Charlie's Blog: October 2017


SOC 22

We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.

I have been contemplating the idea of having comments on my blog again. Then, I do a little social media, and the impulse vanishes. The reason I miss comments is because I like commenting on other blogs. I also like responding to things on Twitter. Then, you see something like this:

I used to follow Father Martin because he always posted something worth a response usually in correction. Now, I realize that he never read those responses. That's OK because I am sure others did, and we all know we are playing to the audience on social media. But I don't follow Martin now or any other modernist heretics or progressive Marxist types. I put myself in a conservative echo chamber, and I like it there.

I spent close to a decade allowing comments on my blog, and I literally censored nothing except obvious spam. Then, I converted to Catholicism which brought a lot of hatred, but I didn't care just as I don't care now. But the comments section on the C-blog ended when people began attacking a guy who is forgotten now, Ev Bogue. I don't even know if Bogue is even alive now. But when he disappeared from the internet after screwing over some people, my one blog post about the guy became the internet forum for bashing on him. I didn't care and figured the guy deserved it. But then, some trolls starting posting telephone numbers and home addresses of his family members. That was more than I could stomach. I jettisoned my libertarianism and shut down comments entirely. Things have remained that way since.

This tactic Bogue's enemies used is called "doxxing." It is probably illegal or should be. Either way, I find it immoral and repugnant especially when the people getting doxxed are merely family members guilty of nothing except being related to the guy. For me, it showed me the danger of an unregulated forum which is what my comments section was here. Whatever gets published here is my doing now, so I have control over that. But I don't have the time or resources to monitor comments 24/7 or even once a day.

The issue of comboxes also brings up the issue of censorship. Right now, sites like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Google are all accused of censoring content that doesn't gibe with their standards and policies. Of course, much of the censored content is right wing. What is the deal? The reality is that these sites are run by worker ants who respond to reports and alerts all day long from people who take offense at the slightest provocation. To be on the safe side, they just delete anything and everything which means that your content is at the mercy of any triggered left wing Marxist. These pinko trolls are now empowered to shut down the internet.

When a conservative sees something he doesn't like on the internet, he simply blocks that content. This is what I do. I don't spend time trying to shut it down. It's a free country, and I think people should have the right to express themselves as long as it doesn't venture into the illegal like threatening people or posting porn illegally produced. On the other hand, when a progressive sees something he doesn't like, he moves to suppress it. This is because the left wing does not believe in the First Amendment or free expression.

Social media sites are privately run enterprises, so they are not obligated to be free speech zones. The First Amendment is a restraint on government censorship and not private censorship. As such, YouTube is within its right to delete any and all content it does not like. That is something that conservatives need to reckon with. If you want to have a free press, you're going to have to buy yourself a press.

All of this discussion of censorship and comboxes and social media begs a certain question. Is debating worth it? Once upon a time, I spent a great deal of time online and in the real world debating people about politics and religion. Now, I am middle aged which is a nice way of saying that I am getting too old for this crap. I resemble Archie Bunker a little more each day.

All in the Family was a great show but not for the reasons intended. The show was produced by Norman Lear, and the actors were all liberal including Carroll O'Connor. O'Connor played the Archie Bunker role to the hilt doing his best to make him the most unlikable guy on TV. Instead, he made Archie a hero to many blue collar Americans like my dad. Meathead played by Rob Reiner was given all the intelligent dialogue while Archie was made to look like a total neanderthal. The shows always left with the leftist conclusion that Meathead was always right in his progressivism while Archie was always wrong. The reality was that all of the propaganda could not erase the fundamental conclusion you felt in your gut that Archie was right.

Archie Bunker could be a real dolt especially on issues of race. But he was a fundamentally decent guy who worked to put a roof over the heads of a family that was always contradicting him. Remember, Meathead was a lazy loafer who ended up busting up with Archie's daughter. Meathead was a loser. And for all his sophisticated views, he really was a meathead.

Archie should have put Meathead in the street. Having to work for a living is an enlightening experience for guys like that. That is a fundamental truth about leftists. They never build anything or accomplish anything. They let others do all that heavy work. They just come along later to corrupt it all. You see this in government and also in the Roman Catholic Church. Conservatives are the builders and preservers. Progressives are the destroyers.

Debating with progressive types never leads anywhere. If you can watch people starving to death in Venezuela and still think Marxism is the answer, what can I say to you that will make you think otherwise? The thing with debate is that it assumes that these differences are merely the result of lack of information or faulty logic. But we know better. I have yet to meet a progressive who ever let the facts or the truth get in their way. These people are willfully blind and ignorant.

I am not a debater. I am a preacher. What is the difference? Debaters listen or pretend to listen. I don't listen to these people. I have never given serious consideration to their views in much the same way that I have never given serious consideration to flat earth theories. Progressives are fundamentally Marxist, and Marxism is a failure by any empirical standard you care to use.

As a preacher, I simply broadcast the message. You can take it or leave it. That's it. Not everyone is going to agree or embrace what I preach about. That is fine. The message isn't for you. The message is for those with ears to hear. I don't care to waste my time on people not inclined to hear.

There are three paths you can take. You can argue and debate with fools. This doesn't get anywhere. You can give up and be silent, viz. the quietism of Rod Dreher and his Benedict Option. Or, you can preach. Preaching yields three responses. The first and most immediate response is hatred and persecution. The second is that people ignore you. The third is that people stop and listen and embrace the message. Those are the only people that matter.


PRINT--The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism by John Zmirak

It is intrinsically impossible for the pope, as pope, to speak with authority on the details of climate science. Nor is he better suited than you or I to evaluate the so-called “consensus” of actual scientists. He might as well be picking stocks or rewriting the scores of Broadway musicals, for which he has equal divine authority: none.

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism came to me at a fortuitous time because I was struggling a bit in my faith as a newbie Catholic. I was drinking deep from the Catholic fountain, but there is a difference between drinking and drowning. John Zmirak kept me from drowning. I will now elaborate.

As a Catholic, I believe that the Roman Catholic Church speaks authoritatively on matters of faith and morals. The Church does not err in this regard though some priests and bishops do their damnedest to change this to the peril of their immortal souls. I think John Zmirak shares this same belief in the Church's teaching authority. The Guide clarifies the limits of this teaching authority and declares what the Catholic Church actually teaches.

My interior struggle came as a result of reading Hilaire Belloc and G.K. Chesterton. Both of these men were fine writers and fine Catholics. But they did err in believing the Catholic Church taught more than what it taught or should have taught. Belloc expressed that Catholicism was a complete worldview, and you didn't need any other. Then, Chesterton and Belloc attempted to make this the case with their disastrous theories about Distributism. For both of them, Distributism never left the page as neither abandoned writing to go live in the shire tending crops. Today, Distributists repeat the error by writing a great deal about something they do not do themselves and which doesn't actually work in reality. Their only argument is that we should abandon capitalism for distributism because the Catholic Church teaches this. The problem is that the Church doesn't teach this, and even if it did, it would be wrong.

When it comes to economics, I believe you are better off with the guys at the Acton Institute than with the folks at The Distributist Review. The Acton people believe in capitalism as found in Smith, Mises, and Hayek but informed by Catholic teaching on faith and morals. This is no different than how Aquinas redeemed Aristotle.

Zmirak taught me in the Guide how to hold to the orthodoxy of the Catholic Church but recognize its limits. The alternative to this is to believe that the teaching of the Catholic Church is unlimited and then try and change those teachings. This is the approach of the modernists, the Society of Judas, and Pope Francis. The reality is that these heretics take the garbage of Marxist progressivism and try to dress it up in Catholic infallibility. This is the same modus operandi these same scoundrels did on the Supreme Court with the Constitution. They basically rewrite that document while claiming constitutional authority. Yes, they are utterly wicked and evil in this regard.

The Catholic Church is not an authority on something like climate change. The Catholic Church can teach that it is moral and right to take care of the environment out of respect for God and for the sake of others. But it can't make the call on whether or not humanity is causing global warming. That is for the scientists to work out. The same also applies to politics and economics. The Catholic Church can't teach authoritatively on these things except to say that governments and economies have a moral duty to serve the common good of humanity. That's it.

If you struggle with these issues or how to reconcile your politics with your faith, I absolutely recommend The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. John Zmirak did a good thing when he wrote this volume. It has helped me a great deal on a lot of issues. It will certainly help you, too.


Never Retire

To retire is to die.

A few years ago, I wrote about retirement. The gist of that article is that retirement is an economic impossibility for most people of a certain age because of bad stewardship and demographics. If your golden years rest on a ponzi scheme, you or someone else is going to be left holding a bag of nothing. For myself, I do not expect to ever be able to retire. This prospect does not disturb me because I don't believe in retirement. What does disturb me is my generation being saddled with the burden of paying for the expenses of those who do believe in retirement.

If it was up to me, I would turn out the geezers in the street. I know this makes me a cold hearted bastard, but I see it as a fitting and just end for a generation that indulged itself for its entire span. Unfortunately, I do not think the geriatric welfare class will get its comeuppance in this life. What they will get is derision and scorn as they wait to die.

This scorn and derision is already cranking up. Millennials are already expressing their anger over the dawning realization that their lives are much worse than the lives of their parents, and a generational theft is taking place as those kids are expected to pay for Social Security and Medicare with their jobs at Starbucks. This is the same generation that will not hesitate to vote in euthanasia like they have over in Europe. In socialism, killing becomes expedient especially when you consume more than you produce. I predict death panels for geriatrics, and these people will literally be stamped with expiration dates. I might be cold for wanting these people turned out into the streets, but I do want them to live even if it is a life of hardship. The rest of the world will simply reassure itself with the notion of dying in comfort.

I will move from the demographics and public policy issues to the personal. Regardless if you are rich, poor, or in between, you should never retire. Retirement is morally wrong. It is an evil thing and should never be tolerated except in cases of physical and mental incapacity. At that stage, death is close anyway. Modern medicine can extend this time a bit, but I think natural death is the way to go. My example of how to go out of this world is Saint Teresa of Calcutta who worked until her frailty and poor health finally stopped her, and she passed at age 87. She basically worked until the day she died.

I compare this saint to a man I know who is 75 and very vigorous and strong. And he should be vigorous and strong because he has been in retirement for 20 years. I like the fellow, but I see the extended vacation he is taking as a shameful thing. Unfortunately, his example is not rare but common. People can reasonably expect to live another 25-30 years past their retirement age. That is a long time. Many people don't even live to see 30. And what do these people do or accomplish during this extended lifespan of leisure? They do very little. They spend a lifetime working in order to become lazy worthless bums at the end of life. Then, they have the gall to lament the death of the work ethic in our society.

A person who is getting old needs to ask themselves one question. Is it better to burn out or rust out? Your answer to that question determines how you are going to spend your golden years. And your choice in this regard reflects what you think the purpose of life is and what you think awaits you beyond this life. For St. Teresa of Calcutta, she chose to burn out because she wanted Heaven. And she got there. But for so many others, there is nothing beyond the grave, so they choose to make a heaven out of this life as they rust out in retirement. The irony is that I see these rusty relics, and they don't seem so happy. So much for heaven on earth.

Now, the counterargument I hear is that your body and brain falls apart as you get older. Now, this is true for people with diseases like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's. I am not indifferent to this, and I think these people can be excused because their bodies really are failing. But this is a fact that is true at any age and not just old age. Yet, the woman with lupus at age 30 is expected to keep going while the fit man at 65 feels entitled to take it easy in life because he has "earned" it. I think this is a load of crap.

If your body works, you should use it regardless of your age. When your body fails, then you can hang it up. This is what it means to burn out. Your body fails before your work ethic and your virtue. But barring disease and/or severe injury, you should strive to keep working and doing until your body gives out. And there are old people who do just this.

Sister Madonna Buder is known as the "Iron Nun." She competes in ironman distance triathlons. She started running at age 48 on the advice of a priest. She is 87 years old. For those who don't know, an ironman triathlon is comprised of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile cycle, and a 26.2 mile marathon. Completing such an event is impressive at any age but even more impressive when you are 80+ years old.

Now, why do I point to this extraordinary person? Merely to show what is possible at that age. I don't expect every grandmother to go out and become an Ironman triathlete. That would be unreasonable. But I don't think it is unreasonable to expect otherwise healthy but older people to continue working a job. The reality is that many old folks live in a state of premature death because they were told that this is what you do at that age. The result is that age becomes an excuse for inactivity and laziness.

Most of the things we attribute to aging are really the result of inactivity. When they say "use it or lose it," they aren't kidding. The problem isn't getting old but getting out of shape. I can tell you now that Sister Madonna would almost certainly beat me in the marathon because I can't even run a single mile at age 46. This is because she uses her body, and I don't.

I have met many older people who defy their age. There is the high school PE instructor who I met who is clearly north of 60 and has biceps like you wouldn't believe. That guy is fit. There is the 60+ cook who I know works at Olive Garden. She always has a smile, and she is the hardest worker in that place. At my own workplace, I know of a guy in his sixties who is a heart transplant recipient. He is one of our top employees putting twentysomethings to shame. I feel confident that these old folks could go another 10-15 years with no problem. But I suspect they will succumb to the siren song of retirement and let themselves go. This is a real shame.

We've all heard the story of the guy who worked hard, retired at 65, let himself go, and was dead a year later. I doubt this happens that often because there are plenty of old folks who do the same thing except they linger for another 30 years on the retirement dole while smoking cigarettes and chugging beer. But the truth in that story is that work keeps you fit while retirement makes your health and fitness go south. Consequently, I think working a 9 to 5 beyond 65 is not a curse but a blessing in disguise for these people.

I know I will never be able to afford to retire. I am good with money and live a frugal lifestyle. But I don't expect to have enough cash saved up or expect Social Security to be solvent enough to allow me 30+ years of leisure. I expect to work until I die. And I am OK with this. In fact, I think the idea is totally awesome. This is because I don't see work as a curse, and I think you will get plenty of sleep when you are dead. And there is Heaven.

At some point, even someone like Sister Madonna Buder will succumb to a body that is destined to fail. The same will happen to me and to you. We aren't immortal. But if you do it right, this time will be relatively short. The most beautiful stories I read are of people who finally "retired," left the job, and were buried two weeks later. They had enough time to get their affairs together and were no burden to their loved ones. I just don't think you can have a happy death when you choose to rust out. I've seen those deaths, too. And they were all bitter.

Don't ever retire. Choose the path of burning out instead of rusting out and let that flame burn as brightly and as long as it can. I think you will be blessed with a happy life and a happy death if you choose this path. And I think things will go better for you on the other side, too.


It Shouldn't Shock You--Keeping Your Cool in a Messed Up World

I'm Christian, indeed Roman Catholic, so I don't expect history to be anything but a long defeat with glimpses of final victory.

A win is a nice thing when it happens. It is even better when winning becomes a regular thing. But this usually happens in sports or chess. It doesn't happen often in life. Life is mostly a string of defeats for those who labor and fight for good. In the broad panorama of human history, barbarity and evil have been the norm with the relative civility and humanity of Western Civilization being a rare thing. Even then, Christendom has been surrounded by enemies from without and betrayed by enemies within.

All of these depressing facts point back to the ultimate fact. The world is a fallen place. The atheists would argue that the world never fell from anywhere but ascended from the beasts. Human beings are merely clever monkeys who are only slightly better than the less evolved primates. But if this were the case, why would we even care or lament the inhumanity we see so often? The reality is that we all have some concept of the good and the knowledge that we don't measure up to that good. This is the Fall.

We all know good and evil, and we have all chosen evil at some point in our lives. We can choose to do good, but this remains imperfect. The simple fact is that people let us down on a regular basis, and we let others and ourselves down as well. We live in a messed up world filled with messed up people including ourselves.

The answer seems to be a demand to cleanse the world of all that is messed up. The story of the Flood in Genesis is about this impulse and idea. If we could just remove the bad people from the world, it would stop being messed up. Yet, the story ends with Noah naked and drunk and mocked by his own son. The lesson is that the battleground of good versus evil is within the heart and soul of each human being. Reforming institutions or slaughtering the bad people will never change this.

Can the world be fixed? The answer is no. This is the dream of libertarians and Marxists. Utopia can never be. This is why conservatism though unpopular always wins in the end. Conservatism is reality, and the reality is that we live in a messed up world. The best we can achieve is a world that is a little less messed up.

God can fix the world, and He will. But that is in the future. For now, the world remains messed up. It remains this way because people must be saved from this world before its final destruction. All of our efforts in this life are preparation for this coming destruction and rebirth. We are to save our own souls and the souls of all the ones who will listen and obey. In short, our aim is not victory but endurance.

At some point in the inferno, you stop trying to save the structure, and you turn to trying to save yourself and your loved ones. We are at that point in the world. We have always been there. Eden is closed for business.

Yet, people are shocked when they read the news and discover a new terrorist attack, a new sex scandal, a corrupt politician, or some clergyman failing to live up to his professed vows. Why does this shock us? Why do we lose our cool in a world we know is already messed up?

Nothing in this world should ever shock us. One time, I was shocked when I was told that someone had stolen large sums of money. The shock came because I naively believed this person to have honesty and integrity. Looking back, I realize I had no basis whatsoever for this belief. The man was a liar to me and an adulterer. He merely added con artist and thief to his resume of sordidness. He wasn't a good man so much as I wanted to believe that he was a good man.

There is nothing wrong in wanting to believe that people are good. But there is a lack of prudence in this regard. We should want people to be good, but we should never believe that they are good. I want people to not be thieves, but I always lock up my belongings. Basically, you can never go wrong expecting the worst of people. It is depressing but sobering and sometimes delightful when people occasionally fail to live down to your low expectations of them.

Having the dark view of human nature is how you keep from being shocked and losing your cool in a messed up world. You are surrounded by sinners, and you are a sinner, too. This defensive pessimism is what keeps your heart from being broken and your faith from being shattered.

Optimism and faith are good things, but they are only good when they are placed in the right and proper things. People fail, but God never fails. God will come through in the end. God wins. Life is one long defeat. Then, there is victory won by Christ. Have faith in nothing but Jesus Christ. Cling to Him and endure. We can't win, but we can be on the winning side.

Life is not futile. At the end of each day, you should ask yourself if you still believe in God. People will let you down. You will let yourself down. But do you believe that God will let you down? As long as you still believe, you can put that day in the win column. And if you believe on your final day of life, you have triumphed. We can't save the world, but if we endure, we have the share in saving ourselves. You just want to come through to the other side. This final perseverance comes from God's grace working in you.

No one moves into a burning house. Yet, this is what people do when they try and make a home out of this world and a Heaven out of Hell. We are pouring water on the fire while these fools pump the gasoline. It is a lost cause except for the ones we bring out of the fire.

How do you keep your cool in a messed up world? Accept the fact that this world is fallen. Realize that people are corrupted by concupiscence and original sin. Believe God wins in the end. And trust that God's grace will enable you to persevere until that end. Then, avail yourself of that grace through prayer and the sacraments.


SOC 21

Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you.

It is a Saturday night around 9 o'clock as I begin this. It might be next Saturday before I finish it. Writing an SOC post is like smoking a cigar. A relit cigar is no good. In the same way, an SOC that you have left and returned to is never as good as one written in a single sitting. But these days, I have to take what I can get. The extended writing binge ended a long time ago. I write in chunks of time here and there.

I have a backlog of things in my brain, so it feels good to get some of it downloaded to the page. A thought that I return to again and again in both my writing and thoughts concerns the input of culture. This comes from all of the news about fake news. Once upon a time, cultured and intelligent people read the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, and The Atlantic. Now, I see those rags as essentially anti-culture. It's like how people knew that an art film was actually just a pornographic movie with subtitles. In the case of these rags, they are left wing propaganda and cultural Marxism masquerading as being intelligent writing. Consequently, I no longer read them.

What has been the long term consequence of eschewing this left wing media in favor of conservative blogs and talk radio? I am actually better informed. A certain family member calls to drop some bomb on us that he saw in the Times except we've already read about it and discussed it at the C-household days before. And his facts are almost always wrong. The fact is that the Times is a day late and can't get it straight. Why is this?

I think it takes longer to create and spin the news than to report it. Conservatives report the facts, and they don't need to spin the facts because they are what they are. They don't have to formulate a response to an event because conservatives remain the same. This comes from having a stable body of beliefs. So, a cop shoots a black perpetrator. Those are the facts. The left wing media has to go the extra mile to show that the cop was racist, the police department is racist, and hide the fact that the guy had an arrest warrant and fully loaded handgun pointed at the officer. Or, when it is something like the Tennessee church shooter, they don't bother reporting it at all because the guy was black, the victims were white, and he was stopped by a gun owner.

Conservative media get it right. I follow a lot of sources for conservative news, and they don't always agree. You can count on Mark Levin and Michael Savage not getting along. You can bet that the American Conservative will have a different take than National Review or Breitbart. Conservative media is not monolithic in its presentation. But I think it is more reliable. This is because conservatives believe in truth while progressives are liars. It is their nature to lie because they are the offspring of Saul Alinsky and Satan.

I have struggled to answer the question. Should you expose yourself willingly to contrary viewpoints? I am someone who went to college, so it was drilled into me at the time to be able to consider other points of view. But, in hindsight, I see this was merely a way for my left wing professors to get their foot in their door. Since then, they have evicted the residents of the home and have locked down every campus in the USA in a deathgrip of leftist propaganda, political correctness, and intolerance for Christian and conservative viewpoints. They obviously don't practice what they preach nor do they even preach it anymore. It was useful for a time until it could be discarded.

The simple fact is that our universities would be in much better shape today had they not been so open minded yesterday. Likewise, most of the conservative viewpoints I acquired way back then are still the viewpoints I possess today. I got knocked off track in my thirties by atheism and libertarianism, but I found my way back. Now that I am looking at 50, do I really expect to change my mind again?

Chesterton was right when he said that the point of having an open mind was so that you could ultimately close it on to something solid. For me, the solid things are Catholicism, conservatism, and free market capitalism. If I live to be 100, I am very certain that I will still believe in those things.

When I move beyond the realms of religion, politics, and economics, things get a bit harder. Right now, I am listening to some Bach suites played on the lute. It is simply beautiful music that elevates my soul and mind. This comes after listening to some U2 concert performances that did not elevate my soul and mind. They just rocked. I am always tempted by rock music but leave feeling dissatisfied while I have to discipline myself to listen to classical music which always delivers.

I do not believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This is reinforced by my Catholicism and conservatism that rejects the relativism of progressive ideology. Rock music is inherently a progressive musical form which means that it is inherently inferior.

I recently read an article that despite the Anthony Hopkins characterization in Silence of the Lambs, sociopaths do not actually enjoy classical music. They like rap music by a wide margin. This is not surprising to me. This isn't to say that everyone who listens to rap is a sociopath. But clearly high culture and sociopathy don't go well together.

There is a reason Hannibal Lecter is depicted as such a cultured individual enjoying fine wine, music, and art. Part of it is just the creative effect of the juxtaposition of being a cultured killer. It is intriguing in fiction, but it just doesn't exist in fact. The other reason is that it is adig against Western culture and civilization. Western Civ is depicted as bloodthirsty, oppressive, and barbaric by progressives, so it plays well to this crowd to equate Western culture with madness and murder. The reality is that the Marxists are the ones with the debased cultures and high bodycounts.

On a personal level, I wonder if I should eschew debased culture in the same way that I now eschew the mainstream media with their fake news and propaganda. I am definitely at the halfway point in listening to both classical and popular music, but I think I am ready to scrape off the garbage for good.

What you bring into your mind affects who you are. Pornography is the most potent example of this. But why stop at pornography? Bad music has a similar effect on mood and intelligence. Rap music turns its listeners into thugs. Electronica turns its listeners into Ecstasy fueled ravers. Progressive rock turns its listeners into nerds. We can go on and on.

I have felt the urge to make this change for some years now. I know good things will come of it in much the same way that good things have come from my turn to veganism. What I am rejecting is cultural indifferentism. Once you embrace the truth that beauty is not relative, you owe it to yourself to reject the indifferentism that comes from relativity. That hip hop music blaring from the car stereo really is bad. You're not imagining that disgust. That noise really is disgusting.

It is Sunday morning one week later. Like I said, these things don't get written in one sitting. I can't sleep because my hay fever is giving me the hacks. Fall is the worst time of year because the ragweed decides to procreate polluting my air.

When I come back to a post, I read what I've written and pick up the dropped baton. The problem is that sometimes I read over the half-written post and find that my thinking has changed. With this one, my thinking has not changed. I was watching Bill Maher bash on Trump in a video on Breitbart which is the only time I get exposure to Marxist media. I couldn't finish listening to his monologue as he called "thoughts and prayers" the Republican way of saying "tough shit." The guy is utterly repugnant.

Bill Maher is what I was as an atheist. Once upon a time, Maher was a libertarian, but he has degraded into a full blown progressive. He should have been fired over that N-word thing, but progressives get away with things that no conservative would ever do. The Left is without morality or consistency.

On a sidenote, I don't do "thoughts and prayers." I just do prayers. "Thoughts and prayers" is just some political correctness so as not to offend unbelievers. Prayer really does work. I have seen some amazing things that show that God is not a genie in a bottle, but He does act. God hears your prayers.

People need to pray. My descent into atheism came from my failure to pray. I stopped talking to God. I couldn't understand, but I understand now. But I had cut my lifeline thinking I was tied to a sinking ship. The reality was that God was cutting me free from an anchor of Calvinist and Protestant heresy. When I came to the surface, I didn't wait for the ship but went swimming in the wrong direction. Had I continued praying, I would have been saved then and there. But I had to spend a night treading water in the ocean of atheism.

The problem that I have today is a bad habit of not praying. I strive to follow the norms of Opus Dei, but I am not consistent with them. As such, I am always frustrated. I think my frustrations are tied directly to my laxity in prayer. I believe that if I prayed more then more would happen.

It is Monday morning now. It is Columbus Day. I am a Knight of Columbus, and I am totally in support of this holiday. I think the native peoples of the Americas were murdering savages, and Columbus would never have come here had it not been for the murdering savages of Islam that made an eastern passage to the Orient impossible. Columbus brought civilization and Christianity to our hemisphere. God bless him.

I watch this vegan guy on YouTube who I don't recommend to readers because he is so foul, but I enjoyed this vid with him talking about the whiny YouTubers being beaten down in the Adpocalypse. The Adpocalypse deals with the demonetization of YouTube videos by the YouTube brass. Some people claim it is political or whatnot. The reality is that videos of many varieties do little to nothing for advertisers. Basically, YouTube was a bubble, but it was a very lucrative bubble for awhile for YouTube content creators who were able to make enough money to quit their real jobs. Now, the bubble has popped, and those same creators have turned to "ebegging" in an effort to get people to support them in their low work lifestyles. Basically, you make a contribution to Patreon for your favorite YouTubers. I can tell you now that I am never going to do that.

FITSNews is another site that I follow for local news here in SC that has now turned to a subscription model. You get so many free articles then you have to pay to see more. Basically, it is a paywall like the New York Times has. Do paywalls work. Generally, the answer is no. The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Financial Times have some success with paywalls, but I think this comes from legacy subscribers who are/were already paying for the print version of their publications. Those models become less and less lucrative by the day. For everyone else, paywalls are a disaster.

There is no money in online content creation. A guy like Matt Drudge has a high traffic site. In fact, his site is one of the most successful on the internet worth hundreds of millions of dollars per year in revenue. BTW, I have never clicked on an ad for the Drudge Report. But Drudge's success comes from the fact that he has no overhead. He doesn't produce content so much as link to content. Of course, those content creators probably appreciate the avalanche of readers that a Drudge link produces. Others probably resent that a guy who does nothing to produce this content can make money off of the labor of others.

The Drudge model is nothing new. People think it is new, but it isn't. Drudge is doing what publishers and record companies and magazine editors have done for decades. All of these outlets merely took the talent and creativity of others and made money from it by distributing the content to a wider audience. The New York Times has the same model as Drudge except they have to pay for all that reporting. Drudge does not.

How did Drudge get to this point? Basically, he was there first. He started a webpage in the nineties and kept plugging away at it. He built a readership over a long time, and there you have it. By the same token, it could vanish overnight if websites decided to erect paywalls and cut off his deep linking. And his cash comes from advertising. No one would ever pay to subscribe to the Drudge Report.

You figure others might try and copy Drudge, but they don't. This is because his success is a unique thing. There is no formula for what he does. There is also the fact that Drudge caught a lucky break at the beginning of his career as he was the first website to go after the Monica Lewinsky story.

I spend a lot of time pondering what I call "internet economics." The conclusion that I draw from all this pondering is that the cyberworld is not much different from the real world. For instance, I see Amazon as being the same thing as Sears, Roebuck, and Co. from an earlier era with their mail order catalogues. the only real difference is that Amazon puts its catalogue online, but it is essentially the same business model. Netflix is HBO for our times except you get to watch your movies and shows on your time. The cyberworld seems different, but that difference is not massive but slight.

The real asset on the internet is attention. You have to have an ability to draw eyeballs. I don't know how to pull off the trick. The second trick is to monetize that attention. There are three ways this is done. The first is direct payment such as a subscription. The second is advertising. The third is to sell your own products and services. Of those three, the subscription thing is the one that will certainly fail. This leaves advertising and selling your own stuff.

I don't know how to pull off making the internet a successful thing. I can't even get readers for my blog. Maybe I will figure it out one day and win the internet lottery and get rich. But I wouldn't bet on it.