Charlie's Blog: SOC 27

1.22.2018

SOC 27


If you make a mistake and do not correct it, this is called a mistake.
CONFUCIUS

Regrets. Everybody has them. I have been taking stock lately of my own regrets. I have a hard time about regrets because I don't know how to think about them. The first part of the problem comes down to an information problem. Let's say you come to a fork in the road. There are no signs and no maps. So, you toss a coin and go left to wind up in a place you didn't want to be. But how could you know to go right? That also leaves the mystery that what was on the right would have turned out better than what was on the left.

I always joke that my biggest regret was not buying Microsoft stock back in the 80s. That isn't an actual regret, but I always say it to put things in perspective. Knowing what I know now, everything I've ever done in my life has been a mistake. But, I might have made millions on that stock and got involved with drugs and loose women. That's why you get the cliche that hindsight is 20/20. Going forward, the only thing you can do is not repeat past mistakes.


The only true regrets you can have are moral regrets. We know we should do the right thing. Doing the wrong thing may not always end in disaster and doing the right thing might get us killed. But we don't do moral things because they may benefit us. They may cost us. Instead, we do what is right because it is right.

My biggest regret in the regard of moral regret was my turn to atheism after losing my faith in my twenties. I went through a traumatic experience leading up to that, but I handled it the wrong way. I was a seminarian at a place I would never attend now for anything in the world. I was drowning in the heresy of Calvinism, and I had a friend who drowned in it before me by taking his own life. I should regret ever becoming a Calvinist and not becoming a Catholic, but I didn't know. My only real exposure to Catholicism were some Flannery O'Connor stories I read in high school and college.


I was ignorant of Catholicism, and Protestantism keeps you from learning the truth by lying to you. I was brought up in the belief that Catholics were the heretics while Protestants like myself were on the right path. The Protestant lies are so numerous now that the Protestant church is like a multi-headed hydra. If you find a deficiency in one church, there are a hundred other options to explore. For me, I began in the evangelical Southern Baptist tradition and moved to the Reformed Calvinist Presbyterian tradition. I was fortunate in that those were the only two blind alleys I explored. Others fall into weird charismatic circles, megachurch prospetarianism, or a cult like the Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons.

As for other regrets, they are smaller involving associations with people that I would never associate with now. But you can't know someone until you know them. The difference between then and now is that I cut things off early now. I quit being a crap magnet for people. Bad people don't like me, and they steer clear of me now.

In other news, I must express a bit of amusement as people grapple with the social media issues. It has come out that Twitter does indeed shadowban people as Project Veritas revealed recently. I suspected this was going on, and most conservatives believed it was going on as well. Much of the stuff I posted on Twitter got very little response.


I have tried GAB which is the alt-right alternative, but I have concluded that it is definitely Twitter for racists. Basically, GAB is populated and overrun by all the misfits that got thrown off of Twitter. Granted, GAB has freedom of expression, but this libertarian ethic only results in the service being a giant cesspool for idiots. As someone who followed a similar libertarian philosophy with my own comboxes, I can tell you that it is doomed to failure.

Twitter's problem is that it restrains conservatives because it is a progressive social media service. Likewise, GAB has little restraint because it is a libertarian social media project. I have no idea what a conservative alternative would look like. I have learned that you can't have comments on a blog like this unless you have plenty of time to police it. Other sites require approval before a comment will be published.

I've been off of the social media long enough to report the benefits. I definitely have more time to do other things. It is amazing how much time a site like Twitter or GAB can suck out of your life. One of the last things I read on GAB was Andrew Torba, the GAB founder, reporting the boost in productivity he experienced when he deleted his social media apps from his smartphone. It is tidbits like this that explain my yo-yo addiction with these services.

If you write or produce internet content, you are advised by many to self-promote using social media. This is why every website has a link to a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram page. These pages merely carry the links back to the content on the website. The irony is that these social media pages are rarely updated. Social media doesn't really promote your content. It just disperses it. The reality is that you can provide posts, pictures, and links on a good old blog like this one. With social media, you might find links on Twitter, a bit of writing on Facebook, and some interesting pictures on Instagram. That's a lot of surfing to find content.

I think I am going to eschew the self-promotion thing. I was never good at it, so not doing it shouldn't make much difference. I could be good at it if I promoted myself more on social media. But this comes with the downsides of social media that I no longer find tolerable. I have time and focus without social media. I get more done that matters to me. It isn't worth my time to be on Facebook or Twitter or GAB.


This blogger is giving up social media. He echoes Matt Drudge's criticisms of social media as "internet ghettos." My view of it is like this. Imagine you have a sprawling farm outside of the city where you can do virtually anything you like on your property short of building a nuclear reactor or operating a terrorist training camp. If you want to put up a clothesline, no problemo! You want to burn some wood scraps in a burn barrel? Fire it up! But you notice that there aren't a lot of neighbors where you live, and it can be lonely in the rural landscape. So, you decide to sell your farm and move to a suburb with cookie cutter houses and a homeowner's association. Now, you have convenience and neighbors. Then, you forget to mow the lawn, and the homeowner's association falls on you like a frozen fecal meteorite dropped from the refuse tank of a passing airliner. Suddenly, you don't like being a townie so much anymore and yearn for the farm again.

This is the gist of how the internet is today. You have the rural internet where people build websites or keep blogs like this one. You can do virtually what you want within legal limits. The downside of this upside is that no one knows you are out here. Social media is the city internet. If it is policed loosely, you end up with a site like GAB which really is the ghetto. You have freedom, but you might get shot in a drive by. If it is policed tightly, you have the gated community with the HOA and their dictates.

In the real world, I prefer a more rural setting to live. There are trade offs involved with this, but they are worth it. To use another analogy, social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are progresssive/liberal/Marxist because the property is shared and policed by tyranny. GAB is a social media site that grew from the libertarian and dark web side of things such as 4Chan and 8Chan. I never go to those sites. But the conservative answer is staring me in the face. It is the blog.

The blog really is the conservative social media. Each blogger owns his property and polices it as he sees fit. I have zero comboxes here at the C-blog not seeing it being worth the headache. Others do have comboxes, but you have to register to post or submit comments for approval. As such, the blogosphere is pretty tame. Some blogs might upset people, but you can say so on your blog. It is neither anarchy nor tyranny here in the rural internet.


I think the reason social media is so tempting and addictive is because there is more action there in the same way that life in the city is more thrilling than out on the farm. You are either a city mouse or a country mouse, and I already know that I am a country mouse. I want my quiet life in the boonies.

Conservatives are good at going to the out of the way places and making them awesome. For instance, AM radio was dead as FM took over the dial. Then, Rush and others found a home on AM radio as they talked about conservative politics. Most of the people who listen to talk radio are blue collar conservative types who spend a lot of time in their trucks or on the job site. Talk radio is their background. Contractors and small businesses love talk radio, and they advertise heavily on the medium. Similarly, on the internet, conservatives are awesome bloggers with Matt Drudge being the king of them all. Some may debate if Drudge is a blogger, but I think he is.

I think it helps to know your medium. The internet is not a single medium anymore than television or radio. You can subdivide it into different zones. Your blog, website, Facebook page, or Twitter account is your channel. I think if you do good stuff then people will end up at your channel. It may take awhile, but they will get to you. This is why you should forget the self-promotion thing. Just go with the word of mouth which is the best advertising money can't buy.


Social media is crack. Smartphones are the crack pipes for social media. We see people on their phones, but we don't ask what they are doing on those phones. Most of the time, they are on Facebook, Twitter, or some sort of chat app. Unlike email, these avenues can't wait especially when someone is wrong about something. They are always "live." Take a fifteen minute break from the social media, and you have lost the game. It goes on without you. This is why people remain permanently tethered and absorbed in their smartphones even in dangerous situations like behind the wheel.

There is a backlash beginning to swell in the culture against the smartphone. My advice is to ditch these phones and go back to the old school flip phone. Barring that option, the next best option is to delete social media apps from your phone. If you reduce a smartphone to a device for talk, text, email, and Google, its addictive nature is significantly reduced if not eliminated. A crack pipe becomes a piece of glass when there is no crack.