Jeb Kinnison on Life and Love

Welcome to my blog. In between promos for my books, I write on topics from the news and cover the research reports on relationship, diet and health issues, as well as whatever I think is interesting and likely to be new to my readers. I respond to all reasonable comments and invite you to add your email to the mailing list or add the RSS feed to your reader so you’ll see new posts.

The existing forums at Jeb Kinnison Forums are run by a service that is charging more and more to keep them ad-free, so I’ve added forums on this site — not the easiest thing to do but they seem to work. I’ll be tinkering with them further since I’m not happy with the font sizes or line spacing, but feel free to use them — see the link in the header above for “New Forums” and check it out. The old forums are quite active these days with as many a 6,000 pageviews a day, so check them out until the new ones are active. Note that you have to join the new forums using the box in the sidebar to comment there, but anyone should be able to read them.

I’ve started a new blog about my science fiction books and related topics, so please visit SubstrateWars.com for more.

“Public Safety” – The Road to Thermidor

Freedom is dangerous. Your unregulated actions may cause harm to yourself and others. Parents are now expected to monitor their children every minute of the day and adults are voting for politicians who promise ever-increasing protections against harm, to regulate guns, food, and even speech.

The US long ago chose freedom over safety; as Ben Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” We can see now that he should have been more specific — small liberties have been given up one by one, so that now most citizens could be prosecuted for some violation. The lack of enforcement of laws and regulations on the wealthiest and high-level machine politicians leads to cynicism and acceptance of lawlessness at the highest levels of government, while at the same time everyday life is more and more micromanaged by busybodies who want to control how others live.

Network effects make for near-monopolies in Internet-based communications businesses. Google, Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook dominate their respective sectors of user-generated media. These platforms increasingly censor speech that opposes the political status quo. Much of this censorship is motivated by efforts to make these media safe for advertising by removing discordant voices that passive consumers might find objectionable; no one wants their ad for a consumer product to run beside a disturbing message. Already advertisers are being pressured to drop support for content producers, in an effort to give activist groups veto power over content.

Twitter has its “Trust & Safety Council,” intended to censor Twitter. While the company denies it, it mass suspends or shadowbans users who have attracted “too many” user blocks or complaints. Many users wonder why a simple block of someone who annoys them isn’t enough, but for activists the goal is to prevent *others* from seeing anything they find offensive — because they believe removing speech from public spaces will prevent bad ideas from being seen, heard, and possibly influencing the weak-minded.

Every print publication chooses what content goes in and what is left out. Twitter, Facebook, and other services are free to curate users and police content that is illegal or offensive, but the governing laws then tend to make them responsible — if you are in the business of providing an edited product, you tend to be seen as responsible for that content, unlike common carriers that transfer all messages and have no say in what is carried from user to user. It is relatively safe to censor only content that could legally be actionable under the First Amendment — imminent, direct threats to identifiable people or groups. Uncomfortable political ideas can’t be defined clearly, and allowing activists to veto speech based on nebulous hurt feelings is a recipe for silencing most people who have something to say — as voices are removed, what is allowed to be spoken gets narrower and narrower, and those activists who validate their existence by taking offense in order to gain power to silence ideas they don’t like will simply define more and more ideas as offensive until almost nothing is left.

The French Revolution had its governing Committee of Public Safety. Notice the language — no longer focused on protecting the citizens from hostile external powers, but policing safety — that is, finding enemies both internal and external. These ideologues came to a bad end as the revolutionaries were, one by one, found to be “problematic” and executed in service of the higher goal of perfecting and protecting the new State. The modern and humane guillotine made quick work of disposing of anyone who got in the way of Progress.

The Mob, the sans-culottes who could reliably rounded up on the streets of Paris to put muscle behind the Reign of Terror, were the power base of the factional leaders in the struggle to control the day-zero government which would overthrow all vested interests and rethink all customs. Today’s equivalent is the Twitter mob, ready to condemn and disemploy anyone accused of harming a member of an oppressed class. But it is far easier in social media than it used to be in the physical world to destroy reputations and end careers. And the gusto with which the Twitter mob sentences its targets to punishments is related to the selective empathy employed — instead of recognizing each human being as an individual with goals and emotions that can be understood, targets are dehumanized and abstracted.

The stakes are lower in social media (no one aside from a few suicides is actually being killed for the Cause), but the mechanism is the same — the rush of power shared with your tribe to vanquish your enemies and gain strength in numbers. To pull down idols so that you can put yours up instead. To drive out competitors and get you and your friends appointed to positions of authority.

The killing fields of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge government are arguably the most horrific example of a real-world pogrom in recent history. I’ll wrap this up with the campaign ad for the daughter of Cambodian genocide survivors, recently censored by Facebook.

Evitant (Avoidant) Published in Romania

Romanian Cover of "Avoidant"

Romanian Cover of “Avoidant”

A year or so ago I sold rights to Avoidant to a Romanian publisher. I did a little research into the market — small and almost entirely still on paper. The book has apparently been published now, and I’d be interested in hearing from any native Romanian speaker on how well it has been translated, since I had been concerned the specialized vocabulary might be difficult for them.

The description is just a translation of the author bio, and the error of place of birth (Kansas City, Missouri) being shown as “Kansas, Missouri” is not reassuring.

Evitant at Curtea Veche

Avoidant at Amazon.

Old JebKinnisonForums Archive

The support and talk forums at JebKinnsonForums aren’t hosted here, so just in case the host over there fails, I’ve made a backup of the last few years of discussions there. It’s not really possible to duplicate the discussion hierarchy here, so instead the file is a PDF with links. Not all discussions are complete, but you may find it useful.

Old Forum Backup 6-2018

50th Review of “Bad Boyfriends”

Bad Boyfriends Audiobook Cover

Bad Boyfriends Audiobook

Since Amazon began to randomly delete reviews last year, I post the new ones to preserve them. A new review of Bad Boyfriends: Using Attachment Theory to Avoid Mr. (or Ms.) Wrong and Make You a Better Partner:

5.0 out of 5 stars- Perfect for anyone starting to learn about relationship dynamics and personality types
By: matt, on May 29, 2018
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase

I recently got out of a relationship in which I was constantly made to feel at fault for superficially minor things that somehow were turned into more major, far-reaching issues. Having been “gas-lighted” into thinking that everything was somehow my fault, I decided to try and seek guidance and/or insight into relationships and purchased this title, along with several others. Bad Boyfriends is the first relationship self-help book I have read, and although just half-way through, it has provided me with great clarity and understanding of my previous relationship and allowed me to come to terms with how it ended. The book is clearly and directly written, and can be read in about a day or two. I must admit that the topic of attachment theory is described on a more superficial level, but is perfect for someone just starting to learn about its consequences and role in daily life. Jeb provides further suggested reading on more specific topics throughout the book, many of which I have already added to my Amazon shopping list. If you are like me and are curious about relationships and how they function based on personality types and/or are not familiar with attachment theory, this is a great title with which to start your learning. However, if you have already read several relationship books and are fairly knowledgeable on the subject, then this book may not be as useful to you; although you may find use in it for its references to other psychological works on the subject material. In all, a great addition to my library.