25 Sep 2019

Tough Questions for Progressives

Bob Murphy Show 41 Comments

The latest Bob Murphy Show. If any of you share this with your chums, I would be interested in feedback. I truly didn’t intend this to be a “USA! USA!” self-congratulatory thing. I wonder if progressives think any of these are good points, or if it merely provokes eye-rolls.

24 Sep 2019

Bloomberg Piece on the Contra Cruise

Contra Krugman 5 Comments

Here it is.

23 Sep 2019

“Black Mirror” and the Need for Jesus

Religious 28 Comments

I have been very impressed with the Black Mirror series. I am way behind (I only started watching them this year, I believe) but wanted to write a quick post concerning one of the episodes… (Note that there are major spoilers, in case you are only starting the series yourself.)

The episode starts showing a kid in his early 20s (?) who has signed up for the military. They are being sent out to a rural town where “roaches”–the derogatory term for the enemy–have stolen some food. They investigate, and the townsfolk point them to a strange guy who lives in the woods and might be harboring the “roaches.”

Well, it turns out that these “roaches” are in fact monsters in humanoid form. Imagine a human body with the head of a bat; that’s kind of what they look like. Later on, the viewer learns from some of the dialogue that there was apparently some kind of radiation or sickness that made a bunch of people turn into these “roaches,” and now the military has to wipe them out because it’s us vs. them.

Anyway, the kid (who is the protagonist in this episode) kills three roaches (I’ll stop using quotation marks) on this initial outing, and the other soldiers are impressed. However, while struggling in hand-to-hand combat with one of them, the kid encounters this odd, flashing device.

Part of the sci fi element of this episode is that the soldiers have an implant in their brains, which allows the captain to “show” them schematics of the building they are going to infiltrate, etc. In other words, they have an implant that allows someone else to send information directly into their visual cortex, so that they can “see” the battlefield in an enhanced way.

Now after the kid has this initial outing, we get signs that his implant is malfunctioning. He starts seeing weird things, that then disappear when he shakes his head, etc. He goes in to tell his superiors, they send him to get a diagnostic test done, and the psych guy asks him some questions about the event. It appears that the implant is working fine.

Later on, he and his partner are pinned down by a roach in a building, firing at them with a rifle. As he’s laying facedown on the ground, the kid starts smelling the grass. He exclaims to his partner that he can smell grass for the first time in ages. She of course yells at him to get his head back in the game, and to cover her as she tries to advance toward the building where the sniper is.

The kid enters the building and is sweeping it, room to room. He enters a room and finds a woman trembling in the corner, obviously afraid he’s going to hurt her. He assures her she is safe, and tells her to run out of the building. But as she steps out into the hallway, the other soldier blows her away. The kid is horrified, and the viewers at this point just assume the other soldier had an itchy trigger finger.

Well, then two soldiers then go into another room, and this one has three humans. The female soldier starts shooting all of them too. It was at this point that I personally (watching the episode) realized what was going on: There are no such things as “roaches,” and the military has been altering the visual information so that the soldiers think they are shooting actual monsters when in fact they are just human enemies of the State.

So the kid freaks out when he realizes what’s going on. I’m skipping ahead, to when the kid is back in custody and the psych guy is interrogating him. He explains to the kid that when he originally enlisted, he agreed to the implant, and he also agreed to having his memory wiped concerning this very agreement!

The guy proposes that they will fix the implant and wipe the kid’s memory, so he can go back to being a good soldier. Naturally, the kid refuses; now that he knows the truth, he can’t go back to his old life. In order to pressure him to change his mind, the guy starts playing the video (in the kid’s mind) of what really happened during that initial fight: The kid sees himself killing three humans in cold blood, who had been hiding in the house in the woods. The psych guy warns the kid that he will keep replaying that video over and over, unless the kid agrees to get his memory wiped.

***

This is actually related to my own view of what hell is. I think all of us have been duped by the devil into doing awful things. We know better, but we also don’t realize just how bad the things are, that we are doing. And so, when we meet our Maker, I think part of what happens is that all self-justifying nonsense falls away, and we see the unvarnished truth.

If, at that moment, all you have to rely on, is the record of your own deeds, you will be in intolerable agony. You will be like the kid in the Black Mirror episode, seeing the full reality of what he did.

However, if you have trained yourself into truly believing that your salvation rests not on your own deeds, but on the blood of Christ, and that His righteousness has been imputed to you, then you can watch the “movie” of your life and say, “OK, this is filling in the details, but I already understood that I was a sinner who deserved hell. However, I can forgive myself, because I know that God has already done so.”

And then, people like the evil psych guy have no power over you.

17 Sep 2019

Bob Dissects Chappelle’s Special, “Sticks & Stones”

Bob Murphy Show 1 Comment

Lots of good feedback on this one already. Surprised? Give it a shot.

16 Sep 2019

I’m Pretty Sure I LOL’d

Climate Change 24 Comments

…when I first encountered the Abstract of a paper talking about the 1.5 degree target, where one of the authors was a Lead Author for the IPCC Special Report on the 1.5C target. I wrote up the tale for IER.

13 Sep 2019

I Spend 2 Hours Talking About the Austrian School

Austrian School No Comments

This was a super geeky (and hence awesome) conversation.

13 Sep 2019

BMS Episode 59

Bob Murphy Show No Comments

This was a fun and informative one. The guest, Marsha Enright, actually founded a Montessori school near Chicago when her daughter was graduating from the elementary-level one and there were no choices beyond. But the reason I booked her for the show, is that she opposes school vouchers as dangerous for the (semi-)independence of private schools.

11 Sep 2019

Contra Krugman Twin Spin

Contra Krugman No Comments

I think I am behind in posting on these. Because Krugman’s articles were so weak, we just fielded listener topics for episodes 203 and 204.