I was recently interviewed by Raging Papist about Catholicism, conversion, faith, and many more topics. I think it turned out to be a very interesting conversation, so please go ahead and have a listen.
I was recently interviewed by Raging Papist about Catholicism, conversion, faith, and many more topics. I think it turned out to be a very interesting conversation, so please go ahead and have a listen.
During my travels this summer, I stopped to interview old friend of the blog Psycho Dish. I’ve divided the interview into two parts, both of which I’m posting here.
In Part One, he talks about his past and future, and about how the son of a long line of liberals, social crusaders, and even outright communists ended up moving to the right. He tells us about his family history, his experiences with poverty and homelessness, his time working for a communally-run taxi service in Berkeley, and his experiences traveling in Asia:
In Part Two, we talk about hippie protestors and what they get wrong, virtue signaling, the right way to do charity, and the underground economy of the ghetto, along with asking the question nobody seems to want to answer: To whom do black lives matter?
So listen in and meet Psycho Dish, a most singular gentleman.
Time for another edition of Short Takes, my roundup of thoughts that are worth saying, but too limited to warrant a full blog post. It’s shaping up to be a long, hot summer, and it’s not easy to keep up with everything going on, so let’s get these thoughts out the door while, like a tray of buns just out of an oven, they’re still hot and fresh.
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• The founding fathers of the United States considered themselves too good – too intellectual, too advanced, too sophisticated – to say that what they were founding was explicitly a white nation that would operate on traditional Christian/Western principles. Therefore, their descendants live in a mongrel nation that operates on liberal Jewish/Puritan principles.
• The role of the reactionary is to remind people that our ancestors – long sneered at by “progressives” of every stripe – were neither fools nor monsters, but were wise and sensible people who did what needed to be done in the hard, tireless struggle to maintain civilization and keep the darkness at bay. One of the things they understood is that if riots are not stopped immediately, with massive force, things will only get worse. They will grow, and sympathy riots will start in other places – more cities will burn, and more people will be hurt than would be hurt by stopping the riots early and decisively.
We are – once again – paying the price for rejecting the wisdom of our ancestors. The price will continue to rise until we admit our error and do as our ancestors would tell us to.
• What must be understood about leftism is that it always delivers the exact opposite of what it claims it will deliver. By this I do not merely mean that it doesn’t deliver what it promises; I mean that it is remarkably effective at delivering the total inverse of what it has promised. Where it promises prosperity, it brings famine. Where it promises liberation, it brings oppression. Where it promises peace, it brings strife. Where it promises progress, it brings stagnation. Where it promises paradise, it brings misery. Where it promises enlightenment, it brings illusion and folly. In the United States, for half a century it has promised to eradicate poverty and bring the races together in brotherhood. Instead, our urban ghettoes are more impoverished, crime-ridden, and nightmarish than ever, and the races are at each others’ throats in a conflict that has steadily gotten worse and seems poised only to get worse still.
When will we all stop believing the pie-in-the-sky promises of these charlatans? When will we learn that any crank, con artist, or snake-oil salesman can say that he’ll give you the moon and the stars; but it doesn’t matter what they can promise, only what they can actually deliver?
• The biggest problem with white nationalism is with its tendency toward what might be called “Captain Ahab Syndrome”. It’s what happens when people are motivated by revenge and hatred for others rather than love for their own. They become willing to countenance any evil and accept any loss in order to get back at those who wronged them. In the end, this leads to the path of self-destruction, as people stop caring about preserving or defending what is theirs, and come to care only about destroying what is their enemy’s. If everything they care about comes to ruin, they will think it worth the cost in order to strike a blow against those they hate. And where that is the case, then everything they care about will come to ruin.
People often misunderstand and misuse the words about forbearance and forgiveness that Jesus Christ spoke in the Bible, but I’ve come to believe that their true meaning is a warning against exactly this.
• That said, I am an enemy of all civilization-wreckers, as all of them are my enemy. Where two groups of them are pitted against each other, I wish only for the destruction of both. I am friend to none, I will aid none, I will praise none, I will comfort none, I will cry over none.
• Anyone who advocates giving in to the left on social issues is a cuck, even if they advocate doing so in order to “move past them” and get on with the business of re-segregating blacks and deporting Mexicans and Muslims. You may be a racialist cuck, or a nationalist cuck, but you’re still a cuck and I still have no use for you.
I fight for what is good and against what is evil, so if you consider yourself “beyond good and evil” then you are of no use to me. And you are a damn fool if you think that’s a realistic position to take in this world or really is anything more than pretentious, edgy-wannabe “more sophisticated than thou” posturing.
Similarly, I have no patience for the distressingly common claim by some on the alt-right that, by amazing coincidence, only those exact parts of Western civilization that they care about saving are salvageable, while the parts that they don’t care about saving are clearly a lost cause and not worth the effort to try to save. Nice try, but I didn’t just fall off a turnip truck.
•Related: Anyone who thinks there can ever really be such a thing as “post-Christian rightism” is delusional, historically and philosophically illiterate, and doesn’t understand what the word “rightism” means.
• Keep in mind that Karl Marx claimed that what he had was not an economic or political theory, nor even a rational philosophy – he claimed that what he had was hard science, as objectively true as physics, and as inevitably correct in its predictions as an astronomer’s predictions of planetary orbits. Because of this belief, which is common to all of its various strains, leftism has always defined a person’s intelligence by how closely their beliefs conform to its narrative – obviously, the more one believes that which is objectively true, the more intelligent one is, and the less one believes what is objectively true, the less intelligent one is. The upshot of all of this is that if your beliefs do not conform to the leftist narrative, then they will never stop calling you stupid. (This is, for example, the basis for the curious claim that a man who graduated from the Wharton School of Business, ran a multibillion-dollar real estate empire, and defeated an entire party establishment to become a candidate for President of the United States, is an obvious blithering idiot.) Thus, there is no point in trying to convince a leftist that, while you may disagree with their narrative, you are not, in fact, stupid. It doesn’t matter how many advanced degrees you have, how high your measured IQ is, how much you have accomplished in your life, how masterful your command of the facts may be, or even how painstakingly and carefully collected the facts you have are. By the definition that they use, you will never not be stupid as long as you disagree with their narrative (while conversely – and how conveniently comforting for them! – they never will be stupid as long as they accept the narrative).
• Is culture downstream from politics, or is politics downstream from culture? The answer is that in a normal, healthy society, politics is downstream from culture. The entire strategy of Cultural Marxism, however, has been to reverse this – to take over political institutions (including schools and mass media, for these are the greatest political institutions of all) and to use them to artificially manufacture a leftist culture. The rules of a normal society do not apply to a dysfunctional Cultural Marxist dystopia – if there is anything that the 20th century has proven, it is that attempts to remake culture from the top down by methods that include the use of both mass indoctrination and coercive force can indeed be successful.
• Most people don’t know the story of how the Salem Witch Trials ended (and I mean in reality, not the Marxist/Arthur Miller version of the story). It’s a bit of history worth learning about.
Salem is now a suburb of greater Boston, but in those days, villages were isolated and news took weeks to travel between places that were only a few miles apart. When rumors started to spread that the people in Salem were killing their own wives for being witches, the reaction was slow because, first, nobody really knew how true the rumors were, and second, because Salem had a reputation as a town full of fundamentalist nutters anyway, and thus everyone outside of Salem figured that even if it was true, it was the fools out in Salem’s problem, not theirs.
The tipping point came when the witch hunters, having run out of people to accuse in their own town, decided to expand. They made an accusation against the wife of the minister of the town of Beverly, a short distance away. The minister of Beverly, however, was old friends with the Royal Governor down in Boston. The minister wrote a letter to the Governor, and the Governor wrote a letter to Salem, explaining that the trials would stop – NOW – or he would personally march up to Salem with a few hundred redcoats and put a stop to them with extreme prejudice. It was all fun and games while a town notoriously full of crazies were killing their own, but once they decided to ensnare normal, decent folk in their web of madness, enough was enough. Upon receipt of the letter, the trials promptly ceased.
That is how to put an end to an out-of-control holiness spiral.
• Remember Stevens’s Law: Equality = Communism. Yes, it really is that simple.
• These three brief Tweets sum up everything I’ve spent nearly four years and thousands of words trying to express:
Congratulations to Mr. Scientism for having distilled these critical ideas down to their essences. If you use Twitter, you’d be wise to follow him.
Psycho Dish found a dead black youth in his backyard last Friday. It was the capstone of a remarkably shitty week.
His mom died the Sunday before. It wasn’t a surprise to anyone – she’d been suffering from Alzheimer’s for a long time, and it had been plain for the last year or so that it was only a matter of time before she went. When death comes slowly for someone, the people around them begin the process of mourning and letting go long before they die. When they finally do, it’s almost a relief. Not that anyone’s happy about it, but if there’s such a thing as an easy or pleasant way to leave this world, Alzheimer’s certainly isn’t it. Now that ordeal was over for her, and, in all honesty, for Psycho Dish’s dad as well; he’s getting up there in years, and taking care of her was constant, hard work that would have been tough even for someone half his age. But now she was at peace, everyone said; things could start going back to normal, and they could all remember her the way they wanted to – young and full of life and energy.
Psycho Dish is between jobs (again), and since he didn’t need to be anyplace in particular on Monday, he threw a gym bag with some clothes in it into his old rattletrap of a car and drove the 250 or so miles up to his parents’ place. He stayed for a couple of days, and everyone appreciated the effort, but all the arrangements had already been made well in advance and his dad and sister had been emotionally prepared for this for a while, so they didn’t need much by the way of a shoulder to cry on. And so on Thursday he said his goodbyes, with hugs exchanged all around, and drove home. He got in late, worn out from the drive and from the weight of sad and reflective thoughts, and had just enough presence of mind to take the trash out for collection the next morning before he flopped into bed and passed out.
The next morning, Psycho Dish woke up early, put on some coffee, and went outside to drag his trash cans back in. That’s when he spotted the dead black youth lying face-down in his grass, patches of which around the body had been stained red by pools of semi-congealed blood. He walked back inside, called 911, and occupied the time until the authorities arrived by washing out a couple of extra coffee mugs for the policemen who he figured he’d be spending the next few hours talking to.
As anyone who read the story I wrote about him last year already knows, Psycho Dish is the sort of guy who’s perpetually broke. There’s some bad judgment involved with that, along with some genuine hard luck. But no matter the reason, the result is that he’s a part of the large population of poor whites who can’t afford to pay the premium that more affluent whites pay to not live around black people. Or, put another way, the premium they pay so that their kids never end up discovering a bullet-ridden corpse on the lawn when they leave the house for school in the morning. Psycho Dish lives in a bad neighborhood in a city that’s seen far better days. It’s the sort of neighborhood in which, if a loud noise is heard, the question of whether it was a car backfiring, a firecracker, or a gunshot is not an idle one. It sucks, but it’s all he can afford, and he’s lived in worse places.
Psycho Dish hadn’t heard anything that night, but he had been exhausted and had his mind on other things when he went to sleep, so it’s not a surprise that nothing woke him up. Besides, the police said that the dead black youth had most likely been shot outside a place a few houses down, and stumbled down the sidewalk for a while before he collapsed on Psycho Dish’s back lawn and bled out. They told him the dead black youth was 22 years old, lived with his grandmother a block or two away, and had a few convictions for petty crimes on his record. They mentioned his name, which was one of those that you’d never hear and think it belonged to a white man. As for the neighbors – pretty much all black – nobody saw anything, nobody heard anything, nobody knew anything, which appeared not to surprise the policemen at all. In fact, everyone involved with the investigation seemed to approach it with a weary sense of routine, as if they had seen this kind of thing countless times before and knew exactly how it would go. By lunchtime, they were all done. They gave him a printed handout with some contact information on it and told him to call them if he found out anything new. Then they left, and things started going back to what in that neighborhood counts as normal.
This past Sunday, exactly a week since his mom died, Psycho Dish went to church and talked with the congregation about everything that had happened to him in the past week. (I’m terribly unfamiliar with how Protestant worship services work – at my own church, the Mass is sung in Latin – so whether this was a part of the service itself or was part of a meeting afterward was a part of the story that I wasn’t clear on, but didn’t bother asking more about.). He also asked for help; yet broke as he is, his request wasn’t for himself. The grandmother of the dead black youth, he had learned, is an elderly shut-in who needs assistance with daily tasks. With her grandson gone, she had nobody around to take care of these things for her, and he pled with the congregation for help on her behalf. As his church is solidly white and middle to upper-middle class, full of generous and good-hearted folk with some extra income to spare, I’m sure that such help will appear.
What Psycho Dish did was a decent thing to do – a true act of Christian charity, and I’m sure that God smiles on him for it. It isn’t only the matter of him trying to find material help for someone in need; it’s also that his thoughts were with someone else and their problems even in his own time of grief. Beneath his gruff exterior, Psycho Dish really is a good guy, and I have not a word of criticism to offer for what he did. And yet…
And yet a troubling thought or two linger that I cannot quite rid myself of, no matter how much I’d prefer to see things with only charity and forbearance in my heart. Though I would rather not harbor these thoughts myself, for the sake of honesty I will nonetheless share this rotten orange with my friends. And so, in the presence of all of you, I ask these questions:
Why is it that the lingering consequences of this this situation – and many more like it, for stories like this are not uncommon – end up falling to white people to deal with? Why are the efforts of blacks themselves not sufficient to shoulder these burdens? Why is it the job of white people, like the policemen who spent Friday morning drinking Psycho Dish’s coffee (and unlike an entire neighborhood full of black residents who all saw nothing, heard nothing, and knew nothing about the crime), to seek justice for their murdered youth? Why is it the job of white people, like the good-hearted Christians at his church (and unlike an entire neighborhood full of black residents who live a few steps away), to find ways to care for their needy elderly? Why, instead of relying on white people to help them, do they not take care of each other, as Psycho Dish’s family did through his mother’s long illness?
Will it ever not be the job of whites to deal with the seemingly-endless problems of, and to clean up the seemingly-endless messes left by, black people? If so, when? How? Under what circumstances? What will be the secret ingredient that finally makes it happen after decades of fruitless trying? More ethomasochistic self-flagellation on the part of whites? More kowtowing before window-smashing protestors? Another black President, who presumably will have that last extra bit of magic that the current one seems to have lacked, despite all the promises he made when we elected him?
Blacks have been in this country for four centuries, have been free for a century and a half, have been legally equal in every sense for half a century, and have had the full coercive force of the Total State kicking down every door and destroying every opponent that stood in their way for decades now. They have for a hundred years been sent to free public schools which by law they must attend. Moreover, free public libraries, cheap and universally-available internet service, and taxpayer-supported public television and radio give them access to a limitless store of cultural, historical, scientific, economic, and philosophical knowledge. So when are they going to start acting like white people, as the Blank Slatists long ago promised that they would once unfair laws stopped oppressing them and they were liberated from the shackles of ignorance by access to education? Or, if that question seems a bit too culturally imperialist for you, when will their actions, their attitudes, and their social structures stop resembling those of genetically-similar but geographically-distant Africans more than the whites who surround them in America? Why in black-run or majority-black places in America do we see “Big Man” cronyism, endemic corruption, warlordism and tribalism in the form of urban gangs, and loose sexual morals under weak matriarchy – all features of life seen commonly in sub-Saharan Africa or the black Caribbean, but not in white communities just a few miles away in a majority-white country?
Why is it that, if anything, the process of black acculturation and assimilation into our majority-white society seems to have backslid dramatically over the past half century? Why is it that, fifty years ago, blacks gave their children names like “David” and “Lisa”, but now give them names which, like that of the dead black youth, one would never find attached to someone of any other race? Why is it that, as Mencius Moldbug pointed out, in every big city in America there is a feral, burned-out ghetto that was once a thriving black business district? Why is it that the more coercive the laws establishing utopia at gunpoint become, the farther away anything that any rational person would call a decent and functional society seems to get?
We are told – those who style themselves our moral betters make sure we hear – that “Black Lives Matter”. To whom, I wonder? Judging by the rate of black-on-black murder, and by the rate of abortion among black women, not to blacks themselves. And if not to them, why to me? If they can’t be bothered to raise their children (Why was the dead black youth living with his grandmother? Where were his parents? Dare I ask?), protect their young people, and care for their old and infirm, by what right do they burden me and mine with those tasks? Do we not have enough to do in caring for our own?
Yes, there is Christian charity. But nothing about that stops me from asking questions about the assumptions of individual and group equality that serve as the foundations of the society in which all of this has happened. It doesn’t stop me from noticing that decades, or even centuries, of actions based upon these assumptions have made things worse instead of better. It doesn’t stop me from seeing that, in the name of bettering things for blacks, whites killed each other by the thousands at places like Shiloh and Chickamauga, allowed our own ancient and hard-won rights (such as those of free association and commerce) to be taken from us by laws like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and spent trillions of dollars that could have gone into space exploration, medical research, or high-tech public transportation – and yet in the end all of these seem to have been wasted efforts that have gained us little except insufferable moral bragging on the part of those who have championed them and who react to their manifest lack of results with neverending calls for “More! More! More!”
It doesn’t stop me from wondering: How much is enough? By what deadline will we either attain success or admit defeat? What precisely has to happen – how many more years of dismal, pointless failure have to go by – before we are allowed to call into question the doctrine of universal human equality? Before we are allowed to ask: “Where is the proof – scientific, historical, or otherwise – for this belief? Where, even, is the proof that belief in it has made things better in any way other than letting some people feel good about themselves for believing in a comforting dream?”
What happens if – when, really, for unreality can only hold reality at bay for just so long – we finally do? And what do we do until then? What about poor whites like Psycho Dish, who can’t afford to flee from the perpetual disaster that is black dysfunction in America? Do we just tell him to accept stepping over dead bodies on his way to take his trash cans in as normal?
The human capacity for holding on to pleasant delusion until reality comes crashing down on us seems to be limitless, so I expect that’s what will happen in this case as well. Events are in the driver’s seat, and things will play out as they will, which will almost certainly be extremely unpleasantly. I think it would have been better for everyone just to have kept our society based on observable reality all along, but nobody (or at least, nobody in a position of power) asked me.
Well, then, I will do the only thing I can do, which is to extend my condolences to Psycho Dish for his serie noire this week. I’ll buy beer the next time we get together – though, I hope you understand, I’d rather we meet somewhere other than your place.
Many viewers of Game of Thrones have of late been rather upset by the recent actions of Tommen of House Baratheon, first of his name, King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm. As a result of deal that he has recently made wth the High Sparrow, chief priest of the Faith of the Seven, they think him weak and foolish; they believe that he has become a puppet of sinister forces, and that the Realm will suffer for it. But that, of course, is because they’re a bunch of plebeians who don’t understand how power works. If they did, they’d see that what Tommen did was a masterstroke on the part of the young king, and the best piece of statecraft that has issued forth from the Iron Throne since Aegon V occupied it. While I understand that my readership is comprised of only the finest thinkers and aristocrats of the soul, with not a single plebeian among them, it still seems worthwhile to elaborate on how exactly King Tommen worked his way out of a bad spot with a huge victory in his hands, and perhaps thereby to make a point or two about how power really operates.
What plebs get wrong about being king – or, indeed, being a leader of any kind – is that they think it’s all about barking orders at people; orders that they have to obey or else. But where exercised wisely and competently, leadership almost never relies upon this approach. Instead, good leadership rests primarily on teambuilding, inspiring others by example, negotiation, mediation, and dealmaking. The last of these deserves special emphasis. Dealmaking has gotten a bad name on the right in recent years, and not without some good reasons. First, because “conservative” leaders don’t know how to make deals. They know how to surrender in exchange for empty promises that they know will never be fulfilled, or just as likely, in exchange for nothing at all, but that’s not the same thing as shrewd and wise dealmaking. Second, and most importantly, because they are used to dealing with the left, which is a movement of fanatical utopians who believe that the inherent rightness of their cause writes them an unlimited license to lie, to cheat, to defraud (and to torture, to murder, or to commit genocide as well). This means that leftists do not negotiate in good faith; every deal that they agree to will be broken the moment that they believe they have the power to do so with impunity. Obviously, making deals with such people is a fool’s errand. But this should not blind us to the fact that in normal times and under normal circumstances, dealmaking is a critical part of leadership.
Plebs, because they lack any of the important qualities of leadership, don’t understand that a leader who gets what he wants – who has to get what he wants – by shouting orders has already demonstrated that he is unworthy; that he is unable to get things done in a way that is more harmonious, more stable, and more sustainable. To plebs, the difference between an enlightened leader and a tyrannical despot is merely a matter of how much they personally agree with the orders being shouted and how much they dislike those who are compelled to obey. But let us ask some important questions: Did Joffrey not shout enough orders? Did Aerys II? What happened to them in the end? And to their kingdom as a result of their rule?
Well, it’s no secret at all that the Seven Kingdoms have been ruinously mismanaged by the nobles who have run it ever since the Tragedy at Summerhall. There was the War of the Ninepenny Kings, Aerys II’s disastrous reign, Robert’s Rebellion and Robert’s subsequent semi-benign neglect of his kingdom’s increasingly shaky circumstances, the War of the Five Kings, the effective collapse of the Night’s Watch as a combat-capable fighting force in the face of an impending whitewalker invasion, Danerys Targaryen’s acquisition of a kingdom of her own in Essos (and of an army and three dragons to boot), the introduction of a troublingly fanatical strain of the religion of the Lord of Light into Westeros, the ruin or outright extinction of multiple ancient noble houses, treason, riots, famine, connivance, corruption, sedition, scandal, machination, mutiny, and murder. And through all of it, as the nobles fought their wars and played their power games, it was the smallfolk who suffered most of all.
And so, finding himself in an unenviable situation involving the High Sparrow, King Tommen decided that instead of charging in with swords drawn, he would make a deal. The particulars of that deal are as follows:
• King Tommen got his queen back, with no Walk of Atonement required. This importance of this as a face-saving measure cannot be overstated. It was a major – and necessary – concession on the part of the High Sparrow, and the most important diplomatic victory scored by Tommen in this entire situation. Furthermore, by binding the Throne to the Faith, the degradation of one becomes the degradation of the other; it makes the High Sparrow unlikely to try to further degrade the power of the Throne, because he has now hitched his own fortunes to it. If nothing else, renewed hostilities between the Throne and the Faith would mean an admission of diplomatic failure – which would be a severe blow to the reputation of all involved. And, of course, would also be a disaster for the Realm; they really are the twin pillars on which the Seven Kingdoms stand, and having them act together is critically important.
• King Tommen gets to be a uniter instead of a divider; he has turned enemies into allies. This is important because his kingdom is in shambles and under severe threat from multiple directions, so he needs all the allies he can get. Winter is coming. Danerys Targaryen is coming. The whitewalkers are coming. Melisandre and the man-burning fanatics who follow R’hllor are coming. Jon Snow is coming, and nobody knows whether he will stop once he’s taken Winterfell. Speaking of which, The North, for the moment, is being run by a psychotic madman. The Vale of Arryn is being run by a mentally unstable child in the thrall of a scheming liar who has ambitions that run all the way to the Iron Throne. The Reach may end up with no legitimate heir to the Lord of Highgarden. The Iron Islands are in open rebellion (again). Dorne is in the hands of a cabal of assassins. And with Tywin Lannister dead, Tyrion in exile, Kevan and Cersei at court in Kings Landing, and Jaime on campaign at Riverrun, does anyone even know who’s running the Westerlands? The Seven Kingdoms need more dealmaking and alliance-building, because there’s enough war and chaos on its way, at the hands of enough enemies, as it is.
• King Tommen managed all of this without any bloodshed – he came off looking like a peacemaker, because he actually was one. Not only did he defuse a conflict that was about to make the streets of the city run red with blood (for the third time in recent memory), but he did it with serious theatrical flair in front of an enormous crowd of common folk. He and his queen walked away from the Great Sept of Baelor looking virtuous, humble, and reasonable. The crowd cheered with genuine love and admiration, and it isn’t difficult to see why. After years of suffering and hardship caused by the greed, pride, and power-lust of kings and nobles (including Tommen’s putative “father”, Robert Baratheon, who tore the Seven Kingdoms apart due to what was ultimately a dispute over a woman), the smallfolk finally see a king who is willing to swallow a little pride for the good of the Realm – for the good of the people – and they love him for it.
• King Tommen ended up having to throw some subordinates under the bus to achieve this, but in the end, subordinates should be willing to take one for the team, especially when it comes to the stability of an entire kingdom. Lady Olenna complained that the High Sparrow beat them, but really, it was Tommen who did that. Publicly upstaging them all makes him look mature and independent, which is especially important considering that the previous generation of leaders of the Seven Kingdoms are the ones who caused all this trouble in the first place. Besides which, tallying up the damage done to all involved shows that most of it is minimal, manageable, or richly deserved on the part of those receiving it. Jaime and Cersei end up looking terrible, but deserve to. Working out a deal to get Ser Loras sprung and back to The Reach is a priority, but Lord Mace is healthy and an heir isn’t needed right away, so that can wait a while. Speaking of Lord Mace, he comes out looking okay enough; a bit foolish, but only out of fatherly love, so his reputation will recover. Lady Olenna goes back to Highgarden, which is honestly for the best for everyone – overbearing mother figures are unlikely to be very helpful in the times to come. In the end, it’s all a more than acceptable price to pay, from Tommen’s perspective.
• King Tommen banned trial by combat, which put his mother in a bad spot, but was a sensible and humane step that should have been taken ages ago.
And so King Tommen has done well, and finds himself in an excellent position. Other than figuring out some way to get Ser Loras back to Highgarden, only a few small things remain in order to secure the victory he has won:
Speaking of the last two points above, Cersei must be shipped off back to Casterly Rock right away. She shares Joffrey’s worst tendencies (though not in quite as much excess), in that she is impulsive, ruthless, and stupid. As long as she remains in Kings Landing, she remains a danger to herself, to her son, to the city, and to the Realm, not to mention to the Faith, to the Throne, and to the precious but still precarious deal between them. The king can take a cue from his how his wife handled things with her grandmother. Sometimes it really is better to ask forgiveness than permission, so to King Tommen, I’d advise this: send Cersei back to the Rock under guard, then apologize to the High Sparrow for letting her “escape”. Tell him you’ll be happy to let a panel of septons back in Lannisport put her on trial (being locals, they’ll almost certainly let her go, but it will be hard for the High Sparrow to find reason to object, and besides, by this point it will be a fait accompli). If he pushes the issue, remind him what he said about the Mother’s mercy and throw yourself at his feet for forgiveness. But whatever it takes, just get rid of her, and fast, before she causes real trouble.
Next, the king must shore up his position. Don’t violate the truce, but find ways to be ready in case the High Sparrow either goes back on his word or, in the mold of Darth Vader in Cloud City, decides to unilaterally alter the deal. Whatever precautions you decide to take, do it quietly, slowly, and with layers of plausible deniability built up around it. Be patient, and remember that this is a strictly defensive measure – the deal that was made is a good one that benefits the Realm, and should be maintained
Lastly, write a letter to Danerys Targaryen inquiring about the possibility of settling the dispute over the Iron Throne by the other time-tested way of ending disputes over succession – by a marriage between royal children. Remind her that it was the marriage of the first Danerys (the daughter of Aegon IV) to Maron Martell that finally succeeded at uniting the Seven Kingdoms by bringing Dorne into the fold, after nearly two centuries years of war had failed to do so. A marriage of Tommen and Danerys’s children will return a Targaryen to the Iron Throne, with face saved all around. And it will provide King Tommen with another alliance – one that brings a Dothraki horde, an army of Unsullied, and three dragons to his side precisely at the point at which they would be extremely helpful.
Another deal, yes – because shrewd and wise dealmaking is at the heart of good kingship (or leadership of any kind). Perhaps diplomacy is not so exciting for audiences to watch (as their reaction to The Phantom Menace shows), but as the old saw teaches us, for the smallfolk of any kingdom, living in interesting times is a terrible curse. And for a king who is shrewd and wise – as King Tommen has lately shown himself to be – it is a fine way to come away from conflict looking like a boss.
UPDATE: Yes, I know what happened in the final episode of the season. Scroll back up and you’ll see that I made a point of saying that sealing victory required getting Cersei out of town as quickly as possible. Tommen didn’t follow this advice, and all of his hard-won gains came to grief because of it.
Also, I’ve made a YouTube video that includes my reactions to the season six finale of Game of Thrones, along with thoughts on the series in general and how it connects to the history and philosophy of our own world. I believe that any fan of the series will find it worth listening to.
Thirty years ago today, reactor #4 at the V. I. Lenin Atomic Energy Station, located near the town of Chernobyl in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, exploded. The debris from the explosion and smoke from the subsequent fire, both highly radioactive, spread over an enormous swath of territory, and was so intense even when dispersed over long distances that the west’s first indication that a nuclear accident had taken place came when workers at the Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant, thousands of miles away in eastern Sweden, detected elevated levels of radiation that they determined wasn’t coming from their own plant. The disaster resulted in thirty-one direct deaths due to injuries and radiation exposure, while the number of extra deaths due to health issues related to it can probably never be fully accounted for. To this day, just over 1000 square miles of territory surrounding the plant, designated with the appropriately dismal title of the “Zone of Alienation”, remains an officially restricted area.
Of course, you knew all that already. But what may not have occurred to you is that Chernobyl is the most perfectly leftist thing ever to have happened. How so? Let us begin our analysis by looking at some engineering.
If you have ever driven past an atomic power plant in the United States, you have probably noticed one or more tall grey domes among the plant’s structures. These are called “containment buildings”, and as the name implies, they contain each of the nuclear reactors. They are made of steel-reinforced concrete several feet thick, can be sealed air-tight, and, by federal law, must be able to withstand a direct hit from a fully-loaded commercial airliner without the reactor itself taking any damage. Their presence at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant, for example, is one reason why that accident was (despite the left’s hysterical reaction to it) an annoyance that resulted in no deaths instead of being a catastrophe on the level of Chernobyl.
The reactors at Chernobyl, in contrast, had no containment buildings standing over them. The Soviets didn’t build them because constructing containment buildings around their reactors was considered unnecessary to the point of being an affront to the very idea of Marxism itself. Let us not forget that Marx claimed that what he was presenting was not an economic theory or a philosophy: no, what he had was hard science – practically physics itself! – the triumph of which was absolutely inevitable. Thus, logically, all of the fruits of Marxism – economic, cultural, philosophical, and scientific – were so objectively perfect that they, like the ideology from which they sprang, could only be considered flawless. In other words, Soviet reactors didn’t need containment buildings because Marxist science was so perfect that no such measure would ever be needed. Why build a fail-safe mechanism for a system that cannot fail? Not only would that be a waste of time and resources, it practically borders on sedition.
Thus does the Chernobyl disaster stand as a perfect metaphor for Marxism itself. As with the V. I. Lenin Atomic Energy Station, so also with the communist system that V. I. Lenin himself built – with both, we see an unproven technology (in one case a scientific technology, in the other a social technology) put into practice by people who insisted that their theoretical model was so perfect that failure was impossible, and thus that both consideration of possible failure modes and the construction of redundant safety systems to mitigate the damage in case of a catastrophic failure were foolish and unnecessary. And now the weeds reclaim it all – it is post-civilization, and the only things left behind are ruins within the Zone of Alienation.
But how does this disaster, far away and, now, long ago, affect you, dear reader? You may consider yourself lucky for the fact that you aren’t living in the Zone of Alienation, but are you so sure that you really don’t? If modern, western, Cultural Marxist leftism is in any way different from its ideological cousin Soviet communism in this belief about the perfection and inevitability of its own theories, I have seen no evidence of it. Oliver Cromwell once wrote to an assembly of churchmen: “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken”; and yet it is virtually impossible to lay one’s finger upon any time when his ideological descendants in the left have ever stopped to think of the possibility that they may be mistaken, or to construct any fail-safe mechanisms to deal with what will happen if it turns out that they are.
For example, they seem never to have asked themselves questions like: What if destroying Christianity really does cut the legs out from under Western civilization? What if we get into a war with a serious opponent and then find out that women really aren’t anywhere near as effective as men in combat? What if spending multiple decades pouring trillions of dollars into ghettos full of low-IQ, high-time-preference people really won’t eliminate poverty forever? What if easy divorce really does create multiple generations of dysfunctional, emotionally crippled children who are incapable of genuine intimacy and terrified of taking any real responsibility? What if feminism doesn’t make women’s lives better, but just turns them into miserable, lonely, reproductively unsuccessful corporate nuns? What if the establishment of a socialist welfare state actually does end up with the working class breaking their backs to pay astronomical taxes so that layabouts, drunkards, junkies, serial unmarried babymommas, and immigrant free-riders who showed up for the taxpayer-funded goodies can live the lives of leisured gentlemen? What if debt does matter? What if tens of millions of Sunni Muslims from violent, unstable countries really aren’t assimilable into European society?
What do we do then?
Velery Legasov, the member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences who was sent by the Politburo to investigate the Chernobyl disaster – a man who was a dedicated, longtime member of the Communist Party – hanged himself out of shame when he realized how wrong they’d all been. Who among the leaders of the West will hang themselves out of shame for the destruction of the black family, or for the fate of South Africa’s whites, or for the Bataclan, or for any of the innumerable disasters that mark the decline of our civilization? Who among them will even admit that these are serious problems that point to a basic defect in their worldview?
The answer to that is, I think, quite obvious. Social, technological, and humanitarian disasters caused by leftism happen over and over again, which any rational person would learn a lesson from, but because it is against the left’s principles to learn anything from history (They’re utopians – to them, the future is always better than the present, which is always better than the past. History is about the past, which is nothing but a cesspool of racistsexistbigotedhomophobia, and thus clearly there is nothing to be learned from any of that), they don’t. The history of the left is one Chernobyl after the next – some local in nature, and some global; some happening in an instant, others stretched over decades. They never learn anything from them and they never take responsibility for them. Always, their disasters are either denied or explained away as outliers or the fault of “wreckers” of various kinds. Always their plans would have worked – and may still! – if only conditions are tweaked just a tiny bit, or if only that last little measure of extra resources were poured into them. And never, never does it cause them to think it possible that they may be mistaken – at any time, or about anything.
In the areas surrounding the still-radioactive wreck of the V. I. Lenin Atomic Energy Station, a new medical condition has appeared. This condition, which affects the hearts of children born in the years since the disaster, is referred to as “Chernobyl Heart”, and among its wide range of symptoms is that it leaves multiple holes in the hearts of its victims. It was to atone for horrors like this that Valery Legasov committed suicide.
Which leads me to a proposal: that a heretofore-undiagnosed condition be recognized. Let us call it “Chernobyl Head”, a condition that leaves multiple holes in the cognitive abilities of its victims. It can be most succinctly defined as that condition that renders leftists unable to ever ask themselves if they may be mistaken, no matter how high the likelihood that they are; unable to develop or even admit the need for contingency plans in case their plans end up not working, no matter how dire the consequences if they don’t; unable to recognize their own failures, no matter how obvious they may be; and unable to take responsibility for the damage they have caused, no matter how awful it is. It is what causes them, without the tiniest hesitation, to declare: “Reality has a leftist bias! We’re on the right side of history! Marxist science is perfect! We don’t need any containment buildings around our reactors!”
Chernobyl Head is endemic to leftists, and incurable in them. Utopians cannot ever allow themselves to ask if there is any flaw in utopia, or in their chosen path to getting there. They certainly can never allow themselves to admit of the possibility that utopia will never arrive, or that it will be any less than perfect. Chernobyl Head is what much of makes leftists so persuasive – such absolute certainty cannot help but come across as strength, and seem inspiring to those who struggle with unsureness. But it is also what makes them so dangerous, so fanatical, so past the ability to be reasoned with. It is why they never see disaster coming, even when they’re warned about it over and over again, until it explodes like an atomic blast against a nighttime sky, spreading death and destruction; the fallout leaving only a ruined wasteland – a Zone of Alienation.
But as awful as Chernobyl Head may be, it can at least be said that unlike Chernobyl Heart, there is a way to effectively deal with it. Some people may be curable, in that they subscribed to leftism for emotional reasons, or because that seemed like the winning side, or because it was easy, and can be turned away from it. But as for those whose cases of Chernobyl Head prove resistant to all treatment, they must be physically removed – preferably from decent society altogether, but at very least from any positions of power or influence. This will not be easy, nor can it be done through playing by “civilized” rules. But those with Chernobyl Head are sick, contagious, and extremely dangerous, and the price of not stopping them is catastrophe.
It’s been quite awhile since I posted an edition of Short Takes – my roundup of thoughts that are worth saying, but too limited to warrant a full blog post. But in this political season, there’s a lot that requires some attention to be paid. So let us pay it, without another moment’s delay:
* * *
• I’m getting pretty sick and tired of the countersignaling against pro-life that seems to be fashionable amongst certain segments of the alt-right these days, as if saying that murdering babies is wrong is just too pleb-tier for edgy intellectuals like us. I have no patience for this. Murdering babies is evil, and should be illegal, with extreme penalties for violating the law. Full stop. If we as the alt-right can’t say that, then we’re worse than useless. Yes, some moral questions require subtle and nuanced thinking. But some do not, and in those cases, moral relativism is evil’s foot in the door. Abortion is one of those cases. Either abortion is murder, or it isn’t. If it is, then nothing justifies it except a direct and certain threat to the life of the mother, in which case one life is balanced against another – one will live, one will die, and the only choice is who. But if it is not, then abort away – one million a year, ten million a year, a billion a year, it matters not, and no more thought should be given to it than would be given to trimming a fingernail. Any other position – any half-measure, any “legal but rare”, any “in this case but not in that case”, is dishonesty both on a moral and a rational level.
• Related: Something to be cautious of is the increasingly large number of what I would call “racialist liberals” who are claiming to be a part of the alt-right. These are people who, politically-speaking, want all or most of what liberals do, but who are either (understandably) fed up with the disproportionate criminality of certain ethnic groups or who (correctly) believe that a liberal social order is unworkable with too many underperforming minorities acting as a drag on the system. Such people are, of course, entitled to their opinions. But they are not entitled to appropriate the term “rightist” (alt- or otherwise) without being called on it.
Being on the right means believing rightist things. If you don’t, then you aren’t on the right, and you shouldn’t claim that you are. So, if your claims that you are a rightist when you really aren’t are due to some sort of mistake or confusion, I’ll be happy to help correct any misconceptions you may have. If, however, they are intentional misrepresentation, then you are a left-entryist who must be revealed for what you are and ruthlessly denounced until you are hounded out of rightist circles. Again, you are entitled to your opinions. If you’re on the left, go be a leftist, and if the left is presently too racially egalitarian for you, then you’re welcome to agitate however you like to try to change that. But you aren’t entitled to acceptance under false pretenses, and I won’t extend you any.
• Also related: The Trump campaign is having all the effects on the alt-right that I predicted it would, for both better and worse. It must be conceded that Trump has had the effect of shifting the conscousness of the rank-and-file “normies” noticably rightward, or at least has made them far less afraid to speak out. In doing so, he has indeed moved the Overton Window. He has also caused the GOP establishment to be revealed for who and what it actually is, and few people (especially people under 60) will ever trust it again. These are all good things. Yet it must be said that the larger Trump phenomenon may all be based on illusion; it seems to me that Trump is something of a Rorschach test – the right (outside of the GOP establishment) sees him as the embodiment of all their hopes, while the left sees him as the embodiment of all their fears. In truth, he is almost certainly neither, and both those who need a hero to follow and those who need a dragon to slay are projecting those needs onto him.
On the other hand, the recent spate of anti-pro-life signaling has appeared largely because of Trump’s recent perceived “stumble” on an abortion-related question. Certain circles of the alt-right, having fallen into the trap of thinking that jettisoning principle to gain power is a sustainable strategy, have decided to throw pro-life under the bus as quickly as possible so as not to derail the Trump Train any further. These sorts never seem to stop and ask themselves what sacrificing principle for a chance at power has gotten mainstream conservatism. Thus, they inevitably turn into the very thing they’re rebelling against. In short, they’re every bit as much a bunch of cucks as Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio, just on a different set of issues.
In the end, it may be fair to say that the Trump phenomenon has made the populist normies better and the alt-right elite worse. These elites, however, (by virtue of being elites) ought to have known not to let this happen to them, and there’s a lesson for all of us to be had here: this is what comes of a philosophical movement allowing itself to get too attached to a single leader, a political party, or even to power itself. Whether Trump is or isn’t the best of the available presidential candidates is beside the point; the excessive attachment that some on the alt-right have developed to him, combined with their renewed faith that they will ever get anything but defeat and humiliation out of mass democracy, represents a serious failing, and there will be consequences to this whether Trump wins or loses the election.
As for me, to misquote Christopher Hitchens, I’m not running for any office, so I don’t have to pretend to respect ideas that are foolish, hypocritical, or evil when I don’t. In this sense, having no aspirations to political power is freeing. Fiat justitia ruat caelum – I will continue to do my part by telling the truth, no matter what the consequences.
• The philosophy of “passivism” has been making the rounds lately in certain alt-right (and especially neoreactionary) circles, and with all due respect to those advocating it – many of whom are thinkers I deeply respect – I must admit to not being particularly impressed by the idea. It makes a certain amount of sense on paper, but in the real world, it is just too easy for it to degrade into lazyism and do-nothingism.
Most especially, I am puzzled by this: If passivism’s plan is, 1) Become worthy, 2) Accept power, 3) Rule, then what exactly is the strategy for making 2) happen? It looks to me as if this stage is glossed over in the manner of the infamous “underpants gnomes” of South Park. But it is not an unimportant question, and it would seem that passivism is all about avoiding it on the assumption that if we just become worthy enough, power will eventually come knocking on our door, hat in hand, begging us to accept it. I find this to be rather unrealistic, to say the least.
I understand, absolutely, saying that hippie-style protests will never work for the right. I understand saying that we should focus on the philosophical and meta-political, and leave the machinations of day-to-day politics to others. But when that turns into the idea of retreating from the world to spend our time in navel gazing and self-improvement schemes rather than trying to accomplish something in the here and now, my response is that if I wanted to do that, I would have joined a monastery. Instead, I started writing and speaking out because I wanted to change things, and I’m not planning to become “passive” anytime soon.
• Taikung Jen, in a conversation with Confucius:
“I’ll teach you how to escape death…
…there is a raven in the eastern sea which is called Yitai (‘dull-head’). This dull-head cannot fly very high and seems very stupid. It hops only a short distance and nestles close with others of its kind. In going forward, it dare not lag behind. At the time of feeding, it takes what is left over by the other birds. Therefore, the ranks of this bird are never depleted and nobody can do them any harm. A tree with a straight trunk is the first to be chopped down. A well with sweet water is the first to be drawn dry.”
•The city government of San Jose – heart of the Silicon Valley – has announced a campaign to crack down on unlicensed “massage parlors”, which they (correctly) accuse of being fronts for prostitution. While I carry no brief for houses of ill repute, I nonetheless find this move deeply disturbing. For as long as anyone I know can remember (going back to my grandparents’ time, and further) there has been an unspoken truce that has existed in every American city in which East Asian ethnic neighborhoods have formed. The terms have always been approximately this: the neighborhood will remain largely self-policing – violent crime among residents will stay rare, and violent crimes against outsiders (especially tourists) will remain virtually unheard-of. In exchange, the police (who, being no fools, surely know where to find it) will turn a blind eye to discreetly-operated dens of the sort of vices that East Asians particularly enjoy (gambling, prostitution, and the occasional opium den prominent among these). The new anti-vice campaign on the part of San Jose’s municipal government represents a violation of this long-established, stable, mutually-beneficial truce.
The Puritan left, of course, knows no honor, so any truce it offers will last only until they feel they have amassed enough power to break it with impunity. San Jose’s campaign fits in neatly with the left’s recent transgressions of other lines that, not long ago, they swore they would never cross – including those involving freedom of religion and even freedom of speech. And they will stop at nothing, nor will they respect any borderlines, in enforcing their new dictates. As Fred Reed noted, in the New Order, no one will be left alone – not anyone, not anywhere, not ever. There is no corner of the internet hidden enough, no small-town bakery obscure enough, no private sanctum deep enough within your own walls, no low-down barroom dingy and smoky enough, and no alley in Chinatown dark and narrow enough that the Puritan left’s Inquisitors – whether they are officials of the state or private vigilantes – will not insert themselves there in their hunt for demons to exorcise and witches to burn.
First they came for the Chinatown whorehouses…
• Related: The newest addition to the left’s long, long inventory of things that are triggering and oppressive and must be purged for the good of the children: Animanics. No, really.
Attention leftists – when you’ve reached the point where your enemies list has grown so long that it now includes Yakko, Wakko, and Dot, you’ve objectively gone batshit insane.
• There may, however, be a ray of hope out there in the darkness. Over at amerika.org, Brett Stevens has come up with a novel proposal for getting the lefties to leave us alone. He advocates a strategy of passing laws distasteful to them, not only because such laws are sane and reasonable, but also with the intent of getting them to boycott us (and thus to go away). Relevant quote from his article (which is very much worth reading in full):
“The only place safe from the ever-greedy belly of socialist-style government and the neurotic fatwas of Coastal liberals is the place that no one wants. Become that place. Make the South look utterly terrible to these Coastal neurotics and schizoids, and let them pull back. If they want a wall, let’s build that wall. Let us seal ourselves off from the North forever because we are so disgusting to their eyes.
In the meantime, cut free of their neurosis and the easy-money jobs of the cities that make people into robot zombies, we can rebuild civilization and eventually have enough tactical nukes to vanish them if they charge over the wall. Let the Coastal liberals face the fate of their reality-denying, misery-spreading Leftist mental health issues. We must break free, and it begins by making them not hate us, but be grossed out by us.”
At the moment, this seems to be working brilliantly, not only at keeping degenerate pornographers at bay, but in preventing attention-seeking show biz has-beens from pestering decent folk, and even at driving off crooked, predatory globalist banksters. So far so good then – I’ll lend my personal endorsement to the Stevens Plan. If it keeps undesirables from darkening our doorsteps, then it’s a win-win all around.
By the way, would it be silly of me to ask why the left suddenly finds millionaires and huge multinational corporations interfering in politics to be totally acceptable when that interference furthers the left’s own political aims? Yes, I suppose it would.
(UPDATE I: Washed-up 80s relic Cyndi Lauper says she’ll donate all of the proceeds from her next concert to a gay rights organization trying to get the North Carolina law repealed. So, there’s another $4.25 or so in the kitty! You go, girl.
UPDATE II: And now insufferable prog lardsack Michael Moore has announced that in response to the new law, he won’t be releasing his latest dismal propaganda film to theaters in North Carolina. This law just keeps getting better and better!)
• Has anyone else noticed that among leftism’s innumerable internal contradictions is the fact that their dogmatic belief in blank-slate theory directly contradicts their opposition to hereditary monarchy? If blank-slate theory is true, then there is no reason to fear a “bad seed” on the throne – all that will be needed to produce the ideal philosopher-kings of which thinkers since Socrates have dreamed will be to give them the right upbringing and education. (This latter is especially important, for the left’s belief in education as alchemy – able to turn any human material into any other kind of human material that may be desired – is essentially absolute.) So why then do they not, instead of opposing monarchy, devote their energies to advocating for the right sort of education for young princes?
Perhaps in their mind lurks the knowledge that Nero’s teacher was Seneca, and Commodus’s was his father Marcus Aurelius. Then again, when did “progressives” ever stoop to learning from history?
• The left is an engine of sadism and destruction; included in this is sadism and destruction directed inward – i.e. masochism and self-destruction. This is not incidental to leftism nor a by-product of it; the sadomasochistic imperative is in fact central to leftism. Nothing that the left does can be understood unless seen through this lens; looked at any other way, its actions seem random and bizarre. It explains both the left’s pattern of rewarding those who engage in behaviors destructive to society at large and even to the left in particular, as well as its otherwise-inexplicable alliance with Islam. For example, Muslims knocked down the Twin Towers; and as a result, the number of Muslim immigrants in the United States has been doubled since that day. Or consider that the massive sexual irresponsibility of gays spread an epidemic that killed tens of millions; and as a result, they were rewarded with gay “marriage”. Or that violent criminal predators have turned the streets of our once-gleaming cities into dystopian war zones; and as a result, they are getting handsomely paid off in exchange for a pinky promise to not do it again (contrast this to the penalties in technically-communist but non-self-destructive China for “hooliganism”).
The left desperately wants death, but the sadomasochistic imperative at its core means that its suicide will not be in the form of an otherwise-harmless self-immolation in the style of Thich Quang Duc. Instead, the left will destroy itself in the manner of Andreas Lubitz – intentionally taking everyone who they have trapped within their power along with them in their death dive; the helpless victims, in a rather more urgent version of William F. Buckley’s response to leftism, pounding helplessly on the cockpit door as the mountains get ever-closer, telling: “No! No! For the love of God, stop!”
Either we destroy the left, or it destroys itself and takes us along with it. In the end, which is more humane? More reasonable?
• I was 15 years old when the film Rain Man was released to theaters. I remember Good Morning America running a segment just before it debuted in which they had to explain what autism was, (being especially careful to make the point that it was not the same thing as mental retardation) because at the time it was such an unknown condition that most people had never heard of it. Over the intervening years, it seems as though autism, like homosexuality, has gone all the way from existing in the shadows to being the new normal. Scientists and physicians, I’m sure, have well-reasoned explanations for the increase in rates of autism over the last thirty years or so, and I have no doubt of the correctness of their explanations. But I can’t help but notice that autism seems to be the signature disorder of our age – a medical condition that perfectly reflects where we are as a society. Of course, autism is the apotheosis of the Whig thinking that, over the course of centuries, has become the central current of thought in the West (and, via the transmission lines of globalism, the world). Ruthlessly logical, humorless, uncultured, literal – it is the thinking of a cog in a system, but essentially nothing else. What could be more reflective of the computerized, post-industrial age – an age in which our lives are defined by interaction with machines, and in which thinking like a machine is increasingly considered to be the height of intelligence?
Whoever you turn into heroes, that is who people will seek to emulate. Now, think of all the high-functioning autistics who we have held up as the great heroes of our age – Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and others who built huge fortunes quickly in the Great Silicon Valley Gold Rush of 1975-2010. When the heroes we were all taught to emulate were cowboys, soldiers, policemen – men who reflected masculine virtue – what sort of men did our society produce? And now that socially-maladjusted, overly-literal machine-men – they who know circuits and cost/benefit analyses, but who can discern no use for God or philosophy or morality – now that these are our heroes, what sort of men is our society producing?
Perhaps the scientists will say that’s all a coincidence. If it is, it’s a remarkable one.
• From New York comes word that the NYC subway’s implementation of NFC payments will take at least five more years (and likely much longer), and that only $10 million of the projected $450 million budget for the project has actually been allocated. Behold the entropy of a decadent, declining, systemically corrupt system in action! New York City – so great a showpiece of advancement in the 20th century that the young Ayn Rand, fresh off the boat from Russia, wept when she beheld its towering skyline – cannot, in this century, find a timely and cost-effective way to implement a technology that Tokyo, Seoul, Taipei, and even Bangkok have been using for years.
My prediction:The NYC subway system, which has for many years been desperately in need of a major modernization (not just in terms of new technology like NFC payments, but in basics like better ventilation and some escalators to replace endless flights of stairs in big stations), will not be getting significantly more modern anytime soon. The NFC project will crawl along for years, with nothing much coming of it. When it is finally finished, years late and tend of millions over budget, the final product will be barely-functional at best. Meanwhile, astronomical amounts of taxpayer money will disappear into politically-connected pockets (all in ways that are technically perfectly legal).
Bob Grant used to say that we are slipping and sliding into third worldism. This is a fine example of that trend. Do not expect it to be reversed anytime soon. An occasional rocket landing on a boat aside (every trend line has a few bumps in the opposite direction), we are not a society that can get things done anymore.
• Related: Will everybody please shut the hell up about Uber? Stop treating it like it’s the past decade’s most innovative development in tech. For heaven’s sake, it’s just a phone app that helps you to hail a gypsy cab; it’s not the freaking Apollo moon landing program.
• He’s back! After an absence of four years, the prognosticator of prognosticators, the badass of business – everyone’s favorite Texan investor, Johnnie Walker drinker, and secret brony – the man they call Ghost has returned with all-new episodes of True Capitalist Radio! I’m a big fan of the show, the host, and even (maybe especially) the trolls, so trust me here – if you listen to a few episodes, I’m confident that you’ll be hooked.