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Trevor Blake: Year in Review 2014

Today is 12/7, a fit day for celebrating what has gone on at ovo127 in 2014.


Freedom of Speech

Are We There Yet? A Series About Changed Minds



George Walford International Essay Prize

  • word count: more than one million, two hundred and thirty-six thousand transcribed words.
  • More than twenty books and the complete contents of Ideological Commentary magazine (1979 – 1994).
  • Approximately 70,000 lines of code.
  • More than one thousand, one hundred files (text, images, etc.).

And for 2015?

  • A Man of Letters podcast.
  • “There is a great negative work of destruction to be accomplished.  We must sweep and clean.” – Tristian Tzara.  Thousands of photographs deleted from flickr.  After amassing 19,200+ posts at, all but a few dozen of the best are to be deleted.  Several Kindle titles removed.  Did some housecleaning, and even lost some weight.

- Trevor Blake is the author of
Confessions of a Failed Egoist and Other Essays
(Baltimore: Underworld Amusements 2014)

Leggo My Ego


Trevor Blake’s “Confessions of a Failed Egoist” is a powerful collection of “Masculine Thought meets Intellectual Strength” that is a treasure trove for EVERY TPP Power Player! This talk HAD to happen and Trevor did not disappoint!

- Trevor Blake is the author of
Confessions of a Failed Egoist and Other Essays
(Baltimore: Underworld Amusements 2014)

Beauty is Something That Burns the Hand When You Touch It.


Today, 25 November, was a special day in the life of Yukio Mishima. May you have a special day as well. I don’t want to do what Mishima did, I want to do what I do as fully as he did what he did.

“Beauty is something that burns the hand when you touch it.” – Yukio Mishima, Forbidden Colors.

OVO triumphus for Yukio Mishima for 2013.
OVO triumphus for Yukio Mishima for 2012.
OVO triumphus for Yukio Mishima for 2011.
OVO triumphus for Yukio Mishima for 2010.
OVO triumphus for Yukio Mishima for 2009.
OVO triumphus for Yukio Mishima for 2008.

… and more.

- Trevor Blake is the author of
Confessions of a Failed Egoist and Other Essays
(Baltimore: Underworld Amusements 2014)

Trevor Blake: Worshiping the One True Scotsman

Part of a debate between Trevor Blake of OVO and Free Northerner.

Poor form indeed to open with an admission of error, but here are a few words on my mistakes in the debate thus far, in the hope I can do better next time. I could not find a satisfactory structure online for conducting a written debate. I roughly made one up based on bits of stage debates and my own ideas. This structure has served well enough, but it would have been more beneficial to others who might want to use that structure if I’d filled it out more. Perhaps some other time I will write out in greater detail my idea of what an online debate should include. A few spelling errors crept into my work. I did try and exclude them, but there they are anyway. Next time I will try that tiny bit harder to root them out. I am content with the arguments I made, but I can think of one or two supporting links that would have made them stronger still. I have written notes to myself to remember to include those links if I take part in another debate. Fortunately I am infinitely infused with humility and a timid countenance on top of being inherently in the right. Therefore these trifling errors in no way detract from my sole claim to the champion’s belt in this debate.

The 3M company has been making adhesive tape for a long time. Their tape has been used for many purposes, such as paint trimming. In 1925 a representative from 3M met with an automotive paint trimmer and asked how the tape might be improved. The painter said there wasn’t adhesive on the full surface of the tape. ‘Go back to your Scotch bosses and put on more adhesive’ the painter said, invoking the stereotype of Scottish people as thrifty to the point of miserliness. The executives at 3M were tickled by the racist slur and the name Scotch Tape has been used ever since. It’s remarkable what people will accept if it’s repeated often enough. And never so remarkable as in the case of religion. If the faithful make a truth-statement, it is a truth-statement because the faithful made it. Hey presto!

Free Northerner worships a True Scotsman in the sky. If God does something it’s good, begorrah, because God doesn’t do anything bad. And if something bad happens, it’s not God’s doing, saints be praised. Don’t you know, laddie, that it doesn’t matter how one worships the Great Fairy in the sky as long as one does so in exactly the right way.

Free Northerner does note that figuring out how to worship God is both mandatory and impossible to explain.

Of course, any truth will be interpreted differently and incorrectly.

As one would expect there to be disagreement on canon as those who can only see the shadows may disagree.

We can’t know how to do it, but we better get it right the first time. The King of Kings wears no clothes and explaining religion is difficult because explaining isn’t something one does in religion. One believes. And if one belief gets in the way of another belief, you wave your hands around and hope nobody notices. God will tell some people lies but He isn’t a liar, God is merciful but He’s also just, no need to select one or the other when faith allows you to hold both at the same time and in the same way.

I don’t mind what’s on the mind of others. I don’t get overly worked up when people believe things I don’t, even if they believe them with vigor. I might enjoy poking holes in flawed arguments proposed out of that vigorous belief, but in no way do I want them to be forbidden from their sincere, traditional, vigorous and stoo-pit beliefs. I have my own, gentle reader.

Now if a person says their beliefs might lead them to killing people, I might in turn poke at them a little harder…

When a person confuses the concepts of belief and understanding, what is agreed upon is said to be true because it is agreed upon. This is when all sorts of rationalizations sprout to convey why the stated conclusions do not match the claims that build toward the stated conclusion. The old switcharoo, eh? I would bet my front teeth that I am far, far more familiar with the Bible than Free Northerner. The evidence for my Bible scholarship in this debate is that I have quoted the Bible more often, more completely, with more accurate and detailed citations than Free Northerner has done. His reply? I did it wrong, because I didn’t read the verses “in their immediate context and in the context of scripture as a whole.” He’s got me coming and going, since I can never be specific enough or general enough. When I quote a specific, I need to go general. When quote a few specifics to make a general statement, I need to go with some specifics but not others. Some Christians (and all Muslims) go one step further in saying what I really need to do is really read the magic spell books in their real original languages to really (really) really REALLY understand them. And by the way, if I don’t believe them I must not understand them, so keep reading until you belunderstand them.

How do you reply when someone contradicts himself from one sentence to the next? Is the Bible “not very explicit” or is the Bible “clear?” Do those who never heard of Jesus due to the circumstance of their birth deserve to go to Hell or not? Here’s Free Northerner:

As for those unreached by the Gospel, the Bible is mostly silent and not very explicit. The Bible is clear: Man is a sinner and damns himself to the punishment he rightly deserves.

Again, when you are talking about made up being who live in made up places then you can go ahead and keep making up what they can and can’t do, you don’t have to stop with the traditional stories. Unless you do.

Free Northerner: “Trevor then enters into Trinitarianism, where he argues that God does not exist because we can’t understand Him.” I do not claim that what we do not understand does not exist. I do claim that what we do not understand, we do not understand. There are some unkind words for those who talk authoritatively about that which they know not, but I’m not an unkind enough man to repeat those words. Instead, a suggestion from Ludwig Wittgenstein: “What we cannot speak about, we must pass over in silence.”

A few times Free Northerner does pass over in silence. “As for the prophecies of the end times, they only fail if you define such phrases ‘shortly’ and ‘at hand’ in a particular manner. Not dipping into eschatology here either.” Yes, when it comes down to Free Northerner telling us what it means to be a Christian… nope, not gonna do it. You just gotta believe. Believe what? You know, believe!


Free Northerner and I have a deeper disagreement than what it means to be a Christian. It’s a disagreement so deep that he cannot imagine that I’m not on his side.

Trevor then makes the common (among atheists) mistake of judging morality by his own human moral compass. By what right does he decide slavery is immoral? How can someone who believes man is literally the accidental arrangement of carbon, water, and electricity (to grossly oversimplify) by chaotic forces impute any moral value to the actions of said sacks of carbon?

Free Northerner believes in rights. Free Northerner believes in natural rights, natural laws, divine rights, all sorts of specters.

Even among those who may not have heard of Christ by name, if they seek Him and follow the natural law written in their heart, they will find Him.

Like all believers in natural rights and natural laws, Free Northerner holds that these phantoms are universal (but not universal) and known (but unknown). They are whatever they need to be.

Here Trevor once again condemns God as monstrous by his own standards of morality. Does not God have the right to harden the heart of His own creation when His own creation rejects Him? By what right does Trevor deny God this right?

Natural law is the card up the sleeve of every theologian and philosopher who wants to tell himself he wins without actually having to play.

As for babes, have they followed the natural law written into their own hearts, and is not God a God of mercy?

I didn’t believe in natural rights when I made this poster in 1986. I didn’t believe in natural rights when I wrote a review of L. A. Rollin’s book The Myth of Natural Rights in 2010. I didn’t believe in natural rights when I wrote about them in my book Confessions of a Failed Egoist in 2014. I didn’t believe in natural rights when I replied to a criticism by the Ludwig Von Mises institute of Canada, also in 2014. And today, right this moment, I don’t believe in natural rights. I believe men do what they do, then use rationality to rationalize what they did.


Free Northerner and I agree on what it means to be a Christian. We both say that being a Christian means whatever a Christian says it means. I have said so in my opening statement and in my follow-up, and Free Northerner says the same:

If Christ does not require specific theological knowledge and views to save, who am I to demand that a Christian hold to such particular views?

Free Northern says the specifics aren’t needed to be a Christian, only the basics do. Or does he mean that the basics aren’t needed, only the specifics? What are the basics and what are the specifics? Well, you know… whatever… Free Northerner had an unlimited word count and two previous posts to give us the answers. Christianity has had two thousand years. Both have failed us. From the beginning until today, to be a Christian means whatever a Christian says it means.

- Trevor Blake is the author of
Confessions of a Failed Egoist and Other Essays
(Baltimore: Underworld Amusements 2014)

Trevor Blake: Your Faith is Futile and You Are Still in Your Sins

Pirates riding Christians, Yo Ho Ho!

Part of a debate between Trevor Blake of OVO and Free Northerner.

Free Northerner has quoted the Nicene Creed and several selections from the Bible in his opening statement on what it means to be a Christian.

Free Northerner cites the Nicene Creed (325) but quotes the First Council of Constantinople (381).  It’s hard to know what parts of the Bible to cite and what non-Biblical source to trust. Do we trust the Nicene / Nicene-Constantinople Creed, which was unaware of the Gospel of Thomas (discovered in 1945), or do we trust the Gospel of Thomas, written three hundred years before the Creed? To be a Christian one must clearly make such choices, although how such choices are to be made is not clear.

Free Northerner quotes 1 Corinthians 13. This is a lovely chapter, and includes a verse (1 Corinthians 13:11) that is meaningful to me “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Fine advice, and I am confident Free Northerner would agree. I do not know what Free Northerner thinks of 1 Corinthians 13:8, in which God tells us that prophecies shall fail. Does that make God a liar, or does that make the prophets liars? Why not both, as 2 Chronicles 18:22 tells us “the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets” and Jeremiah 4:10 confirms “Ah, Lord GOD! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people.” Free Northerner says that the sinner chooses sin, but when God hardens a man’s heart and tells him lies I would not call that a choice. God seems to my mortal morality to be a mite monstrous to condemn those who lived before Christ, those who lived in isolation during and after the life of Christ and pre-linguistic babies to eternal Hell for a salvation they had no chance to learn of.

Free Northerner quote 1 Corinthians 15. The books of the Old Testament are considered necessary to the books of the New Testament, because they include the prophecies that Jesus is said to have fulfilled. But when the Old Testament contradicts the New Testament, no resolution is at hand other than the faithful believing selectively what they want to believe and quoting selectively what they want to quote. 1 Corinthians 15:20 claims that Jesus was the first to rise from the dead. That is supported in the Bible, as long as one ignores 1 Samuel 28:11 & 14 and 1 Kings 17:22 and 2 Kings 4:32-35 and 2 Kings 13:21. Jesus Himself was the necromancer in Matthew 9:23-25, Matthew 27:52-53, Luke 7:12-15, Luke 9:30 and John 11:43. Perhaps Jesus and His followers forgot that they’d reanimated the dead only a short time earlier.  It’s easy to overlook such things as corpses walking down the street.  “Many” of the dead walked all the way from the graveyard to Jerusalem and were seen by “many” but aside from Matthew 27:52-53 there’s no record anywhere else of this singular event.  To see the dead walk the earth is strange, not make note of it is more strange.  But to be a Christian makes zombie-time no big deal, except that one time when it happened, then it’s a big deal.  1 Corinthians 15:28 is one of those verses where the explanation is “it’s a mystery!” as if that were any sort of explanation at all. “And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.”  To untangle that, we must turn to John.  John 10:30 quotes Jesus saying “I and my Father are one.” John 14:28 quotes Jesus saying “My Father is greater than I.” Here, then, is what Jesus is saying…

I = Father
I < Father

Go on, wrap your head around that. God wants all things to be subdued to God, and that includes the Son of God, who is also God, who therefore is God subdued to God and God subdued by God at the same time and in the same way. To be a Christian is to abandon the logic necessary to explain even to ones-self how to be a Christian. You just gotta believe!

Free Northerner quotes John 13. This is where we learn (John 13:2) that God loved Judas so much that He made a devil that overpowered Judas and caused him to betray Christ. Something to keep in mind when a Christian speaks of our free will ability to choose to be sinful or righteous. All of God’s creatures are free, but some are more free than others. We also learn here (John 13:3-5) that ritual nudity was practiced by the first Christians, another way to be a Christian that was good enough for Christ but not good enough for today’s Christians. Free Northerner doesn’t address any of this, but he does quote the genuinely good bit of advice found in John 13:34 – “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” That’s good advice, but not something a Christian should say or do. Deuteronomy 4:2 forbids new commandments. So does Deuteronomy 12:32. So does Revelation 22:19. Jesus said (Matthew 5:17-19) He came not to destroy the law but to fulfill the law, and that not one jot or tittle was to change. Except the part He changed. Which He could not change. Which He changed. Which… if you want to be a Christian, you just have to live with the knowledge that you can never know how to be a Christian.

Free Northerner quotes John 14:23-24. That is a surgically precise selective quote on how to be a Christian. Not ten verses earlier we learn something a bit more remarkable about Christians. “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:13-14) Wait, anything? Even things Jesus did, and things more amazing than what Jesus did? “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father.” (John 14:12) If all Christians can do everything Jesus did, and more, it isn’t clear why He’s still so special as to say He, alone, is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). Jesus is very special and not very special at all, at the same time and in the same way, and you have to believe in both at once to be a Christian. But once you hold both thoughts in your head you’ll have magic powers just like He did. Powers of transubstantiation, levitation, controlling animals, raising the dead, prophecy and most of all damning people to eternal torture. Jesus said to be a Christian is to be better than Christ.

Free Northerner quotes Luke 10:27. That’s another fine verse, in which Christ ignores His own commandment against making new commandments by way of encouraging people to care for their neighbors. And by neighbors, Jesus means strangers as well as the familiar. Jesus says He will enable those who love their neighbors to do so without hindrance just a few verses earlier in Luke 10:19: “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” Yay! Somebody get news to Asia Bibi right away, because the serpents and scorpions are closing in. And a few verses before that, in Luke 10:9, Jesus says again that His followers will have a 1+ healing spell and can cure any sickness just by asking Him. Paging Dr. Christ, paging Dr. Christ, ebola and HIV and my knee hurts when it rains. No? No, my lack of faith must be the thing that holds back Christ from keeping His promise all these hundreds of thousands of years. Let’s just get to the heart of the tenth chapter of Luke, where (Luke 10:23) Jesus makes it plain what it means to be a Christian. “All things are delivered to Me of My Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him.” Get it? You just know, you just have a special feeling in your tummy-tum that the same God that monitors the electron paths of every atom in every molecule in all the physical universe has taken a break and given you the secret of how to be a Christian.

The early Christians were not unaware that Jesus Christ said not once and not twice but thirty times that He would return two thousand years ago. Christians today are also not unaware of these thirty failed prophecies but to bring that up just muddies the waters so shhhh, shush now.  Free Northerner says that the death of Christ on the cross, baptism and the difference / lack of difference between God and Jesus are central to what it means to be a Christian… but that he will not get into them. I say that to be a Christian means anything that anyone says it means. Not being able to explain otherwise aside from ‘you know… be good and stuff… believe the right things, whatever they are… ‘ suggests Free Northerner also thinks to be a Christian means anything that anyone says it means. There’s a multi-thousand year old church (or two), and being a member might be the means to be a Christian. But maybe not. There’s the Bible, and following what the Bible says (here but not there) might be the means to be a Christian. But maybe not. Don’t get all caught up in the details, just make sure that you attend to all the details. To be a Christian is just… you know…

There are men who memorize sports scores.  Other men can recite lengthy sections of dialog from Shakespeare, or Three’s Company. And there are even men who can quote the Torah, or the Bible, or the Quran as if it these books were open before them. I myself know a thing or two about the Bible, and about Shakespeare and Three’s Company and plenty more. What makes me different from some of these men is that I don’t think any of these facts and figures and quotes and chapters and verses are magical spells transcribed from the voice of an invisible monster that lives in the sky. Should that voice that nobody else can hear say he should kill somebody, well, Free Northerner would.  Religions are the creation of men. To be a Christian is to forget that while many things are wonderful, no thing is sacred.

- Trevor Blake is the author of
Confessions of a Failed Egoist and Other Essays
(Baltimore: Underworld Amusements 2014)