I learned recently, and belatedly, that Ilkka Kokkarinen — late of Sixteen Volts, The Fourth Checkraise, and The Wingnut Musings — has retired from blogging. Earlier this year, Kokkarinen published The Wingnut Musings, a no-longer-available book that seems to be drawn from his blog posts.
It is Kokkarinen’s misfortune (in my view) to live and work in uber-politically-correct Canada. (He teaches computer science at Ryerson University in Toronto.) A sad fate for someone like him, who seems born to coin politically incorrect mots justes by the bucketful. It was, evidently, political incorrectness that led to the shutting down of Sixteen Volts in 2006.
In 2007, however, Kokkarinen returned to blogging with The Fourth Checkraise. He took a brief break in 2010. At some point he renamed his blog The Wingnut Musings. That blog ended its run earlier this year. It is possible to find many snippets and chunks of Kokkarinen’s writings — just Google on Ilkka Kokkarinen or the names of his blogs (especially the last two). I cannot choose a favorite insight among his many incisive ones, but I can give you a typical one:
If national borders are bad and everyone should be allowed to live wherever they want regardless of their citizenship status and ethnic heritage… why do you think that it so wrong for some international corporation to move its factory (or some fat Western retiree to move his ass) to some poor Third World country?
It is fitting to close this homage to Kokkarinen by hoping that he will return to blogging (if he may), and by quoting the Amazon.com description of his book (a description that only he could have written):
Do you ever wonder how it is possible for all smart people to know that there is no such thing as intelligence? Or why the most progressive areas tend to have the highest levels of poverty, inequality and distrust, and even the progressives themselves do their best to insulate themselves and their loved ones from their ideas? Or why those eager to get the government out of our bedrooms seem to be equally adamant in giving the government the complete power over living rooms, kitchens, boardrooms, shop floors, classrooms and sports arenas? Or why the ideology that preaches environmentalism and localism but only when it comes to food can proudly extol its frequent flyer cosmopolitanism in all other things, while its twin ideology that preaches sustainability can barely sustain even itself more than one generation? Or how Wal-Mart, fast food, nuclear power, industrial farming and fishing, shopping malls, automobiles, suburbs, drug companies, oil, cheap airline travel and mass tourism can be targets to so much of intellectual disdain even though they have achieved more than all intellectuals together in making the average person wealthier, healthier and more free than the richest emperors of the past? This collection of short but all the more provocative essays throws rocks at many ideas that dominate the modern discourse but ultimately boil down to nothing but narrow group shibboleths for the social class that is anxious of its status, its position ever more precarious due to societal changes that have already made it obsolete. Their ideas are not meant to inform but to enforce conformity and groupthink, and to distinguish the anointed from the lower orders that they are not wealthy enough to avoid being mistaken for. They tolerate no competition or criticism, but form a pervasive and suffocating bubble that always provides the default answer for everything. Even worse, intentionally advocating policies that are harmful for weaker people serves as an imaginary status signal that has detrimental effects on society and those unable to escape their very real consequences… and this group will include many who blithely assumed that they would not be part of it, but will learn differently soon enough. A vaccination against many mind viruses that people believe not because they have thought through the facts and logic but merely because all nice people they know proclaim to believe these things, this book is guaranteed to annoy those on the left side of the political spectrum, and with its spirit of raucous zingers sprinkled amidst blunt observations, both educate and entertain those on the right side of ideas and history.
The force be with you, Ilkka.