Science Fiction

Captain America: Peak Superhero?

Superhero Google Trends Graph

Superhero Google Trends Graph

I only enter a movie theater a few times a year, preferring to view everything a few months or years later on the HD screen at home on my own schedule. But I did get out to see Captain America: Civil War, which I highly recommend if you can stand the shaky-cam battle scenes with their low frame rate — visually disturbing to many. Deadpool, which I saw via Amazon streaming a week ago, also fired on all cylinders, with a foul and funny script and good characters.

As Marvel productions are capturing more and more of the total box office revenues, are we approaching “peak superhero?” The above graph shows how several franchises have peaked and then declined. I couldn’t fit vampires in, but they peaked earlier, then were followed by zombies, which are now in gradual decline as saturation has been reached, with over a dozen movies and series having thoroughly explored most of the possibilities.

Superhero stories could at first be simple, with cardboard characters, since the novelty of the superhero / supervillain conflict could carry the story for a less jaded audience. But now everyone has been exposed to many generations of Superman, Batman, and X-Men, and stories have to be more character-based. The action scenes can still be exciting, though we’ve already seen peak CGI and after spectacles like 2012 and San Andreas, which did well in overseas markets despite simple stories and shallow characters, there’s not a lot of hunger for more raw CGI destruction. Without humor, romance, and a good script, future big-budget CGI movies will do poorly in the US unless they are involving in some other way.

Tomorrowland was a major flop, for example, because its story and script were murky and unsatisfying. Few viewers came away from it wanting friends and children to see it despite some delightful set-pieces — it started out bemoaning the defeatism of our dystopia-loving age, then reinforced it with a murderous cardboard bad guy, chase scenes, and a “hopeful” ending of Apple-ad-style androids sent to Earth like missionaries to direct humanity toward the correct technocratic path. To hell with that, I thought… (See Tomorrowland: Tragic Misfire.)

The most recent Marvel superhero movies have been well-acted, well-written, and thoughtful, and they have made so much money that Hollywood copycats will be getting greenlights on more and more superhero productions. But between TV and movies, the genre has been mined out — or has it?

Deadpool was especially enjoyable because it had interesting characters and bucked typical blockbuster movie censorship conventions — and as Deadpool himself points out in voiceover, it’s a love story! Kick-ass women and less conventional men make for a fun mix.

The highest-grossing vampire movies, the Twilight series, were also romances and attracted major female audiences. I don’t know of a successful zombie romance and it’s easy to see how that would be tough — zombies make for unattractive love interests, since major parts may fall off at critical moments and lovemaking and brain-eating don’t mix, though we’ve seen good zombie comedies (e.g., Shaun of the Dead).

Major flops occur when old franchises are rebooted without respect to the iconic characters’ existing symbolism — for example Batman vs Superman, a stinker because not only was it implausible (how could Batman, a tech-assisted human, really fight Superman, powerful enough to move mountains and spin the earth backward to turn back time?), but it clashed with Superman’s deeper image as embodiment of the American Way.

Marvel has not made this mistake, and Captain America has been developed as a slightly-updated version of his original WWII comicbook persona. His American idealism, once cliched, is now refreshing, and his willingness to go against the grain of bureaucracy to fight for Good resonates in a population tired of increasing nanny-state rules and regulations.

Identifying with a superhero protagonist enables a fantasy of independence and power for individuals. Boys are stereotypically fascinated by stories of finding a way (technology, magic, a spider bite!) to become independent and powerful fighters, but the appeal is broadening to girls, women, and everyone else as more and more our life-choices are dictated by those who believe they know better than we do what is best for us. Putting ourselves in their place lets us fantasize that we can make a difference, while in our real lives we wait on hold to deal with health insurance companies and pay the IRS whatever it asks since it is too hard to figure out their computer-generated letters.

More reading on other topics:

FDA Wants More Lung Cancer
Jane Jacobs’ Monstrous Hybrids: Guardians vs Commerce
The Great Progressive Stagnation vs. Dynamism
Death by HR: How Affirmative Action is Crippling America
Death by HR: The End of Merit in Civil Service
Corrupt Feedback Loops: Public Employee Unions
Death by HR: History and Practice of Affirmative Action and the EEOC
Civil Service: Woodrow Wilson’s Progressive Dream
Bootleggers and Baptists
Corrupt Feedback Loops: Justice Dept. Extortion
Corrupt Feedback Loops, Goldman Sachs: More Justice Dept. Extortion
Death by HR: The Birth and Evolution of the HR Department
Death by HR: The Simple Model of Project Labor
Levellers and Redistributionists: The Feudal Underpinnings of Socialism
Sons of Liberty vs. National Front
Trump World: Looking Backward
Minimum Wage: The Parable of the Ladder
Selective Outrage
Culture Wars: Co-Existence Through Limited Government
Social Justice Warriors, Jihadists, and Neo-Nazis: Constructed Identities
Tuitions Inflated, Product Degraded, Student Debts Unsustainable
The Morality of Glamour

On Affirmative Action and Social Policy:

Affirmative Action: Chinese, Indian-Origin Citizens in Malaysia Oppressed
Affirmative Action: Caste Reservation in India
Diversity Hires: Pressure on High Tech<a
Title IX Totalitarianism is Gender-Neutral
Public Schools in Poor Districts: For Control Not Education
Real-Life “Hunger Games”: Soft Oppression Destroys the Poor
The Social Decay of Black Neighborhoods (And Yours!)
Child Welfare Ideas: Every Child Gets a Government Guardian!
“Income Inequality” Propaganda is Just Disguised Materialism

The greatest hits from SubstrateWars.com (Science Fiction topics):

Fear is the Mindkiller
Mirror Neurons and Irene Gallo
YA Dystopias vs Heinlein et al: Social Justice Warriors Strike Again
Selective Outrage
Sons of Liberty vs. National Front
“Tomorrowland”: Tragic Misfire
The Death of “Wired”: Hugo Awards Edition
Hugos, Sad Puppies 3, and Direct Knowledge
Selective Outrage and Angry Tribes
Men of Honor vs Victim Culture
SFF, Hugos, Curating the Best
“Why Aren’t There More Women Futurists?”
Science Fiction Fandom and SJW warfare

More reading on the military:

US Military: From No Standing Armies to Permanent Global Power
US Military: The Desegregation Experience
The VA Scandals: Death by Bureaucracy

Captain America and Progressive Infantilization

Captain America speaks

Captain America speaks

Amanda Marcotte is generating clicks with her complaint about the new Captain America: Civil War movie. Complaining being the primary mode of progressives, because everything is “problematic” unless one of their fellow travelers made it.

In her piece, “Captain America’s a douchey libertarian now: Why did Marvel have to ruin Steve Rogers?”, Marcotte is upset because the Cap didn’t knuckle under to “reasonable, common-sense” restrictions on his freedom to act for good. It’s not worth a detailed fisking — generating clickbait articles for a living doesn’t allow much time for careful writing — but she does reveal the mindset of those who believe every decision should be made by a committee of the select. The “unregulated” and “uncontrolled” are too dangerous to tolerate. Some key bits:

Steve Rogers is an icon of liberal patriotism, and his newest movie turns him into an Ayn Rand acolyte…

Most corporate blockbuster movies would cave into the temptation to make the character some kind of generic, apolitical “patriot,” abandoning the comic tradition that has painted him as a New Deal Democrat standing up consistently for liberal values. Instead, in both the first movie and in “Captain America: Winter Soldier,” we get Steve the liberal: Anti-racist, anti-sexist, valuing transparency in government and his belief that we the people should hold power instead of some unaccountable tyrants who believe might makes right.

Steve is All-American, so he is classically liberal: believing in the rule of law, equality of opportunity, and freedom to do anything that doesn’t step on someone else’s rights and freedoms. Amanda does not believe in individual freedom — she believes in “freedom,” approved by committee, with individual achievement subordinated to identity politics aiming at equality of outcome. No one should be free to judge the morality of a situation and act without lobbying others to achieve a majority and gaining approval of people like her.

Which is why I was sorely disappointed that the latest installment of the Marvel cinematic universe, “Captain America: Civil War,” decided that, for no reason whatsoever, Steve is now a guy who believe it’s cool to belong to a secretive paramilitary that rejects oversight and accountability to the public. Because while we all know and love them as the Avengers, hero squad, the brutal truth, which the movie does admit, is that is exactly what they are: A mercenary group who has resisted even the most basic oversight from democratic governments, oversight that would allow the people that the Avengers are supposed to be protecting some say in what this militaristic police force is allowed to do.

So she thinks the Avengers’ business model is to take the side of the highest bidder in any conflict (the meaning of “mercenary.”) Marcotte is already pretending that not voluntarily agreeing to bind yourself to be commanded by a murkily-governed international group that has demonstrated an inability to act to deter the worst human rights-abusing states is just like going to war for money.

Quick recap: In “Civil War,” the Avengers are facing growing international criticism for the way they handled the events in “The Avengers” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron”. Many people are arguing that they are operating without government oversight and innocent civilians are getting killed in the process. While it’s true that those civilian casualties are not the fault of the Avengers — they were fighting off serious threats and unfortunately, in war, civilians get killed — there are nonetheless growing demands for some kind of accountability and oversight.

These issues aren’t just about a silly comic book movie, which is why this is all so irritating. In the real world, right now, we are awash in arguments over accountability and oversight when it comes to both the police and the military. From the Black Lives Matter movement to questions over the military’s drone program, our country is embroiled in debates over just these issues.

The liberal position, the one that the Steve Rogers of the past two movies would hold, is extremely clear: The police and the military are accountable to the public. If people die on your watch, there needs to be a hearing. The military’s powers should be held in check. We sure as hell don’t want a mercenary organization that answers to no one crossing international borders and fighting wars without any input from democratic systems of government.

I think Steve would agree that the police and the military are accountable to a properly constituted government which operates in accordance with constitutional principles. Once one has taken the oath of public service, one has agreed to serve under those terms. Steve stops short of taking that oath and signing on the dotted line precisely because he realizes the government he would be agreeing to serve is not a proper one, and that he would be kept from doing the right thing in the future by so binding himself.

Marcotte’s analogy to current issues of police misbehavior and drone warfare is just wrong. To adequately capture an analogy would require that she acknowledge that the UN is corrupt like Chicago is corrupt, and that, like US police, the new Avengers would be protected by a union which would prevent punishment of any of its members for all but the most egregious offenses. After, say, destroying a small city to pursue a personal vendetta, the Avenger responsible would be suspended and then put back to work a few months later in another district despite a record of misuse of authority.

The demands being made by various governments and the United Nations in “Civil War” are more than reasonable. They want the Avengers to stop being a privately run paramilitary organization that answers to no one. They want them to sign a treaty agreeing to transparency and some government oversight. This is common sense and what we would expect the standard liberal position to be in a world where superheroes exist.

Like the President, Marcotte thinks her view is always “common sense,” and dissenting views are simply nonsense, illogical error. Why would any right-thinking person disagree with common sense?

More importantly, for consistency’s sake, this exactly the position that Steve Rogers has expressed before. In “Winter Soldier,” the entire debate between Steve and Nick Fury, which is resolved firmly on Steve’s side, is over how much power military forces should have without democratic oversight. Nick argues that SHIELD, a fictional international organization that is basically the world’s police, should have broad powers to spy on citizens and take unilateral military action in secret. Steve disagrees, pointing out that he fought in WWII specifically because he opposes strong-handed, dictatorial powers of that nature. In the end, Steve wins, dumping all of SHIELD’s secrets onto the internet and turning the power over to the people.

But now, in this movie, Steve is singing a different tune. He seems to believe that because he knows the Avengers mean well, that’s good enough. He doesn’t want to have justify his behavior or include democratic governments in the decision-making process.

How many of those governments are truly democratic? Marcotte makes the classic error of the illiberal thinkers: democracy is good, even when it’s 51% agreeing to violate the human rights of individuals. She can’t imagine actually turning power over to the people as individuals, to direct their lives as they see fit; no, every decision must be made by a government or it’s illegitimate.

Connecting the dots, this is the same tendency seen in the Special Snowflakes on campus: find everything problematic, and look to a nanny state or school administrators to take your side and punish those that offend you. In this child’s view of the universe, any disagreement with the perfect utopia of equality is not to be tolerated or compromised with — open debate is too stressful, so exaggerated grievances and calls for authorities to suppress the disagreeable are the new campus sport. Jonathan Haidt has written on this effectively.

Given the alternatives, Captain America acting in a wider world realizes his only moral alternative is to go without the safety net of government oversight, until such point as there is a legitimate world government. Having seen what unquestioning obedience to the wrong hierarchical organization can lead to, he chooses to remain independent.

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. — Luke 12:48

Agreeing to be bound by an authority already demonstrated to be corrupt is lazy and immoral. Working without a net is harder. But Marcotte’s view of responsible adulthood is to always give up your own moral agency to some group.

We are all to be slaves to each other.

PS — Vanity Fair thinks Cap and Bucky exude too much “heterosexual virility.” Where’s my eyeroll emoticon?

Twitchy coverage here.

Lots of useful discussion on the Salon piece here (Reddit.) Someone needs to point out how douchey Amanda Marcotte is for implying that a) all liberatrians are douchebags, and b) somehow Cap is acting like Ayn Rand.

PPS on the publication that employs Marcotte to attract clicks: “Salon has been unprofitable through its entire history. Since 2007, the company has been dependent on ongoing cash injections from board Chairman John Warnock and William Hambrecht, father of former Salon CEO Elizabeth Hambrecht. During the nine months ended December 31, 2012, these cash contributions amounted to $3.4 million, compared to revenue in the same period of $2.7 million.” I’m surprised they don’t get government grants! I used to do some business with Hambrecht and Quist. John Warnock ran Adobe, which employed many of my friends…[edited after I realized I was confusing Gordon Eubanks with Warnock!]


Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.

 


More reading on other topics:

Jane Jacobs’ Monstrous Hybrids: Guardians vs Commerce
The Great Progressive Stagnation vs. Dynamism
Death by HR: How Affirmative Action is Crippling America
Death by HR: The End of Merit in Civil Service
Corrupt Feedback Loops: Public Employee Unions
Death by HR: History and Practice of Affirmative Action and the EEOC
Civil Service: Woodrow Wilson’s Progressive Dream
Bootleggers and Baptists
Corrupt Feedback Loops: Justice Dept. Extortion
Corrupt Feedback Loops, Goldman Sachs: More Justice Dept. Extortion
Death by HR: The Birth and Evolution of the HR Department
Death by HR: The Simple Model of Project Labor
Levellers and Redistributionists: The Feudal Underpinnings of Socialism
Sons of Liberty vs. National Front
Trump World: Looking Backward
Minimum Wage: The Parable of the Ladder
Selective Outrage
Culture Wars: Co-Existence Through Limited Government
Social Justice Warriors, Jihadists, and Neo-Nazis: Constructed Identities
Tuitions Inflated, Product Degraded, Student Debts Unsustainable
The Morality of Glamour

On Affirmative Action and Social Policy:

Affirmative Action: Chinese, Indian-Origin Citizens in Malaysia Oppressed
Affirmative Action: Caste Reservation in India
Diversity Hires: Pressure on High Tech<a
Title IX Totalitarianism is Gender-Neutral
Public Schools in Poor Districts: For Control Not Education
Real-Life “Hunger Games”: Soft Oppression Destroys the Poor
The Social Decay of Black Neighborhoods (And Yours!)
Child Welfare Ideas: Every Child Gets a Government Guardian!
“Income Inequality” Propaganda is Just Disguised Materialism

The greatest hits from SubstrateWars.com (Science Fiction topics):

Fear is the Mindkiller
Mirror Neurons and Irene Gallo
YA Dystopias vs Heinlein et al: Social Justice Warriors Strike Again
Selective Outrage
Sons of Liberty vs. National Front
“Tomorrowland”: Tragic Misfire
The Death of “Wired”: Hugo Awards Edition
Hugos, Sad Puppies 3, and Direct Knowledge
Selective Outrage and Angry Tribes
Men of Honor vs Victim Culture
SFF, Hugos, Curating the Best
“Why Aren’t There More Women Futurists?”
Science Fiction Fandom and SJW warfare

More reading on the military:

US Military: From No Standing Armies to Permanent Global Power
US Military: The Desegregation Experience
The VA Scandals: Death by Bureaucracy

Trump World: Looking Backward

Cover: A Canticle for Leibowitz

Cover: A Canticle for Leibowitz

The children ask how we got here, and I try to explain, though so much has changed that my stories only lead to more questions — “What’s a news network?”, “How did people live without augments?”

We had a Republic, once, and it was wildly successful. That attracted more people from all over the world seeking freedom and work. It was freedom that let new industries grow unchecked by jealous rivals, but over time citizens sought shelter from the rigors of a free market and elected more regulation-prone politicians who tried to soften all the hard edges. Finally we reached a time so advanced that children were supposed to grow up without any challenges, to be deemed special and successful without any accomplishments, and the resulting adults became childlike in wanting to silence any voices that disagreed with them.

The world as a whole had benefitted from the opening of closed Communist countries and free trade, with the costs of transport and communication declining rapidly. The boom in emerging economies lifted billions of people out of grinding poverty, the greatest improvement in world living standards the world had ever seen, and increasing wealth and freedom defused the Malthusian fears of overpopulation and resource depletion of the previous decades. But the competition destroyed the protected world of US unskilled workers, who had gotten used to living well after WWII destroyed most of the manufacturing plants of Europe and Asia.

“The Sound of Silence” was a famous Simon and Garfunkel song, written in the 1960s to protest the conformity of an earlier era — the 1950s — when broad consensus and the limited number of mass media options stifled outlier opinions. Capitalism broke that mold, when “outrageous” ideas and lifestyles could be marketed and make money. Selling rebellion was big business.

The Internet seemed to end the constraints on opinion, but a new sound of silence appeared when its two-way nature allowed crowds to join together to silence expression of ideas they found threatening. People lost their jobs because of one errant tweet, and politicians found it useful to stoke the flames of envy and resentment to gain votes. A new victim cult appeared, seeing racism and sexism in every element of US life, and command of the cult’s lexicon enabled entry to academic and government positions.

The left-behind grew angry, and simmered in disability payments and painkilling drugs while they saw their children discriminated against by the gateway institutions built by their forebears. They had supported the growth of the Federal government through costly wars and the building of a social safety net, only to be left out and denigrated by their ruling class. Federal agencies were taken over by progressives and affirmative-action hires, and wasted time and resources shuffling reports and holding grand meetings to write about working toward solving problems that barely existed while neglecting their core functions. The levels of incompetence tolerated grew and grew, until civil service employees could hold their jobs after being absent for years or being discovered spending most of their time viewing Internet porn. Major new government programs and projects failed and billions of dollars were wasted without consequence, those responsible for the failures being promoted to further damage the private economy by ruling from Washington.

The new media were staffed by college graduates who had been subjected to progressive indoctrination, and rarely questioned what government sources told them. And how could they, since time had been sped up and in the Internet age, stopping to investigate original sources that might disagree would only bury their story in tomorrow’s old news?

Trump appeared after two decades of Washington-centered rule by two factions of the same technocratic party. He gained the support of the dispossessed by voicing their resentments, long suppressed by the bien pensant. His supporters were so tired of being told their feelings were incorrect and didn’t matter that they failed to notice that Trump had no fixed beliefs of his own, other than winning.

And win he did, up against Hillary Clinton, who everyone knew was a habitual liar and corrupt influence-peddler. After she was nearly indicted for her negligent handling of secret information, Trump the bully won the election handily despite the rioting in major cities and the crashing stock market.

Thoughtful observers saw this as a test of the Founders’ three-branch design. In theory, the checks and balances and separation of powers between the three branches of government would limit the damage he might do. In practice, previous administrations had accreted so much power in the office of President that Trump was able to run roughshod over good government concerns.

Trump terrorized the agencies and the civil service bureaucracy. His bully-boys formed a shadow organization which intimidated any civil servant who dared stand against him — his friends in the Mafia proved useful in extralegal persuasion. If regulations got in Trump’s way, they were rewritten. Favored people and corporations found their way smoothed, while others who failed to support him were blocked and gutted. In that, he was only a few degrees worse than his predecessor, but the collapsing private economy provided no alternative routes for survival. Almost everyone knuckled under to wait for better days.

The doctors grumbled when they were drafted to serve in the new Trump Medical Corps, but after their licenses were pulled when they refused, they fell into line. Trump took over hospital chains by eminent domain and staffed them with uniformed Corps personnel; he had personally overseen the design of the new uniforms, gold braid trim and all. Federal medical costs were cut by 50% as salaries fell and procedures deemed too costly were outlawed. The upper crustaceans, of course, joined new luxury practices and went to private hospitals, as they always had. Medical school enrollments dropped and quality of the applicants fell, as it became clear doctoring would no longer be a high-status occupation. Research on new drugs evaporated when the primary source of drug profits, the US, joined the rest of the world in controlling their prices.

Apple’s new iPhone assembly factory opened in south Texas, and their mostly-immigrant assemblers tried to duplicate the quality of the phones built by contractor facilities in China that had taken decades to develop. The US-assembled phones cost $200 more and failed more often, but Apple made the transition successfully since all of their competitors were similarly hobbled. And by opening their own manufacturing plant, they instantly reached the better employee diversity numbers they had been pretending to strive for for years.

The Chinese and Russians were relieved when Trump was elected — someone they could deal with without any unpredictable concerns with human rights to interfere. Deals were struck and trade managed. For awhile this seemed to work, though the people of Hong Kong and Ukraine felt abandoned as they lost their remaining independence. The EU collapsed in disorder as internal divisions and new migrations overwhelmed their governments.

And so it was that the opportunity society became the are-you-with-Trump society. Bribery came back with a vengeance. Inequality decreased, but only because more people were poor. The world economy had stalled, and grew worse as Trump’s new tariffs and trade barriers decreased world trade. The Chinese people grew restless when their standard of living began to drop, and the Chinese leadership started warring on neighbors to distract their people.

And that’s what I tell the kids. We came here to be safe, to guard our traditions, and to last through these times. The radiation is better now, and our growing huts get more sunlight than in those lean years right after. We have a good stock of electronics, drugs, and solar panels, and our store of knowledge and technology is intact. It’s safe enough to go outside for days at a time, and soon we will be able to travel to meet with others who survive.

We’ve had all the time in the world to teach our children where we went wrong. I’m hopeful that this time they’ll get it right.


Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.

 


More reading on other topics:

Jane Jacobs’ Monstrous Hybrids: Guardians vs Commerce
The Great Progressive Stagnation vs. Dynamism
Death by HR: How Affirmative Action is Crippling America
Death by HR: The End of Merit in Civil Service
Corrupt Feedback Loops: Public Employee Unions
Death by HR: History and Practice of Affirmative Action and the EEOC
Civil Service: Woodrow Wilson’s Progressive Dream
Bootleggers and Baptists
Corrupt Feedback Loops: Justice Dept. Extortion
Corrupt Feedback Loops, Goldman Sachs: More Justice Dept. Extortion
Death by HR: The Birth and Evolution of the HR Department
Death by HR: The Simple Model of Project Labor
Levellers and Redistributionists: The Feudal Underpinnings of Socialism
Sons of Liberty vs. National Front
Trump World: Looking Backward
Minimum Wage: The Parable of the Ladder
Selective Outrage
Culture Wars: Co-Existence Through Limited Government
Social Justice Warriors, Jihadists, and Neo-Nazis: Constructed Identities
Tuitions Inflated, Product Degraded, Student Debts Unsustainable
The Morality of Glamour

On Affirmative Action and Social Policy:

Affirmative Action: Chinese, Indian-Origin Citizens in Malaysia Oppressed
Affirmative Action: Caste Reservation in India
Diversity Hires: Pressure on High Tech<a
Title IX Totalitarianism is Gender-Neutral
Public Schools in Poor Districts: For Control Not Education
Real-Life “Hunger Games”: Soft Oppression Destroys the Poor
The Social Decay of Black Neighborhoods (And Yours!)
Child Welfare Ideas: Every Child Gets a Government Guardian!
“Income Inequality” Propaganda is Just Disguised Materialism

The greatest hits from SubstrateWars.com (Science Fiction topics):

Fear is the Mindkiller
Mirror Neurons and Irene Gallo
YA Dystopias vs Heinlein et al: Social Justice Warriors Strike Again
Selective Outrage
Sons of Liberty vs. National Front
“Tomorrowland”: Tragic Misfire
The Death of “Wired”: Hugo Awards Edition
Hugos, Sad Puppies 3, and Direct Knowledge
Selective Outrage and Angry Tribes
Men of Honor vs Victim Culture
SFF, Hugos, Curating the Best
“Why Aren’t There More Women Futurists?”
Science Fiction Fandom and SJW warfare

More reading on the military:

US Military: From No Standing Armies to Permanent Global Power
US Military: The Desegration Experience
The VA Scandals: Death by Bureaucracy