Triangulated Into Silence

Were I of a more conspiratorial mindset – which I am not – I would almost swear that the Edward Snowden/NSA surveillance revelations were intentional on the part of the powers that be. Allow me to explain.

One of the cardinal political sins in this era of Jon Stewart-style, soundbite-based “gotcha” politics and political reporting is that of hypocrisy; especially of the “Well, you supported it when it was your guy doing it” sort. This is instantly, fatally discrediting to any person or group who gets “nailed” with it, and irrevocably taints not just them, but their arguments as well.

Now consider the relentless forward march of the surveillance/police state over the years since 2001. Under the Republican President Bush the Lesser, Democrats and other leftist types relentlessly denounced and opposed it, while Republicans and conservatives (with the limited exceptions of the small nascent Ron Paul movement and a few Old Right Pat Buchanan types) supported and defended it. What the NSA revelations have done is to reverse this – now it is those same Democrats and leftists (with a few limited exceptions of the Glenn Greenwald and Ted Rall variety) who support and defend the surveillance/police state; usually in language virtually identical to that with which the Bush-era Republicans defended it (or the Nixon-era Republicans defended what he did, as well).

The point here is not to illustrate that leftists are liars and hypocrites who are given to highly tribal “team” politics and weird personality cults – that much is obvious. It is to point out that, with the limited exceptions given above (which are small enough to be safely ignored by both the left-establishment and the right-establishment), now going forward, nobody will have the credibility or moral authority to vocally oppose the surveillance/police state. And what’s more, the sophisticated among the establishment political/media class know it, so in order to avoid embarrassment they won’t even try. Thus, virtually all opposition (and certainly all of it that cannot be easily labeled as “fringe” and ignored) to what is happening has now been effectively neutralized.

This may not be a conspiracy to “triangulate” opposition to the police/surveillance state into silence – and I am loath to ascribe to shadowy gatherings of men in weird robes what can be more simply explained by ordinary malfeasance, corruption, power-lust, greed, and incompetence – but once again we have a situation in which it couldn’t have worked out any better for the establishment if they actually had planned it.


Red Cloud On Trusting Government

In the wake of the recent revelations of spying and abuse of power on the part of the government under his administration, Barack Obama had the following to say:

“If people can’t trust not only the executive branch but also don’t trust Congress, and don’t trust federal judges, to make sure that we’re abiding by the Constitution with due process and rule of law, then we’re going to have some problems here.”

To get a different perspective on this, I decided to ask Red Cloud, an Oglala Sioux Chief with extensive personal knowledge about what happens when you trust the government, to tell us about his experience in that area. His reply:

“They made us many promises, more than I can remember. They never kept but one… They promised to take our land – and they took it!”

It seems we may “have some problems here”, Mr. Obama.

There Will be No Reform

Over at his Miscellany blog, Bruce Charlton points out that after the 2008 economic crash, which was a clear warning of huge systemic problems in the economic affairs of the west, absolutely no meaningful reforms appeared, despite it being absolutely obvious what needed to be done in order to fix the problem and prevent reoccurences. Prof. Charlton states:

“I was thinking about the 2008 economic crisis, which I now regard as less of a profound international crisis and more of a warning. It was a warning that we in the West were spending more than we were producing, that apparent ‘economic growth’ was an illusory mixture of borrowing and inflation, and we were living off capital not income. What should have happened was a recognition and repentance, followed by reform – first to cut consumption, then to decide whether or how much to increase production. But 2008 was a warning which has not been heeded. There was no recognition, and no repentance – but instead there has been denial, lying and wishful thinking.”

I have deep respect for Prof. Charlton generally, but if there is any problem I find with his writings, it is that he vehemently rejects the Spenglerian historical view. If he didn’t, he would recognize the truth of its explanation of what’s happening here.

Simply put, every declining civilization reaches a point at which it becomes incapable of reform, even when the cures for its ills are glaringly obvious. This is a symptom of having become sclerotic; of living off of inertia instead of new ideas and new energies (something that’s inevitable and irreversible once the cultural phase of a society is past its peak); of a society being not only out of new ideas but out of the intellectual capital necessary to create new ideas; of corruption and cronyism having become so entrenched that no one any longer remembers any other way to do things or believes them to be possible. This is true of every declining civilization, in every time and place, under every political system.

Add to this the fact that the west is suicidal and has been for a century, since the calamity of 1914; that it longs for death and does everything it can to hasten it. Why else would it make war against its own children by committing unspeakable genocide against them in the womb? Why else would it willingly swamp itself with millions of dirt-poor Third Worlders who are both inassimilable and not particularly interested in being assimilated (though looking at what they’re being asked to assimilate into, one can hardly blame them)? Why else would it continue along a path that the intelligent and aware in its society cannot help but understand can only lead to financial ruin and societal oblivion?

There is no cure for this and there is no escape from it; as Spengler himself noted, “there is no question of prudent retreat or wise renunciation. Only dreamers believe that there is a way out”. Just so. So no, there will be no optimism here, as the time for listening to dreamers, fools, and death-seekers is at an end. You know what is coming. Prepare yourselves accordingly.

Old Media Deathwatch: WashPo Starts Selling Editorials

Little-noticed this week (meaning, little reported-on by the mainstream press) was the story that the Washington Post has discreetly begun selling editorial space to whoever can pay its price. Euphemistically called “sponsored views”, the Post says that it is “a new online advertising feature that invites organizations to post commentary related to or in response to content from The Washington Post’s Opinion section”, which “offers an opportunity for advocacy, communications and government affairs professionals to place their message in front of key constituents”.

Cut through the all the prevaricating, and the stench of desperation becomes unmistakable. No one who has eyes to see has believed that the Washington Post, or any of the rest of the left-establishment old media, has had any serious degree of credibility for a very long time, but this is so blatant and obvious that it cuts the legs out from under whatever small shreds of suspended disbelief may have been left out there. The first priority of any biased or corrupt organization is to maintain the illusion that it is not biased or corrupt. Selling corporations and special interest groups the chance to write editorials and have them placed in the Post’s pages – no matter what “restrictions” or “safeguards” are placed on them – is the kind of plain, undeniable, cards-on-the-table corruption that they’d never resort to unless things were very bad indeed. If they have let the mask slip to this degree, they’re in real trouble.

Good: as the great philosopher William Shatner said: “Let them die”. Their decline and fall is nobody’s fault but their own, and society will get along fine after them, just as it did before them. I will clap my hands at seeing another old media barbecue show.

Addendum To The Previous Post

The other lesson of the poll referenced in the previous post was one that I have also long spoken about; namely that when it comes to the defense of freedoms other than those which in some way or another involve sex – abortion, gay “marriage”, etc. – liberals are unreliable to the point of being utterly and completely useless. That is because sexual freedom, in all its forms, is the only freedom they objectively care about*. Other than that, when it comes to freedom, it’s all a matter of “кто кого” – of who is doing what to whom.

(*Of course, they care about welfare, group politics, hatred of religion, and unearned advantage, too – but no matter how much they may protest, those aren’t “freedoms” in any real sense.)

Democracy Is No Defense

A new poll finds that a healthy majority of Americans support letting the government snoop into their private business without any actual cause so long as some man from the government waves a terrorist boogeyman at them.

This proves what I’ve long said – that voting is not remotely the same thing as liberty, that democracy (and yes, this includes “representative republics” – a distinction without any functional difference) is no defense against oppression, and that 51% of your neighbors (or 51% of their elected representatives) can tyrannize you just as well as any tinhorn despot.

Well then, the majority shall get the tyranny they want, and deserve. I have no sympathy left for them. The older I get, the more I find myself completely out of sympathy for people who face the entirely predictable consequences of their own obviously poor decisions. Which is what the majority is facing now, and will face far more of in years to come.

But I am the 15%, and I will resist by fearlessly telling the truth.

Godless “Scientific” Morals: Demonstrable Nonsense

Atheism has always faced a certain question of morals. Specifically, the question it has faced is this: Absent a revealed moral code handed down from a higher intelligence, how can any one moral system be proven objectively correct? How can any one man’s idea of what is right and wrong be shown to be objectively better than any other man’s? And if one can not be so established, then by what right can any man impose his idea of it upon another man who does not agree with it? How can we have any laws, or any social norms? (Do not, by the way, be so weak-minded as to buy the old argument that “You can’t legislate morality.” That’s what laws are – impositions of a codified morality onto others. There is no law that does not “legislate morality”.)

Recently there have been a spate of books, including prominent ones by Sam Harris, Stefan Molyneux, and Tara Smith, which attempt to answer that question by proving that a set of objective, scientifically-knowable moral laws can and do exist outside of any deity. These are all, of course, demonstrable nonsense. I shall make that demonstration now.

Let us take something that we understand is in fact objective and scientifically-knowable, such as basic arithmetic. It is an objective, scientifically-knowable fact that 2+2=4. This is the only correct answer; any other answer is wrong. Thus, if you ask 100 reasonably-intelligent, reasonably-informed people what 2+2 might equal, you should get the answer 4 every single time, because reasonably-intelligent, reasonably-informed people who all use the same objective, scientifically-knowable method to come up with an answer to the same question should all arrive at the same answer. If, however, you asked that 100 reasonably-intelligent, reasonably-informed people what 2+2 equals, and you find that twenty-five of them said that it equaled 11, twenty-five of them said that it equaled 46, twenty-five of them said that it equaled 3, and twenty-five of them said that it equaled -57, something would obviously be wrong with that picture.

Similarly, let us take basic physics as an example. If, while standing on the surface of the Earth, you release an object with any mass to it, it will fall in only one direction – down. If you ask 100 reasonably-intelligent, reasonably-informed people which direction such an object will fall, you should get the answer “down” every single time. If, however, twenty-five of them say “up”, twenty-five of them say “sideways”, twenty-five of them say “forward”, and twenty-five of them say “backward”, something would, again, obviously be wrong with that picture.

And so we come to morality. If indeed there is an objective, scientifically-knowable method of determining a quantifiable morality absent a deity, then why do atheists disagree on what it might be? Why are there some atheists who are secular humanist liberals, others who are convinced Marxists, others who are libertarians, others who are “Dark Enlightenment” conservatives, and others who are Randian Objectivists? It isn’t even as though there are an overwhelming majority who are of one position, and the rest are statistically insignificant outliers – very large numbers of atheists fall all over this spectrum. And it isn’t as if these are essentially similar moral codes with a few minor points of disagreement, either – they are as fundamentally different in their moral and ethical approach as it is possible to be. How could a large number of ostensibly reasonably-intelligent, reasonably-informed people have applied what we are assured is an objective, scientifically-knowable answer to the same problem and have come up with such a huge variety of drastically different answers?

Something, obviously, is wrong with this picture.

There are really only two possible explanations for this. One is that the allegedly reasonably-intelligent, reasonably-informed people are in fact not as reasonably-intelligent or reasonably-informed as they make themselves out to be – in which case, why listen to anything they have to say at all? The other is that the objective, scientifically-knowable method they advocate is not as objective or scientifically-knowable as they claim.

Either way, demonstrable nonsense.

I Am The 15%

It is often said that people deserve the governments they have. Largely, this is true. No matter what form of government people have, no matter how tyrannical, it always does operate with some manner of tacit support from the people it governs, even if it is derived only from the fact that they do not rise up against it.

Yet in every time and place, under even the worst of governments, there is a small minority of people – one large enough to be noticeable, yet too small to be able to do anything effective about their situation – who genuinely do not deserve the governments they have. It is for these people, not for the complacent masses, that one should feel sympathy; for it is they who must watch, helpless, as lunacy and injustice grow, gain power, and reign.  I would estimate their number, across all times and places, and under every variety of awful government, at about 15% of the population.

If you are reading this, and if, in this time of Spenglerian degeneracy and decline, you find yourself in exactly that situation, then say unabashedly, even if only to yourself: I am the 15%. Remember it, understand its implications, know that it sets you apart from the lumpenproletariat masses, accept the burden that it places upon you, and wear it as a badge of honor.

And know that you are not alone. For I, too, am the 15%. And I will speak the truth.