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Month: November 2003

Ebbs and flows

Last week, Lawrence Haws wrote me to point out this post, which is — well, it’s what it is. As best I can untangle the logic, Lynxx Pherrett thinks that right wing talk radio isn’t creating a culture of violence because Andrew McCrae was a leftist. There’s also a lot of really flawed rhetoric about how our colleges are producing left-wing assassins by the boatload…

OK, I’m going to digress here for a moment. I experienced Harvard’s General Education program, as it happens, and not only did I not become a brainwashed leftist cop-killer, I remember what General Education courses I took. One of these, which was and is the largest course at Harvard, was Michael Sandel’s Justice. Michael Sandel teaches an unrepentantly communitarianist theory of justice; a large portion of the course is dedicated to refuting the theories of John Rawls, patron saint of modern liberalism. It is difficult, to say the least, to reconcile the popularity of a course which preaches the importance of society with claims that Harvard’s General Education curriculum is a breeding ground for dangerous loners.

Also exceedingly popular: Roderick MacFarquhar’s course on the Cultural Revolution. It was an unstinting look at the horrors of Mao’s Cultural Revolution. I find it very hard to convince myself that MacFarquhar’s stinging condemnations of Mao cause fond affection for Communism.

Digression over. That wasn’t actually the point of the post; I just couldn’t help but point out that the Harvard curriculum of the late 1950s may not actually accurately model today’s Harvard curriculum.

What I did take out of Pherrett’s post is that there are, in this country, left-wing terrorists. But I already knew that. There are fanatics on both sides of the political spectrum, and some percentage of them are inclined to kill. I wrote back to Lawrence with some extended musings on this topic, and let the topic kind of percolate for a bit.

Then, on Monday, I read the latest post on Orcinus. It exposes his personal reasons for his crusade; I found it remarkably open, exposed reading. Worth reading just for the integrity. It also got my thoughts back on this longwinded post I’m constructing here.

One of the things he talks about, after acknowleding that there are fanatics on the left, is the preponderance of violent right wing rhetoric. He knows, as do I, that there are repellent people on the left — “In my view, Stalinist Communism is the epitome of the blinkered, anti-personal ideology of the left, and I’ve always been a fairly severe anti-Communist.” I suspect he would acknowledge that the rhetoric of groups like ANSWER influenced Andrew McCrae. But McCrae is only one person.

A single loner doesn’t mean the left is as dangerous as the right. I’ll see your McCrae and raise you a Carl Drega. Have an Eric Rudolph. Remember the murder of Alan Berg. Look up Buford Furrow. Read about these forty men.

The right doesn’t have a monopoly on hatred in this country. Thirty years ago, our domestic terrorists were the left-wing Weathermen and the Symbionese Liberation Army. Thirty years from now, radical environmentalists may embrace terrorist tactics wholeheartedly.

But that’s then. This is now. I am a minarchist, and I have great sympathy for those who feel the government has too many tendrils in private life. This does not stop me from thinking that violence is the wrong solution for the problem as it exists in America today. And when I look around to see where the violence comes from — today, now — I see the terrorist right.

Cryptic legalese

Not exactly breaking news, but there’s been nothing else in White Wolf v. Sony for a while, so here’s the only thing posted in the PACER docket since early this month:

11/26/03 AGREED PROTECTIVE ORDER approved by Judge J. Owen Forrester. (see order for specifics)(cc) (dfb)

Sadly for our curiosity, there is no actual order attached. Yeah, I’m pretty much scraping the bottom of the barrel here. I have no idea what this could mean.

Schilling wise

Looks like it’s a go — Curt Schilling, Advanced Squad Leader owner, EverQuest player, and 20 game winner will be playing for the Boston Red Sox next year. It’s been a pretty surreal 24 hours; first Schilling posted a letter on the official Red Sox bulletin board, and then he dropped by the Sons of Sam Horn board for a live chat or two. Both appearances have been confirmed to a certain degree, although one never knows. The guy’s a computer geek, though.

But hey — the exposure to the Boston fan base appears not to have hurt in the least. Pedro will be better off not having to carry the team on his back. As constructed, this team wins the AL East. They may still add Keith Foulke, and there’s always the potential for a Manny trade. Gotta like this ownership.


“Don’t think for a second that seeing all these threads and reading this stuff didn’t leave an impression, thanks for the emails and well wishes, pretty sure I will be back from time to time, I’d drop in and chat but that rooms seems a bit full atm.”
— Curt Schilling, Internet bulletin board habituee

Man, you’re never gonna be able to tell Boston fans they don’t matter again. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

Visiting incognito

I kept the cynical from my door for about, oh, 24 hours. Going to a warzone and cheering up the troops is a pretty good thing to do, even if the motives are impure. So, sure, I gave him points for that.

But then I stopped and asked myself why he brought the press corps along.

I gotta say. If I’m the President, and I’m worried about my security, and the purpose of my visit is to rally the troops — why do I need Fox News on that plane? Why am I taking the risk of letting reporters in on the story a few days early? I could just, you know, get on the plane and go and come back without bringing along a bunch of cameramen and reporters. If I gotta have pictures, I’m sure there are a couple of Army guys whose job it is to take pictures of things.

Wouldn’t it be safer for both me and the soldiers I’m meeting if I skipped the press coverage and kept the people who knew to the absolute bare minimum?

Cynical’s back. But I’m not the one who decided to heighten the security risk for the sake of positive media coverage.

WISH 74: Where's?

WISH 74 is all about dreams and hopes:

Name three or more supplements (or core books, for that matter) for existing game systems that you’d like to see. Why? What inspires your interest in these supplement? What existing supplements or materials are you using instead?

I’m not an Amber player anymore, but I’d still kind of like to see Rebma… no? OK, I’ll come up with three others.

First off is a two in one, since the reasons I want them are similar. I would like to see the promised Heresy RPG. The background was cool and the card art was superb and I like games that use the Christian mythos quite a bit. Heretical cyberpunk hit all my buttons. I want Anoch’s Mystick RPG for similar reasons; the cards hinted at a dense intricate background which played to my love for conspiracy.

Mind you, in both cases I expect I would have been disappointed. It’s unfair to expect game companies to live up to my inchoate dreams, and neither of the sourcebooks would have been 500 pages long.

In lieu of these sourcebooks, I hang around people who make up cool conspiratorial stuff and that scratches my itch. I also read Eco novels. It works out OK for me.

Second: Trinity. Lots more Trinity. Preferably written by me, but really, any Trinity would do. In particular, I really sorely wish I’d gotten to work on the full-size aliens supplement. I wanted to write the Coalition chapters so badly. (Pause for a moment of self-indulgence.)

Since the supplement probably isn’t happening any time soon, I make up my own Coalition material, which bears a certain resemblance to what might have been published.

Finally, I’d like to see a D20 Modern Fantasy supplement, adapting the D20 Modern rules to fantasy usage, preferably from WotC. I’m pretty sure that D20 Modern characters are a bit weaker than characters of equivalent level in D&D, but I like the D20 Modern approach to classes somewhat more than I like the D&D approach. So a supplement which presented a beefed up set of classes would be vastly appreciated. Alternatively, of course, I could just start everyone at third level. (Tip of the hat to Gamma World D20 Modern.)


I’m futzing around with ljcrosspost, a new plugin that automates crossposting between MT and LiveJournal. If it wipes out all my LJ posts, I will be very sad.

OK, it’s a nice plugin but it doesn’t really make it easy to customize the post title and it doesn’t provide easy access to the permalink — so I can’t easily create links back to the blog side of things. Maybe in a couple of revs. It’s a damned cool idea, though.