position. Universities claim the case for diversity is an educational one, an argument their most elite representatives pioneered decades ago. Yet academic debate continues, particularly over the degree to which diversity improves student cognitive skills and tendencies.

Despite all this uncertainty, higher education displayed total unity of purpose in the Fisher case. Plaintiffs Abigail Noel Fisher applied to the University of Texas at Austin in 2008 and was denied admission. The woman, White, filed suit, alleging that the University had discriminated against her on the basis of her race in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Briefs supporting the University of Texas were filed by seventy-five universities and colleges as well as by the American Association of College Registrars and Admissions Officers, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the Association of American Law Schools. Not one college, university, or educational organization filed in support of Abigail Fisher.


E Pluribus Unum

In the theoretical toolkit of social science we find two diametrically opposed perspectives on the effects of diversity on social connections. The first, usually labelled the “contact hypothesis”, argues that diversity fosters interethnic tolerance and social solidarity. As we have more contact with people who are unlike us, we overcome our initial hesitation and ignorance and come to trust them more. More formally, according to this theory, diversity reduces ethnocentric attitudes and fosters out-group trust and solidarity. For progressives, the contact theory is alluring, but I think it is fair to say that most (though not all) empirical studies have tended instead to support the so-called “conflict theory”, which suggests that, for various reasons (above all, contention over limited resources) diversity fosters out-group distrust and in-group solidarity. On this theory, the more we are brought into physical proximity with people of another race or ethnic background, the more we stick to ‘our own’ and the less we trust the ‘other’. 
Contact theory suggests that diversity erodes the in-group/out-group distinction and enhances out-group solidarity or bridging social capital, thus lowering ethnocentrism. Conflict theory suggests that diversity enhances the in-group/out-group distinction and strengthens in-group solidarity or bonding social capital, thus increasing ethnocentrism. However, once we recognize that in-group and outgroup attitudes need not be reciprocally related, but can vary independently, then we need to allow, logically at least, for the possibility that diversity might actually reduce both in-group and out-group solidarity – that is, both bonding and bridging social capital. We might label this possibility ‘constrict theory’. Diversity seems to trigger not in-group/out-group division, but anomie or social isolation. In colloquial language, people living in ethnically diverse settings appear to ‘hunker down’ – that is, to pull in like a turtle.
A wide array of other measures of social capital and civic engagement are also negatively correlated with ethnic diversity. Diversity does not produce ‘bad race relations’ or ethnically-defined group hostility, our findings suggest. Rather, inhabitants of diverse communities tend to withdraw from collective life, to distrust their neighbours, regardless of the colour of their skin, to withdraw even from close friends, to expect the worst from their community and its leaders, to volunteer less, give less to charity and work on community projects less often, to register to vote less, to agitate for social reform more, but have less faith that they can actually make a difference, and to huddle unhappily in front of the television. Note that this pattern encompasses attitudes and behavior, bridging and bonding social capital, public and private connections. Diversity, at least in the short run, seems to bring out the turtle in all of us. 
[E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the Twenty-first Century. The 2006 Johan Skytte Prize Lecture. 2007 Nordic Political Science Association. Robert D. Putnam]
 

Meritocracy

Michael Young’s “The Rise of the Meritocracy” argued that the most significant fact of modern society is not the rise of democracy, or indeed capitalism, but the rise of the meritocracy. In a knowledge society the most important influence on your life-chances is not your relationship with the means of production but your relationship with the machinery of educational and occupational selection. [The Economist]

Anatomy of a Genocide, A Cautionary Tale

Unlike the Nazi genocide, much of the killing in Galicia in Eastern Europe took place between neighbour and neighbour: Jews, Poles and Ukrainians destroyed each other with increasing ferocity and brutality between 1914 and the 1940s. The beautiful city of Buczacz in Eastern Galicia, with its Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Jewish shrines, ended as a gigantic ruin.

Omer Bartov, the distinguished military historian, came from a family that had lived in Buczacz but emigrated to Israel. He begins by explaining that the Jews did not live segregated from the Christian population; the entire notion of a shtetl existing in some sort of splendid (or sordid) isolation is merely a figment of Jewish literary and folkloristic imagination. Integration was what made the existence of such towns possible. It was also what made the genocide there, when it occurred, a communal event, both cruel and intimate, filled with gratuitous violence and betrayal as well as flashes of altruism and kindness.

https://www.spectator.co.uk/2018/01/ethnic-cleansing-and-the-horrors-of-buczacz/

Tommy Wiseau

Thomas Wiseau is known for writing, producing, directing, and starring in the 2003 film The Room, which has been described by many critics as one of the worst movies ever made and has gained cult film status. Some say that Tommy Wiseau is an Alien who loved American dramas so much that he decided to make his own with no understanding on how human interaction works.

The Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society

[review of The Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society (1991), by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.]
In the end of the XX century, Arthur Schlesinger understood the problem: heterogeneity without unifying ideals and a common culture, just creates a society fragmented into separate ethnic communities struggling for power and survival. Multiculturalism, or the ethnicity cult as he described it, was a road to Balkanization and would ultimately result in the dismiss of the nation. Although the dispensable wishful thinking, the book was an honest warning to the USA elites and public. But as he concluded, foreseeing the future, “history is littered with the wreck of states that tried to combine diverse ethnic or linguistic or religious groups within a single sovereignty.”

As Mil e Uma Noites – 1° Volume

[crítica do livro As Mil e Uma Noites – 1° Volume (2017), tradução de Hugo Maia, publicado por E-Primatur (2017)]
Como matrioscas, as noites desdobram-se em aventuras e desventuras de afortunados ou desgraçados árabes. Todas elas ocupam apenas algumas páginas e a sua leitura é sempre interessante, pois mais que o compasso moral da antiga civilização árabe, são lições de família, amor, beleza, morte, violência; no fundo, são lições sobre verdades universais da humanidade.

Witnessing The Collapse

In 1939, a Spanish anti-Fascist journalist, Manuel Chaves Nogales, fled to France, where he witnessed the collapse of the French Republic under German assault. In his book, The Agony of France, Nogales wrote that while the German soldiers were marching through Paris, the French were swarming out of movie theaters, “just in time for the apéritif at the bistro”. [Giulio Meotti (2017), Gatestone Institute]

Douglas Murray

I’d sensed for a long time we were doing something crazy to Europe.

[review of The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam (2017), by Douglas Murray]
Douglas Murray, a gifted chronicler, wrote this detailed and factual description of all the events and all the pro (and contra) intelligentsia engaged, since the end of Second World War up until 2017, in the creation of the present multicultural Western Europe, fragmented by nightmarish ethnic and religious divisions. As a Portuguese living in Lisbon, I can totally relate with it. It is a colloquial and easy reading, more like an insightful magazine article than an actual book. I enjoyed the philosophical and personal reflections of the author, almost a need for venting his despair at Europe’s existential tiredness. Nevertheless, I didn’t like his attempt to build an ethnic Pan-Europeanism across the globe, that doesn’t exist, and his obsession with Christianity as the necessary back to basics, that it isn’t. The sad conclusion is that the European settlement, drawn up from ancient Greece and Rome, catalysed by Christianity and refined by the Enlightenment, is an inheritance that Europeans in a matter of decades lost forever. In the end, Douglas Murray hits the bull’s-eye: we, Indo-Europeans, are still here, all around us we have the wreckage, metaphorical and real, of all our dreams and aspirations, so what do we do next without a homeland?

Existential Exhaustion

In Le Souci Contemporain (1996), translated into English as Icarus Fallen, Chantal Delsol suggested that the condition of modern European man was the condition that Icarus would have been in had he survived the fall. We Europeans had kept trying to reach the sun, flew too close and hurtled back down to earth. We may certainly have failed, and we may be dazed, but we somehow survived: we are still here. All around us we have the wreckage – metaphorical and real – of all our dreams, our religions, our political ideologies and a thousand other aspirations, all of which in their turn have proved false. And though we have no more illusions or ambitions left, yet we are still here. So what do we do? [Douglas Murray (2017), The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam. Bloomsbury Continuum]

Alexey Kondakov takes figures from classical paintings and drops them into modern-day Kiev.

Will France still be French in 2015?

Le Figaro Magazine (1985)

 

In 2006 the Dutch Justice Minister, Piet Hein Donner, caused significant anger in the Netherlands when he suggested in an interview that if Muslims wished to change the law of the land to Sharia by democratic means (that is when Muslims were large enough in number), then they could do so. [Douglas Murray (2017), The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam. Bloomsbury Continuum]

 

French citizens will contribute an extra 1.60 euros on their property insurance policies to help finance a fund for victims of the extremist attacks that have recently hit the country. French government officials, when they revealed the scheme, said that about 90 million insurance policies are floating the fund, which currently has reserves of 1.45 billion euros.
https://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/france-terror-tax-attacks/2016/12/29/id/766109/

Ponto de Situação

O Inimigo Público resumiu o nosso mundo e o nosso Portugal em três títulos:

Entretanto em Barcelona (2017), na manifestação de homenagem às 15 vítimas mortais e aos 100 feridos dos atentados Islâmicos feitos na cidade:

Competitiveness

Guys, unless you are really hot you are probably better off not wasting your time on Tinder. This study was conducted to quantify the Tinder socio-economic prospects for males based on the percentage of females that will “like” them. It was determined that the bottom 80% of men (in terms of attractiveness) are competing for the bottom 22% of women and the top 78% of women are competing for the top 20% of men. In addition, it was determined that a man of average attractiveness would be “liked” by approximately 0.87% (1 in 115) of women on Tinder.

Monica Bellucci in Malèna (2000), Directed by Giuseppe Tornatore

The Dilemma

Zionism in its mainstream form is believed to have originated with Theodor Herzl in 1896, a Jewish writer living in Austria-Hungary. He published Der Judenstaat or The Jews State. In it he argued that the only solution to the “Jewish Question” in Europe was the creation of a state for the Jewish people (this was decades before Nazi Germany). Anti-Semitism was so widespread in Europe that Herzl saw the creation of a national sanctuary for his people as the only long-term answer. Nevertheless, Jewish speakers have at various points spoken out openly against the Zionist agenda. Among them, (Rabbi) Elmer Berger published The Jewish Dilemma, in which he argued that Jewish “assimilation” was still the best path for Jews in the world and not the segregation and siege mentality of the Zionist state. In his opinion Zionism itself was simply resigning to the prevailing racial myths about Jews and playing into them. [https://theburningbloggerofbedlam.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/zionism-and-wahhabism-the-twin-cancers-destroying-the-middle-east-and-their-dark-origins/]

About Symbols

Schism in the soul, schism in the body social, will not be resolved by any scheme of return to the good old days (archaism), or by programs guaranteed to render an ideal projected future (futurism), or even by the most realistic, hardheaded work to weld together again the deteriorating elements. Only birth can conquer death—the birth, not of the old thing again, but of something new. [Joseph Campbell (1949), The Hero With A Thousand Faces]
Dear American White Supremacists, please understand this: the Confederacy LOST! the Nazis LOST! Stop using their symbols and respect the millions that died because of them. You don’t have the moral right to use them because they represent people of a bygone Era that belongs in History books. If you want to preach ethnic separatism, just move on to White Nationalism. White Nationalism can in fact achieve an ethnic nation for Whites, just like Malcolm X defended one for Black Americans and Zionism achieved Israel for Jews. So, create new symbols (read the rich Greco-Roman History), don’t preach supremacy (you are not superior to anyone, you are just different) and enter the media circusestablishment to defende your ideias and get recognition.
Andrómeda, Zé Burnay

Prefácio

Apenas me aconteceu ter uma inteligência naturalmente lúcida e uma vontade um tanto ou quanto forte. (Fernando Pessoa) Infelizmente não nasci nem com uma inteligência lúdica, nem com uma vontade forte. Criei este bloco de notas como forma de perceber o mundo, o estruturar, o explicar, e assim simplesmente criar uma filosofia que me ajudasse a viver. Mas o que acabei por fazer foi apenas roubar de jornalistas, escritores, filósofos, pedaços desconexos da sua inteligência e criar assim a minha manta de retalhos.

Quando comecei este blog acreditava convictamente numa cidadania universalista, mas acabei por ficar constipado por um vírus que infectou os EUA e já começou a contaminar a Europa. Um vírus que me impõe um rótulo qualquer: africano, gay, branco, cigano, negro, latino, whatever; ou seja, as minhas pertenças comunitárias, étnicas e religiosas sobrepõem-se a tudo o que Eu sou. É mais uma consequência inevitável de uma sociedade multicultural e multirracial do que algo propriamente premeditado; chamam a esta consequência Diversidade, porque simplesmente não sabem o que outra coisa chamar. Na verdade, até estou agradecido; sempre que vejo notícias de “White Americans”, “White police”, “White folks”, “White people”, sinto que é do meu povo que falam, e nem percebo o porquê disso. Sem querer, a minha tribo encontrou-me e eu nem a tive de procurar.

Desde sempre estudei, trabalhei e vivi no município da Amadora e no de Lisboa. Mas nunca encontrei uma casa, nunca encontrei o meu povo e nunca encontrei um sentido de pertença. Admitindo desde já que o conceito de Nativismo é uma aberração, confesso ser um estrangeiro numa Terra que ironicamente toda a Humanidade pensa ser minha. Mas ressalvo que nunca fui mal tratado por esta Linha de Sintra e esta Lisboa “capital imperial”, nem pelas suas diferentes gentes, e por isso lhes estou grato. Também dizem que sou cidadão de uma tal União Europeia. A Europa é um conceito que para além da Geografia já muito pouco diz e que apenas encontra o seu espaço no livros de História. Culturalmente, socialmente e ideologicamente estamos a viver a formação da Afro-Eurasia através das forças vivas da demografia e da inaptidão dos povos que ocupam a actual Europa de defenderem a sua Terra. O espectro da Balcanização já paira sobre o continente, assim como as suas sanguinárias consequências. De qualquer das formas, é uma luta na qual não irei participar e não me diz respeito. Sou Nativo de um Portugal e de uma Europa que já não são estes.


Not all those who wander are lost. (J. R. R. Tolkien) Nas minhas deambulações por Portugal encontrei um território abandonado de Portugalidade, à espera de uma nova bandeira, que certamente já não terá quinas. Por vezes encontrei resquícios do povo a que pertenço, nesses cafés centrais perdidos por aí, mas esse povo já foi diluído pela Globalização, por vezes consentida, por vezes forçada; já não existe Força, nem Vontade, e portanto o mesmo irá simplesmente desaparecer. Reconheço que no fundo apaixonei-me pela fantasia de ter um Portugal, um pedaço de terra meu e dos meus, que podia ser horrivelmente pobre, mas eu também o orgulhosamente seria.

Clarificando. Não sou Ocidental. Não sou Lusófono. Não sou Europeu. Não sou Português. Não sou da Linha de Sintra. Não sou Lisboeta. E ninguém sequer equacionei alguma ver ser dessa aberração a que chamam Cidadão do Mundo. Sou um Benfiquista, Republicano, Tecnocrata, Ateu. Gostaria de ter sido um Germânico antes da Primeira Guerra, um Americano Anglo-Saxónico antes de 1990 ou simplesmente um Português antes de Abril de 1974. Nasci algumas décadas atrasado. Gosto de pensar que descendo dos míticos povos Celtas do norte da Europa e sou filho da civilização de Roma. Na verdade, sou de uma civilização que ainda não existe, que não tem etnia ou religião, uma língua ou canção. Falta-me um Israel; com este blog, tentei fazer um só meu.

Once Upon A Time

Most of Iraq’s Christians call themselves Assyrians, Chaldeans or Syriac, different names for a common ethnicity rooted in the Mesopotamian kingdoms that flourished between the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers thousands of years before Jesus. Christianity arrived during the first century, according to Eusebius, an early church historian. As Christianity grew, it coexisted alongside older traditions — Judaism, Zoroastrianism and the monotheism of the Druze, Yazidis and Mandeans, among others — all of which survive in the region, though in vastly diminished form. From Greece to Egypt, this was the eastern half of Christendom, a fractious community divided by doctrinal differences that persist today: various Catholic churches, the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, and the Assyrian Church of the East. 
When the first Islamic armies arrived from the Arabian Peninsula during the seventh century, the Assyrian Church of the East was sending missionaries to China, India and Mongolia. The shift from Christianity to Islam happened gradually. Much as the worship of Eastern cults largely gave way to Christianity, Christianity gave way to Islam. Under Islamic rule, Eastern Christians lived as protected people, dhimmi: They were subservient and had to pay the jizya, but were often allowed to observe practices forbidden by Islam, including eating pork and drinking alcohol. For 1,500 years, different religions thrived side by side.

One hundred years ago, the fall of the Ottoman Empire and World War I ushered in the greatest period of violence against Christians in the region. The genocide waged by the Turks left at least two million Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks dead. Nearly all were Christian. From 1910 to 2010, the percentage of the Middle Eastern population that was Christian continued to decline: once 14 percent of the population, Christians now make up roughly 4 percent. In Lebanon, the only country in the region where Christians hold significant political power, their numbers have shrunk over the past century, to 34 percent from 78 percent of the population. Low birthrates have contributed to this decline, as well as hostile political environments and economic crisis. Fear is also a driver. The rise of extremist groups, as well as the perception that their communities are vanishing, causes people to leave.

Eliza Griswold (2015), The New York Times

Emile Charles Lecomte-Vernet – La Fidele

Against Democracy

I’m all in favor of the democratic principle that one idiot is as good as one genius, but I draw the line when someone takes the next step and concludes that two idiots are better than one genius. – Leó Szilárd
Most people believe democracy is a uniquely just form of government. They believe that political participation is good for us: it empowers us, helps us get what we want, and tends to make us smarter, more virtuous, and more caring for one another. But, Jason Brennan says, they are all wrong. Democracy is the rule of the ignorant and the irrational, and it all too often falls short. Furthermore, no one has a fundamental right to any share of political power, and exercising political power does most of us little good. On the contrary, a wide range of social science research shows that political participation and democratic deliberation actually tend to make people worse: more irrational, biased, and mean. [Jason Brennan (2016), Against Democracy, Princeton University Press]

Finally

The Trump administration is preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department’s civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against White applicants, according to a document obtained by The New York Times. Roger Clegg, the president of the conservative Center for Equal Opportunity, called the project a “welcome” and “long overdue” development as the United States becomes increasingly multiracial. “The civil rights laws were deliberately written to protect everyone from discrimination, and it is frequently the case that Whites are discriminated against now,” he said.

Linha Azul: Reboleira – Hospital

(obra de gui5000, SkyscraperCity)

Terá de se terminar a ponta solta da linha azul, actualmente na Reboleira, Amadora. Como num dos planos oficiais do metropolitano de Lisboa, o objetivo será chegar ao Hospital Amadora-Sintra. Terão de ser construídas duas estações, uma no cruzamento com o Borel e outra no Hospital. O Hospital é um dos maiores de Portugal e com mais utentes, pelo que seria uma óbvia mais valia para dezenas de milhares de portugueses. Seria também a primeira estação na fronteira com o município de Sintra.

Prolongamento Reboleira-Borel: a maior dificuldade aqui será o declive e uma curva acentuada, visto que o cais de resguardo da Reboleira é em linha reta. Possivelmente a estação do Borel terá de ser mais profunda que o normal. Prolongamento Borel-Hospital: Este prolongamento poderá ser feito parcialmente à superfície. Depois de passar o bairro do Borel, seria feito um viaduto por cima da IC-19 e a estação seria feita numa plataforma elevada, como o Campo Grande. Seria uma estação terminal, com vários términos para os comboios.

Traçado entre a Reboleira e o Borel
Traçado entre o Borel e o Hospital
Estação do Hospital Amadora-Sintra

Adeus Portugal

Após 1974, o Estado de Lisboa ficou reduzido a Portugal continental, Madeira e Açores. Mas mesmo assim, o mesmo Estado vê-se incapaz de governar e controlar (militarmente, judicialmente, economicamente, culturalmente, socialmente) o pequeno território a que está confinado. 
Em 2016 sucederam-se as notícias do Estado de Lisboa a falhar nas suas funções em várias regiões. Os médicos portugueses recusaram as vagas para exercer no sul e interior do país. Das 73 vagas abertas para médicos no Algarve, 31 ficaram por preencher. No interior do país, o cenário é ainda mais crítico. Em 61 vagas abertas por três hospitais do interior, apenas nove foram preenchidas. Mais dinheiro, mais férias e garantias de transferências dos filhos das escolas não foram incentivos suficientes para captar médicos para estas regiões. A norte, a CP reconhece dificuldades em ajustar oferta e procura na linha do DouroA CP lembra que está condicionada pelos “constrangimentos financeiros que o país atravessa.” A reação da CP surge depois dos operadores turísticos do Douro criticarem o “mau serviço” da transportadora ferroviária, queixando-se das “consequências negativas” nas empresas e no turismo na região. “Continua a haver ligações suprimidas em cima da hora, sobrelotação das carruagens, faltas de manutenção e avarias recorrentes do material circulante, falhas nos sistemas de ar condicionado e o recurso reiterado a autocarros que fazem por via terrestre o percurso que milhares de turistas antecipadamente escolheram fazer por ferrovia”, lamentam as operadoras Barcadouro, Rota Ouro do Douro e Tomaz do Douro. De todos os professores do país em mobilidade especial por doença, 10% estão em Bragança. O Delegado Regional de Educação do Norte admite que o elevado número de pedidos de mobilidade por doença de professores do distrito de Bragança “é um problema grave” e que a situação “é estranha”. “Podemos ser mais ou menos cépticos mas não contestamos a legalidade do acto médico. É apenas estranho”, sublinha. “Estas coisas não se resolvem por despacho nem por decreto. Nem tão pouco se pode pensar que a repressão é solução.”

Já em 2017, o Estado de Lisboa descambou por completo. Recordemos que a função número um de um Estado-Nação é manter a segurança dos seus cidadãos. Mas no fogo de Pedrógão Grande morreram 64 pessoas nas suas casas, carros ou simplesmente a fugir dos fogos. O troço de estrada em que morreram 47 pessoas distava apenas um quilómetro do cruzamento do IC8 onde a GNR estava a controlar. O SIRESP, sistema de comunicação para emergências, voltou a falhar completamente. Nada funcionou. Nas forças armadas portuguesas, as suas armas são roubadas em TancosFonte policial adiantou ao jornal que foram roubadas 44 lança-granadas, quatro engenhos explosivos, 120 granadas ofensivas, 20 granadas de gás lacrimogéneo e 1500 munições de calibre 9mm. O comunicado do Exército dava conta do desaparecimento de cerca de uma centena de granadas de mão ofensivas e munições de calibre 9 milímetros. Os autores do roubo terão cortado a rede para entrar na zona militar, num local sem videovigilância. E, pior, os desafios de uma fábrica social multiétnica ultrapassa por completo a ideia de uma Portugalidade homogénea construída pelo Estado Novo e que ainda hoje serve de compasso a muita gente. Os acontecimentos de 2015 relatam que um grupo de cerca de 10 jovens tentou invadir a esquadra da PSP de Alfragide na sequência da detenção de um jovem que atirou uma pedra contra uma carrinha policial. Na sequência da detenção, os restantes jovens, com idades entre os 23 e 25 anos, “tentaram invadir” a esquadra. Foram detidos cinco elementos do grupo e os restantes fugiram. Esta versão é contrariada pelos jovens que se queixam de agressões, tortura e discriminação racial por parte dos agentes da PSP.

Resumindo: as tragédias expõem de forma dramática o abandono a que está votado Portugal. Vimos o fosso entre um país urbano, pendurado nos direitos e desabituado a ter deveres, e um país que vive entregue a si próprio, esquecido. Quem vive fora das grandes cidades já sabe há muito que há o país de Lisboa e do Porto, onde os políticos falam para quem lhes dá votos, com especial relevo para os funcionários públicos, e concentram-se no politicamente correcto. Esperava-se que as autarquias conseguissem preencher essa falha mas ou não têm competências ou alinham pelo discurso e a acção dos políticos da corte de Lisboa. 

Acredito no potencial, valores e capacidades de muitos dos povos que habitam Portugal. Acredito que ainda possam construir algo bonito. Mas o lugar de Portugal como ideia civilizadora é no museu, junto das grandes civilizações cristãs europeias. Depois dos Romanos, dos Mouros e dos Portugueses, está na altura de nova civilização nesta gloriosa faixa atlântica ibérica, seja ela qual for.

 
Padrão Português da Namíbia (1486), Deutsches Historisches Museum

Estou Cansado

Dói. Dói bastante. Ver os nossos amigos, os nossos companheiros de fim de semana, os nossos guerreiros de batalhas em Portugal e na Europa, com quem partilhámos alegrias e tristezas, desilusões e glória, abandonarem a nossa pátria ano após ano. E nós assistimos impotentes, como se fosse o nosso triste e inevitável fado. Em 2017 já perdemos o Nelson Semedo para o Barcelona, o Ederson para o Manchester City e o Victor Lindelof para o Manchester United. Nos últimos anos perdemos Renato Sanches, Gaitan, Matić, Javi García, Enzo Pérez, Di María, David Luiz, Oblak…
Chega, não aguento mais! Somos o Benfica, somos milhões em Portugal e mais uns quantos milhões espalhados pelo mundo. O nosso emblema, a nossa fé, o nosso suor e lágrimas, que fizeram e fazem todos os dias esta nação merece mais e melhor. Não vamos morrer numa faixa atlântica pobre, envelhecida e sem qualquer perspectiva de futuro. Sejamos pragmáticos: vamos jogar na liga de Espanha! Com as receitas da publicidade e das transmissões televisivas, e todo um Portugal a nos apoiar, poderíamos não apenas ganhar títulos, como chegar novamente à glória europeia. O Atlético de Madrid nos últimos quatro anos foi a duas finais da Liga dos Campeões e, com todo o respeito pelo clube, nós temos tudo para, se não maiores, sermos iguais ao mesmo. Vamos sonhar, jogar com Barcelona, Real Madrid, Valencia, Atlético Madrid, em cada fim de semana, vamos ganhar músculo financeiro, vamos ganhar atratividade, vamos ganhar competitividade. E, mais importante, vamos manter a nossa família unida, vamos não perder os nossos todos os anos, vamos ser Mística, vamos continuar a missão de Cosme Damião nascida na Farmácia Franco em 1904. Nascemos em Lisboa para conquistar o mundo e não para morrer nesta cidade. 

A Reforma da Primeira Liga

O campeonato português de futebol tem um problema: o país está falido, sem pessoas, sem recursos e sem perspectivas que algo mude nas próximas décadas. Assim sendo, a única alternativa é adaptar a primeira liga de futebol ao país existente, tentando extrair o máximo possível do mesmo, sem esquecer que os clubes ainda participam na Taça da Liga e na Taça de Portugal.
Vamos comparar o músculo populacional da liga portuguesa com outras ligas europeias. Em França existem 20 clubes para 66 milhões de habitantes (3.3 milhões / clube), em Espanha existem 20 clubes para 46 milhões de habitantes (2.3 milhões / clube), na Alemanha existem 18 clubes para 81 milhões de habitantes (4.5 milhões / clube) e, finalmente, em Itália existem 20 clubes para 60 milhões de habitantes (3 milhões / clube). Em Portugal existem 18 clubes para 11 milhões de habitantes (620 mil / clube). 
Actualmente participam 18 clubes que fazem no total 34 jogos por época. Na época 2016/17 os estádios receberam 3.622.372 de adeptos, o que dá uma média superior a 11.800 por encontro. Contudo, a média é inflacionada pelos números dos três ditos grandes do futebol português: apenas o V. Guimarães consegue juntar-se-lhes com um registo de assistências acima da média (18.756 por jogo). Os 51 jogos na Luz, Dragão e Alvalade atraíram 2.309.507 espectadores (média de 45.284), enquanto nos 255 jogos disputados nos restantes estádios estiveram 1.312.865 de pessoas nas bancadas, à média de 5148 por encontro.
Só existe uma opção possível: reduzir o número de clubes na primeira liga para 12 e acabar com a Taça da Liga. Todos os anos desciam os últimos 2. Assim, Portugal ficaria com um rácio de 920 mil habitantes por clube (um número ainda bastante baixo quando comparado com a Alemanha). A primeira liga teria 40 jogos pois seria disputada a 4 voltas. Tudo ficaria melhor: os melhores clubes jogariam mais entre eles, o número de jogos com interesse seriam a maioria, duplicava-se o número de derbies, mais audiências das transmissões televisivas, etc. No final, mais receita para os clubes, melhores jogadores, mais respeitabilidade da liga portuguesa, melhores hipóteses de competir na Europa. Devemos promover o que é bom e não afogar todos num oceano de mediocridade.

Eternal Recognition

Hitler dismissed a return to the boundaries of 1914 as a false goal for Germany, because boundaries are arbitrary: one is not morally entitled to them, one simply takes them if one can. “The reality of a nation having managed a disproportionate acquisition of territory is no superior obligation for its eternal recognition. It proves at most the might of the conqueror and the weakness of the victim. And, moreover, this might alone makes it right,” Hitler wrote. (David A. Welch)
John Gast, American Progress, 1872

Wabi-sabi

Wabi-sabi is a concept in traditional Japanese aesthetics constituting a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.”

The Experience of Beauty

Psychological adaptations are complex behavioral patterns built into our minds over many generations. The same forces that select genes for physical features of the body also select genes for features of the brain to carry out functions that ultimately give the organism a reproductive advantage. For example, our general experience of beauty is the result of a loose ensemble of evolutionary adaptations. What ties different people, places and proofs together into the experience of beauty is that our ancestors, who happened to find pleasure in these objects, were the people who had more children. [The Aesthetic Brain: How We Evolved to Desire Beauty and Enjoy Art (2013), Anjan Chatterjee]
The Roman Festivals of the Colosseum, Pablo Salinas

Our Dismiss

It is possible that some native Europeans may not appreciate an endless amount of diversity in their local schools and may want their children to be educated around people from a similar cultural background. This means, especially if those parents are in an inner-city area or suburb, that they are likely to worry about being able to afford a house in the kind of middle-class neighbourhood from which their child would be in the catchment area of a less diverse school. If they cannot afford to bring up their children in the way in which they would like, many people will fail to have the number of children they would like.

Il primo bacio – William Bouguereau

Força

Deveis saber que há dois géneros de combate: um com as leis, outro com a força. O primeiro é próprio do homem, o segundo das bestas. Mas porque o primeiro muitas vezes não basta, convém recorrer ao segundo. (Maquiavel)

Jordan B Peterson

He had moved from thoughts to words, and now from words to actions. (1984)

Last Sunday night a capacity crowd of mainly young people packed into the Emmanuel Centre in London. Those who couldn’t find a seat stood at the back of the hall. When the speaker entered, the entire hall rose to its feet. It was his second lecture that day, the fourth across three days of sold-out London events. For an hour and a half the audience listened to a rambling, quirky, but fascinating tour of evolutionary biology, myth, religion, psychology, dictators and Dostoyevsky. Occasionally a line would get its own burst of applause. One of the loudest came after the speaker’s appeal for the sanctity of marriage and child-rearing. Yet this was not a Christian revivalist meeting. It was a lecture by a 55-year-old, grey-haired, dark-browed Canadian academic who until 18 months ago was little known outside his professional field of psychology. Today, for at least one generation, Professor Jordan Peterson of the University of Toronto has become a mixture of philosopher, life-coach, educator and guru.

He sees the vacuum left not just by the withdrawal of the Christian tradition, but by the moral relativism and self-abnegation that have flooded across the West in its wake. Furthermore he recognises — from his experience as a practising psychologist and as a teacher — that people crave principles and certainties. He sees a generation being urged to waste their lives waving placards about imaginary problem, or problems far beyond their (or anyone’s control) and urges them instead to cut through the lies, recognise the tragic and uncomfortable position we are in as humans and consider afresh what we might actually achieve with our lives.

From his teaching, speeches, writing and interviews, it is clear that Peterson has made one of the most unpopular but vital realisations of our time: that we are creating a generation of men who (especially if they don’t belong to any minority group) are without hope, foundation or purpose. Everything in the culture insists that they are terrible: proto–rapists when they are not rapists; proto-racists when they are not racists; condemned for their ‘privilege’ even when they are failures and their every success dismissed as undeserved.

This is destined to produce societal resentment and disengagement on a generational scale. Female politicians, among others, scoff, and most men run scared or duck. Peterson is one of the very few to take this problem seriously and to help young people to navigate towards lives of meaning and purpose.

Douglas Murray in The Spectator (2018)

The Technical

As the war in Afghanistan escalated several years ago, counterinsurgency expert David Kilcullen began to notice a new tattoo on some insurgent Afghan fighters. It wasn’t a Taliban tattoo. It wasn’t even Afghan. It was a Canadian maple leaf.

When a perplexed Kilcullen began to investigate, he says, he discovered that the incongruous flags were linked to what he says is one of the most important, and unnoticed, weapons of guerrilla war in Afghanistan and across the world: the lightweight, virtually indestructible Toyota Hilux truck. “When a shipment of high-quality Hiluxes arrived, courtesy of the Canadian government,” Kilcullen explains, “they had little Canadian flags on the back. Because they were the real deal, and because of how the Hilux is seen, over time, strangely, the Canadian flag has become a symbol of high quality across the country. Hence the tattoos.”

It’s not just rebels in Afghanistan that love the Hilux. “The Toyota Hilux is everywhere,” says Andrew Exum, a former Army Ranger. “It’s the vehicular equivalent of the AK-47. It’s ubiquitous to insurgent warfare. And actually, recently, also counterinsurgent warfare. It kicks the hell out of the Humvee.” Anecdotally, a scan of pictures from the last four decades of guerrilla and insurgent warfare around the world reveals the Toyota’s wide-ranging influence. A ragtag bunch of 20 or so Sudanese fighters raise their arms aloft in the back of a Hilux in 2004. Pakistani militants drive through a crowd, guns high, in 2000. It goes on. Nicaragua, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq. EvenU.S. Special Forces even drive Toyota Tacomas (the chunkier, U.S. version of the Hilux) on some of their deployments.
The truck even has a war named after it: the so-called “Toyota War” between Libya and Chad in the 1980s was dominated by fighters using the light, mobile Hilux. Indeed, Africa, says Kilcullen, is where the truck got its nickname as a fighting vehicle, “the technical.” Over time, a ‘technical’ came to mean a vehicle owned by a guard company, and then eventually to mean a Hilux with a heavy weapon mounted on the back.”

Kilcullen, who has faced forces using the Hilux in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, says the vehicle’s longevity is a factor, as is the high ground clearance. “They cover the ground incredibly well,” he says. They are often used by insurgent forces as “a modern version of light cavalry. They move weapons into positions to fire, and can also shift people around very quickly, with a quick dismount. The Hilux is perfectly designed for that. I’ve seen 20 people and a mounted weapon on one.”

A former British special forces soldier, who asked not to be identified because he still consults on active operations, says he too has faced the Hilux, which he refers to as “the technical,” in both Iraq and Afghanistan. “I’d say the appeal is pretty simple,” he says. “You can’t underestimate the value of having a vehicle that is fast, will never break down, and is strong enough to mount a heavy weapon in the back.”

[Newsweek (2010), Ravi Somaiya]

Quem és tu Portugal?

Estamos nas vésperas da Revolução: Voltaire não a sonha, mas pressente-a; não a deseja, mas prepara-a.
Entre 2007 e 2016 477 mil pessoas pediram a nacionalidade portuguesa e mais de 400 mil cidadãos tornaram-se portugueses. Entre os países da União Europeia, Portugal vem em segundo lugar no “rácio de aquisições de nacionalidade por total de residentes estrangeiros”, logo a seguir à Suécia. As alterações legislativas para a concessão da nacionalidade feitas nas duas últimas décadas muito contribuíram para tal. As políticas e enquadramentos legais portuguesas têm sido consideradas inovadoras ao conciliar critérios de nascimento, descendência, residência, a opção voluntária para o pedido de nacionalidade e o papel que os imigrantes requerentes podem assumir para a demografia de um país naturalmente envelhecido. No ano de 1996 houve 3700 concessões de nacionalidade portuguesa mas em 2016 esse número ascendeu a 50.793 de acordo com o Observatório das Migrações.

Portugal não tem expressão mundial, continental e regional. Em 1974 a elite política decidiu tornar este pedaço de terra um território globalista, um território sem cultura, etnia ou religião. Se atualmente não existe mais diversidade cultural e étnica é porque simplesmente Portugal é pobre, sem recursos naturais e muitos povos simplesmente não querem cá ficar, ou se quer entrar.

Nasci em Portugal. Educaram-me a História de Portugal. Falo Português. Tenho um cartão de cidadão e um passaporte que dizem que eu sou Português. Mas isso basta? Que Cultura, História, Valores, Moral, partilho com os meus concidadãos, novos e antigos? Não os conheço, eles não me conhecem. Devo Ser como eles ou eles Serem como eu? Ambos somos Portugueses, mas quem define o que é a Portugalidade? 



É certo que o fenómeno é Europeu, e Portugal apenas foi a reboque, como em muitas outras épocas, do que o que se faz para lá dos Pirenéus. A nação foi descredibilizada em termos intelectuais e políticos, especialmente a partir dos anos 1980. Não era uma comunidade com genuína existência real. Era uma mera construção social, uma “comunidade imaginada”. A sua dissolução em sociedades multiculturais, o mais possível diversas, tornou-se o novo ideal de perfeição e modelo de coexistência pacífica no Ocidente europeu. Não é um processo linear e contínuo, mas é a tendência que marca a transformação social e política da Europa no longo prazo. O mais complexo é a crescente heterogeneidade de Estados e sociedades que, num passado recente, eram bastante homogéneos em termos de grupo nacional. O afrouxamento dos laços nacionais deixou fundamentalmente um espaço vazio. Poucos se sentem genuinamente unidos por um europeísmo ou cosmopolitismo. Menos ainda estariam dispostos a sacrificar a sua vida por tais ideais. No território das grandes nações europeias surgiram então novos grupos culturais frequentemente acantonados em guetos, de dimensão e número  (ainda) desconhecido. É algo demasiado evidente nas grandes metrópoles europeias: populações que se ignoram, ou conflituam culturalmente, pois não partilham os valores mais profundos que alicerçam a cidadania.


E afinal, o que os portugueses sentem sobre isto tudo? Os refugiados e os imigrantes são vistos de forma muito diferente pelos portugueses, diz o estudo “Europa, Migrações e Identidades”, do Instituto de Ciências Sociais da Universidade de Lisboa, feito em 2016. Se Portugal fez caminho, tal como a maioria dos países europeus, para estar recetivo a receber cada vez mais refugiados nos últimos anos, o mesmo não se pode dizer quanto a receber imigrantes económicos. Juntamente com a Hungria e a República Checa, Portugal está entre os três países europeus que mais se opõem a receber imigrantes. Já no sentido oposto, os portugueses são dos que defendem uma maior flexibilidade aos critérios de entrada de refugiados. Isto revela um grave problema cognitivo e total desnorte sobre o que os portugueses querem de facto para este pedaço de terra.

Mas o que é Tudo, no final, é Nada. Portugal ficou para trás, em 1974, e entrou no período de transição onde nos encontramos. Este território delimitado nos mapas por linhas virtuais, encontra-se à espera da próxima Conquista, da sua próxima Bandeira.

A Seiva do Oeste

A Linha do Oeste é um troço ferroviário que liga a estação de Agualva-Cacém, na Linha de Sintra, à estação de Figueira da Foz, em Portugal. Apresenta um comprimento total de 197,9 km e encontra-se em funcionamento, tanto para tráfego de passageiros, quanto de mercadorias.
Linha do Oeste
Já em 2011, o Plano Estratégico dos Transportes do Governo português previa até o final do ano a desactivação do serviço de transporte de passageiros na Linha do Oeste, entre Caldas da Rainha e Figueira da Foz, mantendo-se a linha activa apenas para o transporte de mercadorias e sendo assegurado transporte rodoviário alternativo.
Não conheço a realidade entre as Caldas da Rainha e a Figueira da Foz, mas conheço entre as Caldas da Rainha e a Agualva-Cacém. Quem garante o transporte de passageiros, não é a ferrovia mas sim a rodovia, através da Barraqueiro Transportes. São as suas camionetas e sua agilidade que garantem as necessidades de deslocação de uma população dispersa, sem elevada densidade populacional. Para além disso, é uma transportadora privada, ao contrário da pública CP, que explora a actual Linha do Oeste.
Proponho por isso o fecho da Linha do Oeste em toda a sua extensão para o transporte de passageiros. Apenas a estação de Mira Sintra-Meleças (estação logo a seguir ao Agualva-Cacém) continuará aberta, continuado a servir de terminal aos comboios urbanos da Linha de Sintra. O Estado deverá desviar parte do dinheiro poupado para subsidiar o serviço da Barraqueiro e garantir serviços mínimos, sendo que a população local ganha melhor serviço público e o Estado deixa de gastar dinheiro em serviços desadequados da CP.
Serviço da Barraqueiro Transportes em 2015

Pact With the Devil

For the last 30 years, the two liberalisms have prevailed in the UK, the economic liberalism of the right and the social liberalism of the left. The Conservatives concentrated on deregulation, union busting and privatisation, while talking tough, but avoiding any action on, on immigration, political correctness and traditional values. Meanwhile, Labour focused on a socially liberal agenda without attempting to roll back the economic gains of the right.

It was almost as though a tacit deal had been struck; you can have diversity, minority rights and discrimination laws if we can have privatisation, deregulation and tax cuts. The effect was to take policies that were popular with the public off the agenda on the grounds that they were publicly unacceptable. This applied both to left-wing and right-wing policies. 

Our Mind

I do not know but it is too much to read one newspaper a week. I have tried it recently, and for so long it seems to me that I have not dwelt in my native region. The sun, the clouds, the snow, the trees say not so much to me. You cannot serve two masters. Shall the mind be a public arena, where the affairs of the street and the gossip of the tea-table chiefly are discussed? Or shall it be a quarter of heaven itself, an hypaethral temple, consecrated to the service of the gods? I believe that the mind can be permanently profaned by the habit of attending to trivial things, so that all our thoughts shall be tinged with triviality. We should treat our minds, that is, ourselves, as innocent and ingenuous children, whose guardians we are, and be careful what objects and what subjects we thrust on their attention. (Life Without Principle by Henry David Thoreau)

Steve Cutts

You Couldn’t Make It Up

Governments across Europe have accidentally paid taxpayer-funded welfare benefits such as unemployment funds, disability pensions and housing allowances to Islamic State militants who have used the money to wage war in Iraq and Syria, authorities and terrorism experts say.

Danish officials said this week that 29 citizens were given $100,000 in public pension benefits because they were considered too ill or disabled to work, and they then fled to Syria to fight for the radical group. It took eight months before welfare authorities cut off benefits paid to a Swedish national who had joined the terror group in its Syrian stronghold Raqqa. Michael Skråmo, who grew up near Gothenburg, fled in 2014 with his wife and four children to Syria. Over the eight months, Skråmo was paid more than $5,000. Authorities concluded that several of the plotters in the Brussels and Paris terror attacks that killed 162 people in 2015 and 2016 were partly financed by Belgium’s social welfare system while they planned their atrocities. Radical Islamic cleric Anjem Choudary, who was jailed for terrorist activities, urged followers to claim “jihadiseeker’s allowance”, a reference to the nation’s welfare system. His phrase echoes a manual released by the militant group in 2015. “How to Survive in the West: A Mujahid Guide” advises that “if you can claim extra benefits from a government, then do so.”


The hammer-wielding terrorist who attacked police outside the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was handed an award by the European Union for complaining about racism against migrants.
Farid Ikken, 40, emerged from a crowd of tourists and swinging his weapon at three police officers.

Now it has emerged that he had worked as a reporter in Sweden and received the EU’s ‘National Journalist Prize Against Discrimination’.

He was given the accolade by officials in Brussels after writing an article about asylum seekers ‘who are not entitled to medical care and who are therefore forced to seek shelter’. After winning the prize in 2009, Ikken said: ‘it has been gratifying that attention has been paid to such important topics as discrimination and diversity.’ Ikken had studied at Stockholm university, and is thought to have married a Swedish woman during his time there.
He is currently enrolled as a doctoral student specialising in communication at Metz university, in eastern France.
Arnaud Mercier, his current PhD supervisor, told France’s LCI news channel: ‘From what I know of his personality, though we haven’t been in contact for a while, this leaves me completely stupefied. He was very dedicated, he acknowledged the values of democracy, he believed very much in journalistic ideals.’

Impossible to Emerge

Dysgenics is the study of factors producing the accumulation and perpetuation of defective or disadvantageous genes and traits in offspring of a particular population or species. The adjective “dysgenic” is the antonym of “eugenic”. It was first used by David Starr Jordan, describing the supposed dysgenic effects of World War I. Jordan believed that healthy men were as likely to die in modern warfare as anyone else, and that war killed only the physically healthy men of the populace whilst preserving the disabled at home. Richard Lynn in his Dysgenics: Genetic Deterioration in Modern Populations (1996) identified three main concerns: deterioration in health, in intelligence, and in conscientiousness.
Peter Hitchens and the death of Britain in the First World War – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMy86XCm9ls

Redundant

In the late modern era, equality rapidly became the dominant value in human societies almost everywhere. This was partly due to the rise of new ideologies like humanism, liberalism and socialism. But it was also due to the industrial revolution, which made the masses more important than ever before. Industrial economies relied on masses of common workers, while industrial armies relied on masses of common soldiers. Governments in both democracies and dictatorships invested heavily in the health, education and welfare of the masses, because they needed millions of healthy labourers to work in the factories, and millions of loyal soldiers to serve in the armies.

Now, as we enter the post-industrial world, the masses are becoming redundant. The best armies no longer rely on millions of ordinary recruits, but rather on a relatively small number of highly professional soldiers using very high-tech kit and autonomous drones, robots and cyber-worms. Already today, most people are militarily useless. The same thing might soon happen in the civilian economy, too. As artificial intelligence (AI) outperforms humans in more and more skills, it is likely to replace humans in more and more jobs. Humans basically have just two types of skills – physical and cognitive – and if computers outperform us in both, they might outperform us in the new jobs just as in the old ones.

Once the masses lose their economic importance, the state loses at least some of the incentive to invest in their health, education and welfare. It’s very dangerous to be redundant. Your future depends on the goodwill of a small elite. Maybe there is goodwill for a few decades. But in a time of crisis, it would be very tempting, and easy, to toss you overboard.

The Strong Horse

When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse. (Osama bin Laden)

Police have named 22-year-old Salman Ramadan Abedi as the person suspected of carrying out the suicide attack at Manchester Arena.
Abedi was born in Manchester on New Year’s Eve 1994 to Libyan parents, who had fled that country. Having spent a few years in London, the family moved to Manchester where his father used to do the call to prayer at a mosque in Didsbury.
Abedi went to school in Manchester and on to Salford University before dropping out, and worked in a bakery.
Friends remember him as a good footballer, a keen supporter of Manchester United and a user of cannabis.

Justiça Social

A visão cristã de que o homem nasceria imperfeito, mas poderia e deveria buscar pessoalmente a perfeição foi primeiramente questionada e depois trocada pela visão romântica de que o homem nascia naturalmente bom, mas era corrompido e transformado em mau por viver numa sociedade má. (Theodore Dalrymple

Nos finais de 1960 alguns intelectuais marxistas franceses foram ainda mais longe. Derrotadas as suas ideias na União Soviética, desviaram o foco das classes trabalhadoras para as divisões étnicas da sociedade, criando assim o cultural-marxismo. Mais uma vez, o mesmo não procura a igualdade de oportunidades, mas sim a igualdade de resultados. Como Noam Chomsky formulou: A engenharia social do Estado-providência procura anular a meritocracia, processo em que o conhecimento e a capacidade técnica conferem poder; a mesma é vista como uma ideologia egoísta de uma elite meritocrática que como Marx explicou, “define as condições especiais da sua emancipação como as únicas condições gerais capazes de salvar a sociedade moderna”.

Em Portugal, Catarina Marcelino, secretária de Estado para a Cidadania e Igualdade, diz que “temos uma base cultural que precisa de uma intervenção grande, uma sociedade machista que é preciso mudar”. Como não pode entrar na casa de cada português para mudar mentalidades e derrubar estereótipos de género, a secretária de Estado arranjou uma chave alternativa: a introdução da Educação para a cidadania nos currículos do ensino público desde o pré-escolar. Catarina Marcelino vê esta alteração curricular como o motor de ignição de uma catadupa de mudanças estruturais na sociedade portuguesa a longo prazo. “A escola pública forma pessoas, e formar pessoas não é só ensinar matemática. A igualdade de género vai influenciar o combate à violência doméstica porque deixam de existir desigualdades nas relações de poder. Daqui a dez anos já haverá efeitos sociais positivos”, acredita a secretária de Estado.

Saldanha, Lisboa

What can I do?

The great person is ahead of their time, the smart make something out of it, and the blockhead, sets themselves against it. (Jean Baudrillard)

White men have become an “endangered species” at the top of British business, according to Tesco chairman John Allan. Speaking to a business conference, Mr Allan said: “For a thousand years men have got most of these jobs. The pendulum has swung very significantly the other way and will do for the foreseeable future. If you are a white male, tough. You are an endangered species and you are going to have to work twice as hard. If you are female and from an ethnic background and preferably both, then you are in an extremely propitious period,” he added.

A former senior executive at Infosys has accused Indian software major Infosys of a racist bias that favours Indian techies over others. While roughly 1% of the US population is of the South Asian race and national origin, roughly 93%-94% of Infosys’s United States workforce is of the South Asian national origin (primarily Indian). This disproportionately South Asian and Indian workforce, by race and national origin, is a result of Infosys’s intentional employment discrimination against individuals who are not South Asian, including discrimination in the hiring, promotion, compensation, and termination of individuals.

The Supreme Court upheld the use of racial preferences in admissions at the University of Texas, giving a vote of confidence to affirmative action policies. The court previously had upheld the use of race in college admissions in 1978, then again in 2003. Justice Samuel Alito slammed the decision as “affirmative action gone wild.” He said it allows the university to seek out African-American students with privileged backgrounds over low-income white and Asian students. The case was brought by Abigail Fisher, a white woman denied entry to her state’s flagship university in 2008. She ultimately graduated from Louisiana State University but had continued to press her case with the aid of a conservative legal group called the Project on Fair Representation. Edward Blum, the group’s president, said: “As long as universities like the University of Texas continue to treat applicants differently by race and ethnicity, the social fabric that holds us together as a nation will be weakened.” Speaking from the White House after the ruling, President Obama applauded the justices’ ruling.

O Regime de Abril

Avelino Pacheco Gonçalves era ministro do Trabalho quando foi criado o primeiro salário mínimo nacional em 1974 por iniciativa do I Governo provisório. Fixado em 3300 escudos, o mesmo recorda como a economia cresceu ao ser impulsionada pelo novo poder aquisitivo dos trabalhadores. Em 1977, o FMI “aterrou na Portela” pela primeira vez, trazendo na bagagem “pacotes” que se traduziram em redução de salários e subida de impostos.

Quando eu nasci, em 1959, Portugal tinha entrado há pouco, e assim prosseguiria até 1973, num período de crescimento sem paralelo em toda a sua história registada. A minha infância e princípio de adolescência foram vividos num país tomado de aceleração vertiginosa, pelo menos por comparação com qualquer outro período conhecido. Para se ter uma ideia gráfica: entre 1960 e 1972 – foi o princípio da minha vida – o PIB português duplicou. Uma pessoa que em 2015 tivesse nascido em 2002, com 13 aninhos, os mesmos que eu tinha em 1972 depois daquela década de crescimento e mudança trepidantes – o PIB duplicara, crescera 100%! – viveu num país onde o PIB aumentou ao longo de toda a sua vida… 0,1%. Isso. 0,1%. Não é gralha.

É verdade: essa pessoa nasceu num meio incomparavelmente mais rico do que o meio em que eu nasci. Mas eu nasci num meio em que a melhoria constante, a abertura permanente de novas possibilidades, o enriquecimento ano após ano eram a regra. O jovem que nasceu em 2002 nasceu num meio em que a crise, a ameaça e o impasse são a normalidade. Acreditem: o socialismo não foi uma boa ideia. Valia a pena tentarmos outra coisa.

Evolução do PIB por habitante – Portugal

Driving Homogeneity Through Diversity

(from The Economist and The Spectator)

The mood in Jakarta was jittery in the days leading up to its gubernatorial election on April 2017. Islamist agitators accused the incumbent governor, Ahok, who is both Christian and of Chinese ancestry, of “Christianising” Jakarta because a mosque built by the city government resembles a cross. Anxious ethnic-Chinese, in turn, shared posts warning that the election of Ahok’s rival would lead to the forcible imposition of Islamic law. However, the election passed off peacefully. Unofficial counts showed Mr Baswedan easily beat Ahok with around 58% of the vote. Ahok would have been the first Chinese Christian to win the job in an election. In the end, however, a row about religion upended his campaign.

His election seemed secure. But early in the campaign he gave a speech in which he urged voters not to heed those who used a particular verse from the Koran to argue that Muslims should not vote for Christians. Hardline Islamists, who had attacked Ahok for his race and religion since he became governor, edited the speech to make it sound as if he was criticising the Koran. The agitators organised massive anti-Ahok rallies. In November prosecutors charged Ahok with blasphemy.

Mr Baswedan spoke at the headquarters of the Islam Defenders Front and later joined its leader, Rizieq Shihab, for prayers before a big anti-Ahok rally. In the wake of his victory, Mr Baswedan made all the right noises, pledging to defend diversity. But he celebrated in the company of Mr Shihab, once again. Marcus Mietzner of the Australian National University worries that “it demonstrates that militant Islamists have become more organised, established better connections with elite networks, and have found ways of building alliances with mainstream politicians.” Mr Baswedan is not about to impose Islamic law in Jakarta. But hardline forces certainly helped him win. That genie is not easily returned to the bottle.

London
It was the 34th annual convention of France’s Muslims at the weekend in le Bourget, just north of Paris, and the main topic of conversation was the upcoming presidential election. Five years ago, when François Hollande beat Nicolas Sarkozy to become president, the Socialist candidate benefited from 86 per cent of the Muslim vote. That won’t happen in 2017. The man who stands to gain most from the disenchanted Muslim electorate is Jean-Luc Mélenchon. 
Although in the past the far-left candidate has spoken out against the wearing of religious clothing, he was firmly on the side of those young women forbidden by court orders to wear what they wanted to wear on the beach, the notorious burkini row. ‘In our country’, he tweeted, ‘we have persecuted the Jews, then the Protestants and today the Muslims’. The conservative newspaper, Le Figaro, was quick to ridicule the former communist with an article headlined ‘Comrade Mélenchon converts to Islamo-gauchism’. Following Mohammed Merah’s rampage across France in March 2012 in which he singled out Muslim soldiers and Jewish schoolchildren for cold-blooded execution, Mélenchon dismissed any link to Islam. Two years later, when violent pro-Palestine demonstrations broke out across Paris, Mélenchon insisted anti-Semitism was not a factor and blamed the burned-out Jewish shops and businesses on ‘a handful of nutters’. Then, in November 2015, days after an Islamist terror cell had butchered 130 people in Paris, Mélenchon declared to the European Parliament that ‘the cause of terrorism is money and religious fundamentalism is the mask of a war for money’. 
“When they touch the precepts of our religion, it’s like they’ve insulted us. They talk about us, but our voice is not heard“. That’s why he and many other Muslims are voting for Mélenchon, in the hope their voice will be heard.

O Busílis

A propósito da imigração, os governos europeus insistem em imaginar indivíduos e famílias que, uma vez nos novos países, adoptariam a sua língua e costumes: em poucas décadas, os jovens sírios seriam alemães de meia idade. Esta perspectiva é um resquício do etnocentrismo colonial. Os imigrantes não são uma simples matéria-prima humana para compensar o declínio demográfico europeu. Trazem a sua história e os seus valores.

Os cristãos do Médio Oriente, que representam a mais antiga das cristandades, não estão a extinguir-se “naturalmente”. No princípio do século XX, apesar de séculos de discriminação e repressão islâmica, cerca de um quinto das populações do Médio Oriente ainda eram cristãs. No Egipto e na Síria de hoje, aliás, continuam a ser 10%. É essa heterogeneidade cultural e étnica que está a ser eliminada por repetidos apelos à jihad. Primeiro, houve o genocídio dos cristãos arménios (1,5 milhões de mortos) e assírios. Depois, a matança e a expulsão dos cristãos gregos (700 000 mortos e 1 milhão de refugiados). Os jihadistas de hoje propõem-se completar essa limpeza. A perseguição e o massacre das comunidades cristãs do Médio Oriente e do norte de África é uma das grandes tragédias do nosso tempo. A Europa, no entanto, parece indiferente.

As elites europeias, com o seu desinteresse pelo destino da cristandade oriental, admitem que o multiculturalismo está condenado no Médio Oriente. Porque pensam então que terá futuro na Europa?

Nice, 2016

Cut and Paste Engineering

Unlike today, there was no Google, no Stackoverflow, no open source at your fingertips, rarely even someone to email to ask for help. You were basically programming on an island, and anything you needed to figure out or solve, you had to do it yourself. What you need today is searching, understanding and evaluation. You have access to the world’s smartest (and sometimes dumbest) people. The chances that something you need hasn’t been done elsewhere is rare and the real skill is in finding it, relating it to what you need, deciding if it is useful or adaptable, and if it is of a decent quality. [Andrew Wulf]
One of Mr Dennett’s key slogans is “competence without comprehension”. Just as computers can perform complex calculations without understanding arithmetic, so creatures can display finely tuned behaviour without understanding why they do so. The mental items that populate human consciousness are more like fictions than accurate representations of internal reality.
The psychologist Don Norman coined the term conceptual model to refer to the rough knowledge of a technology we need to have in order to use it effectively. [Pedro Domingos (2017), The Master Algorithm, Penguin]
The bigger problem of understanding “my” code or “this” code is ” has somebody else already solved this problem”. My feeling is that most problems have already been solved but we write code because it’s quicker to write code than discover it. [Joe Armstrong]

Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri, Meditazione

The Cuckoo’s Nest

The argument is that diversity leads to racism, which leads to lower support for the welfare state. What follows from this particular argument is pretty clear: you can have diversity or you can have economic justice, but you can’t have both. Not keeping diversity down and different groups separated from one another, conservatives maintain, will destabilize society, turn politics into a dangerous racialized contest for political power, and immiserate people in all sorts of subtle and not-so-subtle ways. More and more, it seems like liberals agree with this basic conservative assessment of how diversity affects society. But, despite that underlying agreement, they somewhat bizarrely resist the conservative conclusion. Conservatives are very clear: diversity has all these problems and so it should be restricted. But the liberal view,  that diversity has all these problems and yet it should be expanded without restraint ,  is just incoherent on its face. That is what the pragmatic centrism that gives in some to the supposed difficult challenges of a diverse society actually looks like: a racist wet dream.

Ability

Canada has been blessed with an abundance of natural resources, and also has been very fortunate to have people with the ability to convert these resources from potential assets into useful products at a price others are willing to pay.

Bird’s Eye View of the City of Omaha Nebraska, 1868

Stoic

The Stoic philosopher Epictetus was born around 55 A.D. in the Greco-Roman town of Hierapolis, present-day Pamukkale, Turkey. The first line of Epictetus’ manual of ethical advice, the Enchiridion, is “Some things are in our control and others not”; being a Stoic means interrogating those flashes of dread or anticipation asking whether they apply to things outside your control and, if they do, being “ready with the reaction: Then it’s none of my concern.” 
Much of Epictetus’ advice is about not getting angry at slaves. At first, I thought I could skip those parts. But I soon realized that I had the same self-recriminatory and illogical thoughts in my interactions with small-business owners and service professionals. Epictetus shook me with this simple exercise: “Starting with things of little value—a bit of spilled oil, a little stolen wine—repeat to yourself: For such a small price, I buy tranquillity.”

Preservar

“A campanha ‘Por Outra Lei da Nacionalidade‘ procura uma alteração na Lei da Nacionalidade, para que o princípio de jus sanguinis seja alterado para o princípio de jus soli, o que daria acesso imediato à nacionalidade portuguesa aos filhos de imigrantes que nasçam em Portugal”, disse Otávio Raposo, integrante do coletivo Consciência Negra. “Somos várias associações e coletividades que lutam por uma nova Lei da Nacionalidade, mais justa e que represente a diversidade atual da sociedade portuguesa, que não tem só uma cor ou origem“. Entre as associações que estão vinculadas à campanha estão a Casa do Brasil de Lisboa, a SOS Racismo, o coletivo Consciência Negra, a Associação Lusofonia Cultura e Cidadania, a Solidariedade Imigrante, a Afrolis, a Associação Cavaleiros de S. Brás, entre outras.
Devemos aperceber-nos como a moral aparece sempre ligada à origem de uma comunidade e à incorporação das leis que esta instituiu para se preservar. É um lento processo comum a todas as culturas, aparentemente contraditório, mas apenas em aparência.” prefácio de António Marques em Humano Demasiado Humano de Friedrich Nietzsche

Lost

Police investigating the shooting at a Quebec mosque that killed six have narrowed down their list of suspects to one man, Alexander Bissonnette, a student at the city’s Laval University. A nongovernmental counter-terrorism organization reported that his likes on Facebook included President Donald Trump, French politician Marine Le Pen and the Israel Defense Forces.

There are thousands, if not millions, of ethnically Europeans around the world looking for guidance and protection in this multisomething western world and personalities like Trump, LePen or Putin are just filling the void. Europe is no longer the land of the Europeans, while China still is the land of the Han or Japan still is the land of the Japanese for exemple, so they are starting to feel “without an Israel“.

Whataboutism

Soviet propagandists during the cold war were trained in a tactic that their western interlocutors nicknamed whataboutism. Any criticism of the Soviet Union (Afghanistan, martial law in Poland, imprisonment of dissidents, censorship) was met with a “What about…” (apartheid South Africa, jailed trade-unionists, and so forth).

It is not a bad tactic. Every criticism needs to be put in a historical and geographical context. A country that has solved most of its horrible problems deserves praise, not to be lambasted for those that remain.

By Design

The Sirens enticed sailors to their destruction with their irresistibly beautiful singing. They had beautiful singing voices and were gifted lyre players, so wonderful was their musical talent that it was said they could even calm the winds.
It starts with a trigger, a prod that propels users into a four-step loop. Think of the e-mail notification you get when a friend tags you in a photo on Facebook. The trigger prompts you to take an action—say, to log in to Facebook. That leads to a reward: viewing the photo and reading the comments left by others. In the fourth step, you inject a personal stake by making an investment: say, leaving your own comment in the thread. This pattern kicks off a cycle that lodges behaviours in the basal ganglia, the part of the brain where automatic behaviours are stored and where, according to neuroscientists, they last a lifetime.
Technologists like Tristan Harris, a design ethicist who is also a product philosopher at Google, warn that growth hacking, taken to its extreme, can encourage sites and apps to escalate their use of persuasive design techniques with potentially unintended consequences for consumers. He compares online engagement maximisation efforts to the techniques some food companies have developed to hook consumers on a stew of fat, salt and sugar. “The ‘I don’t have enough willpower’ conversation misses the fact that there are 1,000 people on the other side of the screen whose job is to break down the self-regulation that you have,” said Mr. Harris.

Orgulho na Raça

António Costa definiu-se este domingo como “meio vizinho da China”, numa alusão às origens indianas do seu pai e num discurso em que salientou os carateres pluricontinental do português, enquanto respondia a questões formuladas por estudantes da Universidade de Tsinghua, uma das mais prestigiadas da China. “Posso aliás dar o meu exemplo, porque sou o primeiro primeiro-ministro de um país da União Europeia que tem origem extra europeia, visto que o meu pai era de origem indiana, um país vizinho da China”, declarou António Costa.

António Costa tinha acabado de dar por terminado o programa oficial de sábado, em Nova Deli, quando recebeu a notícia da morte de Mário Soares. Era o primeiro dia da visita à Índia. O primeiro-ministro tinha chegado a Nova Deli menos de 24 horas antes e tinha pela frente um programa intenso, preparado há meses com o Governo indiano, que quis dar a esta visita o carácter de visita de Estado, estatuto que, por exemplo, em Portugal só pode ser dado a Presidentes da República, nunca a primeiros-ministros. Isso quis dizer que Costa teve direito a passar revista às tropas no Palácio presidencial, a fazer uma deposição de coroa de flores no memorial de Gandhi. Este estatuto de visita de Estado foi dado ao primeiro-ministro da Nova Zelândia há pouco tempo mas não à primeira-ministra britânica, Theresa May, que visitou a Índia em Novembro. Mas mais importante: o primeiro-ministro indiano, Narendra Modi, iria acompanhar Costa durante todos os dias (sábado, domingo, segunda-feira e terça-feira) – apenas não o acompanha a Goa, a última etapa. E foi por causa de Modi que foi incluída no programa uma deslocação a Ahmedabad no Estado do Gujarat, de onde é natural o primeiro-ministro indiano e onde foi também governador.

Aguardamos com expectativa por receber calorosamente o primeiro-ministro António Costa na Índia, naquela que será uma visita de Estado. Será o nosso convidado de honra naquele que é o nosso emblemático evento de celebração da diáspora do país – o Pravasi Bharatiya Divas [Dia da Diáspora Indiana]. Sendo ele uma pessoa com raízes familiares na Índia, será para nós uma honra celebrar os seus grandes êxitos enquanto líder do povo português. António Costa é um exemplo do dinamismo da diáspora indiana. Como primeiro chefe de governo de origem indiana na Europa, estou confiante de que o seu sucesso será fonte de grande inspiração para muitos outros. – Narendra Modi (primeiro-ministro indiano)

The Forgotten Man

In 2015, the Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton’s groundbreaking paper reported that mortality was only rising in a certain group of Americans: middle-aged Whites. It paints a grim picture of an America that consists of families who were previously able to get by with jobs not requiring college degrees. The disappearance of those jobs has been accompanied by an alarming rate of suicides, overdoses, and diseases caused by drugs and alcohol. Case and Deaton call these “deaths of despair” and argue they have recently reached disturbing levels. They also claim that the recent decline in incomes does not completely explain this rise only among Whites and that they also face a cumulative disadvantage over the course of their lives.

The Forgotten Man painted, in 2010, by the Utah-based artist Jon McNaughton. With the White House in a crepuscular background, its flag at half-staff, all forty-four U.S. Presidents are gathered behind and to the sides of a hunky, hangdog young white guy, who sits on a park bench. He is, in the artist’s words, “distraught and hopeless as he contemplates his future.” The ground is littered with dollar bills, a reference to excessive government spending. Most of the former chief executives look on blandly, but some heroes among them, mainly Washington, Lincoln, and Reagan, react with evident concern for the young guy and with dismay toward Obama, while a few villains, notably F.D.R. and Bill Clinton, applaud.

The Worker Performer

“I’m personally branding myself according to what I want to do in the world,” said Maya Zuckerman, a transmedia producer (that is, a producer who works across digital platforms) whose LinkedIn profile identifies her as a “Media Entrepreneur, Story Architect, Culture Hacker”. “But to be honest I change the title on my LinkedIn every few months and try to see what hits.” [Sam Slaughter (2015), The New York Times]
Even permanent workers are subjected to frequent changes of job title, location and roles. In an environment of hotdesking, weak social ties, short-term projects and strictly regulated speech, so as to maintain the correct mindset, it seems that any evidence of attachment to place or identity must be regularly swept away in order to keep the work surfaces clean and hygienic. [Non-Stop Inertia (2011), Ivor Southwood]

Pale Males

Pale males are the last group it’s OK to vilify. I am hideously white. The BBC was called hideously white by its former boss Greg Dyke, and the West End stage hideously white by Andrew Lloyd Webber. This week the Football Association was dismissed by critics as a bunch of “old white men”. Note that it is not the BBC or the theater that is hideous, but their whiteness. Such are the routine humiliations of my group. Fashion in collective abuse seeks comfort in crowds. In choosing pale males for ritual contempt, identity politics has found a target that it hopes will confess its “guilt”. Were someone such as I to take offence, demand redress or protected space, I would be bidden to shut up, get a life and not be so sensitive. I might turn to Kant and universalize the judgment. What if I were to follow “hideously” with black, female, Jewish, Arab, obese, disabled or Welsh? I doubt there are many selection panels that do not instinctively mark down any pale male applicant. The chair begins: “Yes, he may the best candidate, but…” And the gods of discrimination look down from on high and wag a stern finger. “White males” cruise the jobcentres and head-hunters like ancient sharks, as if looking for a quiet beach on which to die. – https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/15/pale-stale-males-blamed-brexit-trump

On Top

To my friends: My work is done. Why wait? – George Eastman
After giving yourself these titles: good, self-respecting, true, sane, conforming, high-minded, take care not to get others in their place; and, if you do lose these titles, be quick to return to them. Adventure yourself then upon these few titles, and if you are able to abide in them, abide like a man translated to Islands of the Blest; but if you perceive that you are falling away and losing control, go bravely away into some corner, there to recover control, or even depart altogether from life, not angrily, but simply and freely and with self-respect, having done at least this one thing in life, to have made your exit thus. [Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations – Book Ten]
Nico Rosberg has stunned Formula One by announcing his retirement, just five days after the 31-year-old became the sport’s 2016 world champion. “Since 25 years in racing, it has been my dream, my one thing to become Formula One World Champion. Through the hard work, the pain, the sacrifices, this has been my target. And now I’ve made it. I have climbed my mountain, I am on the peak, so this feels right. I pushed like crazy in every area after the disappointments of the last two years; they fueled my motivation to levels I had never experienced before,” said Rosberg.

Trying To Paralyse Us With Bad Conscience

There can be no covenants between men and lions, 
wolves and lambs can never be of one mind, 
but hate each other out and out an through. 
Therefore there can be no understanding between you and me.

Achilles [Iliad]




In lengthy Facebook posts, Patrik Schumacher has railed against everything from state-funded art schools (“an indefensible anachronism”) to the PC takeover of architecture (“trying to paralyse us with bad conscience”). Raging against the “social engineering” of housing design guides and the “intellectually bankrupt” idea of land use plans, he set out his Urban Policy Manifesto, which rambled from scrapping housing space standards to abolishing all forms of rent control and tenancy regulation. “City-center locations should be used to house “the most economically potent and most productive users who serve us most effectively. It’s about loosening the reins and rolling back the nanny state,” he says. In his mind, only entrepreneurs can discover and invent the “co-locational synergies” of the city, while urban vitality cannot be determined by “faceless bureaucrats” in planning offices.

Schumacher also says: “I think governance as a business offering is an interesting idea to pursue.” He cites the privately run Indian city of Gurgaon as a promising example – a place with citizens segregated in elite colonies and high-rise ghettos. Like a number of fellow rightwing libertarians, he was a former Marxist who had become disillusioned. He was finally jolted out of his “mainstream political slumber” by the 2008 financial crisis, when he discovered the writings of Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek, the godfathers of neoliberalism, along with Murray Rothbard’s ideas of anarcho-capitalism.

Tsutomu Nihei

Clueless

In the conflict between Beijing, Berlin and Brussels over skyrocketing investment by Chinese firms in European high-tech industries, China has a major advantage: It has a plan. Germany doesn’t. Neither does the European Union. It doesn’t make things easier that European businesses have little incentive to put a stop to the billions flowing out of China, which provide them with capital in the short term and help them secure access to the growing Chinese market. China’s mission to buy up companies in Europe is part of a plan called “Made in China 2025,” designed to turn the country into a manufacturing superpower. When it comes to investment, both abroad and at home, the Chinese have a plan, and they seem determined to stick to it. “One aim of ‘Made in China 2025’ is to replace foreign technology with Chinese technology,” said Jost Wübbecke of Mercator Institute for China Studies.

Angela Merkel

Trumped

Timur Kuran writes about the phenomenon he calls “preference falsification”: people tend to hide unpopular views to avoid ostracism or punishment; they stop hiding them when they feel safe. When something breaks the spell and the discontented realize that their feelings are widely shared, at which point the collapse of the regime may seem very sudden to outside observers. Kuran calls this sudden change a “preference cascade”. Novelist Bret Easton Ellis recently tweeted: “Just back from a dinner in West Hollywood: shocked the majority of the table was voting for Trump but they would never admit it publicly.” What he describes is preference falsification, but if people stop hiding, it will become a cascade.

A new theory by cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman is garnering attention. Grounded in evolutionary psychology, it is called the interface theory of perception (ITP) and argues that percepts act as a species-specific user interface that directs behavior toward survival and reproduction, not truth.

Equilibrium

Margaret Talbot, a political annalist, made the point that a politician in the US should be racist, preferentially anti-White.  Sanders’s commitment to recapturing some of the white working-class males that the Democratic Party lost in the Reagan years won’t necessarily help his candidacy; indeed, it could hurt his quest to connect with minority voters. As he’s found, emphasizing class over race can get a progressive in trouble.

Black Nationalists made the point that Racism is stronger than Sexism. Identity politics led me to vote for Barack Obama. I didn’t vote for Barack Obama because I liked his policy positions. I saw a black man with a black wife and children and I needed to believe he would work better for me than his predecessors. I have no intentions of defending my choice to help elect a quasi-liberal black man over a conservative white man: I did so to try to slow the bleed of black people. It would seem only natural, then, that Hillary Clinton would be the logical choice for me in this year’s election. After all, she is a woman, as I am. She is also a Democrat, so I should identify with Clinton over her male Republican opponent. But I don’t.


And because Black nationalists are not alone... In the wake of Trump’s surprising election victory, hundreds of white nationalists converged on the capital to herald a moment of political ascendance that many had thought to be far away. Intellectual leaders of the movement argue that they are trying to realize their desire for a white “ethno-state” where they can be left alone.

In the end, Mark Lilla hit where it hurts. Hillary Clinton slipped into the rhetoric of diversity, calling out explicitly to African-American, Latino, L.G.B.T. and women voters at every stop. This was a strategic mistake. If you are going to mention groups in America, you had better mention all of them. If you don’t, those left out will notice and feel excluded. The fixation on diversity in our schools and in the press has produced a generation of liberals narcissistically unaware of conditions outside their self-defined groups, and indifferent to the task of reaching out to Americans in every walk of life. Liberals obsession with diversity has encouraged white, rural, religious Americans to think of themselves as a disadvantaged group whose identity is being threatened or ignored. Liberals should bear in mind that the first identity movement in American politics was the Ku Klux Klan, which still exists.

Identity Politics is Racism; and it leads to a inevitable Balkanization of society; and maybe that is the equilibrium of every human society.

Os Especialistas

Em 1988, Philip Tetlock, um jovem psicólogo canadiano, lembrou-se de contactar mais de 200 pessoas em todo o mundo, todas elas especialistas de grande reputação em temas políticos e económicos. Ao longo de 15 anos, colocou-lhes perguntas sobre esses temas, pedindo-lhes que atribuíssem probabilidades a diferentes cenários sobre o futuro próximo. Quem iria ganhar as próximas eleições nos seus países? Que evoluções antecipavam para uma série de indicadores económicos? Que conflitos militares deveríamos esperar? Em 2005, Tetlock apresentou os resultados desta singular experiência no livro Expert Political Judgment. A principal conclusão? Em média, a capacidade destes especialistas para preverem o futuro próximo nas matérias que dominam é semelhante à de um chimpanzé a atirar dardos a um alvo. A quem quiser igualar o desempenho médio de alguns dos maiores especialistas mundiais em matérias políticas e económicas basta-lhe dar palpites à sorte. É difícil não olhar para ele como uma denúncia do espaço comunicacional em países como os Estados Unidos ou, por exemplo, Portugal: um espaço onde pululam “especialistas” e “profetas” que nos comunicam convictamente todo o tipo de certezas, sendo depois recompensados mais pelo seu “valor de entretenimento” do que pela precisão das suas afirmações.

A História da 1002ª Noite

[crítica do livro A História da 1002ª Noite (1939), de Joseph Roth, publicado por E-Primatur (2016)]
Joseph Roth é impiedoso e mordaz na sua análise da melancólica, aburguesada e decadente sociedade austríaca do fim do Império Austro-Húngaro, brilhantemente corporizada pelo inútil Barão Taittinger. Com ele e mais umas quantas personagens densas, este romance popular é um cordel de episódios divertidos e sádicos que acontecendo num contexto, capturam na verdade certos aspectos intemporais de qualquer sociedade humana.

Is our World a simulation?

Reasons to believe that the universe is a simulation include the fact that it behaves mathematically and is broken up into pieces (subatomic particles) like a pixelated video game. “Even things that we think of as continuous – time, energy, space, volume – all have a finite limit to their size. If that’s the case, then our universe is both computable and finite. Those properties allow the universe to be simulated,” Terrile said.

Nano Apocalypse

There are many ways in which humanity could become extinct before reaching posthumanity. Perhaps the most natural interpretation of is that we are likely to go extinct as a result of the development of some powerful but dangerous technology like molecular nanotechnology, which in its mature stage would enable the construction of self‐replicating nanobots capable of feeding on dirt and organic matter, a kind of mechanical bacteria. Such nanobots, designed for malicious ends, could cause the extinction of all life on our planet. (Are you living in a computer simulation? by Nick Bostrom

Linha de Cascais vs Metro de Lisboa

(transcrito de portugalferroviario.net, trainmaniac)

Mais uma semana e mais uma notícia de expansões no Metro de Lisboa: o Governo aparentemente vai apresentar em breve a extensão da linha amarela do Rato até ao Cais do Sodré, com estações na Estrela e em Santos. Esta expansão parece ter ganho à linha de Cascais, apesar desta se debater com problemas operacionais claros de há muito a esta parte. Não consigo deixar de estranhar que o mesmo Governo que assume no Parlamento não ter intervenções previstas para a linha de Cascais pelos meios financeiros necessários possa, alegremente, anunciar mais algumas centenas de milhões de Euros para o Metro de Lisboa, que nem capacidade está a ter de assegurar um serviço minimamente civilizado na rede que já existe.

Está quase a fazer 10 anos o último projeto de desnivelamento do Nó Ferroviário de Alcântara, um engulho centenário na mobilidade lisboeta e no serviço da linha de Cascais. Agora que parece ter sido descoberto financiamento para mais uma obra muito cara ao serviço dos transportes públicos julgo que seria muito mais útil investir em algo que já existe e que se arrisca a deixar de poder realizar o seu objetivo por dificuldades operacionais. Além disso, o potencial que a integração da linha de Cascais no resto da rede tem para promover transferência modal da viatura particular para os comboios é imensamente superior à de um investimento num troço de metro interno à cidade de Lisboa. Associado à necessária renovação da linha e seus comboios, com possível reeletrificação para total harmonização com o resto da rede, este projeto de 2007 é de prioridade máxima numa perspetiva racional de intervenção na mobilidade na área da Grande Lisboa. É pouco compreensível que o Governo Central se continue a entreter com novas obras faraónicas no Metro de Lisboa quando há algo desta prioridade em stand-by há tanto tempo.
Se existirem realmente meios para intervir nas infraestruturas de transportes públicos da Grande Lisboa, é incompreensível que não se dê total prioridade ao estado de degradação da linha de Cascais e às ferramentas que esta necessita para se atualizar e se inserir nas dinâmicas de mobilidade que nem sequer são recentes: a deslocalização do centro de gravidade de Lisboa para a zona de Sete Rios, Entrecampos ou Oriente não é sequer uma tendência recente. A linha de Cascais é, neste aspeto, uma sobrevivente de paradigmas de mobilidade antigos e já pouco representativos.
Penso que é esta reflexão que é urgente ser feita. No Governo, na Assembleia da República mas também na AML e na sociedade civil, em geral. Mais importante do que pequenas realidades é a o panorama geral da mobilidade na Grande Lisboa. E nessa óptica é evidente que a urgência da linha de Cascais e da sua ligação à linha de Cintura ultrapassam, em pertinência social e económica, qualquer outro projeto que possa ser apresentado para o Metro de Lisboa. Que o bom senso impere, por uma vez.

Goodbye Europe!

Treat the earth well. 
It was not given to you by your parents, 
it was loaned to you by your children.
(Kenyan proverb)

Mass immigration undermines the ability of a collection of individual persons to be a people, to have bonds of loyalty to each other; to have the ability to take pride in each other’s achievements and feel shame at their shortcomings; at the limit, to love each other, not in the romantic sense, but in the brotherly sense that marks those who live together well. It is just a fact about human nature, about the kinds of beings we are, that we love and care for those we share life with, and this in a way that is different to those who are strangers to us.
These bonds of partiality are most pronounced in intimate relationships. They exist also in political communities. Over time, in the context of concern between generations and cooperation between families, villages, and towns, so communities develop cultures, which bind us together. They can do this only if there is a certain level of stability, stability regarding whom I live with and, usually, stability in where we live. Without some such culture, people living together are merely a collection of alienated individuals, living an impoverished life. The direction a culture takes is owned, though, by the community that sustains that form of life. This is true for native Americans; for aboriginal peoples in Australia; for tribes in Papua New Guinea and Peru. It is true, too, for the British.

France is in a debate about French identity. At a time of economic malaise, of seemingly sliding international prestige, of globalization, and an ongoing wave of terrorism and immigration, what exactly does it mean to be French? Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy threw the country in a tizzy by announcing that immigrants to France should be taught that, upon entering the country, their ancestors are now Gauls, the inhabitants of what is now France before Roman times. Immigrant children, children who were not born in France, and even children in French colonies in Africa, were taught that their “ancestors” were Gauls. In other words, in France, “ancestry” is a matter of ideas and culture, not blood. To be French is to believe in human rights, and our own Declaration of the Rights of Man, and maybe a few other ideals, like secularism. But for 1,500 years, to be French meant to be Catholic, to pledge allegiance to the king, and to be consecrated to the immaculate heart of Mary. If French identity has changed radically over the centuries, the implication seems to be that the Frenchmen of the past weren’t really French. You can see French politicians with impressive degrees go on TV and say, with a straight face, things like, “The history of France begins in 1789.” Really? Louis XIV? Molière? Montaigne? All not French? What were they then? Once you start defining French identity as something more than an idea, you start going into unhealthy territory, grasping for other identifiers like descent, blood, even skin color. Our economic and social problems persist because of an inability to reach a consensus, partly because we all have a different idea about French identity. Before it can get its house in order, France will have to figure out who and what it is.

Ethnicity is central to China’s national identity. Ethnicity and nationality have become almost interchangeable for China’s Han. Even ethnic Han whose families left for other countries generations ago are often regarded as part of a coherent national group, both by China’s government and people. President Xi Jinping in a speech set his sights wider: “Generations of overseas Chinese never forget their home country, their origins or the blood of the Chinese nation flowing in their veins.” China today is extraordinarily homogeneous. It sustains that by remaining almost entirely closed to new entrants except by birth. Unless someone is the child of a Chinese national, no matter how long they live there, how much money they make or tax they pay, it is virtually impossible to become a citizen. China’s Han-centred worldview extends to refugees. Non-Chinese seem just as beguiled by the purity of Han China as the government in Beijing. Governments and NGOs never suggest that China take refugees from trouble spots elsewhere in the world. China has almost completely closed its doors to any others. Aside from the group from Vietnam, China has only 583 refugees on its books. The country has more billionaires.

Japan says it must look after its own before allowing in Syrian refugees. “It is an issue of demography,” Abe told reporters after his speech to the UN general assembly. “I would say that before accepting immigrants or refugees, we need to have more activities by women, elderly people and we must raise our birth rate. There are many things that we should do before accepting immigrants.”

Snowden

Snowden revealed that the Orwellian 1984’s Big Brother of the United States Empire is already watching you. And society responded with the indifference of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. Two dystopias that complement each other perfectly in 2016, specifically in the movie Snowden, directed by Oliver Stone

The Money That Never Was

They were like the ant, which can see small objects but not large ones. (1984)

At this point there is $3.439 in the system. The bank has $271.


When those Social Security thresholds were originally established in 1984, they were designed to include only a small number of higher-income taxpayers. But the thresholds weren’t indexed for inflation, and so over more than 30 years, the number of Americans affected by the provision has risen dramatically.


We have to distinguish between particular price movements (caused by demand and supply of particular commodities), movements corresponding to waves, and general price movements (caused by demand and supply of money), movements corresponding to tides.

About Altruism

Volunteers in the Calais Jungle have been accused of sexually exploiting refugees and even child migrants. The issue came to light after a bitter online discussion between volunteers on a Facebook group for Jungle workers called Calais People to People Solidarity. The exchanges were started by a male volunteer who wrote: “I have heard of boys, believed to be under the age of consent, having sex with volunteers. I have heard stories of men using the prostitutes in the Jungle too. I have heard of volunteers having sex with multiple partners in one day, only to carry on in the same vein the following day. And I know also, that I’m only hearing a small part of a wider scale of abuse.” Others agreed with him and acknowledged that volunteer-refugee relationships were a serious issue in the camp that should not be covered up. Others meanwhile called for the group’s admin to remove the thread over fears a news outlet would gain access to it. The post was deleted within several hours of it being posted. Maya Konforti, who volunteers for Auberge des Migrants, told The Independent about another case in which a volunteer had built up a bad reputation in the camp by sleeping with multiple refugees: “I know one British woman who had a very bad reputation in the Jungle. If she had been volunteering with Auberge she would be thrown out, but she did it on her own, she was here independently. She found the right refugee and now she’s with him. That’s what I hear. She’s back in the UK and lives with a refugee.” – http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/calais-jungle-volunteers-sex-refugees-allegations-facebook-care4calais-a7312066.html


And when the population no longer wants it?

Like the mood in August 1914, that of 1933 represented the actual power base of the coming Führer state. There was a very widespread sense of release and liberation from democracy. What is a democracy to do when the majority of the population no longer wants it? There was a desire for something genuinely new: popular rule without parties, a popular leader figure. – Sebastian Haffner, 1987

Pawel Kuczynski



Erdogan and Putin represent an unusual view quite different from liberal democracy, far closer to the alternative form of authoritarian democracy. For them democracy is a form of government where the will of the popular majority is fully represented by an individual, to be implemented by that individual without regard for institutional or legal constraints. – Alexander Woolfson

Indoctrination

We have to defend ourselves from ideological colonization.
Pope Francis

Martin Luther King’s central hope was that people someday would be judged by the content of their character rather than the colour of their skin. But the 2016 US election is far from being colour blind. It is littered with references to college-educated Whites or Black women or Hispanics, as if what mattered was skin colour. Back in 1964, the then Republican candidate Barry Goldwater agreed with the sitting president Lyndon Johnson that they would keep race out of the campaign and not exploit it for electoral purposes. They were different times. – Gavin Hewitt

The creator of the television show Black-ish is tired of people only seeing his show as a symbol of diversity. Kenya Barris said all anyone wants to talk about regarding his show about an African-American family is diversity and how many of its viewers are black. “I will be so happy when diversity is not a word,” Barris said. “It doesn’t matter who’s watching our show. The fact is that they’re watching it. I get so tired of talking about diversity, these are amazing, talented actors and amazing writers who give their all and they don’t have to do this. It’s crowding the conversation. Why is that important, who watched the show, why does it matter? Why do we keep having to have these conversations?”

An elite Manhattan school is separating whites in classes where they’re made to feel awful about their “whiteness,” and all the “kids of color” in other rooms where they’re taught to feel proud about their race and are rewarded with treats and other privileges. The program, these parents say, deliberately instills in white children a strong sense of guilt about their race. Some kids come home in tears, saying, “I’m a bad person.” They say white kids are being brainwashed into thinking any success they achieve is unearned. Indeed, a young white girl is seen confessing on a Bank Street video: “I feel guilty for having a privilege I don’t deserve.”

My novel The Mandibles was taken to task by one reviewer for addressing an America that is “straight and white”. The implication of this criticism is that we novelists need to plug in representatives of a variety of groups in our cast of characters, as if filling out the entering class of freshmen at a university with strict diversity requirements. You do indeed see just this brand of tokenism in television. In the world of identity politics and cultural appropriation, fiction writers better be careful. If a character happens to be black, they have to be treated with kid gloves, and never be placed in scenes that, taken out of context, might seem disrespectful. But that’s no way to write. The burden is too great, the self-examination paralyzing. The natural result of that kind of criticism is that next time I don’t use any black characters, lest they do or say anything that is short of perfectly admirable and lovely. I confess that this climate of scrutiny has got under my skin.Lionel Shriver

Frequency of the word ‘Racism’ in New York Times articles, 1851-2016

Portugal e a Sua Paralisia

Se existem paraísos fiscais é porque existem infernos fiscais. E Portugal é um deles. (André Abrantes Amaral)

Segundo os números mais recentes da Pordata em 2016, existem em Portugal mais de 3,6 milhões de pensionistas. Mais de 650 mil funcionários públicos. Outros tantos desempregados. Perto de 300 mil beneficiários do rendimento social de inserção. Somando estes quatro números deparamo-nos com 5,2 milhões de pessoas. E se a estes 5,2 milhões somarmos filhos menores e familiares dependentes, ultrapassamos facilmente os 6 milhões que Medina Carreira costuma citar com regularidade. Fixem bem o número, porque ele é o mais importante para explicar Portugal e a sua paralisia: num país com 10 milhões de habitantes, pelo menos 6 milhões beneficiam de transferências directas do Estado central.

Entre o que a empresa regista na folha de remunerações e aquilo que cada um leva para casa ao fim do mês pode haver diferenças muito significativas. Em 2016, um trabalhador a ganhar o salário médio, e sem filhos, só recebeu 58,5% da remuneração bruta. Ou seja, 41,5% dos seus custos laborais totais foram para IRS, Segurança Social a cargo do patrão e a seu cargo. No escalão mais elevado, o cenário é ainda pior. Em 2015, a parte do rendimento no escalão mais elevado que é apropriada pelo Estado já passou a barreira dos 60% e era a mais elevada entre os países da OCDE. A retenção no país de trabalho muito qualificado não se compadece com punções desta grandeza sobre o seu rendimento. E sobretudo: que quem tal defende e propõe não venha, depois verter lágrimas de crocodilo, sobre a emigração da “geração mais qualificada de sempre”.

IRS – Um Imposto Que Nunca Será Suficientemente Progressivo

O Caso do Camarada Tulaev

[crítica do livro O Caso do Camarada Tulaev (1947), de Victor Serge, publicado por E-Primatur (2016)]
Aos timoneiros e heróis da Civilização, os que sacrificam o seu egoísta presente pelo glorioso futuro de todos. O Caso do Camarada Tulaev é um magnífico romance histórico que nos faz mergulhar no labirinto esquizofrénico da máquina implacável soviética, onde o Homem se encontra e se perde com uma leveza aterradora e sombria. Victor Serge eleva a obra ao introduzir a sua autobiografia, o seu testamento político e o seu pedido de desculpa aos proletários pós-soviéticos na mesma. O manifesto que acaba com todas as Utopias políticas.

Ethno-Nationalism

On 2016, the Statistics Agency of Bosnia Herzegovina published the results of the country’s first population census since 1991. Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of six sovereign states born out of the ashes of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, following a vicious war that destroyed the federation’s infrastructure and tore its social fabric apart. The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina was divided into two entities, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska, while the state presidency rotates between the representatives of the three constituent peoples: Bosniaks (as Bosnian Muslims are now called), Croats and Serbs.
All posts in the government are rigidly distributed among the various, constituent demographics, according to their share of the Bosnian population as reflected in the 1991 census, regardless of their political programs or public service record. Given this state of affairs, the new census results have become an explosive political issue. Out of the 258-page document issued by the Statistics Agency, one page addressing the “population by ethnic / national affiliation and sex” has consumed Bosnia’s politicians. This is far from surprising, since these figures will influence how power is distributed in the Bosnian state. Bosnia’s ruling class has conveniently chosen to ignore what unites Bosniaks; instead, these politicians are working hard to remind these populations of what divides them.

Despite the countless rounds of sectarian skirmishes that tormented Lebanon in the past, the youth camp’s lessons on Lebanese history, religion, and coexistence have received little support from Lebanese authorities.

When members of Chaml initially put forward their proposal to bring non-sectarian, non-violent education schemes to Lebanon’s public schools in 2015, they unwittingly crossed a red line with the Ministry of Education. Concepts of ‘secularism’ and ‘non-sectarianism’ are still deeply controversial and highly misunderstood terms in Lebanese society. The term ‘secularism’ is often interpreted by many Lebanese as an attack on their personal identity, as if the blanket has been pulled from beneath their feet with nothing to break the fall. Since 1926, the Lebanese Constitution has imposed a permanent confessional political model on the country, based on power sharing between various religious communities. Currently, Lebanon officially recognizes eighteen sects, which are each allowed to apply their own laws in certain matters.

This system has had a serious impact on education. Lebanese schools are free to approach religious education without oversight from the Ministry of Education, creating a learning environment heavily skewed in favor of the beliefs, traditions, and historical narratives of the local, dominant sect. There are, for example, at least seven different history textbooks in circulation in the Lebanese school system today. “So why do we continue to distinguish between Muslims or Christians or those from other sects? Why do we let these ideas in?” said Sandy Chaya, a sixteen-year-old from the village of Sawfar.


The Balkans is not the past. The Balkans is the present. Balkanisation, the process of fragmentation or division of a state into smaller regions that are often hostile or uncooperative with one another, is the future of France, the UK and other European nations. It is already their present.

In August, 49-year-old tailor Zhang Chaolin, a Chinese Frenchman, died in hospital after being attacked by three teenagers. He had been walking in a quiet street in the north Paris suburb of Aubervilliers. Estimated at more than 600,000 people, France has Europe’s largest Chinese community. But they have not been in the country as long as more prominent migrant groups, including those from Africa. Meriem Derkaoui, the suburb’s communist mayor, condemned Zhang’s murder as “racist targeting”. Frederic Chau describes his family home’s doormat as being like a border between France and China when he was growing up: “I rejected my origins, I wanted to be whiter than white”. Now, he has fully embraced his Cambodian and Chinese origins, and is proud of them.

Casey review raises alarm over social integration in the UK. Among the findings, Casey claims that while segregation has reduced over the population as a whole, in a number of local areas ethnic or migrant groups have become increasingly divided and that fears of being labelled racist have prevented society from challenging sexist, misogynistic and patriarchal behaviour in some minority communities. She pointed to research by Demos that found 50% of non-white students were in schools where ethnic minorities were a majority. Casey gave the example of one non-faith, secondary school where a survey had found the pupils believed the population of Britain was between 50% and 90% Asian.

A recent report has revealed that the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) is well established in Sweden and has been operating in Sweden since the late 1970s in the guise of a number of Muslim-Swedish organizations. These have not only given the MB a dominant position within so-called Muslim civil society, but also enabled it to amass considerable Swedish taxpayer funds that have helped consolidate its position. The authors of the report conclude that the MB’s activists are “building a parallel social structure, which poses a long-term challenge in terms of Sweden’s future social cohesion”. The prevalent idea of multiculturalism, and the accompanying identity politics, plays directly into the hands of the MB. A video ad from a charity backed by the Swedish government constitutes a particularly blunt example of this kind of thinking. In it, Swedes are told, “Sweden will never be what it once was. Sweden needs to be a safe space for refugees. It is time to realize that the New Swedes will claim their space. And bring their culture, language and habits. It is time to see this as a positive force. It is time to create a country together that is proud, inclusive and sustainable. Something new — The New Country“. The last sentence is spoken by a young woman in a hijab.


A Perch of Birds, Hector Giacomelli

Doping

(by Louisa Thomas at The New Yorker)
When Thomas Hicks, an American runner, faltered near the end of the 1904 Olympic marathon, in St. Louis, his assistants gave him shots of strychnine (which is now commonly used as rat poison) and brandy to revive him. Hicks crossed the finish line after another American, Fred Lorz, but was declared the winner when it was discovered that Lorz had ridden eleven miles of the marathon in his coach’s car. The perception was that Lorz had cheated, and Hicks had not. Gaining an unfair advantage is the definition of cheating. But that hasn’t always been the case. Otherwise, Hicks’s result would have been thrown out along with Lorz’s. So what happened? The answer has something to do with the changing way we understand sports. For most of the twentieth century, the existential threat to sport wasn’t doping. It was professionalism. If an athlete competed for material gain, the spirit of sport would be tainted.

In the nineteen-fifties, speed skaters took amphetamine sulfate until they were sick. Cyclists took vasodilators; in 1960, one crashed and died. When an American weightlifting coach guessed that the Soviet lifters who were crushing records were chemically altering their bodies, he didn’t cry foul; instead, he started experimenting with testosterone injections and commercially available anabolic steroids himself, and then encouraged athletes to take them as well. In the seventies, East Germany developed a program in which athletes were given little blue pills and were told they were vitamins. Records started to fall. The I.O.C. was slow to act. It formed a committee in 1962 and started developing a list of banned substances, protocols, and eventually tests.

But it wasn’t until the 1988 Summer Olympics, in Seoul, that a doping scandal rocked the Games, when the men’s hundred-metre champion, Ben Johnson, failed a test. This was, as it happens, the first Summer Olympics at which professionals were allowed to compete. In reality, of course, athletes had been compensated in various ways for decades. American athletes were subsidized by schools; athletes within the Soviet bloc were supported by the government, allowed to train full time and given salaries for bogus jobs. What really changed things, of course, was the introduction of television, and the fantastic amounts of money that flooded the Games, and the public’s desire to see the best athletes, the dream teams, compete. How could sport maintain its idealism in the face of the intense pressures of commercialism? The problem was merely transformed. It was not a question of the soul anymore but, rather, a question of the unadulterated body. The crisis had become about drugs.

That performance-enhancing drugs represent the natural evolution and desire of Humanity to surpass its limitations. Every drug should be allowed in sports, so that everyone can used them if they want to (and accept the consequences as free beings): the ultimate fusion of biology and science, the only way to unlock our full potential. 

Ruínas

(José Pedro Teixeira Fernandes no Público)
A globalização está a transformar profundamente as sociedades europeias. Trouxe fluxos humanos com uma magnitude e intensidade sem precedentes, de pessoas. Na União Europeia, são os países mais ricos — e, dentro destes, as grandes cidades —, que atraem a sua larga maioria. É um fenómeno essencialmente das grandes cidades dos países ricos, que se desligaram do resto do país nessas transformações. Esta clivagem económica e cultural, mas também espacial, está a ter consequências políticas largamente subestimadas. A Europa antes expandia-se continuamente para o exterior. Não existiam fluxos de migrações em massa dirigidos às suas grandes cidades. Existe agora uma fragmentação da população em comunidades étnicas, religiosas ou culturais, que não se identificam umas com as outras. 

A União Europeia pode ter perdido o Reino Unido no referendo, mas foi Londres quem perdeu a Inglaterra. As massas inglesas não seguiram as recomendações da elite política, económica e cultural que as governa. O problema é que Londres já não é a sua cidade. Nem a riqueza, nem a cultura são as suas. Para muitos ingleses, Londres tornou-se estranha. Os símbolos da sua identidade estão lá, podem encontrar-se nos monumentos e museus, nas ruas e praças. Mas não é uma identidade vivida pela maioria dos que a habitam. A língua, cada vez menos, é o seu inglês. Não é o inglês das classes cultas e elitista, que menospreza o inglês popular, a causa do seu incómodo. Essa clivagem é-lhes familiar. É o desconforto face a um inglês internacional, com múltiplas pronúncias, sotaques estranhos, eventualmente incompreensível. Os ingleses abandonam Londres. Aceitam mal que a antiga capital imperial — hoje uma imagem invertida do império colonial —, lhes diga como deve ser o seu futuro. É um misto de nostalgia do passado e ressentimento face à insegurança e iniquidade do presente.

Salário Mínimo Nacional

Será o salário mínimo nacional um dos responsáveis pela desertificação do Interior?

O salário é um preço e, como tal, o mais eficiente para a sociedade é não ser controlado. O salário é o preço da mão-de-obra, é a remuneração do serviço prestado. Em Portugal já nem se discute a existência ou não de um salário mínimo nacional (SMN). Discute-se apenas quando e em quanto se deve aumentá-lo. A ideia criada é que tem de existir um salário mínimo para ajudar os mais pobres. Vou contar um segredo aos portugueses: os mais prejudicados pela existência do salário mínimo nacional e pelos seus aumentos são as pessoas mais pobres da sociedade! Com a subida do salário mínimo as pessoas pobres que ganhavam o salário mínimo anterior são despedidas, podendo ser ou não substituídas por pessoas mais qualificadas , porque o novo custo, definido pelo Estado, que a empresa tem com elas é superior ao valor que elas criam para a empresa.

Infelizmente há muita gente a viver com salários a rondar o valor do SMN, pelo que aumentar o SMN garante sempre votos desses que são beneficiados (e diga-se de passagem de muita gente que fica “comovida” com a medida, porque esta é apenas uma política emocional). Ninguém quer que as pessoas tenham salários baixos, mas há que perceber que os salários não vão aumentar apenas por se aumentar o SMN… senão passava-se o SMN para os 3000€ e o assunto ficava resolvido. Existir um salário mínimo imposto pelo Estado já é um atentado à liberdade, dado que impede um contrato voluntário entre duas partes livres, mas é ainda pior porque tem consequências nefastas.
Devia-se abolir o salário mínimo nacional em Portugal.

AmeriKKKa

Five white police officers were killed and seven injured as 25-year-old black Micah Johnson opened fire on police from an elevated position during a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Dallas. Dallas police chief David Brown said “The suspect said he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.” Johnson’s Facebook profile page paid homage to black pride, featuring images of a raised fist and pictures of the Pan-African flag; both have been co-opted by extremist groups with racist views.

Armenian Genocide

O Poder da Roupa

O uso do burquíni foi proibido em Cannes e Villeneuve-Loubet, na Côte d’Azur, e em Sisco, na Córsega. Outros municípios do país, como na costa norte da França, anunciaram desejar aprovar medidas idênticas. A polémica agravou-se depois de se ter verificado uma violenta rixa em Sisco, na ilha da Córsega, entre famílias de origem magrebina e outros residentes hostis ao burquíni, que algumas mulheres muçulmanas vestiam numa praia. “Querem que fiquemos invisíveis”, disse uma mulher com véu aos jornalistas, em Nice, onde a 14 de julho de 2016 um radical islâmico cometeu (com um camião) uma das mais atrozes chacinas de que há memória no Ocidente: 84 mortos e dezenas de feridos.

Nos EUA durante a segunda guerra, restaurantes japoneses eram fechados por representarem culturalmente o inimigo. A coca-cola e outras referências capitalistas eram fortemente restringidas na URSS. A história está cheia de civilizações que tentam proibir ou afastar do público símbolos do inimigo cultural. É assim que deve ser interpretado a proibição do burqini. Por isso fazem pouco sentido os paralelos com fatos de surfistas ou com freiras. O burqini e o fato de surfista podem ser semelhantes no que tapam mas não no que representam. E é no que representam e na forma como os outros o vêem é que está o problema. Com as devidas distâncias ir de burqini a uma praia de Nice causará o mesmo impacto nos presentes, tendo em conta as devidas proporções, que entrar numa sinagoga com uma suástica tatuada. É apenas por aqui que deveremos entender esta proibição. 

Já em 2015, os Camarões tinham colocado um fim às burqas e véus que cubram completamente o rosto das mulheres para prevenir o terrorismo. Também o Gabão, Chade e o Congo implementaram medidas semelhantes na sequência de ataques suicidas na região.


Isto é para mim!

O panorama é assustador. Se a idade da reforma não parar de aumentar, daqui a duas décadas podemos mesmo ter que chegar quase aos 70 anos para nos podermos reformar. A situação é mais gravosa quando pensamos no envelhecimento da população, e não nos esqueçamos de que Portugal é o país da Europa com maior envelhecimento. Na base do problema está o regime de repartição vigente em Portugal. “Ninguém paga para a sua própria pensão. Na Segurança Social, a única coisa que entra são as contribuições dos cidadãos que saem imediatamente para pagar pensões, não gerando qualquer rendimento. O Fundo de Estabilização está a ser utilizado para determinados investimentos, foi em dívida pública, agora é em imobiliário para habitação social, não podendo assim garantir os ganhos previstos para a Segurança Social e que permitiriam ajudar a alguns défices que ocorrem e que só são ultrapassados com injecções do Orçamento do Estado”, explica Filomena Salgado Oliveira.

O problema é que este sistema de segurança social é inspirado na própria psique do povo português: “o outro trabalha, o Estado rouba e eu recebo”. Três investigadores estudaram os comportamentos de quem trabalha e de quem está ou ficou sem emprego e concluíram que houve um aumento da vontade de intervenção do Estado nos apoios sociais, mas não acompanhado por uma vontade de os portugueses pagarem mais impostos para suportar esse aumento.
Segurança Social, Lisboa

Universidade XXI

O melhor curso é aquele que dará ao jovem o emprego com que, um dia, possa pagar as férias sem pedir dinheiro aos pais. Parece a escolha sensata. É, de facto, a pior escolha possível. Não só porque o mercado pode mudar em três ou quatro anos, mas porque seleccionar um curso para que não temos vocação, só porque nos últimos tempos os seus diplomados encontraram empregos, aumentará a probabilidade de não sermos muito bons numa área a que muita gente vai concorrer. Desse ponto de vista, a escolha não deveria depender do que “está a dar”, mas da resposta a esta pergunta: onde e como é que eu posso estar entre os melhores? Mas não chega. Há que ter em conta que no sistema actual, a escolha segundo a área que me interessa pode servir apenas para eu acabar numa instituição medíocre, onde por acaso estão as vagas ao alcance da minha média. Ora, nenhuma vocação, por mais forte, resiste a maus professores e a más condições de trabalho. Mas quantos dos candidatos se empenham em descobrir que professores irão ter, se optarem por determinado curso? Escolhemos um curso, às vezes uma instituição de ensino, e depois aguentamos os professores que por acaso lá ensinarem.

Campo Grande, Lisboa

Não existem Startups em Portugal

Não existe tal coisa como startups em Portugal. Se existir, é uma fenômeno temporário facilmente resolvido quando a startup é incorporada noutro país da UE para fugir aos impostos (e legislação) portuguesa. Tive a triste experiência de tentar fazer negócio em Portugal há anos atrás e a experiência ficou gravada na minha memória. A ideia da startup, tipo dois gajos numa garagem a fazer uma cena fixe, “à EUA”, é absolutamente impossível existir em Portugal. A menos que estejamos a pensar em dois gajos numa garagem a fazer uma cena fixe, mais um contabilista, um advogado, e toda a gente a pagar Segurança Social. Eventualmente a conclusão cristaliza-se na nossa mente, a que trabalho honesto em Portugal é mais ou menos inútil. O sistema fiscal, judicial estão feitos não para as pessoas criarem valor mas sim para extrair valor dos cidadãos para um Estado que controla tudo e tem maior semelhança com a Máfia Italiana do que com os Governos de Rousseau.

As tecnológicas financeiras, fintech, criadas por empreendedores portugueses estão a dar nas vistas no estrangeiro. Ganham prémios e galardões internacionais e estão bem colocadas nos rankings europeus. A maioria das fintech lusas tem (ou quer ter) um escritório em Londres para testar a sua oferta e estar no epicentro dos vultosos investimentos que têm sido feitos no sector nos últimos anos. Não foi por acaso que a Seedrs, uma conhecida plataforma de crowdfunding (financiamento coletivo) fundada pelo português Carlos Silva, e a Syndicate Room, fundada por Gonçalo de Vasconcelos, decidiram ter a sede em Londres.

Mein Kampf

[crítica do livro Mein Kampf – A Minha Luta (1925), de Adolf Hitler, publicado por E-Primatur (2015)]
Mein Kampf é ler a História do III Reich e da Segunda Guerra Mundial vinte anos antes destes terem acontecido. A violência política, o genocídio, a anexação de territórios na Europa, foi tudo conceptualizado, sistematizado e justificado do ponto de vista teórico e histórico neste livro. Hitler chega mesmo nas últimas páginas do livro a defender à submissão “de gases asfixiantes uns doze ou quinze mil desses judeus”, uma clara manifestação de intenções que mesmo assim não o impediram de anos mais tarde ganhar eleições democráticas. Apesar das constantes repetições, o racismo virulento, as conclusões alucinadas, as bases do movimento nacional-socialista são solidamente estabelecidas: destruir a democracia, implementar uma sociedade de guerra e conquista permanente, aniquilar qualquer oposição, consagrar a raça alemã como dona e senhora do mundo. Escrito do ponto de vista alemão, pergunto-me se mais que um fenómeno histórico, o mesmo não representa um pulsar da Humanidade que se manifesta de diferentes formas em diferentes épocas.

O Império e As Províncias

Vítor Constâncio recusa-se a responder perante os deputados da Comissão de Inquérito ao Banif. O vice-governador do Banco Central Europeu justifica a opção, dizendo que a instituição com sede em Frankfurt não “presta contras” aos parlamentos nacionais. Apenas ao “Parlamento Europeu”. 

O Presidente da República desvalorizou as críticas do Conselho de Finanças Públicas. Para Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa a palavra que importa é de Bruxelas, já que “o Conselho de Finanças Públicas [que duvida das contas do Governo] é um órgão muito importante, mas verdadeiramente importante é a Comissão Europeia”.

Metropolis-first Arrangement

America is already headed toward a metropolis-first arrangement. The states aren’t about to go away, but economically and socially, the country is drifting toward looser regional formations, anchored by the great cities and urban archipelagos that already lead global economic circuits. Federal policy should refocus on helping these nascent archipelagos prosper, and helping others emerge, collectively forming a lattice of productive metro-regions efficiently connected through better highways, railways and fiber-optic cables: a United City-States of America. Similar shifts can be found around the world; despite millenniums of cultivated cultural and linguistic provinces, China is transcending its traditional internal boundaries to become an empire of 26 megacity clusters with populations of up to 100 million each, centered around hubs such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing-Chengdu.
 
Chongqing

The Least Action

Why Nature Prefers Hexagons? It’s a simple matter of geometry. If you want to pack together cells that are identical in shape and size so that they fill all of a flat plane, only three regular shapes (with all sides and angles identical) will work: equilateral triangles, squares, and hexagons. Of these, hexagonal cells require the least total length of wall, compared with triangles or squares of the same area. So it makes sense that bees would choose hexagons, since making wax costs them energy, and they will want to use up as little as possible—just as builders might want to save on the cost of bricks.

Made In Amadora

Dr. Bayard: o nome é francês, os rebuçados são da Amadora. As imobiliárias e os guias turísticos são mestres em vender as maravilhas de certas ruas, mas não é preciso ter uma agência para perceber a originalidade da Gomes Freire: cheira a mentol. Os alunos da escola profissional vizinha, Gustave Eiffel, dizem o mesmo. Naquela zona residencial da Amadora cheira permanentemente a rebuçados, e a razão está escondida no número 10.

O que parece ser apenas mais uma garagem é na verdade a porta de entrada da fábrica da Dr. Bayard, a marca que há várias gerações é a receita de bolso de muitos portugueses para acabar com a tosse. Quem dá as boas vindas, aliás, é a única pessoa que parece sofrer da garganta nas imediações: o homem desenhado nas embalagens de rebuçados da marca, em tons de azul, branco e vermelho, e que está ampliado e emoldurado à entrada, por cima dos cacifos dos trabalhadores. [Observador]

Pérolas do Centralismo Lisboeta

A Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian vai apresentar, em Lisboa o novo mapa da região polarizada pela capital portuguesa. Uma região enorme, que vai de Leiria até ao Santiago do Cacém, atraindo não apenas o Ribatejo mas também Évora e Setúbal, que concentra 40% da população nacional, 24% do território nacional, e que se apresenta com uma ambição global: a de ganhar uma projecção atlântica. O título do estudo não podia esclarecer melhor essa conclusão: Lisboa é “uma metrópole para o Atlântico”.

O estudo esclarece que o arco metropolitano polarizado pela capital tem um forte poder para competir e para atrair investimento. O retrato da nova região feito pelos números, impressiona: 4,1 milhões de habitantes; 42,2% da população com menos de 15 anos do país; 49% da população portuguesa com o ensino superior; 42,5% da população empregada, 44% das exportações. Para lá destas dinâmicas, a região dispõe ainda do principal aeroporto nacional, a Portela, e o porto de Sines, a maior equipamento para o tráfego marítimo do país. Lisboa, isoladamente ou colada à sua área metropolitana, é a cabeça e a coluna vertebral da região, mas, se funcionasse isoladamente, a sua capacidade de competir seria muito menor. O que faz a diferença é que a capital é a base de “região urbana funcional” que se estende pelo Oeste, pelo vale do Tejo, pelo eixo rodoviário até Évora e pelo Alentejo Litoral. Neste conceito, conta menos a geografia do que as relações entre as pessoas ou as empresas.

O estudo fez-se com o empenho da Câmara de Lisboa, que agora parte à procura de meios e de parceiros para responder às suas orientações.  [Público]

Lisboa, município, depois de perdido o Império Colonial, decidiu colonizar as regiões portuguesas suas anexas, criando uma metrópole que não existe e anexando regiões que nada têm a ver com Lisboa. Mas mesmo assim, terão de pagar tributo para as suas estações de metro, os seus museus, os seus institutos públicos, as suas obras junto ao Tejo, as suas regalias. As regiões de Portugal ou mudam de país, vão para Espanha, ou têm de arranjar uma nova capital.

Why Merkel?

On August 2015, Germany decided to suspend the Dublin Procedure, which meant that refugees no longer had to be sent back to the first EU country that they entered. The Chancellor Angela Merkel declared “We can do this” and called a “national duty” to granting protection to hundreds of thousands of refugees. The German chancellor rejected claims that her decision had made the refugee crisis worse by encouraging others to head for Germany. She said that images of volunteers greeting refugees at Munich’s main train station had gone round the world. “If we had not shown a friendly face, that’s not my country,” she said. Totally, in 2015, around 890,000 asylum seekers came to Germany. 
Maybe because…

The Other Men

It is a great folly to hope that other men will harmonize with us. I have never hoped this. I have always regarded each man as an independent individual, whom I endeavored to understand with all his peculiarities, but from whom I desired no further sympathy. In this way have I been enabled to converse with every man, and thus alone is produced the knowledge of various characters and the dexterity necessary for the conduct of life. (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman

Animals

The scene was a lagoon on the shore of Lake Turkana in Kenya. The time about 10,000 years ago. One group of hunter-gatherers attacked and slaughtered another, leaving the dead with crushed skulls, embedded arrow or spear points, and other devastating wounds. A woman was killed by a blow to the head and the position of her hands and feet suggest that she may have been tied up before she was killed. Violence has always been part of human behavior, but the origins of war are hotly debated. Some experts see it as deeply rooted in evolution, others emphasize the influence of complex and hierarchical human societies. No one is suggesting that this discovery will settle this argument, but it may be the first instance of a massacre in a foraging society.

Hans Landa

Quo vadis Europa?

German police are investigating reports of a group of 1000 men carrying out a mass sexual assault on dozens of women in Cologne city center on New Year’s Eve. The Cologne police chief says witnesses described the assaults as coming from a group of up to 1,000 men whose appearance indicated they were of “Arab or North African origin.”

Queen Joanna the Mad (1877)

Robin das Artes

Em dois meses, desapareceram 14 dos 31 quadros da exposição “Coming Out”, que o Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga espalhou pela Baixa de Lisboa. O “Retrato do Conde de Farrobo”, o “São Damião”, o “Retrato do Senhor de Noirmont” e “Conversação” estão entre as réplicas furtadas, mas estas quatro continuam à vista de todos. Só que agora é preciso atravessar o rio Tejo para vê-las. “Não é um roubo, é um deslocamento”, diz ao Observador um dos autores do desvio. 
O quadro mais difícil de furtar não foi o primeiro, o “São Damião” de Bartolomé Bermejo, na Travessa dos Teatros. “São Damião” tem 1,65 metros de altura. Os dois rapazes esperaram pelas quatro da manhã e levaram um escadote, porque não chegavam aos parafusos superiores. “Foi à justa que coube no carro”, conta. O objetivo do furto estava traçado desde o início: colocá-lo perto de casa, num bairro entre o Laranjeiro (Almada) e Miratejo (Seixal). “Gostámos muito da atividade do museu e achámos que devia ser alargado a outros sítios”. Quem também parece ter gostado foram os moradores do bairro situado junto da Avenida Professor Rui Luís Gomes, que no dia 27 de novembro começaram a reparar na novidade. “Ninguém tentou levar nem vandalizar, está intacto. Há pessoas que disseram que era o quadro mais bonito que já tinham visto”, conta o autor da mudança, que considera que, ali, a pintura “ganha outra magnitude”. 
A receção dos moradores foi tão boa que os dois começaram a imaginar mais obras de arte por ali. “Não no mesmo prédio mas no Largo. Fazer uma espécie de galeria para a comunidade”, conta. Novamente de madrugada, foram ao Largo do Picadeiro buscar o “Retrato do Conde de Farrobo”, cujo original foi pintado por Domingos António de Sequeira. “Conversação” foi tirado há poucos dias da entrada da Rua da Rosa. O mais arriscado terá sido o “Retrato do Senhor de Noirmont”, não só porque tem 1,38 metros de altura mas também porque foi tirado “nas barbas da polícia”, admite, já que o quadro estava pendurado na parede da esquadra da PSP da Rua Capelo. Desde que o MNAA começou a exposição já desapareceram 14 réplicas. Pela mão do ‘Robin das Artes’, não deverá desaparecer mais nenhuma. “Já passámos a ideia. Até porque já não temos como tirar os outros [risos]”. Como último desejo, gostava que os quatro quadros “levassem gente de fora ao bairro” para os ver, tal como acontece no Chiado.

https://observador.pt/2015/12/06/robin-das-artes-tirou-quatro-quadros-do-chiado-e-deu-os-ao-miratejo/

Metamorfose

Pelo menos 129 pessoas morreram na sequência de uma série de atentados lançados em Paris, à porta de cafés, restaurantes e no Le Bataclan, conhecida sala de espectáculos da capital francesa onde no momento do ataque decorria um concerto. O arco civilizacional das Filipinas ao Norte de África não se está a tornar Europeu; é a Europa que lentamente está a ser engolida por esse mesmo arco. É o novo normal.

The Most Elegant

The component on the left was done largely by hand. The other two have been analysed by a computer to find the optimal design that is able to provide the same strength, but from the least amount of material. The middle component was optimised to keep the fixing points for the arms and cables in much the same place, and resulted in a 40% weight saving. The third was obtained by allowing the system to completely rejig the entire structure. It produced a 75% weight saving.

Deep Inside

Rebecca Carroll, a black Guardian columnist, wrote: I was adopted into a white family and I’m married to a white man. Still, when I am in a roomful of black people, or an all-black environment, I feel renewed, seen, held up and realized. The power of being surrounded by black people is that the sheer sense of community is enough. Replace black with other race and this opinion would still be understandable. Maybe human races aren’t just social constructions, there is something more subtle to it.

Across the Atlantic, this is also a question. “In Tower Hamlets we ethnic minorities are in fact the majority and Islam is the main religion, so black people and Muslims should be running this borough,” said Aaron Kiely, Black Student Officer for the National Union of Students.

Life is Too Short

“If youngsters are being deterred from starting their own businesses then they are hardly to be blamed. Who wants to have to spend most of their time, effort and intellectual energy steering a path through a vast forest of regulations, directives and laws only to watch the taxman take a big, wet, juicy bite out of the little profit you have managed to earn. And, to top it all off, you then switch on the TV or open the morning newspaper only to be told that you are ‘the enemy of the people’. Contrast this with going for a job in the public sector which will give you a guaranteed income, a job for life and the steadfast loyalty and service of the political classes. It’s a no-brainer. Life is too short.”

Fake News

“A história não é minha. Aquela afirmação é falsa”. É assim que Maria João resume a utilização da sua fotografia colada à frase “Estou desempregada desde 2012, para o governo não existo” num dos polémicos cartazes do PS, em declarações ao Observador. Maria João diz que não estava desempregada e que não disse o que está no outdoor. Mais: acrescenta que quando tirou a fotografia, que viria a aparecer espalhada pelo país nos cartazes do partido, prestava até serviços à Junta de Freguesia de Arroios (socialista) e foi lá que o fotógrafo a apanhou. Mais ainda: diz não ter dado autorização para que a sua cara aparecesse nos cartazes, quer que o partido os retire das ruas e admite processar o PS por uso indevido de imagens. Ao Observador, o PS respondeu dizendo que: “Tratam-se de representações. Apesar de não faltarem exemplos de tantos e tantos casos semelhantes aos denunciados no cartaz, não iríamos expor assim as próprias pessoas e o seu sofrimento. Portanto, embora os cartazes sejam todos relativos a casos reais, as pessoas são figurantes escolhidos e que aceitaram figurar nos cartazes”.

O que nos separa

As autoridades da cidade de Tobolsk, na Rússia, decidiram levantar um monumento “Aos defensores da Pátria em todas as épocas” num dos bairros. O pano que cobria a lápide preta foi descerrada no dia em que se comemora o 74º aniversário da invasão da União Soviética pelas tropas alemãs. O escândalo rebentou imediatamente, pois os observadores mais atentos notaram que na lápide tinha sido gravado o busto de Werner Goldberg, um soldado alemão que foi escolhido pela propaganda nazi para representar o “soldado alemão ideal”.

First World Problems

As social media exploded with outrage at the killing of Cecil the lion, the untimely passing of the celebrated predator at the hands of an American dentist went largely unnoticed in the animal’s native Zimbabwe. “Why are the Americans more concerned than us?” asked Joseph Mabuwa, a 33-year-old father-of-two cleaning his car in the center of the capital. “We never hear them speak out when villagers are killed by lions and elephants in Hwange.”

Anton Kannemeyer

Secretário de Estado da Cultura de Lisboa

Depois de 4 anos à frente da pasta da Cultura, Barreto Xavier fez um resumo do seu trabalho. Orgulha-se de:
  • Acabar a fachada poente do Palácio da Ajuda por 4,4 milhões de euros e organizar a criação de um museu que apresente as joias da coroa em permanência;
  • Inaugurar a ampliação do Museu do Chiado; 
  • Criar o programa de dinamização do Eixo Belém-Ajuda. 
Mas ainda queria mais:
  • Era ideal terem sido afetadas verbas para a expropriação do conjunto do casario à volta do Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga;
  • Melhorar a situação do Museu do Azulejo e que corresponde também a uma zona da cidade de Lisboa que precisa de outro tipo de política de organização urbana; 
  • A conclusão do Pavilhão de Portugal, a grande obra pública de Siza Vieira em Lisboa.
E conclui: Enfim, julgo que podemos dizer que nos últimos dez anos quem fez mais pela Cultura em Portugal Lisboa foi este Governo. Mais um caso de “centralite aguda” dos dirigentes ditos portugueses.

Almada Negreiros


Eu percebo a confusão de Barreto Xavier. Em Portugal, o Tribunal Constitucional fica em Lisboa. Na Holanda, não fica em Amesterdão. Fica em Haia. Em Portugal, o Supremo Tribunal está em Lisboa. Na Alemanha, não está em Berlim, está em Karlsruhe. Já o Tribunal de Contas, em Portugal, está sediado em Lisboa. Na Alemanha, a sede do Tribunal de Contas não é em Berlim, é em Bona. Consegue adivinhar onde está a Autoridade da Concorrência, em Portugal? Na Avenida de Berna, Lisboa. Na República Checa não está em Praga, mas sim em Brno. E a ANACOM — Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações? Se estiver em Portugal, vai encontrá-la em Lisboa. Se estiver em Itália, não é em Roma. Terá de ir a Nápoles. E a ERC, Entidade Reguladora para a Comunicação Social, que em Portugal é presidida por Carlos Magno? Aposto que consegue adivinhar, fica em Lisboa. Na Holanda fica em Hilversum, que não é a capital. Voltemos a Malta, a Comissão Nacional de Protecção de Dados fica em Sliema e não na capital. Já em Portugal, necessariamente, fica em Lisboa. Em Portugal, a ASAE — Autoridade para a Segurança Alimentar e Económica tem a base das suas operações em Lisboa. Viajemos agora para Norte, até à Suécia, onde encontramos a congénere da ASAE em Uppsala e não na bela cidade de Estocolmo. Também no Norte, desta vez na Finlândia, descobrimos que a sede do Infarmed lá do sítio não fica em Helsínquia, a capital, mas sim em Kuopio, que nem sei pronunciar. Em Portugal fica em… (consegue adivinhar?!) Lisboa. O Turismo de Portugal, que podia perfeitamente estar no Algarve, está em Lisboa, tal como o IDN – Instituto da Defesa Nacional. Se olhar para o lado cultural, encontra o mesmo panorama. Por exemplo, a Biblioteca Nacional fica em Lisboa. A Companhia Nacional de Bailado também. Se olhar para a ciência vai encontrar a principal entidade portuguesa, FCT — Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, em Lisboa. Mas, por exemplo, na Alemanha não a vai encontrar em Berlim, vai ter de procurar melhor e ir a Bona.


E em 2016, continuo a perceber a confusão de Barreto Xavier. São muitos os Museus que pode visitar no primeiro domingo de cada mês, sem ter de pagar bilhete! De norte a sul, há Museus para todos os gostos e idades. Museus gratuitos pagos pelo Estado no município de Lisboa: 17; no resto de Portugal: 9.

A Nossa Terra

Até ao final do ano de 2014, 5600 reformados franceses tinham comprado residência em Portugal e as estimativas apontam para que durante 2015 o número ultrapasse os 20 mil. Até há menos de um ano ninguém diria a Daniel Bremaud que em breve trocaria a sua casa numa pequena vila na Côte D’Azur por outra vila de paisagens igualmente amenas e igualmente “linda, também ao lado da água”. Mas hoje Daniel, um ex-polícia de 68 anos que trabalhou no Mónaco, chama casa ao Seixal.

Estamos sentados numa esplanada, com uma garrafa de água mineral a borbulhar, em frente à rua que desce a pique em direção ao rio, tal como a cabeça do francês borbulha de pensamentos acolhedores, ao descrever a vida no Seixal e as vantagens de morar na Margem Sul. “A panorâmica que dali se avista é magnífica, e depois sempre que quero vir a Lisboa desço ao cais e faço uma bela viagem de barco que em menos de vinte minutos me põe no centro de Lisboa. Isto não tem preço”, sublinha, acrescentando que os lisboetas não conhecem o Seixal. “Nem sabem o tesouro que têm mesmo em frente à capital, onde se podem descobrir casas muito mais baratas para comprar.” 

Pascal Gonçalves, fundador da agência imobiliária Maison au Portugal, confirma a tendência. “Os franceses que agora chegam não têm nenhum preconceito em relação à Margem Sul. Para eles é apenas mais um sítio tranquilo para viver.” Ele sabe do que fala. Em poucos meses, já vendeu mais de 14 de apartamentos à beira do Tejo, com vistas rasgadas para Lisboa, a franceses reformados.

Oscar Wilde

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.
Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Battle of Grozny (1999–2000): two Russian soldiers resting amid the ruins of Grozny, capital of Chechnya.

Buy The Parthenon

Greece is $380 billion is debt. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has responded to an EU-IMF reform-for-aid plan by announcing that the “Greek people should be proud, because the government is not going to give in to absurd proposals.” So everything’s on track for a midsummer collapse. But Britain, if so inclined, could help stave off disaster for the beleaguered Greeks.

For the last few years, amidst her financial crisis, Greece has flirted with the idea of selling off state historical assets. The UK should ease Greece’s debt problem and buy (the rest of) the Parthenon. Britain could offer an enormous (many-billion-pound) cash payment, along with an even larger, very-low interest loan, for which the British government could surely get extensive private sponsorship.

Very far-fetched, perhaps, but there is some precedent. It wouldn’t be the first such structure to find its way to a museum. The Pergamon Museum in Berlin has the massive Pergamon altar from an acropolis in Asia Minor and the Ishtar gate from Ancient Babylon. The Metropolitan Museum in New York has an entire Roman-period Egyptian temple named Dendur, brought to Manhattan from the banks of the Nile. And the British Museum already has the Nereid monument, the facade of a Classical Greek tomb. The Parthenon would obviously be a big step up, but not an altogether incomprehensible one. It could be safely displayed in a new, gigantic gallery of the British Museum, and make it an even more popular tourist attraction.

[Joshua Gelernter (2015), Standpoint]

O Glorioso

O Benfica exerceu um domínio absoluto em 2014/2015, sendo campeão nacional no futebol e nas principais modalidades de pavilhão: basquetebol, futsal, hóquei em patins e voleibol; falhou apenas o pleno por culpa do andebol. Contando com o atletismo, onde também reinou, ganhou 15 das 21 principais provas oficiais do desporto português.

You Think Political Correctness is a Game?

Sir Tim Hunt, who was awarded the Nobel prize in physiology or medicine in 2001 and who was knighted in 2006, has resigned from his position as honorary professor at the University College London after his recent comments in a science conference in South Korea: “Let me tell you about my trouble with girls. Three things happen when they are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry.” Speaking to BBC Radio, Sir Tim said: “I’m really, really sorry I caused any offence, that’s awful. I certainly didn’t mean that. I just meant to be honest, actually. It was a very stupid thing to do in the presence of all those journalists“.

Following a broad backlash over his support of California‘s gay marriage ban in 2008, Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich has stepped down. Mitchell Baker, executive chairwoman of the Mozilla Foundation, the nonprofit best known for its Firefox browser, announced Eich’s resignation in a blog post, apologizing to users for its slow response. “We’re sorry. We must do better,” she said. Known as the father of the programing language JavaScript, Eich donated $1,000 in 2008 to support Proposition 8, a California constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage.

E Nós Sabemos

Quarta-feira, 18 de Novembro de 2009, Estádio de França, Paris. Decorria o 103º minuto, quando Thierry Henry ajeitou a bola com a mão e assistiu para o golo de Gallas que deu o apuramento da França para o Mundial de 2010 na África do Sul.

Delaney, presidente da Associação Irlandesa de Futebol, muito criticou Joseph Blatter por toda a polémica, mas os dois acabaram por chegaram a concordância rapidamente: “Fui ter com ele [Blatter] e disse-lhe o que sentia e houve uma troca de insultos, mas chegámos a um acordo.” Cinco milhões de euros e a Irlanda fechou a boca.

Nós sabemos, sempre o soubémos; mas comemos e iremos continuar a comer. Gostamos de ser enganados, é a nossa natureza.

American Apartheid

Since her book “On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City” was published last year, Alice Goffman has achieved a measure of fame that is rarely visited on a young sociologist. “On the Run” won attention because of its timely subject matter, the lives of low-income black men and their interactions with the police based on six years of immersive fieldwork. But all that enthusiasm has curdled somewhat, as critics, in published reviews and anonymous online critiques, have debated not just her facts, interpretations and methods, but the fraught politics of privileged white outsiders’ studying minority communities: another story about a white lady come to study young black men, who thought this was a good idea?

Hey white American lady, the USA is your country, color is your citizenship.

Hidden Resources

Every year farmers send billions of gallons of water to other countries in the form of the food grown with that same water. The issue of agriculture’s water footprint, all the water used to produce a commodity and get it to a consumer, is contentious since many farmers use scarce water to produce low-value export crops.

O que corre mal na mobilidade de Lisboa?

O SATU de Oeiras foi inaugurado em junho de 2004 e pretendia ligar a estação ferroviária de Paço de Arcos (linha de Cascais) à estação ferroviária de Cacém (linha de Sintra). As duas primeiras fases, indissociáveis no projeto, levariam o SATU até ao parque empresarial do Lagoas Park, a terceira chegaria ao TagusPark e finalmente a quarta ao Cacém, já no concelho de Sintra. Mas a obra nunca passou do Centro Comercial Oeiras Parque, que fica a apenas 1.200 metros de Paço de Arcos.


Logo depois da inauguração da primeira fase, a Teixeira Duarte estaria disponível para investir os cerca de oito milhões de euros que faltavam para que o SATU chegasse ao Lagoas Park, mas isso nunca aconteceu porque a Câmara nunca conseguiu mobilizar os 13 milhões que correspondiam à sua parte. Paulo Vistas, o atual presidente da Câmara de Oeiras, desabafa: “Não avançou porque não houve vontade política para que aquele projeto pudesse candidatar-se aos fundos comunitários”.

Em 2009 chegou a haver um protocolo com a Câmara de Sintra para conseguir concretizar o resto da obra até ao Cacém, mas a parceria esfumou-se com a eleição de Basílio Horta do PS que diz ter “outras prioridades, nomeadamente sociais“. O argumento não colhe junto de Paulo Vistas. “Isto é que é social, o SATU. Estamos a falar de áreas com rendimentos médios mais baixos e no próprio Tagus Park e Lagoas Park há muita mão de obra indiferenciada, pessoal de limpeza, jardineiros, estudantes….”

O balde de água fria para a Câmara de Oeiras e para a empresa SATU chegou em 2014, quando o governo do PSD de Passos Coelho não deu luz verde para que o projeto se pudesse candidatar aos fundos comunitários.
A última oportunidade para salvar o SATU poderá ser a eventual concessão da Linha de Cascais a operadores privados, que possam ter interesse em receber, também, por atacado, mesmo. E claro, que tenham interesse em expandir a linha além dos 1.200 metros atuais, para que esta tenha maior utilidade.

They Are Coming

Bad boys, bad boys
What’cha gonna do?
What’cha gonna do when they come for you?

A cada ano, sempre que a cobrança coerciva de dívidas fiscais supera a meta definida pela administração tributária, há uma fatia de 5% desse montante que é transferida para um fundo destinado a premiar os trabalhadores do fisco pela colecta acrescida. A cobrança coerciva de 2014 atingiu 1148 milhões de euros, o que permite a distribuição de cerca de 57,4 milhões de euros pelos nove mil dos onze mil funcionários dos impostos.

A juíza conselheira Dulce Neto, vice-presidente do Supremo Tribunal Administrativo, descreveu um cenário de terror na relação entre a Administração Fiscal e os contribuintes. Segundo a magistrada, as Finanças arrastam propositadamente processos tributários com recursos, sabendo que os mesmos serão decididos a favor do contribuinte: “A Administração Fiscal está cega de mais na tentativa de arrecadar receita, deixando empresas e famílias exauridas”, declarou Dulce Neto.

London

I arrived in London at April, 2015. Strolling around its streets and travelling through its underground, I noticed that no culture or ethnicity was in majority. Its roots are British and it’s inside England but London is London nowadays, a city-state in its own right. With more than thirteen million metropolitan inhabitants, it is preforming the unique experience of forging the ultimate Humanist utopia: despite your race, culture or religion, you are a Londoner and London is your home. It justifies its own existence not on ethnic or historical grounds, but pragmatic needs, like the availability of a Costa Coffee, a Primark or a H&M near you; united in consumerism.
Although it seems that everyone is getting along, it is also true that London is putting a tremendous amount of effort and money in an Orwellian rewriting of its own White and British History: whether in pro-immigration campaigns or in social engineering of its television shows, racial fairness is not taken lightly. Its museums highlight “the first Black”, “the first Muslim” and even “found” a black Roman centurion.
When I was leaving London, I read a Guardian article about how areas in England with low migration were the most concerned about the impact of immigration. I fully understand them; I admire the courage of London performing such social experience but I am also happy that such experience isn’t been made in my home, Portugal. I wonder if all its communities will stand together if someday London experiences an economic doom and if yes, what will be the glue that holds them. As Murphy’s Laws states: if there are two or more ways to do something, and one of those ways can result in a catastrophe, then catastrophe will happen.

Um Problema de Legitimidade

  • A Constituição Portuguesa permite a criação de um partido fascista? Não
  • A Constituição Portuguesa permite a criação de um partido estalinista? Sim. O nº 4 do artigo 46 apenas proíbe a criação de partidos fascistas, não dando o mesmo tratamento aos partidos estalinistas.

A Constituição Portuguesa de 1976 não é, nem nunca foi, a Constituição de Portugal e de todos os portugueses; apenas de alguns. Cada geração deve reconhecer-se na sua Constituição. Se ela for ideologicamente construída e programaticamente datada, estamos a admitir que uma outra geração pensou por nós, para nós e em vez de nós (António Barreto).

Bourgeois Virtues

Only the party that can win the trust of the middle class deserves to govern. That is because the other classes have less of a stake in a free, democratic and stable society. The very rich can simply up sticks and leave; the poor fondly imagine they have nothing to lose by punitive taxes, not only on high but also on middle incomes. Only bourgeois virtues benefit everyone, including those who despise them.

My Money, My Home

In Japan seven years ago, the central government began allowing city residents to divert a proportion of their income-tax payments to a furusato of their choice, a schema known as the furusato nozei, and the response has been overwhelming: in the last fiscal year rural towns earned $1.2 billion from such contributions. Some city-dwellers still harbour strong feelings towards their furusato, or home town, that rural area which their forebears may have left many decades ago, but others choose a furusato simply because they like the area. Lucky rural towns, suffering financially as a result of ageing and shrinking, are especially delighted as the furusato nozei is proving a windfall.

Robochef: The Anthropomorphic Argument

Mark Oleynik hopes to change the home kitchen by introducing a robot cook that is as good as a top chef but which can be installed in all houses. It can, in principle, be used to cook more or less anything: a pair of dexterous robotic hands suspended from the ceiling assemble the ingredients, mix them, and cook them in pots and pans as required, on a hob or in an oven. A prototype of the idea, unveiled in Hanover, has been demonstrating its culinary prowess in public, by whipping up an excellent crab bisque. The machine’s finesse comes because its hands, human-sized and with jointed fingers and thumbs, are copying the actions of a particular human chef, who has cooked the recipe specially in order to provide a template for the robot to copy. The plan is to support the automated kitchen with an online library of more than 2,000 recipes. 

Submissão

[crítica do livro Submissão (2015), de Michel Houellebecq, publicado por Alfaguara Portugal]
Em Submissão, François narra a sua vida solitária e aborrecida de professor universitário, que sem problemas de maior, contenta-se ao ter sexo ocasional com as suas alunas. Melancolicamente vai estabelecendo uma comparação entre o seu vazio existencial e a sua decadente civilização pós-cristã francesa; e por isso mesmo, não é com horror que vê o Islão assumir tranquilamente o comando da França, impondo-se não só pela força da sua demografia como também pelos seus ensinamentos. O autor, Houellebecq, não se preocupa em elaborar as suas profecias e não toca em temas como o racismo, xenofobia ou feminismo, apenas está interessado na análise do ponto de vista civilizacional da transformação da França em Estado Islâmico, apresentando-a como a sua possível salvação e até da própria Europa. Uma poderosa reflexão filosófica sobre a atual civilização francesa e seu futuro, que apenas peca no seu exagerado optimismo.

Eurabia

In the last novel of Michel Houellebecq, Soumission, Mohammed Ben Abbes, Muslim Fraternity’s leader, is elected the president of France and afterwards, he moves on quickly with his project of islamization of France. Then Houellebecq makes a surprisingly plot twist in the normal narrative of doom and implosion of France and subsequently, of Europe. Mohammed Ben Abbes reveals himself as an admirer of the Roman Empire and inspired by it, moves to integrate Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Turkey and Egypt into the European Union; moreover, he even proposes to relocate the European Parliament to Athens and the European Commission to Rome; he aspires to be the first elected president of the European Union. With the force of its demography, Islam would be the glue of the new Europe, an reenactment of Rome, and not its destruction: Eurabia. There are innumerable plot holes in this “happy ending”, but nevertheless, it is a reminder of history’s cycles, rolling unstoppable.

In one talk held in 2009, a trustee of the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE) told the recruits: “Our goal is to create the True Believer, [and] to then mobilise these believers into an organised force for change who will carry out dawah [preaching], hisbah [enforcement of Islamic law] and jihad. This will lead to social change and Iqamatud-Deen [an Islamic social and political order].” Another IFE document said: “IFE’s primary work is in Europe because it is this continent, despite all the furore about its achievements, which has a moral and spiritual vacuum.”

Milagre das Rosas

O PS de António Costa em 2015 consegue tudo, até milagres para o Portugal 2020…

  • Complemento salarial anual para trabalhadores e famílias abaixo do limiar de pobreza – 350 milhões;
  • Reforço da proteção social através do abono de família e pré-Natal – 40 milhões; 
  • Facilitamento das condições de acesso ao RSI – 90 milhões;
  • Reposição do CSI no valor anual de 5022 euros – 8 milhões;
  • Eliminação da sobretaxa do IRS em dois anos – 430 milhões;
  • Redução da TSU dos trabalhadores para 7% – 1050 milhões; 
  • Descida do IVA da restauração para 13% – 260 milhões;
  • Fim de redução salarial na Função Pública – 306 milhões.

…menos governar a própria casa.

Sem liquidez nos cofres e com um passivo que ascende a 11 milhões de euros, o PS pediu um empréstimo à banca para poder enfrentar as despesas. Em todas as federações existem despesas com rendas, água e luz a cair e não há dinheiro para as pagar. Desde que perdeu as eleições em 2011, o PS tem vivido com as contas no vermelho, sem conseguir reduzir os custos na mesma proporção em que perdeu verbas da subvenção pública anual.

We Don’t Call It

You see, Willem, he admits he doesn’t know the law, and at the same time claims he’s innocent. (Franz Kafka (1925), The Trial)


Gerald: Well? What do you think, Kyle?
Kyle: Dad? Don’t you think our last new house is big enough?
Gerald: Well, this one is BIGGER!
Kyle: Tomorrow’s trial, Everyone vs. Everyone, is gonna make things a lot worse! We have to stop it!
Gerald: Kyle, let me explain something to you. You see Kyle, we live in a liberal, democratic society; and democrats make laws; and these laws tell us what we can and can’t say; and what we can and can’t do.
Kyle: Isn’t that fascism?
Gerald: No, because we don’t call it fascism. Do you understand?
Kyle: Do you?
Gerald: Just look at how big this house is, Kyle. Just look at it.

South Park – Season3 – Episode 6

Um Centro

“E tu, o que é que vais fazer?” Acompanhei-a à porta: de facto, dei-me conta de que não tinha a mais pequena ideia. Beijei-a suavemente nos lábios e respondi: “Não há um Israel para mim.” Um pensamento pobre, mas exato. Depois, ela desapareceu no elevador.

Toda a civilização precisa de um centro.

More Cosmetics Than Reality

No single elected official has the power to change the system. The system is, in fact, largely unelected and unappointed. The bureaucracies are massive. The cumulative regulations and legislation that empowers them are monumentally complex, impossible for any single mind or any one generation to comprehend. The process of reform is messy, structured so that the special interests with the most lose get decide where it goes. It is highly unlikely that this process will result in an overall net good for the cause of human liberty. This is why there seems to be so little relationship between promised results and actual results. We do well to keep in mind that politics is more about cosmetics than reality.

Also, someone inside the system has little chance of changing it. A well-established tradition of merit rating becomes the current system’s most valuable weapon for its own survival. People who attempt to change the system (for the better) have no chance of recognition. (N. Logothetis)

Choose Your Side

The top 10 daily newspapers in the US and how they report the shooting of Walter Lamer Scott by a South Carolina police officer on April, 2015. Just the first paragraph:
1. USA TodayA white police officer was charged with shooting and killing an apparently unarmed black man during a traffic stop after a video of the confrontation surfaced.
2. The Wall Street Journal –white police officer who shot a black man in North Charleston, S.C., was charged with murder Tuesday after law enforcement reviewed a video taken by a bystander.
3. The New York Timeswhite police officer in North Charleston, S.C., was charged with murder on Tuesday after a video surfaced showing him shooting in the back and killing an apparently unarmed black man while the man ran away.
4. The Orange County RegisterDramatic video that shows a white South Carolina police officer shooting a fleeing black man after a traffic stop has led authorities to file a murder charge against the officer amid public outrage over a series of deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of law enforcement agents.
5. Los Angeles TimesA South Carolina police officer was charged with murder in the shooting death of an unarmed black man after authorities obtained a video that showed him unleash a volley of gunfire while the victim ran away, officials said.
6. San Jose Mercury NewsDramatic video that shows a white South Carolina police officer shooting a fleeing black man after a traffic stop has led authorities to file a murder charge against the officer amid public outrage over a series of deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of law enforcement agents.
7. New York Postwhite South Carolina cop was charged with murder Tuesday ­after a shocking video showed him shooting a black man in the back as the unarmed victim ran from him, authorities said.
8. Daily Newswhite cop in South Carolina was charged with murder on Tuesday, hours after a cell phone video revealed he shot a fleeing black man in the back during a routine traffic stop, contradicting an account he gave of the Saturday shooting.
9. NewsdayDramatic video that shows a white South Carolina police officer shooting a fleeing black man after a traffic stop has led authorities to file a murder charge against the officer amid public outrage over a series of deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of law enforcement agents.
10. The Washington Post  – white police officer in North Charleston, S.C., was charged with murder Tuesday after shooting and killing a black man following a routine traffic stop over the weekend.

Partido Empresa, Cidadão Consumidor

Num certo momento, os velhos partidos europeus deixaram de tratar os seus eleitores como potenciais militantes, e passaram a tratá-los como uma espécie de consumidores, a quem prestam serviços por meio do Estado Social e da gestão da economia. Previsivelmente, os eleitores começaram a comportar-se como quaisquer consumidores, mudando de fornecedor quando o serviço não lhes parecia satisfatório. Tal como num ambiente comercial, também passou a haver espaço para novas empresas com propostas aparentemente mais atraentes.

O Funil

Sempre pensei na vida como se fosse um funil. As pessoas começam nas bordas do funil, têm imensas possibilidades e depois, à medida que envelhecem, o círculo é cada vez mais pequeno, até que saem pelo cano fora… As possibilidades estão todas lá, ao princípio. Mas a vida é mesmo uma diminuição das possibilidades. As pessoas têm sempre de escolher e quando escolhem, perdem sempre alguma coisa.


Vasco Pulido Valente

Fahrenheit 451

[review of the book Fahrenheit 451 (1953), by Ray Bradbury]
A society can be a dystopia and doesn’t know it: maybe, it doesn’t even care! Montag, Fahrenheit’s improbable hero, isn’t concern with some ruthless political elite, he just wants to rouse his wife, himself and ultimately, his technologically advanced community, from theirs intellectual alienation. His awakening is a thrilling story, full of powerful metaphors and a perfect climax. Ray Bradbury’s novel has a chilling resemblance to today’s screen obsessed civilization.

[Quotes]

More pictures. The mind drinks less and less. Impatience. Highways full of crowds going somewhere, somewhere, somewhere, nowhere.

If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none.

Cram them full of non-combustible data, chock them so damned full of “facts” they feel stuffed, but absolutely “brilliant” with information. Then they’ll feel they’re thinking, they’ll get a sense of motion without moving.

The folly of mistaking a metaphor for a proof, a torrent of verbiage for a spring of capital truths, and oneself as an oracle, is inborn in us, Mr Valéry once said.