This is an Anime Blog Now.

Or a “stories in general” blog now. Iunno. I doubt I’ll be able to stay consistent with anything for too long (story of my life), but I realise I’m probably better (or at least less divisive) at talking about entertainment than I am at politics or the long-winded, esoteric, and often paradoxical self-made philosophies I’ve been trying to write into coherency in scattered bursts of effort over the course of a few years now. You’ll probably get some of that stuff in what’s to come, because storytelling is close to my heart, and I can’t really talk about what’s close to my heart without having some of it bleed onto the page. Yucky metaphor, now that I write it. That sounded better in my head.

So, what can you expect in the future? Well, it might be easier to explain what not to expect. Don’t expect consistent publishings, first off. I’m nothing if not a chaotic whirlwind of explosive spontaneity. I seldom create schedules for myself, and even more seldom stick to them. Also, do not expect your typical “review” sort of deal, where I go to great lengths and depths to summarise the story itself, the characters, their progression and evolution, etc etc, and why this makes the story in question the best/worst thing ever written– unless, of course, I feel it is relevant to the point(s) I’m trying to get across. When I talk about a specific story, it will most likely be in reference to the point(s) aforementioned, not the other way around. That isn’t to say I won’t do (or haven’t done– see my Centaur no Nayami review I did a while back) reviews when I come across an anime that I believe hasn’t been granted due justice by the general populace, but too often I find reviewers (especially anime reviewers) to be overly pretentious. While all art is inevitably pretentious to some extent, my main aim with my reviews won’t be to impress you with my “superior knowledge” of the anime fandom by expatiating on, say, Takeshi’s coming to terms with his stinky shoe fetish as allegory for the writer’s coming to terms with his own unorthodox religious beliefs, or any of that pseudo-intellectual prattle that nobody save the most pompous writers with something to prove give a single flying fuck about. While I want to talk about interesting things others might not have considered before coming to this blog, I also want to try to keep things as personal and relatable as possible. I’d like you to think of this and all to come as a conversation between time and space that you and I are having– preferably over a few drinks.

To me, stories have been and always shall be fun, fanciful, cautionary, and/or inspiring distractions from the incessant pains of the real-world everyday– indulgent yarns shared at taverns or around fireplaces by our ancient ancestors, not things for snobbish connoisseurs to sniff at, swish around in their mouths, and evaluate based on some arbitrary and over-thought set of academic rules or beliefs. There are no rules when it comes to telling stories, and that’s the one thing that makes them worth telling and distinguishable from humdrum reality– and I find anime to be especially great at this. People like to complain when a story isn’t sufficiently realistic, but let’s turn that complaint around: How often does real life happen as it does in stories? Would you be interested in reading a story about someone exactly like you, living a life exactly like yours? I didn’t think so! A few people are blessed or cursed with lives that can be made into TV dramas (often after they’re long-dead and their sordid secrets are no longer worth hiding), but most people must rely on the fabrications of their own or someone else’s mind to find any story worth telling. Your life might not be boring, but it probably isn’t a story– and if it is, it is one which is long-winded, rambling, and only appreciated as one reaches the end of its telling. Kind of like how this post is becoming, and surely how more posts to come shall be. At any rate, I hope I said at least something thoughtful amidst all this mess. If I did, and you’d like to read more– perhaps even something less vague next time–, watch this space!

There’s no one thing that’s true; it’s all true. – Ernest Hemingway

Has Capitalism Gone Too Far? Random Thoughts on the Web, Piracy, and the Need for Competition.

Merry Christmas! I got you a present. Can you guess what it is? You can? Why, by golly, you’re right! It’s another long-winded rant, completely devoid of citations because I’m too lazy! Just like you never asked me for!

If you’ve been following the whole Patreon/PayPal/MasterCard/Stripe/SubscribeStar debacle, you’ll know how easily it is for a company to deplatform you for personal beliefs alone. Where’s the problem in that? you might be asking yourself. People deplatformed for their beliefs can just move to a new platform that is more tolerant of their ideology– that’s the free market in action. This is true, but only in theory, as this hardly plays out in practice. This is but a single branch of a problem I’ve been complaining about for a very long time: our current world is one reliant upon capitalism, but to such an extent that it goes wholly unchecked. And unbridled capitalism is the antithesis of free market– it creates monopolies.

Multi-million and multi-billion dollar megacorporations have gotten nice and fat over the years by maintaining the status quo, and of course, being multi-million/billion dollar companies, they have an exorbitant amount of money and influence to throw around. Don’t like a government official’s policies? Send an army of lobbyists to bribe them (and this form of bribery has become an industry in and of itself, a la George Soros et al). Smaller up-and-coming company threatening to take away some of your business? Buy them out or besiege them with aggressive, underhanded business strategies, thereby starving them out of business and maintaining your stranglehold on the market. The best way to get people to buy your product, whether your product is toilet paper, media, or the flow of money itself is to give buyers no alternatives.

In our insatiable lust for convenience, we, the consumers, have created monsters. Megacorporations are on the verge of overpowering the very governmental foundations upon which their empires were built. When the bureaucrats in congress can’t wade their way through all the ancient red tape, they shut it all down and sit on their hands. The wheels of government turn painfully slow; but corporations are much less constrained, and they most certainly have no qualms about slashing red tape, unnecessary policies, or employees themselves when any of these things become cumbersome. With megacorporations outpacing government progress in many respects, I do not think it is too much of a stretch to fathom a future wherein society is run by an oligarchy of corporate moguls with worldwide influence, whilst politicians sit as complacent figureheads and parliaments, congresses, and diets of the First World have about as much political significance as Buckingham Palace.

The internet serves as the final frontier for a truly free market, helping smaller competitors spread word of their products beyond the reach of the current powers that be, providing free sources of entertainment to those tired of the same tired tripe from the Hollywood aristocracy, and free sources of knowledge to those who have not the money or the patience for biased, exorbitantly-priced university institutions; as well as hosting pirate/torrent sites for those who wish to protest monopolisation. I like to think the internet has achieved more good for humanity than bad. But now corporations have turned their sights upon this wild west that is the internet, and seek to tame it in the only way they know how: monetarily. They see the threat the internet poses to their reigns, as well as great potential as a cash cow, if manipulated (in)correctly. Rather than partaking of the free market and treating the internet as a form of competition, traditional media companies seek to scrutinise and destroy the reputations of alternative media such as YouTube and other free platforms in which independent entertainers, educators, and journalists can earn profit. Music, gaming, and other entertainment industries ruthlessly sic their copyright watchdogs on anyone who dares to use more than a split second of copyrighted material as part of any secondary source, and tightly clutch their so-called ‘intellectual properties’ like misers to their last penny. More and more previously free sources of information are being shut down, bought out, censored, or otherwise succumbing to econopolitical biases and scrutiny. Why improve oneself when it’s so much easier to simply eliminate competition?

We’ve reached a strange timeline wherein those who identify with left-leaning politics are defending megacorporations who would censor unpopular opinions under the pretext of social justice or preventing “hate speech,” an arbitrary moniker most commonly used along the same lines as the ‘anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi’ fallacy. The left’s more uncompromising stance regarding their beliefs is, ironically, the perfect substrate for the perpetuating the very problems they claim to oppose. When corporations are held unaccountable (as is often the case), lip-service, virtue-signalling, and identity politics serve them as venture without cost; and if the people are happy to have opposing voices deplatformed, all the better for them. The more homogeneous the perspectives of your target demographics are, the easier they are to predict and control, and without numerous perspectives, critical thinking stagnates. Megacorps are certainly more than happy to censor if you’d let them– just look at Apple and Google, as they cosy up to China and seek inroads within its 1984-esque political system of surveillance and censorship. As Karl Marx (who would be rolling in his grave if he could bear witness to the current state of China, or the contemporary American pseudosocialist) once said: the production of too many useful things results in too many useless people. While the same argument can be made of  the many conveniences of the internet, the internet also serves as one of the last bastions of independence for free and critical thought and discourse. There is nothing big industry wants more than a cyberpunk future– a society of high tech and low life, convenience for a price– that is utterly dominated by and reliant on big business, because it has forgotten about the alternatives; and this is precisely what we’re starting to see as big businesses team up with one another under the guise of cooperation and a better future for all: in reality, they’re only tightening their strangleholds on their respective industries.

So what are the alternatives? How to we combat megacorporations? Well, the same way we always have: protest and boycotts. Or, we can use their tools against them. Turn scrutiny back upon them, force them to acknowledge and take responsibility for their misdeeds– and never, ever, suffer censorship. That is one slippery slope none of us should want to traverse.

From a political standpoint, while it would certainly be bureaucratically torturous and further come with some growing pains (or shrinking pains, as the case may be), enforcing further constraints upon the stock market would 1: put power back in the hands of consumers, 2: help give lawmakers more control over what goes on in big industries, 3: prevent corporations from building international empires through the shares they purchase, 4: force companies to downsize, ultimately resulting in more moderately-sized businesses that all compete with one another, rather than only a handful of gigantic ones, the purposes of which are only to maintain the status quo that is raking in their sociopathic CEOs billions of dollars annually– which leads me to reason 5: it would help promote even (less uneven, at least) distribution of wealth. For example, cellphones are a modern necessity. Rather than having, say, $100 of international wealth going to 2 companies– either Apple or Android (I’m omitting Huawei on purpose, because fuck Huawei), wherein 80% or more of that wealth remains in executive hands for them to hoard and accrue, while the remainder trickles down into the pockets of the corporate rank-and-file, we would see a more even distribution of wealth in a broader market of 5, 10, 15 different phone companies, each competing for the larger share of that $100. The innovative freshness and diversity of products the new competition would provide is not omissible, either– imagine having 15 different phone brands instead of just 3 2 (because fuck Huawei). I propose this not as a pipe dream, yet neither as an immediately attainable reality– this is something we, as free-thinking individuals, critical and independent of corporate convenience, must strive towards, step by step.

Video Games are Art – Some Thoughts on the Gaming Industry.

I wrote this as a response to the following video by YouTuber TheQuartering, talking about and providing some very insightful info into the recent and well-deserved flak Activision-Blizzard has been receiving following the reveal of Diablo Immortal at this year’s Blizzcon.

It’s good that Activision-Blizzard is finally starting to show its true colours– the writing has been on the wall for a while now, but they’ve finally gone full evil. The gaming community as a whole really just needs to let the big business (AKA ‘triple A’) model of video games die, and the sooner the better, IMO. Hell, big business in general tends to be incredibly poisonous and unsustainable in the long run. What these passionate but low-ranking Blizzard developers don’t seem to realise is that, when they choose to sign on with ActiBlizz rather than an indie studio or starting their own company (as risky as that is, is it any riskier than working for peanuts at Blizzard?), is that they’re really only fueling the machine that’s slowly killing us all. I like to look at game development as a form of art, and art has always been a labour of love and patience, not some lucrative get rich quick scheme that these grey-haired, suit-wearing executives at ActiBlizz who have never so much as touched a gamepad in all their lives want gaming to be. This conflict of interest between gamer and investor should never have been allowed to happen in the first place, especially when you consider that any creative problem in any medium of art can almost invariably be traced back to that exact same form of corporate greed (I’m looking at you, Hollywood). I can see why a dev studio would want to believe that signing on with a big publisher would be a good thing, but the fact of the matter is that ‘industry’ and ‘art’ are only compatible to a very, very specific extent, and the moment one or the other casts too wide a net, the other starts to suffer. And, like any relatively young art forms, the games industry is still a fragile ecosystem that is, for better or worse, incredibly susceptible to the winds of change.

I write this as an avid gamer, not a game developer, so maybe (probably) there’s more to this problem than I know. But from everything I’ve seen over the years, I’m just getting tired of seeing consumers, the collective gaming fandom, shouldering the entire burden of the industry. We’re forced to either concede to or boycott vast swathes of corporate cash-grabs masquerading as entertainment, relying on independent games journalists like TheQuartering, YongYea, or Jim Sterling, to keep us in the loop, whilst on the inside of the industry, games industry employees act as though their hands are tied whenever problems like the Diablo Immortal fiasco arise. There is an incredibly simple albeit painful solution to these issues plaguing the industry: Don’t be a part of them. If you work in the games industry or plan to, please, please, please stop selling your souls to Activision-Blizzard, EA, 2K, or Ubisoft. I know it looks good on the resume, and I know it must feel great to work on a big-budget flagship series that might have been, once upon a time, a beloved classic. But the only way we’re going to wrest gaming out of the greedy hands of investors is if consumers and aspiring developers both choose to leave their business models behind. Even if every single educated consumer stopped buying ActiBlizz titles, the company could still rely on uneducated consumers and their ‘whales’ to keep them afloat with their shitty, predatory business models. The next step is changing these companies from within. There have been plenty of notable folk in the gaming/tech industry who have jumped ship once their parent company stopped embodying their ideals. Imagine if every single rank-and-file member of every single greedy corporation followed suit. There’d be nobody left to make the products these corporate moguls thrive off of. This is the correct way to revolutionise an industry, and perhaps the only way to keep big business in check. The more money we give to the corporations, the harder it’ll be to stop them later… or the harder we’ll all fall once this house of cards inevitably collapses– and when it does, who do you think’s gonna be laughing their way to the bank with all the cash we helped them earn?

TL;DR – The best thing about that last Blizzard employee’s letter is that it demonstrates that consumers aren’t the only ones who suffer when this bullshit ensues. If you’re a gamer: keep boycotting crappy business practices, and if you are working or plan to work in game development: be the change you want to see in your industry.

Border Control is Important.

Alternative title: No, ‘Just Letting Them Go’ is Not a Viable Solution. Please Use Your Brain.

There have been an increasing number of people, mainly opportunistic, social-climbing public figures, and the occasional soccer mom with more empathy than common sense, who seem to believe that governments, especially the U.S government, have nothing better to do than kidnap babies and throw them in cages on the borders of their nations. This is false.

I often ask these people what they think the solution to America’s border control problem (and it is a problem) is, to which they often either choose to ignore me, or reply with some string of utopian nonsense, wherein all these EVIL FACILITIES are shut down, border control is conveniently glossed over, and everything magically works out hunky-dory. Needless to say, this is also false.

Border control is something that essentially varies from country to country, and as such, warrants nuanced discussion via case-by-case basis.

Let’s begin this discussion with what is (for now) a universal truth: Border control is important. Why? The most important reason is because it prevents anyone and everyone from simply traveling wherever they please. Maybe many of these people crossing the border are harmless refugees, but some of them might also be criminals escaping justice in their homeland, or hoping to engage in crime within your own, this often involves but is not limited to human trafficking, drug trafficking, and probably at least a few forms of fraud.

The fact that border detention centres are primarily used for processing undocumented (i.e, no passport, no easy way of identifying the persons in question) migrants attempting to cross the border, legally or illegally, is worth noting as well. Those with the correct documents to identify themselves, and no criminal history, are seldom detained in these centres.

Sweden is a good example of what happens when migration laws are too lax. Infowars and Breitbart and other right-wing propaganda outlets will tell you the country is a warzone, which is a gross exaggeration; but violent crime rates in Sweden have risen exponentially in correlation to their immigration rates. Parts of the country have become refugee slums, which native Swedes are encouraged or compelled to avoid. You can find a few videos of cameramen or unsuspecting passers-by being accosted by refugees in these areas. My point being: people fleeing troubled nations are often troubled themselves. If they come from places where violence and underhanded dealings are valid solutions, they will have difficulty adapting to an environment where such dealings are unacceptable. You cannot rationally expect someone from a completely different part of the world, especially one who has had little-to-no formal education, to perfectly adapt to developed society. While heartless, screening processes are necessary. It is the job of the government to look after its citizens first and foremost.

A secondary reason why borders are important is to preserve culture. Japan has taken flak for turning away thousands of refugees throughout the crisis in Syria, and the country is known for its immigration laws being on the more stringent side of the spectrum. It is also one of the most culturally-rich and simultaneously ethnically-homogeneous societies on Earth, with roughly 98% of its populace identifying as Yamato Japanese: those whose families have been native to Japan for countless generations. This exemplifies a fully-developed nation that has a culture that is very unique and distinct from the typical western society. Arguments have been made that, given Japan’s declining population and birthrate, they should allow more migrants into the country. This might certainly be a good short-term solution, but what about the long-term? What happens to the culture? The customs? Even if they agreed to allow only people from developed countries to immigrate to Japan, western society and Japanese society are two polar opposites of the societal spectrum. One emphasises uniqueness and assertiveness, whilst the other emphasises harmony and selfless co-operation. Problems would be bound to occur.

The reason why what would happen to Japan in this situation does not, has not, and indeed will not, happen in a place such as Canada, is because Canada is unique in its not being unique. That is to say, apart from hockey and those who can claim First Nations heritage, there is very little cultural identity in Canada. Anyone can come here and adapt with relative ease, because we are a young nation– even younger than the USA. Canada is a still a cultural tabula rasa, whereas Japan is an ancient country with ancient and deep-rooted traditions that influence daily life.

Can what is said of Canada not be said of America? Probably not. America, like Canada, is a nation of immigrants, but it is also approximately a century and a half older than Canada. It has had 150 extra years to establish its own unique culture, and while the societal differences between Canada and America may seem minuscule to any outsider, as a Canadian myself, who has traveled about various regions of the United States and had a taste of the distinct, tangible cultural identities that my country lacks, the differences are quite clear.

I am interested to see what Canada becomes in the future, one hundred fifty years from now, once it has had the time it needs to mature as a nation and establish its own personality. Immigration will no doubt play an influence in developing this personality, and may end up being the main contributing factor to ensure Canada becomes a culturally rich, distinct, and perhaps even the world’s first truly diverse nation.

Yet none of this would be possible if Canada did not control its borders accordingly. We cannot do as Sweden does, letting anyone into the country with minimal process or qualification. We accept refugees, but in reasonable, controlled amounts, and provide them with the appropriate means of acclimating to their new environment. Those who wish to immigrate here for the purpose of citizenship must pass background checks and prove that they can contribute to society at least to some extent, so that they won’t simply end up on the streets. We are already a very diverse nation, and yet it rarely affects our crime rates. That isn’t to say Canada is perfect– there are plenty of internal issues and marginalised aboriginal demographics that don’t receive the attention they deserve, but I do, for the most part, have confidence in our immigration policy.

Every nation handles immigration differently, and some do so better than others. The U.S.A’s current method is clearly flawed, but at this point in time, I encourage you to consider valid alternatives, as opposed to idealistic pipe dreams. What happens if we heed the vacuous virtue-signallers and simply shut down the detention facilities? What happens to those contained within? Do we simply let them all pass into America, no questions asked? Or do we turn them all away at the border, forbidding them entry outright? And if you think these centres are a something that began with Donald Trump’s presidency, you are incorrect. Obama’s administration used detention centres, just as those before him did. It is not a new concept; you are only hearing more about these facilities now because of the rising number of refugees seeking to cross into America. These detention centres served adequately enough in previous years, but now they are running out of room. What is the solution to this problem, I wonder? The only thing I can say for certain is that shutting down these facilities will create many more problems than it solves.

There is much that must change in the way American politics, and congress itself, is comported, as well as plenty of cultural questions the American people will soon have to answer as a society, before any of the secondary issues such as border control, gun control, etc. can be addressed properly– for, while the U.S is older than Canada, it is still but a young adult, as far as the relative age of nations go; and the U.S is currently undergoing an identity crisis. Its liberal and conservative elements must stop acting the nemesis to one another, and begin to search for common ground, should either side ever hope to start patching the holes in any of their country’s less-functional systems.

This all begins with rational discourse. With so many conflicting opinions and outright lies prevalent in both sides of America’s political spectrum, the only thing people can do is to keep a level head and try to keep the narrative as straight as possible. Think beyond personal biases and grievances, and always ponder the why of things before acting. That will help matters a great deal, I think. In the day and age where a picture alone of Donald Trump is enough to throw half the American populace into a frothing rage, and the other half into a frothing rage about the people in a frothing rage over Trump, people need to take a step back from the news and social media and start carefully analysing things for themselves.

(ADDENDUM, 2018/10/23: Regarding my statement in the above paragraph, about the 50-50 split between the various partitions of frothing rage, it’s actually not nearly so bad as I make it out to be. Of course, I was being hyperbolic to some extent, but This Study suggests things are not nearly so polarised as the vocal minority on both sides of the political spectrum make it seem. Reasonable human beings still exist! All that’s left is for said reasonable human beings to come together and start having some reasonable discussions about our ideological differences, and what we can do to bridge the gap between our respective beliefs and reach a logical compromise.)

Politics: a Modern Religion for Modern Extremists.

The politics of the Middle-East are inexorably tied to religion. It is home to numerous different radicalised Islamic sects that war amongst themselves (and to some extent the world itself), each seeking to eradicate their competition and achieve dominance of their respective regions, each seeming to think its own beliefs better, or truer than those of their rivals. The religious fervour of these groups begets their political ideals, which in turn reinforces their notion that they have the moral high-ground, which only further reinforces their religious fervour. This vicious cycle will continue endlessly until it is once again interrupted by a third party, ends up destroying itself, or, through chance or external factors, some voice of reason rises up to put an end to the chaos.

Western politics have become a microcosm of this, only our religions are called ‘Right’ and ‘Left,’ and it is not the religion that begets the politics, rather the politics that begets the religion. Of course, more traditional religions play a part in the politics as well, but they are no longer the primary reasons behind our crusades and jihads. Politics have supplanted that role. God or one holy book or another might come up as an excuse to justify a certain action from time to time, but our true god, the one whose word gives the people faith, or incites them into a righteous rage, is the one that they see on television, in the news, ranting on their social media pages. If you are a follower of ‘Left,’ or ‘Right,’ then you are a follower of God. The media is your preacher and gospel, public rallies your place of worship, the internet your chance to stand up on a crate in the middle of town square and shout the Good Word to all those who would listen– and condemn those who would not.

Were we always like this? To some extent, I would say yes– traces of the outrage, ignorance, and hatred fueling our current extremism could be seen during previous presidential administrations in America, the current Mecca of western politics.

But it was only Donald Trump’s brusque outspokenness that helped push us well over the brink of rational discourse and into outright madness, an obstinate zeal inspired by the ‘Us versus Them’ mentality that only comes through a devotion to something one believes in wholly and utterly and fundamentally, to the detriment of all other truths; and if you do happen to believe in only one truth, then it becomes that much easier to fabricate a casus belli against those who see the world differently from you. And so it was that Donald Trump came into power. He was the mad prophet who roused the rabble, taking advantage of their ignorance. He then took advantage of the incompetence of his opponents, dragging them all down to his own level and proceeding to beat them handily at his own game.

Why do you think it’s become so easy for both sides to draw parallels to Nazis and Stalinists in regards to those they disagree with? It’s not without cause– ever since Trump changed the political landscape, both the Left and Right have been slipping closer towards these radical extremes, such that Liberals and Conservatives of the west no longer represent contrasting ideals, only a lesser of two evils. The victor will be the first one to give in to one of these evils entirely, should we continue along our current course… or the one who destroys them, should we, as citizens, break ties with the radical Left and Right and demand reform.

If we are to achieve the latter, we must use our own eyes, our own brains. Read the news, but do so with an eye of scepticism– propaganda and bias are easy to spot if you know what to look for, so remain vigilant. Have discussions with those who think like you as well as those that do not; but after all this, if you cannot come to an agreement, or at the very least, an agreement to disagree, then withhold judgement until you can. And even if you feel you can draw a clear conclusion, do so with extreme caution, lest your convictions fester into bias. Despite what the partisan media outlets might preach, you don’t need to have a resolute opinion on everything. There is not only one correct answer, especially in matters as convoluted as politics and world affairs. Disagreeing with someone does not make them wrong, just as their disagreeing with your beliefs does not make yours wrong. Wrong and right are not for you to decide– history is collectively written by the victors, edited and annotated conservatively by the flow of time. If the victors are biased, spiteful towards their opponents, if the victors are extremists who see only one truth, then so too will history. Time may elucidate some inconsistencies over the passage of decades or centuries or millennia, but the whole truth will remain forever lost.

If this is not reason enough to keep a clear mind, western nations are not the only ones we need to worry about: an unfortunate by-product of a rapidly globalising world. China, Russia, and other nations that have succumbed to the very extremism is destroying us, all seek to expand their influence over the world whilst we are busy cannibalising ourselves. I’m not sure the west has ever been so divided before, which makes tyrants such as Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, and Kim Jong-Un, look that much more appealing to onlookers, who look to the West and see nothing but puerile squabbling between two political sects that are too busy fighting each other to get anything meaningful done. There was a time in which we led by example, western freedoms slowly but surely setting the standard for the rest of the world to follow; but those freedoms are now degenerating at an increasing rate. This is what Trump wants. This is what most modern politicians want. There is a shocking lack of reason to be had these days, which suits both the Left and the Right well enough: the less you understand, the easier you are to control.

It is easy to fall back on our beliefs, on our gods, during troubled times, and that is the root of our current ills. Politics have become our religion, of which there will be no divine intervention. Politicking cannot save us until we call for religious reform among the Left and Right. This extremism, wherein one side constantly attempts to undo and outdo the other, consequences be damned, must end. The blind cannot hope to lead the blind. We must start advocating for civil, unbiased discourse, intellectual freedoms exemplary of the virtues that both conservatives and liberals ought to stand for, before we lose sight of what truly matters entirely.

But don’t despair; we’ve reformed more extreme beliefs before. Christianity no longer holds witch trials, or wages crusades against the nations who do not share their beliefs. If we can reform and rise above these more literal representations of our modern political predicaments, then I’m certain we can reform the religion of politics as well. All we need to do is stop fighting one another.

Can’t see the Forest for the Trees: The Reckless Pursuit of Diversity.

One of the most common arguments people put forward in favour of diversity quotas and grandiose, ethnically-specified promotional campaigns is that a more diverse staff must surely lead to more diverse results. It’s an easily refutable claim, since abstraction and creativity vary by individual, never by racial phylogeny and seldom by culture; and objective fact is and will always be immutable.

While it is gratifying to see an increasing number of people becoming aware of the fallacious nature of the pseudo-progressive push towards engineered diversity, I’m not always so sure that the people pushing back against this effort are doing so with the right mindset, or for the right reasons.

The best way to win someone over is to first understand why they think the way they do, and, if possible, exactly how they came to think that way. Derision and simplified generalisations will never convince anyone of your good intentions– and you most certainly always should have the best intentions when you argue. Scorn is a vice: satisfying but highly poisonous. It can only perpetuate the conflict, and most likely serve to solidify the resolve and beliefs of your opposition. If you try to understand the whys and hows of any point of view, you are much less likely to fall upon the very human and very destructive desire to act scornfully. Familiarity does not breed contempt; ubiquity can, but I think true familiarity breeds empathy.

Which is why I’m not so eager to condemn those who push for diversity in the sciences and other institutions. While misguided, I think most of these people have good intentions. While it may seem as though they are simply trying to promote an insidious political agenda to offer themselves unfair leverage within our (mostly) meritocratic society, it’s easy for me to see why they think this way.

Envision a situation in which two people are attempting to explain one concept to you. One of these people explains it one way; the other person differently. You might have no idea what the first person is trying to get across to you, yet you might instantly understand the exact same concept when it is explained to you by the second, albeit in different words. I’ve experienced this many times in my life, through teachers, friends, and family. Sometimes, all one needs to understand something is a different perspective. This very article you’re reading might be case in point to this phenomenon– or so I hope.

This is where the belief that diversity will solve our problems comes from. The more variance we have in perspectives, the greater chance we have of finding truth, or understanding, or both. Knowing this, it’s easy to come upon the fallacy that, since our institutions are as flawed as they are, their lack of diversity must be to blame. You might then wonder why people seem so strongly against promoting diversity and affirmative action. Indeed, I would be a strong advocate of diversity in our institutions, if it were not for affirmative action.

People choose to be scientists, doctors, etc. not because of their ethnicity; other factors unique to the individual are what inspire these decisions: family, ambitions, culture, and any number of other things that are completely separate from the issue at hand, and should not, under any circumstances, be tampered with for the sake of our institutions, or the promotion of them. To do so would institutionalise these things in turn. Should we allow institutions to dissect and tamper with our families, cultures, or our very psyches for the sake of a convenience as trivial as diversity of explanation? After all, when dealing with matters as absolute as science, or medicine, or technology, diversity will never change the answers, only the explanations– or at most, the means by which we come to them.

While people are busy fussing over how to get more minorities to become interested in science or medicine or some other form of institution or industry, much bigger, much more real problems persist within these areas:

  • The sciences are grossly underfunded by our governments, especially concerning environmental and extraterrestrial studies.
  • There are too few skilled doctors in the world, and far too many people. As a result, many people do not have access to adequate and/or affordable healthcare. This problem continues to grow along with the world’s population.
  • Educational institutions have grown corrupt, or are likewise inadequately staffed and inadequately funded. A growing number of schools force exorbitant prices upon potential students, and/or abuse their authority to promote political doctrines instead of remaining as factually neutral as possible, as is the foremost responsibility of any educator.
  • Tech industries (and all other industries, to a lesser extent) are plagued by cannibalistic corporate greed, and the perpetual lust for expansion, dominance, and ultimate monopolisation, no matter the cost– the quintessential example of capitalism taken too far.

These are the problems that grow unchecked while we divide ourselves into petty political factions that squabble over how we ought to be micromanaging our industries– when we don’t even know how to macromanage them yet! There’s no sense in arguing over who gets to ride in the carriage if the carriage’s wheels are broken… because if the carriage’s wheels go unfixed, nobody’s going anywhere.

With that said, until we fix the overlying problems of our industries, we must be content with the inevitable fact that certain ethnicities will remain over- or under-represented in certain areas. If we can somehow construct a form of affirmative action that can somehow unobtrusively inspire minorities to enter fields in which they are under-represented, whilst simultaneously not frightening or disadvantaging ethnicities from fields in which they are over-represented, then by all means, let us do so! But for now, I’ve seen no rational evidence of this being viable. Maybe that will change once we get the bigger picture sorted out.

 

*You may have noticed that my explanations do not touch upon the creative industries, such as writing, visual arts, music, drama, etc. That is because my explanations do not apply to these industries. Creativity, as well as the capacity for it, dwells within an entirely different, wholly illogical sphere of our minds. These arts are not affected by rules natural or artificial, but rather a lack of them. As such, the arts are and always have been accessible to anyone possessing the simple desire to engage in creativity. Because of this innate ubiquity, I can think of no circumstance in which anyone could logically (and I use this word deliberately in spite of referring to art as illogical, for the delusion that one is incapable of creativity is but a different, much more destructive form of mental abstraction) feel discouraged or disadvantaged from the arts because of their race, gender, or any other personal factor, ruling out the argument for affirmative action in this sphere. Any disparity witnessed in a certain art form is likely a factor of cultural differences, not discrimination.

Re: A Video Titled “The Black People may be DANGEROUS for Japan.”

I’ve been talking about race a lot on this blog recently, because it’s something that I’ve seen coming up way too often recently. People seem dead-set on bringing colour into everything, and so the validity of these posts remains. It’s a good thing this blog is more of a personal diary, else I would no doubt have already been likened to Adolf Hitler by someone for my terrible, terrible views.

I recommend you watch all or most of the following videos before reading further:

The Black People may be DANGEROUS for Japan

The above is a rather blunt video from a Japanese YouTuber named Nobita, who goes by the handle of “Find your Love in Japan.” He expresses his discontent over some of the rather blunt identity politics modern (and rather blunt) progressives love bludgeoning people with these days. His response is to be rather blunt in turn, and– in case the title didn’t give you any hints– a bit inflammatory. (NOTE: You may or may not need to have a YouTube account to watch this video, or physically search for it on the YouTube site, since YouTube doesn’t think you’re independent enough to handle controversial topics, and as such has partially censored the video for the safety of your oh-so-delicate sensibilities.)

The second comes from another Japanese YouTuber named Yuta, or as he goes by on YouTube: “That Japanese Man Yuta.” He goes through Nobita’s video, particularly the more inflammatory bits, and gives his own, much more diplomatic opinion on the views expressed. While he hasn’t uploaded it to YouTube yet, it can be viewed on his Facebook fanpage:

My Views on Nobita’s “Black People” Videos

Nobita definitely could have worded his points better, and while I agree with what Yuta says about everyone having the same basic human rights as anyone else when living in/visiting a foreign country, I think it’s unfair as a foreigner to expect to be treated exactly the same as a native.

The gist of Nobita’s video seems to be concerned with how the more radical progressives from Europe and North America might affect Japan if they migrated there, and I think those concerns are much more reasonable than the title of his video suggests. Aggressive, regressive progressives have become much more common since the 2016 elections in the United States, and I’ve already seen some dubious articles from English-speaking Japanese newspaper, The Japan Times, that seem to be advocating for the same identity politics-centric agendas as these regressive progressives, which means people of that ilk would already have a platform if they ever migrated to Japan in any significant quantity. Again, this is also a valid concern IMO, with the 2020 Olympics coming up and Japan’s number of foreign residents on the rise, as I’ve never seen identity politics make anyone MORE accepting of anyone else– somehow, it always creates more resentment than it settles.

So yeah, that’s probably what Nobita should have said in his video (or videos– Google’s thought police have already started censoring some). I feel like he might have made a better case for himself if he voiced his opinions in Japanese, or spoke English as well as a native speaker, but unfortunately, the video I saw has the same ‘broad brush’ problems regarding black people and oppression as regressive progressives have when they speak about white people and privilege, that is to say, it sounds accusatory and divisive.