Thursday, December 19, 2019

The Rational Left

I recently offered a very short post, encouraging readers to watch Jonathan Pageau’s treatment of a speech given by Apple CEO Tim Cook to the ADL: The Apple CEO, 666, and The Garden of Eden.  I did not add any comments in my post, strongly preferring that Pageau’s work would be best served by standing on its own.

I still believe this to be the case, but I will now expand on why I found such value and meaning in Pageau’s work.  Unfortunately, to do this I must say something about his video – which comments were most meaningful to me (almost all of them).  After this, I will offer my thoughts on how I see Cook’s speech and Pageau’s treatment of it fitting in to the larger ongoing discussion.  If you don’t want a review of Pageau’s video, skip down to the line-break below.

Pageau notes: the speech had a moralistic, crusading tone; it was extremely aggressive; Cook spoke with a moral certainty.  He is presenting his moral vision.  This should be kept in mind when considering his speech.  Also, keep in mind two other thoughts: Cook’s comments are often met with rousing applause by his audience; Cook’s comments are often met with laughter by Pageau.

Cook offers: This year we have seen anti-Semitism, violence, and hate.  Further he states that despair is unethical.  In other words – as Pageau puts it – the breakdown of meaning (which is resulting in despair) is unethical.  We must find meaning solely in Cook’s ethical system.

Cook is offering a vision of the desired ethic: the only values that matter are 1) inclusion, and 2) don’t oppose the system – including the system of inclusion.  It is a problem if you oppose yourself to this.  It is unethical to be outside of this desired ethic.

Cook firmly states: do not be indifferent to the suffering of your fellow man.  This is a wonderful ethic, but how does he expand on it?  He identifies this as a teaching of Judaism and Islam.  Pageau notes: what is missing from this list? 

Pageau comments, it is OK to exclude Christians because what is important is the inclusion of those on the margins – the center must include the marginal; the marginal need not return the favor.  Cook doesn’t want to affirm or even acknowledge the center; he wants to include and acknowledge only the margins.

Cook offers two examples of the suffering fellow man that we must not be indifferent to: immigrants and the LGBTQ community.  Pageau asks: why these two examples: why not the millions in China’s concentration camps, or the slave trade in Muslim countries.  But Cook doesn’t mention these.  (He also doesn’t mention the Palestinians, but this would really be a bridge too far given the audience).

Cook has only one message for those who seek to push hate and violence: you have no place on our platform.  Pageau says – hey, we could cheer this.  But is Cook getting rid of songs about rape and killing children, rap music about killing a girlfriend or daughter, movies with murder, rape, torture? 

No, not this at all.  It is about exclusion: Cook points only to white supremacy and violent conspiracy theory – this is the only hate and violence that concerns Cook.  Pageau summarizes: Cook is after pounding out exclusion (by the so-called white supremacists) and questioning the government (via those promoting so-called conspiracy theories).

Cook will leave “Cannibal Corpse” (whatever that is) on Apple’s platforms, but will exclude Alex Jones.  He then offers that these “curation decisions” reflect Apple’s values.  “If we can’t be clear on moral questions like these, we have big problems.”  Consider Apple’s values while considering Pageau’s comments.  Pageau compares Cook to an inquisitor.

Technology should be used to build a better, more inclusive and more hopeful world: include the margins and exclude despair (in other words, don’t question meaning).  Pageau compares this exactly to China – which might explain why Cook doesn’t question China’s imprisonment of those who question its conspiracy theories.

Pageau then considers the symbolism: Apple chose an “Apple” with a bite out of it as its symbol: the knowledge of good and evil; and Cook sees Apple as the divine – the god with the knowledge of good and evil.  Those who believe this of themselves will have no fear of external action: Cook doesn’t question himself; all of the hate and violence is on the outside, none of it is in him.

His system will have perfect inclusion; you cannot question his system.  The only sin is to not accept his system.  This is the 666 notion: you cannot question his system, else you can be fully excluded from the public space – including the ability to buy and sell. 

If you do not accept their sign, then you will not be able to participate in society.  It captures the symbolism of 666.


There is this “thing” referred to as the Intellectual Dark Web.  It is made up of people like Jordan Peterson, John Vervaeke, Bret Weinstein, Eric Weinstein, Paul VanderKlay, Sam Harris, Ben Shapiro.  All of them are – in different ways – examining the meaning crisis that is engulfing western civilization.  All of them (except, nominally, one) can be characterized as coming from what is today considered to be left-of-center politically.

Many of them have been banished from today’s left – a radical and even violent left.  The two most well-known cases from the above list would be that of Jordan Peterson and Bret Weinstein.  Peterson because he voiced his opposition to compelled speech, and Weinstein because he was at the center of the Evergreen University controversy.  In other words, both of them have been banished for taking positions that just a few short years ago would have been considered mainstream, down-the-middle, left-wing positions.

Today’s left – at least the vocal left – is explained by Tim Cook: we will control speech; we will disallow criticism of the government.  Today’s left fits what most people used to describe as fascism.

Cook’s controlled speech is the act of the weak.  Truth does not need the force of law to be victorious.  It just needs truth.  To get at truth, speech must be left free – without threat of violence from the state.  The more laws one sees outlawing speech, the more one can be certain that what is being defended by law is a lie. 

Consider the laws in place that are intended to control or limit speech.  What are the topics that are being limited either in part or totally?  It is behind these topics where you can be certain that the curtain of law hides the truth.

Cook’s fight against conspiracy theories is the act of a gatekeeper.  In a world where none of the establishment narratives make any sense, what does Cook expect?  For people to just shut up and take it?  Apparently, yes.

Here is my list of hundreds of lies that we were brought up to believe – lies stretching thousands of years.  Here is a listing from just the last few decades – just off the top of my head, certainly not exhaustive:

·       Vietnam
·       Kennedy (both of them)
·       King
·       Malcolm X
·       September 11
·       Iraq
·       Afghanistan
·       Syria
·       Libya
·       Israel
·       Saudi Arabia
·       Russian collusion
·       Man-made global warming / climate change

Each one of these has multiple sub-bullets below it.

Question any of these, and Cook, apparently, will banish you from his platforms.

Now, let’s speak of Trump.  Well, not Trump exactly, but the reasons people voted for him as opposed to Clinton.  Trump spoke to the working class, something the left has abandoned; Trump spoke against war, something the left has abandoned; Trump spoke against a police state; something the left has abandoned; Trump spoke against central banking and money-power, something the left has abandoned; Trump called the criminals out; something the left has abandoned.

Look, I am not saying Trump acted on any of these.  My point is that the left – the Clinton left, the angry, violent left, the left that banishes those like Peterson and Weinstein – no longer gives any of these topics lip service; in fact, they are vocally supportive of the opposite of each of these.

Since the time of Trump’s candidacy, I felt that the rational left would vote for Trump – or at least not vote for the violent left of Clinton.  This happened.  This movement will only increase.


Tim Cook, in this speech, represents the non-rational left.  His speech would have gone over well in Nazi Germany, to say nothing of the Soviet Union.

Look back at the list of those I have identified as part of the Intellectual Dark Web.  While I disagree with positions held by some of them (in a couple of cases, quite significantly), in all cases they are at least speaking about this lack of a meaningful center in society, and the costs to society and the individuals in it due to the hollow, dark center.

Tim Cook’s radical left will fall apart, as it must.  All such fascistic / totalitarian regimes do – some faster than others, some more peacefully than others.  But they will not hold because they cannot hold.  When the center of a movement is hollow – even dark – it has no future.

These are the values that Cook, via Apple, is defending.  These are the values of today’s radical, violent left.  This is why I appreciated Pageau’s treatment: the rational left is making its voice known.  I do not consider myself on the left in any commonsense understanding of the term, yet I can agree fully with Pageau’s comments.


What of Pageau’s reference of 666, end-times prophecies, etc.?  I appreciate his treatment.  I have decided that trying to understand such things is beyond both my ability and desire – I do not find these relevant to my Christianity.  I fail enough at that which I understand; why complicate things further?

The one interpretation of so-called end-times prophecy that I cannot accept is the one that has swept the United States since the time of Darby and Scofield: today’s modern state of Israel must be supported and defended at all costs.  This is total and complete heresy, the most non-Christian position a Christian can take on the matter.

Even worse, such Christians are the ultimate anti-Semites: you know what happens at the end of this narrative?  Israel is wiped off the map by a two-hundred-million-man army.  To my understanding (which is not very deep), it is this, ultimately, that today’s Israel-worshipping Christians are praying for.

Hagee advocating for Israel’s doom.  The truth is, the more such positions are taken, the more likely such a result will come to pass.

They all deserve each other.  In eternity.


  1. "Pageau comments, it is OK to exclude Christians because what is important is the inclusion of those on the margins – the center must include the marginal; the marginal need not return the favor. Cook doesn’t want to affirm or even acknowledge the center; he wants to include and acknowledge only the margins." - BM

    This whole post reminded me of one of Rothbard's old RRR essays entitled "Why Paleo?" but especially the paragraph above.

    "And hence, too, the fanatical hostility of the ML [modal/leftist/or nihilo libertarian] toward Christianity. I used to think that this militant atheism was merely a function of the Randianism out of which most modern libertarians emerged two decades ago. But atheism is not the key, for let someone in a libertarian gathering announce that he or she is a witch or a worshiper of crystal-power or some other New Age hokum, and that person will be treated with great tolerance and respect. It is only Christians that are subject to abuse, and clearly the reason for this difference in treatment has nothing to do with atheism. But it has everything to do with rejecting and spurning bourgeois American culture; any kind of kooky cultural cause will be encouraged in order to tweak the noses of the hated bourgeoisie." - Rothbard

    Only Christianity is to be ridiculed or omitted from the discussion, because it's the only one that represents a threat to the ascending statist power structure, elements of which were present even in the libertarian movement of the early 90s.

    "Cook sees Apple as the divine – the god with the knowledge of good and evil. Those who believe this of themselves will have no fear of external action: Cook doesn’t question himself; all of the hate and violence is on the outside, none of it is in him." - BM

    "In point of fact, the original attraction of the ML [again, modal libertarian] to Randianism was part and parcel of his adolescent rebellion: what better way to rationalize and systematize rejection of one’s parents, family, and neighbors than to join a cult which denounces religion and which trumpets the absolute superiority of yourself and your cult leaders, as contrasted to the robotic “second-handers” who supposedly people the bourgeois world? A cult, furthermore, which calls upon you to spurn your parents, family, and bourgeois associates, and to cultivate the alleged greatness of your own individual ego (suitably guided, of course, by Randian leadership). There is a certain raffish charm to adolescent rebels at twenty; at forty however, the same attitudes and outlook become odious." - Rothbard

    Hard not to also see the parallels between Tim Cook and Rothbard's characterization of Randians.

    "I do not find these relevant to my Christianity." - BM

    Exactly my opinion. That's up to God, not me. What is up to me is holding my own path as near to Jesus as I can manage, leading to the best of my ability my family along that path as well, and supporting a local church that I believe is doing good and honest work for God. What happens at the End of Days is way over my head, and to be honest, I kinda think it was way over St. John's head too. Revelation reads like a terrifying fever dream. I'm open to it being the truth, but I don't put much stock in it. I think it often draws the focus away from what's important in the Gospels.

  2. The people who are in de facto control are not that bright, and they are incapable of executing a complex conspiracy. They employ a system where most everything important is reduced to a "systematized delusion":

    “A “systematized delusion” is one based on a false premise, pursued by a logical process of reasoning to an insane conclusion ; there being one central delusion, around which other aberrations of the mind converge.” Taylor v. McClintock, 112 S.W. 405, 412, 87 Ark. 243. (West’s Judicial Words and Phrases (1914)).

    The primary structural flaw is that true exposure of any given false premise will then cause a cascade failure of the entire belief or proposition. I believe that to be the primary motivation behind the ever-building hysterics over the control of dissenting opinions.

    One of the system's most significant criminal "tells" in this area is that the more prima facie irrational and otherwise transparently fraudulent a decision from a multi-judge court of appeal - the more likely it is to be unanimous.

    The judges employ irrationality, per se, as a means of broadcasting "policy" to the broadly-defined legal profession. The legal profession is a relatively tightly organized group with massive vested interests in the maintenance of multiple systematized delusions, and so this business model works fairly efficiently - until it doesn't.

    But the larger public is far less organized and cannot be relied upon to self-regulate in the pointing out of fatal flaws in the larger socio-economic control structure.

    What Tim Cook is doing is easing us all into accepting a system that is analogous to a ten-second-delay in live broadcasts of sporting events and the like. In case anyone in the spectator-stands holds up an unpalatable sign or an announcer says something unacceptable - then there is time to cut off the broadcast before it gets out.

    The powers-that-be are trying to create a kind of universal ten-second-delay (or a series of "fire-walls") on everything so that no one can bring broad public attention to any false premise in any material systematized delusion.

    Is that clear?

    1. "Is that clear?"

      Give me ten seconds, I will get back to you.

  3. Cook is essentially explaining what Cultural Marxism is, including margins while excluding the center Christian culture, and showing how large corporations can be used to enforce their system with or without government. Michael Rectenwald talks about the same thing in his new book Google Archipelago.

    It is the same thing China is planning to do with their social scoring system. They evaluate your habits and beliefs and assign you a score. They plan to use public cameras and facial recognition software to track movement and behavior. If your score isn't high enough you can't qualify for loans, purchase things, travel, enroll at school, or whatever. Exactly what Tim Cook wants. It is so very despicable and evil.

    It makes sense how you enjoyed the talk regardless of how it relates to the Bible. But it adds a whole other dimension.

    1. The talk really helped make sense about tech's relationship with China - beyond just the commercial opportunity. The Chinese government is putting in place all of what Cook advocates for the US. They don't fight China because that is the desired model.

  4. Each person needs to navigate their own relationship with God and how they apply Scripture to it. That makes sense.

    My only caution is that Revelation is inspired by the Holy Spirit and therefore profitable for teaching, correction, reproof, and preparing believers to pursue a good life. It is very interesting to me that the economic/political system of the AntiChrist and the Beast described in Revelation is being planned and desired by those in power today.

    Who knows how it will all turn out. I wouldn't be making any predictions about who, what, how, or when. That would be fruitless.

    It is encouraging to me though that God already knows what is going to happen. Even though he allows some very bad things to happen, no surprise there, he is in control. Then we see sin judged eternally and eternally removed form his creation, leaving a world full of peace, joy, and holiness. At the center of all of it is Jesus. Great stuff to think about.

    1. I am with you on Revelation. My main point: Biblical interpretation is tough enough on even the simplest matters; end-times prophecies (if that is what they are) are orders of magnitude more complex, and - for me at least - not as meaningful to my current walk.

      Plus it is abominable how these "prophecies" are used politically.

  5. So is the Apple icon meant to reference the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil? I think it is. That scares me a bit.

    1. I had never thought of that prior to Pageau's comment. It even has a bite taken out of it.

  6. "When the center of a movement is hollow – even dark – it has no future."

    I have to disagree.

    Only once, in the entire history of humanity, across our entire globe, have we had a society as humane, civilized and decent as Western Civilization.

    It is very far from the norm, the expected or default. And even as we watch, we see it melting away, to be replace by what IS the norm for humanity - a few powerful people with their boots on the throats of the peasants, peasant with no rights or means to fight back.

    It took so long to create Western Civilization, and now we're throwing it all away, and for what?

    To avoid upsetting some feminists?

    Big Tech means it will be ever-more impossible to fight back, revolt or even resist. China's 'credit' system is just the start.

    I shudder to think how this world will be in 50 years.