A Very Psycho Dish Christmas

Psycho Dish went home for the holidays for the last time this Christmas. His dad passed away in early December, a few days after having a second heart attack. He was 86, and he’d had a good long run; he lived the late 20th century American Dream in its entirety. He grew up a smart kid from a lower-middle-class family who got a full ride scholarship to Berkeley and graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering. It was the height of the Cold War, and he got recruited even before he’d graduated by a big defense contractor to work on radio and radar systems for the Navy. They relocated him to a lab near the Philadelphia Navy Yards, where he spent most of the 60s and 70s working on the AEGIS radar, one of the wonder weapons of the era. It was a respectable job with a Fortune 500 company: good pay, good benefits, good pension. He bought a nice house in a nice neighborhood, married a nice girl, and had four kids. He became a pillar of his community, a fixture at his local church, and a founding member of the volunteer fire department in his rapidly-growing suburban town. As the Cold War wound down and defense contracts became less lucrative, the company offered him a generous buyout, and he retired a few years early. He and his wife had a couple decades worth of good golden years – volunteer work, playing with their grandchildren, five-day cruises to the Bahamas in winter – before she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He cared for her till the day she died, lingered on a couple more years, and then joined her in the next world. It was a fine, full life to have led.

And so, at Christmastime, all four children returned to the house they had grown up in for a final Christmas together before the funeral was held, the will was read, and the possessions accumulated over a lifetime were divided up between them as the house was emptied and then, finally, sold. The oldest sister, Janet, came down from Massachusetts. She had followed in her father’s footsteps, graduated with a math degree from MIT (back when very few women did that sort of thing), and ended up working for her alma mater, helping it transition into the computer age. With time on her hands after having recently retired herself, and having always had the responsible nature of firstborn older sisters, she commandeered the lead role in taking care of her father’s affairs. The second sister, Cindy, flew in from Michigan, where she had briefly been a teacher, and then a wife and mother. With the lion’s share of the work safely in Janet’s hands, she had a seat on a plane back home a couple of days after the holiday. Psycho Dish was the third child and the only boy in the litter. He was also, along with the youngest sister, one of the two black sheep of the family – though they held that distinction for very different reasons. Psycho Dish inherited his grandmother’s free spirit, stubbornness, and “Whadda ya got?” rebellious streak, though beneath it all he has always had good intentions and genuinely loved his family. But the youngest, Chrissy, has always been crazy (literally, not figuratively: she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder decades ago), an attention hound, and a born troublemaker. She had wanted to take control of things, but Janet had given her a “No thank you” in a manner that was polite, yet unmistakably signaled that debate on the matter was closed.

One by one they came home, and resumed residence in their bedrooms of long ago for one last time.

Another one of Psycho Dish’s inheritances from his grandmother is her repertoire of family recipes – never written down, but memorized from the years that he lived with her during his young adulthood. Most of these dated to her childhood during the Great Depression, when people found whatever means they could to make a little food go a long way. The one he makes the most is her chicken soup. It’s not a complicated recipe – cut a whole chicken into pieces, put the carcass into a big stock pot with some mirepoix and garlic, then simmer it all day. By the time it’s done, even the bones will be soft and ready to flake apart – and will have added all the flavor and nutrition in them to the mixture. Two days before Christmas, he went out to the local ShopRite and bought a chicken to simmer down into soup the next day, chill overnight, and serve with Christmas dinner. He put it in in the fridge, took out a couple of beers, passed a couple of hours watching Dancing With The Stars in the living room, went to bed, and slept in late the next morning.

By the time he got back into the kitchen, it was around 11 o’clock on the morning of Christmas Eve. Chrissy was there, busily unpacking some groceries she had just come home with. She seemed upset about something, but he decided not to ask… until he noticed a rotisserie chicken sitting on the counter among the things she was putting away.

“Y’know”, he began, “I don’t know if you looked in the fridge before you went out shopping, but there’s already a chicken in there. I’m not sure we needed two of them.”

She shot him a cold look. “Oh, I saw it.”

“Well, then, uhh…”

She didn’t let him finish the thought: “And I suppose that leaving it in the fridge was your way of telling me that you just expected me to cook it for you?”

“I actually was thinking that–”

“It’s because I’m a woman! You think it’s my job to do all the housework!”

“No, y’see, Grandma Catherine–”

“May have cooked and cleaned and picked up after you, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to! So guess what? To hell with your sexist chicken! I reject it, and bought my own! And you’re not getting any!”

At this point, Psycho Dish decided that he’d taken enough heat and he’d best get out of the kitchen for a while. He turned to leave, and noticed Janet, who had apparently heard the whole exchange, standing in the doorway. As she moved out of the way to let him pass, he found himself silently mouthing the words “…my sexist chicken…” to her. It would be a couple of hours before he dared venture back to the kitchen to see if Chrissy had vacated it. When he found that she had, he put the soup on, and it was nearly midnight by the time it was ready to put in the fridge.

Christmas morning didn’t see many presents exchanged. It’s different when you’re a grownup – if you don’t have kids of your own, it’s a more low-key holiday, and there’s not all that much pressure on to buy a bunch of presents for relatives who are adults themselves and can afford whatever toys they want on their own. The big event of the day is Christmas dinner, where, for better or worse, everyone gathers to catch each other up on what they’ve been doing and where they are in life. Psycho Dish felt a little uneasy about it; he was not only the sole male member of the family there, but also the sole member of the family whose political sympathies leaned rightward – his sisters ranged from NPR-listening Democrat to full-blown #RESIST in their views. As much of a joyful gadfly as he can sometimes be, made up his mind that under the circumstances, he’d consciously avoid the slightest hint of politics in his dinner conversation.

Janet said grace. She manages to balance respectable mainline Protestantism with the mainline liberalism that is the only respectable way to think on a university campus in Massachusetts. Food reached plates, first bites were taken, and compliments to the chef were exchanged between the siblings who were responsible for each piece of the meal. Janet made sure her compliments on the soup were extended last, waited a few seconds through a lull in the conversation, and then took some older-sisterly initiative:

“Chris, dear, I wonder if maybe you might have been a bit harsh with your brother yesterday. I know it’s a stressful time and everyone’s on edge, but do you think maybe a little apology might be in order?”

This caught Psycho Dish by surprise, and he shot a glance over to Chrissy to see how the comment landed. He expected her to look defensive. She didn’t. He recognized what he saw in her face that way that only a family member can. No, she didn’t seem like she felt cornered at all – rather, someone had just made the mistake of putting her center stage under the spotlight, and now she had the opening she needed to put on her most dramatic performance. Instantly, he realized that he was trapped in the front row, with no exit path in sight.

“Maybe I was, but all of you just don’t understand what I’ve been going through lately! It’s not just losing dad or dealing with the paperwork and legal stuff…”

Janet frowned slightly. Actually, she had been the one dealing with all the paperwork and legal stuff.

“…but there’s the trauma of being a rape survivor too!”

This was news to everyone at the table. Psycho Dish now directed his look to Janet, who was wearing an expression that somehow managed to combine concern and skepticism. It did not escape his notice that the revelation was followed by a long pause, into which a response was obviously intended to fall. He found himself very glad that his older sister was the one who had to deliver it.

“Oh, Chris, why didn’t you tell us anything about this before? We’re your family! We’ll always stand by you! Did you tell anyone else? What did the police say?”

Psycho Dish didn’t know what would come next; he knew only that he dreaded it.

“No. I was too embarrassed and afraid to tell anyone! And nobody would have done anything about it even if I did!”

“But that’s not true at all! The police would have…”

“The police wouldn’t have done anything! They couldn’t!”

“What makes you say that?”

“Because the man who raped me was…” here, Chrissy lowered her voice and seemed near tears. “…it was Donald Trump.”

Janet’s next words were calm and measured, but her tone made it obvious that the skepticism had started to overtake the concern.

“Donald… Trump? You mean, as in… the President?”

“Yes, him.”

Janet is a mathematician and a programmer. It’s in the blood. Psycho Dish’s family history is filled with respectable engineers who married crazy artists. Everyone in the family fits into one of those two types somehow. In his generation, the two older children grew up respectable and studious, the two younger ones unstable and artistic. The divide between them hung like thick smoke in the long pause that had followed. Chrissy had always been into New Age spirituality, crystals, and meditation in addition to having a troubled relationship with reality that had lasted her whole life. Janet had always thought in algorithms and equations, and outside of church took life about as literally as it could be taken. He saw her struggling to come up with some explanation for what she had just heard that her exceptionally rational mind could process. After a few seconds that seemed much longer, she came up with one.

“So you mean… twenty or thirty years ago?”

It seemed at least plausible; certainly to a group of women whose outraged reactions to Trump’s “Grab ’em by the pussy” comments of long ago had lit up Psycho Dish’s Facebook timeline for weeks on end.

“No, I mean now! Recently! Since he became President!”

Psycho Dish now turned toward Cindy and saw her staring off into the distance, as if she was looking at something far away that wasn’t really visible. And he knew exactly what it was – Michigan, where she was no doubt very much wishing she was at that moment. Psycho Dish wished he was in Michigan, too – or in Bora Bora, or in Swaziland, or in Purgatory, or literally anywhere other than that dinner table. She got very slightly up out of her chair, extended a boardinghouse reach across the table to a near-full bottle of wine, yanked it back to her seat, and filled a glass almost to the brim.

Janet continued in a polite tone of voice: “But Chris, I… I don’t like him any more than you do, but I don’t really see how that’s possible. I mean, he’s surrounded by the Secret Service 24/7, and I don’t think he’d really be able to slip away to… do something like that.”

“See?! I knew you wouldn’t believe me! You’ve always been like that! You’re not able to see all the ways that someone like that bastard could do something like this!”

Janet seemed increasingly desperate: “Then please, Chris, help me to understand. Tell me what he did.”

Chrissy’s expression told Psycho Dish that she knew it was time for the killshot: “He used astral projection.”

Janet hadn’t changed her expression yet, but when she continued, her voice sounded like an old cassette tape that had been slowed down.

“Assss… trallll… pro…ject… ion…”

“Yes! Right into my bedroom! While I was sleeping!”

Janet suddenly looked relieved. Her rational mind had thought of another explanation for all of this.

“Well, dear, I think that may only have been a dream, don’t you?”

“NO! Not if it’s happening over and over again, every single night!”

A good sister will always come in for the save when things get bad. Cindy is a good sister, and took over momentarily from the flabbergasted Janet.

“So you’re saying that the President of the United States is astrally projecting himself into your bedroom every night to rape you?”

“That’s exactly what I’m saying!”

“And how long has this been going on?”

“Since the election!”

“That was two years ago. So Donald Trump has astrally raped you every night for two years?”

“Yes, he has.”

Psycho Dish noticed that the wine glass was now empty. It would not be long before it was refilled.

Janet had recovered enough to interject again, but only barely. “H… how?” was all she could manage.

“You all don’t understand how evil he is or the dark power he’s got! That’s how he won the election in the first place!”

Cindy tagged in again: “So he’s some kind of wizard or something?”

“That’s such a simplistic, storybook way to put it!”

Psycho Dish had grown up with these women. He knew them like only close family can ever really know someone. And that means that he knew precisely what to say – the only thing that it made any sense to say at this point:

“I’m gonna go into the kitchen and check on the soup.”

A few minutes later, I got a text message from Psycho Dish. It read: “My sister thinks that Donald Trump is an evil wizard who’s astrally projecting into her bedroom and raping her every night. Tell you more when I get home.”

Dear readers, if you have been following me here or on social media for any length of time, you must know by now that I am rarely at a loss for words. But it took nearly an hour of starting, deleting, and restarting replies before I texted back: “I think you’ve just found the bottom of the well of Trump Derangement Syndrome.”

A minute or two later, my phone vibrated again. Psycho Dish had answered: “Yeah, I think I just did.”

Whatever went on with the conversation at the table after that, Psycho Dish missed it. Instead, he turned to the dirty dish-filled sink, turned on the hot water, and attacked it with an intensity that demonstrated why the fellow dishwashers at the string of restaurants he’s worked at over the years gave him that name.

* * *

Normally I would not include a note like this in any of my pieces, but here I feel it necessary to assure my readers that, other than changing the names of Psycho Dish’s sisters and filling in some lines of dialog that he left incomplete when he told me everything a week later over beer and chicken at Buffalo Wild Wings, I have not changed anything about this story. Psycho Dish is a real person, as are his sisters, and all of this actually happened. This is really the point we’ve reached in our politics, in our culture, in relations between the sexes and the state of our women, and in not just one person’s relationship with reality, but our entire society’s as well. Grown adult women have been driven to such hysteria by the fact that someone they dislike won an election that they’ve lapsed into literal hallucinations because of it. As Janet discovered, there is no rational response to that. It can’t be argued with or have its mind changed by data or tables filled with statistics.

And yet it can vote, and set the policies under which you and I must live.

This is 21st century democracy.

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To See The Invisible Man

For anyone who’s never seen it, this episode of the 80s revival of the Twilight Zone (posted here in its entirety) is a perfect metaphor for the deplatforming/unpersoning of those found guilty of wrongthink in the current year. Notice, especially, how it ends, which is the right answer to how we should respond to respond to it.

If we are afraid or indifferent, they will isolate us and destroy us one at a time. We must stick together and take care of each other, which is what communities do.

Green Tea Among Snow-Covered Mountains

Twenty years ago, I lived in a small town in the mountains of central Japan, where, through a nationally-administered educational program called JET, I was employed teaching English in the local middle school. I was in my mid-20s, and off on a great exotic adventure – a romantic one too, as through some luck and ingenuity I had managed to find a way to bring with me a certain young lady of whom I was quite fond. It was not only my first time living in a foreign land, but, as a child of the Great American Suburbs, also my first time living in the countryside anywhere. It was, as small towns tend to be, the sort of place where not only does everybody know everybody, but everybody is vaguely related to everybody as well – there were a handful of local surnames that I’d guess between them hung on about three-quarters of the people there. The local barber had, in his younger days, been a sailor on a a cargo ship and had come home with a Filipina wife, but other than her, my young lady and I were the only non-Japanese there. As one can imagine, we made quite an impression on the place, as it did also on us.

Japanese schools work differently from American schools in a few important ways. Among them is that in America, students shuttle around between classrooms all day, while in Japan, students stay at the same desk while, every class period, different teachers come in for each of their various classes. This is why there are no lockers in Japanese schools – students there simply keep everything at the desk at which they sit all day, every day. It is also why the common American phenomenon of a teacher taking over a certain classroom as their own personal fiefdom and storing all of their stuff in its desk never happens in Japan. Because of this, teachers in Japan spend a lot more time at their desks in the staff room, which is where they come between classes and during periods in which they have nothing scheduled, to grade papers, plan lessons, or relax a bit.

My own desk in the staff room was nose-to-nose with that of Yukari-san, the school’s office lady. Office lady (OL for short) is a job that doesn’t exist in America, or even in the West as a whole, but is a fixture of Asian business settings. It is, in truth, a job that the egalitarian feminist sentiments of the modern West would not permit to exist here. The function of OLs is simply to make the office comfortable and comforting. Yes, they often do some minor functional tasks like making copies or shuttling papers from one office to the next. But the main things that they do during their workdays are to make tea (oh, the endless cups of tea consumed in Japanese offices!), to ensure that the electric hot water kettles that office workers use for instant ramen consumed at their desks are full, to offer cookies and snacks to those too busy even for ramen, to greet guests, to be pleasant, to look nice. Most of them are attractive young women who are expected to, and do, quit after a few years when they get married. Most, in corporate settings, wear smart-looking uniforms – universally featuring skirts, not pants – and pretty but businesslike high heels. They make offices – in which Japanese workers spend far more time than their American counterparts – a more warm and welcoming place.

Yukari-san was not in her 20s, and though she had obviously been quite pretty in her younger days, age and care had faded her looks. She wore no uniform, but came to work in the nicest clothes that her modest circumstances would allow. Hers was not the “Pretty Young Thing” approach to making the office a brighter place, but a motherly one. Quite literally, in fact, as two of her three daughters were students at the middle school (the third and oldest had just moved on to high school, which, as is common in the countryside, was farther off and shared by two or three nearby towns). She had been a widow about ten years, her husband having been killed in a wintertime wreck on one of the twisty, narrow roads that led out to the highway. She had never graduated high school, had no marketable skills, and after the accident had been left with three young children and enough money from savings and life insurance to get by for perhaps a few months.

In a small place like that, word gets around fast. The town, as a whole, made up its mind to do something to help her. Meetings were held at town hall. The mayor got involved. It was decided that a job would be found for her, marketable skills or not. Budgets were adjusted, and a modest sum per year was come up with. The Board of Education was consulted; suddenly there was an opening for an OL at the middle school, and only one candidate was ever considered for it.

In the West, the answer would have been to send Yukari-san to the welfare office, and to hurl her into the void of those who become lifetime wards of the system. She would be left to shuffle through the dehumanizing bureaucracy of the welfare state, filling out forms in dreary government offices, and then to return home to sit on the couch in front of a television set, getting fat on EBT-provided, high fructose corn syrup-laden junk foods, until diabetes or hypertension took her to an early grave. Or perhaps, as has become so common in America, someone would clue her in on how to get an easy prescription for opioid painkillers, and they would slowly consume her until, inevitably – by choice or by accident – the inevitable happened. But that is not how small-town Japan works. They find a way to take care of their own, and not just by giving them free processed junk food and a shabby Section 8 apartment. They came up with a way for Yukari-san to continue to be a useful member of the community, to have a purpose in life, to have a reason to get off the couch, to have pride in every bit of money that she was paid.

For Yukari-san, the job was perfect. She wasn’t well-educated, but she could make tea and snacks and photocopies and she could keep electric kettles full. The position allowed her to keep an eye on her daughters – the elementary school and the middle school were separated only by their shared baseball field, which meant that she would be near them all the way from when they began kindergarten to when they were teenagers headed off to high school. The pay was not lavish, but for getting by in a small town it was adequate, and since the staff in Japanese schools eat the same meals that students do, a few meals a week for both herself and her daughters were had at no charge. And most important of all, she could hold her head high with self-respect and say that she earned her keep.

Was that really quite true? Was the service she provided worth what the town was paying her in cold economic terms? Most certainly not. But despite the protestations of Ayn Rand, not all societal good is measurable that way. Was it cruel to make her work for her money instead of simply handing it to her and asking for nothing in return? Bleeding hearts would insist that it was, but it never seemed that Yukari-san felt that way. She didn’t feel demeaned – either by feminist sensibilities telling her that the job was beneath her or by a sense of entitlement telling her that she was owed something for nothing. She was only grateful that her community had found a way to take care of her, and she was equally grateful that she could contribute something back to it.

And as for me, I was simply happy to have a hot cup of green tea waiting for me whenever I came back from teaching a class. To this day, I can’t drink any without thinking of Yukari-san. The memories – of looking out at snow-covered mountains beyond the school windows while warming my hands over a steaming cup – are faded, but surrounded by a glow of distant happiness. By helping to create them, Yukari-san added something of value to my life that I feel even all these years later, in ways that are beyond the capability of economists to quantify.

And, though she was never a teacher, she did manage to provide me with a lesson in how a community can best take care of its needy.

How To White Nationalism

Auntie Marie is a kind, gentle woman without an ounce of hate for anybody in her heart. That’s why it surprised me to hear her, of all people, praising the Black Panthers – the infamous, and occasionally violent, black nationalist movement that flourished on the streets of Oakland during the Civil Rights era. Marie grew up on the border between Oakland and Berkeley, and is of just the right age to remember them as a part of her childhood. It was not, however, their political activism – and certainly not the violence! – that won them an eternal place in her heart, but something far more personal.

Marie doesn’t like to say that she grew up poor, but her parents divorced when she was five years old and her father, a longshoreman who had migrated up from Louisiana near the end of World War II, was never quite able to provide as much as his nine children by Marie’s mother and his stepchildren with his new wife all might have wanted. They weren’t exactly starving, but money was tight and any little bit of help they could get, especially in those days before LBJ’s Great Society efforts had expanded the welfare state to its modern gargantuan proportions, went a long way. One such bit of help was found when Marie was attending what is now Rosa Parks Elementary School, when the Black Panthers established their own school breakfast program in the neighborhood.

Her memories of it are a bit faded with age, but still clear enough to bring a warm smile to her lips. It was located in a two-story house – was it on Allston, or Addison? – well anyhow, not too far from the old Jack in the Box on San Pablo Avenue. She never asked who the house belonged to; whether one of the Panthers owned it or if they had rented it. It hardly mattered to her back then and it’s too late to ask now. What she does remember is that the furniture had been cleared out of the living room and a large round table that nearly filled the room set up there instead. Normally she would arrive sometime between 7:30 and 8AM, which was just about prime time for the operation. There would usually be about twenty kids there, mostly her age, and universally black. Breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs, bacon, white toast, and oatmeal – always plenty to go around, and served piping hot. Occasionally an adult would spend a couple of minutes telling them about the Black Panther Party, but mostly they just sat and ate. Nobody from the Black Panthers ever asked for a dime from them, or from their parents.

The program lasted for three or four crucial years of Marie’s childhood before the Panthers closed it down, mostly because the then-new Food Stamp program had spooled up enough that many in the community no longer saw it as necessary and, with their refrigerators stocked with taxpayer-provided free food of their own, had stopped sending their children to eat with the Panthers. But that doesn’t mean that the Black Panther school breakfast program was without its lasting effects. Half a century later, a little girl who ate at their table every day before school still will not tolerate a bad word to be said about them in her presence.

* * *

I have frequently seen the complaint made among those in the community of white people who would rather not be genocided that, while online activism has done wonders for us, more must be done to bring the movement offline and into the real world. So far, the results of that have been roundly terrible, with the disastrous Charlottesville rally in the summer of 2017 being the most drastic example. This has made many back away from the idea of real-world activism completely, sending them retreating into anonymous meme-making. There is to this some measure of good sense – Charlottesville emphasized the point that the right can’t simply hope to replicate the left’s successes by doing the same things that the left has traditionally done. We are not them. Our strengths (and weaknesses) are not the same as theirs. Beyond this, the Establishment, including the press and the media, will not treat our efforts the same as they treat those of the left. For all these reasons, we should not make a cargo cult of leftist tactics no matter how impressed we are by their victories.

Instead, inspired by Auntie Marie’s story, let me suggest this: Let’s start by making our move into “meat space” a literal one. Let us direct our impulse for real-world action not into duking it out with Antifa goons in the streets of deep-blue cities, but into helping our own people in our own communities, as the Black Panthers did for their people in Oakland so many years ago.

It may here be argued that such efforts are useless, as government welfare programs already exist to do this. But by now only a fool could fail to see that, no matter what the promises with which they were founded may have been, these programs do not exist to benefit our people. They have torn our families to pieces as women have abandoned traditional families and effectively married the state. They have subsidized blight, criminality, and addiction, as the idle hands (both of our own people and of others around whom we must try to live) that it turns out really are the devil’s workshop have turned to acts destructive of the self, of others, and of society as a whole. They have attracted swarms of parasites both from within the ranks of the work-shy inside our borders and, even more disastrously, from every poverty-stricken Third World shithole (as our President so aptly termed them) from Machu Picchu to Phnom Penh. Half a century after these programs were instituted under the promise of helping our people, they have succeeded only in enabling calamities like the divorce epidemic, the opioid crisis, and the rising suicide rate among the men of our working class.

The bottom line is that the government welfare state hasn’t really helped us and isn’t going to start doing so. Among the consequences of this is that there is what one may call an opening in the market; a need for real help that is not being met by a government that doesn’t care about us (or about anything other than its own power), which neatly coincides with our desire to build something in the real world; something that increases the sense of mutual obligation and loyalty among our people.

While I, of course, know that my readership is composed of only the highest class of individuals, I also understand that you, dear reader, are almost certainly not fabulously wealthy and do not have vast resources at your disposal with which to found some grand philanthropic enterprise. If you are of average means and can speak only for yourself, your immediate family, and perhaps a few close friends, then it is easy to believe that taking action in this space is beyond your capacity. But the entire reason I brought up the example of the Black Panther school breakfast program is to show that the best template is decentralized, local, personal, flexible, and small-scale. How much, in terms of resources, did the Black Panthers’ efforts really take? They needed a kitchen and a dining space that was available for three or four hours, five days a week – they used someone’s living room, though a garage equipped with some space heaters would do just as well. They needed a big table, though a few small folding card tables would also work. They needed perhaps 20 hours a week in efforts from a handful of volunteers. And they needed what would now amount to a few hundred dollars a month in groceries if bought in bulk from someplace like Costco or Sam’s Club. None of this would be particularly hard for a small group of people in a local community to put together.

In short: You don’t have to help the whole world. You just have to help a few of our people in your community. And you don’t have to found a huge organization. Start small. Is there a need in your town or neighborhood? Then get a few like-minded people together and fill it. Be sure to know what those needs are and what kind of problems you are in the best position to solve. The Black Panthers’ school breakfast program filled a need found in an urban black community in the mid-1960s, but those may or may not reflect the needs of your community, and thus it may or may not be worthwhile to replicate there. There are, however, many other needs that may be present there.

For example: My father lived for a few years in a small town in which there were many retirees too old to safely drive. This didn’t present much of a problem, as everything in town was within reasonable walking distance, until one day the only grocery store in town closed under competitive pressure from a big box store located a few miles away. This wasn’t much of a problem for the younger people, or the elderly whose families still lived nearby, but was a calamity for those who had to get by on their own. They were left with only the option of choosing from the limited, expensive selection at the local convenience store, or eating at the town’s one fast food outlet. This is a perfect situation of a community need presenting an opportunity for community action. What if a volunteer effort could be organized to connect with elders in need of a ride and, once a week (perhaps on Sunday afternoon), put together a car caravan to drive them out to that big box store to buy groceries? The investment here would be minimal – perhaps four or five hours a week put in by a few volunteers, each of whom would expend a trivial amount on gas in order to do it. But the effects in terms of community-building – in terms of letting fellow whites know that their people were there for them in times of trouble – would be tremendous.

Here I must emphasize: you should assiduously avoid haranguing those you aid with political messages. Never require them to sign on to your pet ideology in order to get help. But always, there should be a knowledge sitting in the background that their fellow white man was there for them when nobody else gave a damn. Don’t require any promises of allegiance from them; as with auntie Marie and the Black Panthers, over time most will come to offer it on their own.

In addition, remember never to overtly turn away minorities (giving the media the chance to put a pitiable crying child who got no breakfast from you on television, and perhaps giving a group like the SPLC grounds to sue you), but target poor or working class white places for help and let geography do the work for you. And above all, DO NOT seek press attention, and do not apply for any official government status (such as a 503c). Just start doing it. If they should somehow find out about you and try to shut you down for operating a charity without government permission, let them – and let the anger of those who benefited from your efforts be directed at them. Let them be the bad guys. And yes, if those who hate us find out what you’re up to, of course they will still call you Nazis for giving food to elderly shut-ins and winter coats to needy children. Don’t expect otherwise and don’t do this for the approval of your enemies.

Never forget that in charitable work (as in all things), you must be smart. No, you can’t save everybody, and it’s useless to pour resources down black holes, which some people are. Some people are bound and determined to self-destruct, and will not abide you standing in their way. Others are selfish and greedy; they cynically use those who extend help and then discard them without a second thought when they think they have extracted all the value from them that they can. Do not be naive and assume that everyone you encounter is worth your efforts; or that they are worthy of saving just because they’re white. Save the good people who got lost and just need somebody to extend a hand to them. Perhaps you can’t save the hardcore junkie, but you can save the man who lost his job, whose wife left him, whose neighborhood went to shambles around him, and who started taking oxycontin just to make the depression and boredom go away. The establishment celebrates their pain and cheers on their extinction. Let them know that somebody values them. And to the degree that they are able, require something from them, (which welfare never does, other than the implied requirement of a vote for the right party to help perpetuate the system). Apply conditions, like staying away from drugs (even – perhaps especially – prescription painkillers), keeping families together instead of resorting to divorce, and helping others once they’re back on their feet. Don’t just give them money, food, or material items; as much as you can, find ways to give them purpose.

This is the way to begin to build networks and communities in the real world, both between ourselves and those we help, and between each other as we work to help them. Far more can be accomplished this way than by showy rallies or shadowy secret conferences. There is no glamor to it, but there is great reward – for our people, for our movement, and for our souls.

Big Bill’s Black Mama Vs. The SJW Cat Ladies

The first thing you have to understand about Big Bill is that he’s a good kid. I know this because his auntie Marie told me, and auntie Marie doesn’t lie when it comes to things like that – if there’s a bad apple in her family tree, she’ll tell you true about it. But she’s proud of Big Bill, and talks about him a lot. Last time I ran into her – down at the Emeryville Public Market, where we caught up with each other over some ramen and shared a box of macaroons – she got onto the subject of what he was up to these days, and the news was not all good.

Big Bill is one of only four black students at his high school in “upscale” (read: heavily white/east Asian and ranging from upper middle class to Silicon Valley rich) Marin County, just north of San Francisco. Marin County is the galactic center of limousine liberalism – electorally, they’re even further left than San Francisco itself (believe it or not), but that doesn’t stop them from consistently voting down public transit initiatives so that the riffraff don’t have any way to get into their neighborhoods. Big Bill’s family isn’t exactly rich – they get by okay – but they’ve lived in Marin since it was a lot less expensive than it is now, and the house has been paid off since Big Bill’s grandmother’s day. This leaves Big Bill as a token Non-Asian Minority in a school that is highly-rated and flush with cash, which is, all told, a pretty nice situation. Big Bill loves his school, and his school loves him in return. Like I said, he’s a good kid. He gets decent (not exceptional, but decent) grades. He’s popular with his classmates. True to stereotype (and Big Bill is the first to laugh about this himself), he tried out for the school football team and became a star running back in no time flat, which made him even more popular than he already was. Big Bill is happy with everything at school, and so is his mama – or at least, they were until recently.

The trouble started almost immediately after the new school year began. There was an announcement over the PA system calling Big Bill to the office. For a few moments he was genuinely worried – thoughts of a family member in the hospital – or worse – came to mind. In fact, he was being called into a private session with the new school counselor; a white lady in her 40s with short hair, a social work diploma, and impeccably progressive social views. For two solid hours, she interrogated Big Bill, looking for any evidence that he had been the victim of bigotry-driven mistreatment at the hands of anyone at the school. He repeatedly explained to her that he hadn’t. Racism? Nope. Classism? Nope. Homophobia? “No! Look, I’m not even…” Transphobia? “Wait… what?” Toxic masculinity? “I’m on the football team for heaven’s sake…” Bullying? “Did you hear the part about being a football player? I’m 15 years old, 6′ 3″, and 250 pounds, so…” Teasing or hazing? “There’s the normal teammate locker room banter, but I’d feel left out if they didn’t…” AHA! What do they say to you? “Look, it’s not even important. Can I go back to class now? We have a math quiz coming up at the end of the week, and if I don’t…” Are you SURE you haven’t experienced ANY racism? Think hard about this! “Yes! Really! I’m sure! Now can I please just go back to class?!” And on it went. Finally, a deeply dissatisfied counselor sent him back to class, with the pleading assurance that her door was always open if he experienced the slightest degree of bigotry and would like to inform her about it. He promised he would, and other than telling mama what happened that evening, gave the matter no more thought.

Until the event repeated itself three weeks later – this time with both the counselor and someone from the district office (another 40something white lady with short hair, Big Bill noted) there. This time, Big Bill ended up missing something important in class, and at the end of the week, missed questions on a test that he knew he would have gotten right if he hadn’t been in the counselor’s office having to tell her over and over again how fine everything was. Big Bill went home very annoyed by this, but not as annoyed as mama was when he told her about it. They had the good fortune of living in a nice neighborhood, but neither of them was so far removed from the streets that they didn’t recognize someone trying to play Captain Save-a-hoe when they saw it. But Big Bill isn’t a hoe, and didn’t need saving. They both hoped that now that he’d told them twice that everything was perfectly okay, maybe this would be the end of it.

It wasn’t. A month later, he got called in for a whole afternoon, which included missing football practice. On this occasion, a board of five short-haired white ladies grilled him about any possible signs of bigotry, including asking more than a few questions that Big Bill thought were intentionally worded to trip him up. They also gave him some kind of multi-page form with a bunch of questions on it that he had to write out answers to. After they finally let him go, he was both genuinely angry and no longer naive enough to think they would stop until he’d given them what they wanted (whether it was true or not), which he had no intention of doing.

That’s when Big Bill’s mama decided that she’d had enough. She arranged an afternoon off from work (which wasn’t as easy for her to do as it would be for most of Marin’s limousine liberal population), made an appointment with the counselor, put on her Sunday best, and marched up to school to put a stop to all this nonsense. In no uncertain terms, she informed the crestfallen counselor that Big Bill was fine, that the only two personages allowed to save him were 1) mama and 2) Jesus and that all other potential saviors had best mind their own business, and that if Big Bill was pulled out of class at any time and for any reason other than that he was in imminent danger of death and was being rushed to the hospital, mama was going to be back down to the school to make the lives of everyone there extremely unpleasant until they agreed to cut this bullshit out. And with that, she wished the counselor a good day and left.

So far, this seems to have worked. It’s been two whole months, and Big Bill has been left alone to get on with his high school days in peace. When I asked auntie Marie whether that meant the short-haired white lady brigade had simply moved on to one of the other three black students in the school to see if they’d have any better luck at getting them to crack, she shot a worried look down into her empty ramen bowl and said that she sure hoped not. She didn’t sound very optimistic about it, though.

* * *

Much like one of Rod Serling’s protagonists surviving an encounter with the Twilight Zone, Big Bill and his mama seem (for the moment) to have survived their encounter with the zeitgeist of the age. The decisive factor here was both mother and son’s unusually keen understanding of one critical fact: none of what went on was happening in order to actually help Big Bill. There is a difference – and one that perceptive people must always be attuned to – between cause and pretext. Here, the SJW cat ladies’ pretext for all this bother was to help Big Bill overcome the oppression that surrounded him (so thoroughly, in fact, that like a fish in water, he might not even realize it was there). But the true cause of it was that Big Bill’s nonexistent oppression is a force that gives them meaning. Too late in their lives, they discovered that a cubicle and a cat were not emotionally-fulfilling substitutes for a husband and a family, and it makes them quietly miserable. With their innate instincts toward motherly protection unable to be focused on children that they never had, they redirect them outward toward one world-saving cause after another. Where none exist, they will do anything they can to create one – out of thin air if need be. The fact that the external object may either not need help, or that reality shows us they have not really been helped by the actions taken, is irrelevant. Half a century after the “war on poverty” was declared, the nation’s ghettos do indeed like like a war has been fought there, but there is little evidence of any victory against poverty. The effort to save black people has ended up with W. E. B. DuBois’s “talented tenth” being brought high in white society (in the process, leaving blacks without the leadership of their own natural elites), while millions more of them are left to rot in hellish, crime-ridden squalor. As for the effort to save women, the very SJW cat ladies from which Big Bill managed to narrowly escape serve as testament to its failure. But none of that matters to those who began or sustain those moral crusades, which is why bringing their failures to their attention never works at getting them to reevaluate their strategies. If you try, you’re just engaging the pretext instead of the cause, which is all useless.

Nietzsche once counseled: “Beware those in whom the impulse to punish is strong”, and while this is certainly true, it is also true that the history of the world since his time has shown us that those in whom the impulse to save is strong can be even more dangerous. All too often, what is at their core is a misery born of the helpless feeling of needing their own form of salvation, and of being unable, either through bad fortune or (more often) their own limitations, to ever find it. The emptiness inside them makes them desperate to feel important, to feel needed, to feel as if they can save somebody, even if it can never be themselves. Their desperation turns to fanaticism, and that fanaticism inevitably produces more misery, sustaining the cycle infinitely. The only way out is to understand all of this, and to pick your saviors carefully. Know who’s playing that role, and why – and be doubly cautious about it if the one struck with the savior impulse is you, because the impulse to save run amok destroys both those the potential savior and those who they wish to save.

Big Bill is a good kid with a good mama who saved him from the savers. If only she could deliver our whole society from them!

The Squirearchy: Prologue

The next time you’re in lower Manhattan, be sure to take some time to visit the Tenement Museum. It’s located in the SoHo neighborhood of the city, so named because it’s South of Houston Street (in one of those wonderful quirks of the English language, the name of this street is pronounced “How-ston”, as opposed to the city in Texas, the name of which is pronounced “Hugh-ston”). The neighborhood has, for perhaps a quarter century now, been throughly gentrified, with the five-story brownstones that line its streets remodeled and turned into fashionable but oh-so-expensive apartments occupied mainly by the rising stars of the trading houses on nearby Wall Street. But in the late nineteenth through mid twentieth centuries, this place was among the most poverty-ridden slums in the nation; these same brownstones were occupied almost exclusively by penniless immigrants fresh off the boat, many of whom had come through Ellis Island with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Here they toiled in backbreaking and often terribly hazardous conditions. Some (including more than one of my own ancestors) dug the subway tunnels under the city with shovels or moved rock with their bare hands, others labored in sweatshops where fourteen to sixteen hour days, six or even seven days a week, were the norm. Many were crippled, maimed, or killed in accidents like the Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire of 1911, in which 146 workers, mostly women, burned alive or were crushed in a panicked stampede after a fire broke out at a garment factory and those inside found that the owners had locked the exits in an effort to keep them from taking unauthorized breaks. After their long days of work, the immigrant laborers came home to these tenements, which in those days were kept in a horribly dilapidated condition. The very poorest among them were consigned to the basement apartments, where they lived and slept in an inch or two of water that perennially covered the hard stone floors.

Those days are long past, but a bit of them is preserved at 97 Orchard Street, which the Tenement Museum Foundation acquired just as the neighborhood was beginning its turnaround in the 1980s. From 10AM to 6:30PM, seven days a week, it receives visitors who are given guided tours of apartments that have been carefully restored to look as they would have during the great wave of immigration that hit New York City in the 1880s through the 1920s. If you go there on a weekday during the off-season when the summer tourists are gone and things are slow, and if you show up early for your tour and find yourself sitting in the museum’s lobby with the chance to chat a bit with your guide before they start showing you through the exhibits, you may just end up being favored with hearing this story…

* * *

Sometime toward the tail end of the nineteenth century, a young immigrant by the name of Piotr found himself, after being processed through Ellis Island, lost and alone in the confusing bustle of Grand Central Station in New York City. Surrounding him was a madding crowd made up mostly of other immigrants from every conceivable end of Europe, few of whom spoke so much as a single word of English, and many of whom were illiterate even in their native languages. Interspersed among them, trying to bring some semblance of order to the perpetual chaos that the influx of immigrants had brought to Grand Central, were railway employees, whose job it was to make sure that the immigrants got on the right train – the one that would take them to whoever it was that had sponsored them on their journeys across the Atlantic. Sometimes the sponsors would be relatives, but most often they were employers whose desire for cheap labor was so insatiable that they contracted with agents in Europe who recruited directly from among the continent’s poor, providing them with sponsorships and passage to America in exchange for pledges to work a certain number of years for those who had sponsored them. Most of these agents were deeply dishonest and unscrupulous, telling their perspective recruits tales of streets paved with gold in the New World, and carefully avoiding any truths about sweatshops and tenements.

It was one of these agents who had recruited Piotr, a second son of a poor dairy farmer in some backwater of a Poland that, in those days, was still under the domination of the Russian Czar. At the port of Danzig, before his ship set sail for New York, the agency handed him a piece of wood with that had a bit of rope attached to it at both ends and a word he didn’t recognize written on it. This was the agency’s rather ingenious workaround for the problem of their recruits not having the basic English skills necessary to tell the railway men in New York where they were supposed to be going – it was a sign that they were supposed to wear around their necks when they arrived that had the name of their destination painted on it in large lettering. Now, ten days later and an ocean away, Piotr stood in the chaos of Grand Central Station with the sign dutifully hung around his neck.

Eventually, he managed to fight his way through the crush to one of the railway employees, an annoyed, busy man whose patience with the immigrants who had brought unceasing disorder to his station was running noticeably short. The railman, who simply didn’t have the time to spend more than a few seconds with each one of the newcomers swarming around him, took a quick glance at the sign around Piotr’s neck and pointed him toward a departing train. In the confusion, nobody even stopped to check whether he had a ticket before he boarded (sponsors usually paid fares upon the arrival of their new laborers, so there wasn’t much point in looking at their ticket before they got to their destinations anyway). Everyone seemed satisfied by the fact that he was going where his sign said he should, though Piotr himself had never before even heard of the place whose name was painted on it – a place called Houston.

For three long days, the train rumbled along; through the Mid-Atlantic states, through the Tidewater, through the deep south, and on into Texas. Finally, the exhausting ordeal came to an end when the conductor shook Piotr awake and guided him off the train. Having arrived at his new home, he walked inside the Houston & Texas Central Railway depot to wait for his sponsor to come for him.

He waited all day, and then all night, sleeping fitfully on one of the depot’s wooden benches. Then he waited all the next day, and all the next night as well. By the end of Piotr’s third day there (and with no one having come to pay for his train fare), the station master knew that something had gone wrong. Unable to communicate with the young man and unable to find anyone who knew anything about him or how he had gotten there, the station master eventually summoned the sheriff. The sheriff, who was equally unable to make any sense of the situation, took Piotr off to jail, ostensibly on a charge of vagrancy, but more than anything simply because the jail had a bed for him to sleep in and food for him to eat until someone could figure out where he had come from and what to do with him.

For several days, the sheriff made inquiries, but turned up nothing – nobody seemed to be missing an immigrant or to know who might be missing one. Though Houston is now a vast metropolis, it was in those days a small, sleepy country city – a cow town where everyone knew everyone, surrounded by vast cattle ranches. It didn’t take long before anyone who might know anything had been asked, and every possible route of inquiry had come up dry. The sheriff knew that he couldn’t keep Piotr in jail forever, nor did he wish to, as the young man seemed like a decent enough sort of lad. Unable to think of anything else to do with him, the sheriff started asking around to see if any of the local ranchers would take him on as a hired hand. After a bit of good-natured cajoling, one of them – an old friend of the sheriff – agreed to it. The next morning, a wagon arrived to take the still-confused Piotr away to his new life on the ranch.

As soon as he arrived, his eyes lit up with a combination of joy and relief. Finally, there was something in America that he was comfortable with! He might not have known much about his new country or even known a word of its language, but if there was one thing he did know from growing up on a dairy farm, it was cows. Even his lack of English proved not to be as great a problem as the rancher feared, as Piotr needed hardly any instruction in his duties at all. Beyond this, he was responsible and hardworking; unlike the other cowboys, he didn’t spend his nights getting drunk or his days off down at the local whorehouse or gambling den, and so he was neither perpetually hung over nor perpetually broke. As he slowly but surely became fluent in English, he became more and more useful, and the rancher steadily promoted him to higher (and better paid) positions. And if Piotr had successfully caught the boss’s eye, eventually the gentle and industrious young man began to catch the eye of the boss’s eldest daughter, as well; with the rancher’s blessing, a romance blossomed between them.

Years passed, and the newcomer’s fortunes continued to rise. He became a trusted employee, then a friend, and finally part of the family; courtship turned to marriage, and in time, the ranch passed to Piotr and his wife. Under their direction, the ranch became more prosperous than ever. From the humblest of beginnings, the immigrant who had arrived with nothing came to be wealthy, respected, and a pillar of his community – he had found the American Dream in his adoptive home.

Yet contented as he was, there was still one thing that had never stopped bothering him over the years – the mystery behind the chain of events that had brought him to the ranch in the first place. No one in Houston had ever been able to come up with any explanations – as far as the Texans were concerned, he had simply appeared out of nowhere one day. And so, decades after he had passed through it on his way to his new life, Piotr, now wealthy enough to afford the trip and fluent enough to understand whatever documents he might uncover, set out, with his wife and a couple of his older children in tow, for New York City, to see if he could find out what had happened all those many years ago. While his family enjoyed the delights of shopping and dining on Fifth Avenue, Piotr returned to Ellis Island, spending his days digging through file cabinets full of dusty, yellowed old papers. After a few frustrating, long days of searching, he finally found what he was looking for.

His sponsor had been one the the garment sweatshops that operated in lower Manhattan, and the sign that he carried was meant to send him to Houston Street, not to Houston, Texas. In the crush and chaos of Grand Central Station, the overworked railway employee who never bothered to look at his papers had hastily pointed Piotr toward the wrong train. He was never meant to go where he had gone at all, and, if not for a quirk of fate, would have ended up in a life of crushing poverty in the slums of New York, working fourteen-hour days for pennies in horrifying conditions in someplace very much like the Triangle Shirtwaist Company, and living in misery in a tenement very much like what 97 Orchard Street looked like in those days, most probably even sleeping in an inch of water in a dark and moldy basement apartment.

Piotr returned to the big, comfortable house on his ranch in the wide-open plains of Texas very happy indeed for quirks of fate, and determined never to return to New York City, lest an elderly garment factory owner somewhere south of Houston Street find out who he was and attempt to sue him for the cost of a steerage class ticket from Danzig to New York.

And he lived happily ever after, y’all.

* * *

This seems as good a way as any to start a series of essays on the topic of the advantages of us all seeking our fortunes in the country rather than in the big cities. Expect more in this series to be coming soon.

The Squirearchy: Introduction

The megacities are dead: nothing can, and nothing should, be done to save them. The entire incentive structure inherent to urban living pulls those living in them toward leftism and degeneracy, and there is fundamentally nothing that can be done about it. Yes, big cities are engines of culture, but the culture that does emanate from them is poison, has been for decades, and will continue to be in the future. Yes, big cities are engines of the economy, but have long ago caused our economy to have a vastly excessive emphasis on the finance sector, and this has thence degenerated into thinly-masked, “too big to fail” fraud on all sides, built on a foundation of usury that is both sinful and unsustainable. Further, it should go without saying that our cities, once gleaming, have descended into dystopian hellscapes of crime, poverty, pollution, dependency, degeneracy, atomization, alienation, and meaninglessness, which cannot be fixed and which all of the boutique bookstores and arthouse cinemas in the world simply can’t make up for. And, in fact, they don’t have to – the internet age has (perhaps ironically) created a new world in which almost all of the cultural and economic opportunities that once could be enjoyed only in the big city are available virtually anywhere. All of these truths should draw us toward the conclusion that the traditionalist right should abandon the cities entirely; meaning we should both reject the idea of mass urbanization as a good, and we should physically abandon them ourselves as well. In the short term, this means that each of us should move out of the cities for the countryside as soon as it is practical to do so. In the long term, it means accepting the idea that the Restoration must involve a recentering of society, from one centered around megacities to one centered around a “manor culture”, led in both a cultural and political sense by country squires who form a de facto or de jure aristocracy.

These are the core ideas around which I will base a series of essays that will be appearing here in the coming months. Like my Christania series, they may not be sequential – in other words, I may intersperse them among other pieces on other topics – and I am not at present sure precisely how many of them I may end up writing. I will, however, explore the topic as thoroughly as I can, including providing some theoretical models for the new society that I believe we should be moving toward creating in the long term. This will, in many ways, be personal for me, as my own plan in the next few years is to leave the cities and move to someplace rural, conservative, and non-diverse.

So then, please do keep checking back in this space, because the Squirearchy will, I promise, be coming soon, In the meantime, anyone who may wish to get a head start on this series should do so by reading this excellent recent essay by Ryan Landry, which touches on many of the ideas that I plan to present going forward.