Guest Article by Michael Klonovsky

Arrows and Maxims

By

Michel Klonovsky*

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One of the achievements of modern art has been to provide even coprophils with a proper aesthetic environment.

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What is worse: communication or ex-communication?

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When enough zealots subscribe to it, democracy may well turn totalitarian.

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The height of hypocrisy; the idea that in every child there is a Mozart or an Einstein.

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Had it not been for the numerous men who cooperate with it, feminism would have been limited to case studies in psychology textbooks.

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Where there is no enemy, the pariah is needed to create unity.

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Only when there are no elites does the term “elite” turn into a swearword.

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To be a “politically engaged” artist means dreaming of many engagements.

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The more just the war, the more numerous the dead civilians.

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One handout to a beggar is worth more than twenty volumes on the origins of poverty.

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The cathedrals of feminism are the abortion clinics.

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Never do the eyes of the devil shine as much as when he hears the words: liberty, equality, fraternity.

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Modern dialectics; a woman works longer and longer hours so as to be able to afford proper child care.

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Real cowardice starts at a certain age.

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The more committed to an ideology a historian is, the more likely he is to claim his works are “scientific.”

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Five Frenchmen, five opinions, Five Jews, ten opinions. Five Germans, one opinion.

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No blue-blooded family, however degenerate, could have produced the idiots one finds in any parliament.

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I like feminism. It brings good news. Its emergence means that society’s most important problems have been solved.

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When it comes to trivia shows, the well-educated fail miserably.

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How can one respect a boss who sits behind a computer?

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A so-called “creative” person may be recognized by the fact that he has never invented anything.

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Chess, considered as a test for the intellect, must be unimportant; or else surely there would have been more female grand-masters.

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Gender-equality rests on the idea that one can climb the sea and swim the mountains.

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Not to believe in the effectiveness of prayer, but to cast one’s ballot in elections, does not exactly point to realism.

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What I would love to read: a study of the way Greens behave under a dictatorship.

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Professors are often blinded by their own theories.

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When a woman says no, says the macho, what she means is yes. When a woman says no, say the feminists, what she means is no. Both are right. When a woman says no she may mean either yes or no.

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To denounce racial discrimination is part and parcel of a civilized society; to deny the differences between races, sheer hypocrisy.

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Literary criticism: the parasite needs the tree.

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One outcome of the “sexual revolution” has been to turn Western men and women into slaves of their sexual drives.

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Populism is the democrats’ mistrust of democracy.

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The height of absurdity: to discuss the limits of freedom of expression within those limits.

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As Jonathan Swift wrote, a genius may be recognized by the fact that all the idiots unite against him. Example: Steve Jobs.

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Whoever so much as mentions political correctness immediately becomes its accomplice.

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My generation was the last which had to discover the secrets of sexuality on its own. Nowadays to have sex is to imitate pornographic actors on screen.

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When feminists reach the point where they can no longer find plausible examples of discrimination in their own countries they turn to Africa or else to the ancient world.

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Thank God it was good bourgeois scholars who re-discovered classical antiquity. One shudders to think what would have happened if the field had been left to left-wing “social scientists” or to female professors of gender studies.

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So high is the quality of modern plastic art that none of its creators has ever produced a single failed work.

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Today it is not the Pope who claims to be infallible, it is his opponents

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To be a socialist means preferring the unfreedom of the many to the freedom of a few.

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Wherever right and left are said to have been abolished, it is the left that rules.

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“Adept at multitasking” is what we call those who are incapable of solving an equation or following the thought of a philosopher.

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What a wonderful feeling, to despise a person accused of despising others!

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He would like to become immortal. She would be content with a nice home of her own.

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The nice thing about dying is not having to cope with future technology.

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No tourist has ever stopped to admire a building erected by a socialist, an environmentalist, or a feminist.

 

* Michael Klonovsky is an author and journalists who works for Focus magazine in Munich. The above is a selection from his book, Aphorisms (in German).

And Then There Were Five

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Former Spanish defense minister Carme Chacon reviews her troops

As Margaret Mead, perhaps the greatest female anthropologist of all time, wrote in 1948, in all known societies whatever men do is considered most important by both men and women. As she also wrote, when any number of women enter fields previously reserved for men the latter start leaving. Unless the hemorrhage is stopped, the social and economic rewards attached to the field in question decline. As the history of professions such as secretaries, teachers, social workers, and the like show, often the end result is a female ghetto with few if any men about.

The process also works the other way around. If women start entering a field previously dominated by men, one can be well-nigh certain that, in one way or another, that field is in decline. That is true both in terms of the prestige that is attached to it and the economic rewards it can provide. Dozens of scholars, many of them female, have confirmed Ms. Mead’s findings in fields as diverse as pharmacy, book-editing, and school-teaching. For good or ill, it is the way the world works.

So what do we make of the fact that the number of female defense ministers is growing and that, as of November 2014, no fewer than five European countries had female secretaries of defense? Does this prove, as many feminists claim, that even the last “male bastions” are crumbling in front of the onslaught of the fair sex? Or is there a different, and perhaps better, explanation?

The countries in question are Albania (Mimi Kodheli), Germany (Ursula von der Leyen), Roberta Pinotti (Italy), the Netherlands (Jeanine Hennis-Plasshaert, and Norway (Marie Eriksen Soreide). With the exception of Albania, which during the 1999 Kosovo conflict was located too close for comfort, what all these countries have in common is that, for seven decades now, they have not fought a single serious war anywhere near, let alone inside, their own borders.

Especially since the end of the Cold War, their basic security—the fact that nobody would try to invade them, or bomb them, or blockade them—was taken very much for granted. What military operations they undertook, if they undertook any at all, were invariably conducted in faraway places against third- and fourth rate opponents such as the
Taliban. So much so, in fact, that many of their citizens could never understand why those operations had to be conducted at all.

Occasional alarms to the contrary, everywhere the feeling was that there was no threat. Absent a threat, many armed forces did away with conscription. A surer sign that no enemy is ante portas would be hard to find. The armed forces were cut and cut. For example, in Germany the number of troops went down from 500,000 in 1990—750,000, if the former East German forces are included—to well under 200,000 today. The equivalent figures for Albania are 120,000 (excluding 500,000 reservists) and 15,000. Considered as part of GDP, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Norway have all cut their spending by about one half.

Thus the female invasion of defense establishments—not just at the top, but at the bottom too—has been gathering steam just as a growing number of people in Western countries concluded that those establishments were losing their relevance. That, in turn, meant that their potential as springboards for further advancement was limited. For example, it is said that the reason why German Angela Merkel appointed Ms. von der Leyen was not her mastery of the field, about which the former minister for family affairs, senior citizens, women and youth knew next to nothing. It was because she expected her to fail in the job. Having failed, which given the sad state of the Bundeswehr was likely to happen, she would no longer present a political threat to the Chancellor.

It may be true, as one female defense analyst has written, that “women could actually make a difference in how Europe reacts” to “Russian sabre rattling in nearby Ukraine.” After all, she says, “women tend to find a more reasonable approach and could de-escalate” the conflict. As that conflict and quite some others in other places around the world also shows, though, it simply is not true that “defense is no longer about lining up soldiers against each other to do battle;” nor that, as a result, some kind of “military service experience” has become superfluous.

Briefly, those who go the way of all females should not be surprised if they get f—ed. Decades of neglect have left the defenses of most Western countries in a disgraceful state. Like it or not, of this neglect the ongoing feminization of many defense establishments is a vital part. Faced with kindly, gentle characters such as Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Daesh’s Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, it will take more than five women, however reasonable and adept at de-escalation they may be, to put things right again.

Guest Article by Vox Day

Tears of the Major Publishers

By

Vox Day*

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The battle is being waged largely over physical books. In the United States, Amazon has been discouraging customers from buying titles from Hachette, the fourth-largest publisher by market share. Late Thursday, it escalated the dispute by making it impossible to order Hachette titles being issued this summer and fall. It is using some of the same tactics against the Bonnier Media Group in Germany.

But the real prize is control of e-books, the future of publishing. Publishers tried to rein in Amazon once, and got slapped with a federal antitrust suit for their efforts. Amazon was not directly a party to the case but has reaped the rewards in increased market power. Now it wants to increase its share of the digital proceeds. The publishers, weighing a slide into irrelevance if not nonexistence, are trying to hold the line.

Late Friday afternoon [23.5.2014], Hachette made by far its strongest comment on the conflict: “We are determined to protect the value of our authors’ books and our own work in editing, distributing and marketing them,” said Sophie Cottrell, a Hachette senior vice president. “We hope this difficult situation will not last a long time, but we are sparing no effort and exploring all options.”

What is hilarious is the authors and publishers crying about how Amazon is “raising the prices” of their books. It’s an absolutely ridiculous charge. What Amazon is actually doing is refusing to continue its extreme discounting on the artificially high retail price of books.

Castalia House has no issue with Amazon, and Amazon doesn’t discount its prices on our ebooks much because they are already in the price range that Amazon expects: 2.99 to 4.99. But publishers that price their ebooks at $15.99 are in trouble, because no one wants to pay actual retail price for them on Amazon. Compare the price of two John C. Wright books. We sell Awake in the Night Land for a digital list price of $4.99. Tor sells Judge of Ages for a digital list price of $26.99. Tor is counting on Amazon being willing to offer the customer a 45 percent discount, thus allowing Tor to collect $12.15 (assuming the standard 55 percent distribution discount) on an ebook compared to the $3.50 that Castalia receives. But Amazon only makes one dollar more from the 5x more expensive Tor book than it does from the Castalia book, which means a 17 percent operating margin instead of a 30 percent margin

And Amazon sells more copies of the lower-priced books. At $4.99 Awake in the Night Land is #18,816 on Kindle. At $27.99 reduced to $12.99, Judge of Ages is #41,075. Ebook prices are elastic, so if Amazon can sell 2 low-price ebooks for every 1 high price ebook, it not only makes a) about twice the margin, but also b) about fifty cents more.

No wonder Amazon is unwilling to continue the conventional arrangement. Amazon can only successfully sell its books up to a certain price, depending upon the format and length. Due to the distribution discount system, a higher retail price means a higher distribution price, so Amazon makes half the margin on the more expensive, more steeply discounted books from the major publishers. Amazon is not only perfectly within its rights, but logically needs to stop discounting the book from what is, after all, the publisher’s suggested retail price; Hatchette’s complaint is rooted in the fact that Amazon is now selling its books for the price that Hatchette itself suggests!

By the way, this showdown between Amazon and the major publishers is a development that I predicted would be taking place soon during my campaign for SFWA [Science Fiction Writers of America] President. The possibility was pooh-poohed by the business geniuses there, including the eventual winner. Nevertheless, the outcome will likely have a huge effect on authors with major publishers because the reason the publishers are fighting this uphill battle is their inability to support their current overhead structure without the additional revenue they receive from their inflated retail prices on ebooks. If either Amazon or the author were to receive a more equitable share, no major publisher could survive in its current form.

What the publishers should do – what they should have done a long time ago – is to set up a joint online store and then stop distributing books through Amazon. But they didn’t have either the nerve or the foresight, so now they’re faced with trying to develop some sort of alternative as Amazon begins to dip its toes into its own publishing line. Their best bet, in my opinion, would be to buy the Nook Store from Barnes&Noble, embrace a truly open standard, and go into competition.

However, they won’t embrace the open standard, and in doing so, they are giving up one of their two advantages over Amazon.

 

* Vox Day is an author and game designer.

Pussycats V, Or Finding Dr. Livingstone

At the time he arrived in Zanzibar in March 1871 he was thirty years old. He took just 28 days to find out what was needed and put together an expedition into the east African wilderness. Next, having crossed the strait that separates the island from the continent, he found his way into the interior. A country so rarely before travelled by white men that wherever he passed the entire population, infants included, came out to gape at the Musungu.

The fact that the terrain was almost entirely unmapped did not deter him. Neither did the fact that parts of it were densely inhabited by unfriendly native populations. Like his fellow explorers, he did not fear isolation and the absence of communications—no telegraphs, no radio, no pho11_canotnes, np fax machines, no GPS. All this made him entirely dependent on his own resources.

He had the stamina to travel hundreds of miles, on foot or else on the back of a donkey. It being the wet season—for fear that his prey might elude him, he did not dare delay his departure—he braved endless tropical rain. He waded for hours through lakes that reached up to his and his men’s chests, crossed streams some of which were crocodile-infested, and marched through mountain ranges, jungles, and dry plains where any delay would have meant dying by thirst. All this, while often on an unappetizing, unnourishing diet and frequently drinking rather dubious water.

He acted as physician-in-chief to about 200 men who, normally travelling in several separate columns, served under his orders. Later the number went down to 50. Along with him, they suffered from all kinds of festering wounds with no antibiotics to help them. Many were struck down by disease. Unsurprisingly, some died. He himself not only survived repeated attacks of the same diseases, including malaria and dysentery, but hardly allowed them to delay him on his journey.

Though no geologist, he took a vivid interest in different kinds of soil, rivers, rocks and boulders. Using either English or some native language, he seems to have been able to name almost every one of the numerous plants, animals and birds he met on his way. Not even the various kinds of fly that pestered him and his men escaped a fairly close examination under the microscope.

He knew how to drag his men, animals and equipment across a raging mountain stream. He knew how to build a boat and dismantle it. He knew how to cook. He knew how to butcher animals and dissect a horse’s carcass so as to find out the cause of its death (one horse, presented to him as a parting-gift by the Sultan of Zanzibar, turned out to have cancer).

He also knew how to capture a sleeping man and cut off his head as some of his Arab associates did at one point, though he does not say he participated in such an act. And he knew how to fight a battle. After all, he was one of very few men who, having moved from his native Wales to the U.S in 1859, successively served in the Confederate Army, the Federal Army, and the Federal Navy during the Civil War.

Over nineteen years after 1871 he periodically left Africa but always returned to lead other expeditions. In 1890, aged forty-nine, he finally decided that his travelling days were over. He married Dorothy Tennant, fourteen years younger than him and a painter of typical Victorian themes. Since they had no children they adopted a son. A Welshman by birth, he died in London in 1904. By that time he had long been world-famous.

Needless to say, Henry Morton Stanley’s—an adopted name, not his original one—fame had everything to do with the various books of memoirs he published. Though he never went to journalism school (an illegitimate child as well as an orphan, he spent much of his youth in a workhouse), he was a superb writer. That was one reason why James Gordon Bennett, son of the proprietor of the New York Herald, had recruited him in the first place.

Some of the authors of the enormous literature that grew up around him even during his lifetime accused him of falsification. Like all good writers of memoirs from Julius Caesar down, he may indeed have embellished the truth or bent it to his purposes. Even the most famous sentence he ever uttered, “Doctor Livingstone, I presume,” may very well have been invented post facto. Certainly Livingstone’s own account of their meeting does not mention it; but then Galileo’s most famous words, “nevertheless, it moves,” are not firmly attested either.

Other biographers, particularly but not exclusively those writing after World War I, accused him of excessively brutal behavior both towards his own men and any natives he met who in one way or another stood in his way. The accusations may well have been justified. One problem was the need to deal with petty local rulers. Some had armies at their disposal. Without exception, all were determined to extort as much as they possibly could both from Stanley himself and from his chief subordinates.

Another very difficult problem was thieves and deserters among his own men. They belonged to various nations—today we would have said “ethnic groups.” Serving for pay, mostly in the form of cloth, wire and beads, they did not form a cohesive team of any sort. Engaged on an enterprise of immense difficulty, often anticipating nothing but suffering, presumably the only way they could be kept in line was by punishment, mainly beatings. Given that the alternative was often his own death, Stanley’s brutality, if not forgivable, is understandable. The more so because, as he makes clear, friends and enemies alike behaved in a similar way as a matter of course.

Gun in hand, at one point he even had to quell a mutiny. Nothing could stop him. In the words of Mark Twain, “when I contrast what I have achieved in my measurably brief life with what [Stanley] has achieved in his possibly briefer one, the effect is to sweep utterly away the ten-story edifice of my own self-appreciation and leave nothing behind but the cellar.” As he himself wrote when unexpectedly having to build a bridge across a stream, “be sure it was made quickly, for where the civilized white is found, a difficulty must vanish.” As he also wrote, he would die rather than return with his mission unfulfilled. On the other hand, his experience with Arabs, some friendly other hostile, made him see them as hopeless cowards.

With Western nations determined to send in no ground troops and only attacking Daesh from 20,000 feet, who are the cowards now?