The Parable Of Joy

I wouldn’t say that Joy and I are very close friends, but for a long while – from my later college years until I left California – we ran in the same social circles and saw each other fairly often. A friend of a friend, you could say; we’ve been happy enough to see each other whenever we have, but it has always been in some group activity or another rather than one-on-one. Still, we’re well enough acquainted that I was on the list to be notified when she sent out word that she’s in trouble. The circumstances are worth relating, as it occurred to me that it sheds some light on a lot that’s wrong with our Modern world.

Joy is a second-generation Chinese-American, a native of the S.F. Bay Area who grew up on the edge of Oakland’s Chinatown, and although I have enough sense to never ask a woman her age, by the length of time we’ve known each other, she must be squarely on the north side of 40. She is not married and never has been, and has no children. She is neither rich nor poor, with a job as the shipping manager of a furniture wholesaler’s warehouse, where long service has given her seniority and a salary that is respectable if not spectacular. She is careful with her money – not so much of a miser that she’ll never go for a dinner out with friends, but not luxurious in anything. She is sensible and level-headed, and at an age where that should begin to pay off in a certain degree of comfortable stability in one’s life.

But not so for Joy, it seems. That’s what I found out last week when I read her message. Joy is being kicked out of the house where she has rented a room for the past couple of years. The reason is personality conflict, or perhaps more accurately, cultural conflict. There are five or six roommates in a large house that long ago was designed for the kind of big families people used to have. Being the modern Bay Area, the roommates are all quite diverse – white, black, Latino, and Asian – in the way that we are assured is “our strength”. But Joy has found otherwise. She didn’t share the details of the particular disagreement that started things, but the situation progressively got worse and worse. And the most important reason for that was, according to Joy, that her non-Asian roommates just couldn’t understand the Asian style of conflict resolution. To her, all of them, but especially the Latina roommate who she was most directly clashing with, were extremely aggressive toward her – shockingly so, compared to the people she had grown up with. Joy said that she felt “bullied, teased, picked on, and tormented” to the point where it caused her to sink into a depression. It didn’t take long before it was obvious that the situation was unsustainable and somebody would have to leave. The homeowner made her choice, and gave Joy until the end of this month to get out of the house.

The first thing that Joy thought of was to move back in with her mother. But that was impossible; the high cost of housing, and even property taxes, in the Bay Area meant that as soon as her children had moved out, her mother had to take in boarders of her own in order to make ends meet, and they now filled every available room in the house, including the one that had once been Joy’s. It just wouldn’t be fair to evict one of them over a problem Joy was having that was no fault of their own, so that idea was rejected. Finally, with the deadline looming, Joy was considering the option of sleeping in her minivan until something better came available. There would be room enough to set up a semi-comfortable bed, the mild California weather meant there wouldn’t be any danger from freezing temperatures, and she could still shower, eat, and do laundry at her mother’s house. It would be a genteel form of homelessness, and (with any luck) only a temporary one. But it’s homelessness all the same – not a happy prospect for a woman in her 40s; a senseless humiliation for someone who has worked steadily and been frugal all her adult years. When I received the story, it was in the form of a last-minute plea for anyone in her orbit who might know of a more permanent place for her to stay to get in touch with her ASAP. And that is where the situation stands.

Of course, having left California for Southern Appalachia three years ago now, I don’t have any way to help in her search. The only thing I can do is to reflect a bit on all the ways that Modernity has failed Joy – and they are many indeed.

For one thing, while there has always been a small percentage of spinsters in our society, the phenomenon of women who are unmarried, well past prime marriage age, and in many cases are outright unmarriageable, has reached crisis levels in our society. I would by no means call Joy “unmarriageable” (that would involve factors like an extremely disagreeable and entitled personality, an excessive attachment to career over everything else, showy expressions of trendy leftist politics, a very high “notch count” springing from an extended Sex and the City phase, and perhaps single motherhood as a souvenir of it as well), but the fact that she remains unmarried at her age is proving to be a problem for herself and for those around her. Both the traditional Asian culture of her ancestors and traditional Christian Western culture understand this issue, and either of them, working through the circle of friends and family around her, would have intervened in her life 20 years ago in order to find a suitable husband for her and to pressure her into marrying him. This sounds abhorrent to the post-feminist Modern, and yet we must ask: feminism has loosed women, but from what, and into what? In her 40s, Joy deserves to have a husband and children of her own, which would give her a stable home and a large support structure around her. Instead, with the sole exception of an aging mother whose ability to help singlehandedly is limited, Joy is alone and without resources that the Modernist promise of the “independent woman who doesn’t need a man” apparently cannot actually provide her. She is left having to send out appeals to every minor acquaintance for help in avoiding homelessness.

But beyond this, even if Joy remained single her whole life, she deserves some greater measure of stability than this. She should at least be able to afford a small apartment of her own instead of having to perpetually live like a college kid, renting out a small bedroom in what amounts to a boarding house, never having real privacy or control over her fate in a place to truly call her own, well into what should be anyone’s most prosperous and secure years. There’s a lot behind why even this small measure of dignity has been denied to her, basically none of which is her own fault – she has never been a stoner or a slacker or a wastrel. One important factor is the economic squeeze on the middle class that’s been happening everywhere in the country, and most especially in California, over the past 20 years. California’s taxes, housing prices, and cost of living are legendary for all the wrong reasons, and are driving its middle class out of the state by the millions. (It is an exodus that I myself joined, in deep sadness, three years back. I could perhaps have tried holding on a bit longer – even in the face of increasingly intolerable laws and decreasing quality of life – if I’d been willing to keep living the way that Joy has been. It worked in my 20s and 30s well enough. But in my 40s, I found it harder and harder to live like that. Now, in Southern Appalachia, I have a small cottage of my own, with a workbench, a kitchen where I can cook anything I like at any hour of day, and a closet that I can stuff with a prep stash. I couldn’t go back to not having them.)

On paper, California is a fantastically rich state, but this hides the fact that it is increasingly a place with a Third World economic profile – one populated by the very rich and the very poor, with very little in between. Communists and socialists seem unable to understand that a certain amount of wealth inequality is actually the sign of a healthy economy; mainstream conservatives and libertarians seem unable to understand that too much of it is the sign of a deeply unhealthy one. In the real world, Silicon Valley money, which we are told is the envy of the globe, has been the second-worst thing (after mass immigration) to ever happen to the Bay Area. For those making six figures or more in a high-level tech job, the astronomical cost of living is an annoyance; for the established middle class that was there long before the tech boom, it has been ruinous. Beyond that, Big Tech long ago closed on its purchase of the state government, so no reforms of which they might disapprove, coming from either the left or the right, have any chance to pass. Things won’t get better for the middle class, because the ruling class – both inside and outside of the formal government – has little interest in that. No one in power wants to stand up for Joy, nor for anyone like her.

Then there is the issue of immigration and its attendant diversity. First, the former: it is of no small consequence that since Joy was born, the population of the United States has risen by 50%, and the population of California has doubled. The sheer presence of that many new people needing housing and using resources would make the cost of living skyrocket and turn the prospect of having an adequate place of one’s own on a middle class salary into a pipe dream, making life miserable, even if the curse of tech money wasn’t a factor, and even if diversity caused no problems. The fact that diversity does cause deep problems that are simultaneously ever more impossible to solve or to even talk about honestly in the open only makes things worse.

Unlike many others on the Dissident Right, I am not an absolute purist when it comes to diversity. I see nothing wrong with, say, San Francisco having a Chinatown or Miami having a Little Havana. But as with income inequality, a little diversity under the right circumstances may be healthy, but too much can only be disastrous. Even in the days before the post-1965 immigration flood, when we had diversity in more reasonable proportions, the social arrangement that made it work was based on the old ethnic neighborhood system, a form of voluntary soft segregation which created the kind of intangible-but-very-real good fences that make good neighbors (and that Chesterton warned us against dismantling). But then that system broke down; it was simultaneously overwhelmed with sheer numbers and deliberately dismantled by utopian busybodies who made it their mission to ensure that any remaining vestige of non-diversity be destroyed. What had existed before was a humane, respectful, and sustainable unspoken agreement by which ethnic neighborhoods were largely left to self-govern, so long as they caused no trouble to outsiders and passersby. Everything from anti-discrimination laws to overreach by the official organs of government put a forcible end to it. It is nothing to the busybodies and utopians that the old system created a sense of community; that it fostered informal support structures and an environment where like people could live by long-established rules that suited their unique characteristics. And it is nothing to them that its passing has led to the reality that Joy faced in a micro sense, and that we all are doomed to face in the macro sense: that diversity + proximity = conflict.

Here I should note that, despite the complaints that Joy has about her soon-to-be-former roommates, I doubt that any of them, even her Latina tormentor, is an evil person at heart. It’s more likely simply that there’s a Latin way to handle things and an East Asian way to handle things. It’s not that one is better than the other in any objective sense; that they’re different and incompatible is enough on its own to exacerbate any conflict to the point that it’s intolerable to all involved. This is an important reason why, whether it is through the mechanism of hard borders or soft fences, it is nearly always in the best interests of everyone for like to be with like. Though utopian egalitarians would be horrified by the idea, it would have been better for Joy if her search for a place to live had taken place within the soft limits of an Asian ethnic neighborhood, or even just a housing development or apartment building that was legally and socially permitted to restrict itself to accepting only like people in order to reduce conflicts such as the one that has Joy on the edge of homelessness. Perhaps that would have put some choices off-limits to her, but she would not now be facing living in a van.

Keep Joy in your prayers, as she will be in mine as well. She deserves better, and let’s hope she finds it soon. On multiple levels, she has been brought low not because she failed, but because she has been failed by Modernity and all of its unworkable promises. As have we all.

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What Next?

As I write this, it appears that the Democratic Party has successfully stolen the presidential election of 2020. There is no doubt that Donald Trump will mount an aggressive legal campaign against the massive, obvious ballot fraud that handed the election to his opponent. But that is unlikely to be enough to save his presidency. He simply doesn’t have enough friends in Washington at any branch or level of government. The entire town, including the establishments of both parties, just can’t wait to see Donald J. Trump disappear over the horizon so they can get things back to normal. Of course, some in his own party will make obligatory gestures of support, but in the end, nobody there will stick their neck out for him. He will be left wounded and alone, and the Deep State will finish him off. That will be the end of the Trump Era.

There will be many postmortems of this era written in the coming months, from people on all sides of the political spectrum, and you will be sick to death of reading them before very long. So I will keep mine brief. In the end, Donald Trump made the classic error of many brash reformers who arrived in a stagnant, corrupt capital promising to take on the system, and who ended up getting chewed up and spit out by it. He forgot that the proper sequence of events is: first you consolidate power, and then you implement your agenda. It seems rather obvious to say that before one takes on powerful, entrenched interests, one should take the time to fill every possible position in one’s administration with smart, loyal subordinates. They say, for example, that by the end of his time as Premier, Leonid Brezhnev had just as much power as Josef Stalin ever had, and that was precisely how he did it – everyone in any position of power in the USSR was a friend of Brezhnev, and thus whatever their friend asked them to do, they did. But Trump’s personnel choices were a chaotic rolling disaster from the beginning. He fired loyalists like Mike Flynn and indispensable men like Steve Bannon who had gotten him where he was, replaced them with mediocrities or traitors, and put up with them long after it became obvious that hiring them was a mistake. He would take to Twitter and publicly complain about people he had hired and had the power to fire for months instead of quietly explaining to them that they wanted to spend more time with their families and showing them the door. There were good reasons for the anti-nepotism laws passed after the presidency of JFK, who had made his younger brother Attorney General. Presidents must often say “no” to advisors, sometimes dress them down and remind them who the boss is, and occasionally even fire them – all of which is much harder to do if they have a close personal attachment to them. Trump kept his bubbleheaded daughter and her shifty, tone-deaf husband on as unofficial advisors with no government salary or on-the-books title, thus circumventing the letter of the law and ignoring the wisdom behind it. This led him into blunder after blunder that a man like Bannon would never have let him fall into.

In addition to this, Trump had the power to purge his enemies from every three-letter Deep State spook agency in Washington, but he didn’t do it, even after Chuck Schumer obligingly played Littlefinger to his Ned Stark by warning him not to trust them and telling him they had “six ways from Sunday” to get at him and remove him from office. Having survived one way from Sunday in the form of the failed impeachment attempt, he seems to have completely discounted the notion that there might be five more left. There is an old saying that “if you shoot an arrow at the king, you’d better not miss”. This is because if you do, the king has to behead you – if he lets traitors go without consequence, if he signals that there is no price to be paid for attempts to betray and overthrow him, then there will be no end of ambitious men who will take the gamble because it has no downside. In our modern age, of course, we do not behead traitors, but any president with a rational personnel policy would have conducted sweeping purges after the failed impeachment. His enemies even expected him to do this, and yet it really never came. Most of the people who challenged him never even lost their jobs, despite the fact that Trump had the absolute, unquestioned power to fire them. With an election he knew was rife for massive fraud on the horizon, he continued to ignore the danger before him. A cagier president would have made a point in early summer of strongarming Republican legislatures in swing states into not allowing mass mail-in voting at all, but beyond some angry Tweeting, Trump did nothing substantive about the issue, making the typical mistake among failed brash reformers of counting on his popularity among the masses to save him. This brings us back to Stalin, who famously once quipped that “It doesn’t matter who votes, but who counts the votes”. The fix was in, and now Trump is out – he still has the support of the masses, but short of the very unlikely (and very foolish) scenario of them deciding to march on Washington en masse to take the Establishment “À la lanterne”, there is nothing they can do to help him.

Trump’s failure to get Obamacare repealed during his first summer in office should have been a warning to him about the necessity to consolidate his power before attempting any more ambitious policy measures, but he seemed to have learned basically nothing from it. Thus he wasted irreplaceable time that he should have spent carefully building his power on achievable, non-critical “nice-to-haves” like renegotiating NAFTA and a brief spate of better relations with North Korea. There’s nothing in particular to complain about in these per se, but the price paid for them was too high. In the end, the Trump Era will prove to have been an exercise in “too little, too late”.

So where do we go from here?

It is worth pointing out that back at the beginning of his administration, I warned that Trump should be properly viewed as a temporary roadblock in the path of the Establishment, and that the primary value of his term in in Washington, whether four years or eight, was to buy precious time for us to prepare for what comes next. I hope you took the opportunity to do so; if you didn’t, there’s not much time left, and you had best get started immediately. To reiterate what I’ve said elsewhere, my recommendations are: Get out of the big cities, even if you have to take a massive pay cut to do it. Move to a 90% or higher white small town in a red state. Move toward working a blue-collar job or running your own business. Make friends in your community; do favors for people and become someone they’d want to stand up for. Buy guns and learn how to use them; get your concealed carry permit, and take reputable training courses when you can. Speaking of which, take a reputable first aid course, too. Stock up on food, water, and medical supplies. Learn how to hunt, fish, find (or make) clean water, and grow a garden. Start producing at least some of your own food. Learn how to do everyday house and car repairs on your own. Join a local church, make peace with God, and get yourself in a good place spiritually. It’s impossible to know right now exactly how or when what is to come will unfold, but these steps will put you in the best position to get through the highest number of the most probable scenarios.

As for political action going forward, it is now plain for all to see that voting was never going to save us, and that the current system will never be reformed from within. That said, I encourage all who can to continue to vote for as rightist a candidate as you can, for every position you can, in every election that you can. Just see it realistically, for what it actually is: a chance to throw sand in the gears of the Establishment; to slow it down as much as possible to buy us every possible moment to continue preparing. If there is one election that I advise you to pay particularly close attention to once you reach your new small-town home, it is the one for your local sheriff. It may be true that people you’ve never met and have no control over who live in a distant capital decide which laws will be passed, but it is the county sheriff who decides which of them will actually be enforced. This is no small thing, so make sure that the right man gets the job.

And as to those guns you’ve recently bought, some cool-headed counsel is in order. First, no matter how enraging the chaos you see on television may be, do not engage in any random or senseless acts of violence against any real or perceived enemy. Furthermore, do not go off to some big city with your AR-15 to confront Antifa or Black Lives Matter, or any other communist front group. I feel sorry for the people who live there, but they made their political and social choices, and now it is up to them to either live with the consequences of them or come up with their own remedy for them. Also, give up any idea that you’re going to be part of a “Patriot Army” that is going to storm Washington, DC one day to restore order and “make the bastards pay” for bringing us to this point. That’s a fantasy, and a dangerous one. Any use of force must be both local and purely defensive in nature. Be ready to band together with your neighbors to protect your own – your property, your family, your community, your liberty – from anyone who comes to threaten them. But don’t go off on a damn fool quest to rescue people who don’t want to be rescued, or to save an empire that’s in the early stages of finding out that there’s really no such thing as “too big to fail”.

As a corollary to this, remember that conquering America from without is essentially impossible, but making it functionally ungovernable from within is easier than anybody gives it credit for. The pattern of every dismal low-intensity conflict fought by a great power over the past century has been that the central government has controlled the big cities, but that its ability to consistently enforce its will has essentially ended at the city limits. There’s a reason why both the Soviets and the Americans derisively referred to their puppet Prime Ministers in Afghanistan as the “Mayor of Kabul”.

For this to be the case in the decreasingly-United States of America, the most important change will be a mental one. It will involve giving up the traditional American attitude toward government and replacing it with something more like the traditional Chinese attitude toward it. That American attitude has always been one of deep civic trust and duty; of participating in the system and abiding by the law even when you disagree with it. This is why the police and military in America have consistently been revered as heroic protectors of a legitimate order. But the Chinese attitude toward government has always been: “What the Emperor doesn’t know, won’t hurt him”. When word gets out that the Emperor’s Inspector General is coming to town, the streets are cleaned, the gambling dens are closed, the black markets where they sell all the things that the Emperor says you can’t have get cleared out, everyone puts on their finest silk robes, and when the Inspector General gets there, they bow deeply and proclaim their loyalty to the Emperor through teary eyes. The Inspector General is cheered and banqueted, everyone tells him how happy they are with the state of things, and his every order is obeyed immediately and to the letter. Then, a few days later, as the Inspector General’s carriage disappears out of sight down the road out of town, everything goes back to normal – the gambling dens and black markets reopen, the street sweeper goes back to drunkenly sleeping through his shift, those uncomfortable silk robes go back in the closet, and people remark to each other how happy they are that the jackass Inspector General sent by that bastard of an Emperor is gone.

This is a very alien attitude to Americans; civic virtue and belief in the legitimacy of our political system are more deeply ingrained in us than in any other people on Earth. It is a core part of our identity, and more than one observer has called it America’s true religion. Such things are not easily shaken. And yet, what we are going through now has undeniably begun to do just that. Make no mistake: no matter the outcome of the current legal wrangling over the election, and no matter the actions of the two men who want to be declared President, a Rubicon has indeed been crossed. And what does that mean? It is an act that can’t be undone, a point passed from which there is no coming back. No matter who ends up in the White House at the end of January, half the country will believe that they just saw an American presidential election stolen in plain sight right in front of them. The other half will believe that it came within a hair’s breadth of it – closer than they ever thought possible, and close enough to call any future election results deeply into question. Public trust in the system will end up shattered, and once that happens, it is near-impossible to restore.

For those of us who are of a more forward-thinking and revolutionary mindset, this is a good thing. We know that before the Great Divorce must come the Great Disillusionment. As in any divorce, the first step is admitting that the current arrangement is beyond fixing – that nobody is happy with it, and that there’s no reason to believe it will do anything but get worse. This involves a painful process of mourning for what was, and for what could have been, but won’t be. The MAGA crowd and the normiecons out there are just beginning this process. We who are farther along with it should be patient and sympathetic toward them. Right now, they’re in shock, still holding onto the hope that the system will right itself at the last second and that clever lawyers will undo this travesty in court. One is reminded of their faith that Jeff Sessions would put Hillary Clinton in prison, or that Bill Barr would prosecute the Russiagate coup plotters in the FBI, or that John Durham would do something-or-other that never ended up happening, either. After Joe Biden is sworn in, that shock will turn to anger. Donald’s Trump’s most lasting accomplishment – the one that he unwittingly sacrificed his second term for – will prove to be goading the Establishment into dropping the mask and showing the normies who they really are and how the system really works. This will be hugely redpilling; in time, it will change everything. It will give the normies the moral permission they need to stop following Washington’s edicts. As long as those were onerous but seemingly passed legitimately, the normies would grumble but obey them. But when the normie perceives that those decrees ended up in place due to outright fraud perpetrated by a crooked system, they won’t. That system only works now because the vast majority of people voluntarily obey the law even when they disagree with it. When an irrecoverable legitimacy crisis makes them rethink that, ungovernability begins.

As for you, friends, the most important thing you can do right now is to come to terms with the fact that life as you knew it a year ago is over. The country, the society, the whole world that you lived in a year ago is gone, and it’s never coming back. If you loved it, cherish its memory. But don’t try to hold onto it – that will be used as a weapon against you. Evil people will promise you that if you submit to them, they will bring that world back. But they can’t, and they wouldn’t really want to do it even if they could. I wish I could tell you that what lies ahead will be pleasant or easy, but it won’t be. You’ll need to be strong and sane in an insane world in order to get through it. But if you are, the distant future can be brighter. That much, in all sincerity, I promise you.