Means And Ends

Whenever you are confronted by someone who wishes to explain their beliefs to you – their philosophical system, the type of government they favor, their preferred social arrangements, and so on – there are a few questions that are always of tremendous value to ask: “Is what you propose an end, or is it a means? If it is a means, then what end is it a means to? If it is an end, what are its inherent benefits in and of itself, apart from those of any other end?” This will almost certainly throw anyone you ask off their guard, because most people pay precious little attention to these big-picture questions. They become so focused on the details of their favored system that they lose sight of them; and yet they are critical and must be answered if we are to avoid grave, even civilization-threatening mistakes.

This is especially important when we consider that Whigism – which is the root of modern democracy – suffers from a persistent inability to distinguish between means and ends. One may see evidence of this in many of its failures. For example, its confusion over whether technology, hard work, and money represent a means or an end (it all too consistently operates as if they are the latter rather than the former), has resulted in much of the aesthetic, cultural, and spiritual ugliness of Modernity. It has meant that modernity never came up with a solid idea of the Good Life, as ancients such as Cicero did (the “American Dream” is far too vague, and doesn’t sufficiently clear up the means vs. ends confusion, to be truly useful as one). It has led to a society full of ambition with no goal – of people who, as a great modern novel put it, live lives of “working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need”. We have wrecked our families, let our children be raised by strangers or by the television set (if we have any at all), destroyed femininity in all its comfort and glory, become atomized and deracinated to the point that we hardly know our neighbors, work soul-crushing jobs as cogs in gigantic corporate machines, and, worst of all, are miserable – is this an end that anyone could desire? Could this be any sane person’s definition of the Good Life? Certainly not. Why has it happened, then? Because we have gotten so lost in the pursuit of something that we have forgotten what we were pursuing in the first place.

Thus, if someone wanted to convince me to support a system that they claimed was a means, they would then have to convince me that it would reliably produce the promised ends. And if they wanted to convince me to support a certain end, they would then have to convince me that this end had inherent benefits. (Within the concept of “benefit”, as used here, we must also include the lack of disastrous, and presumably unintended and unforecasted, ill effects.) Whoever wished to do either (or both) of these things would have to present evidence that squared with the reality that I observe in the world; any evidence that visibly does not match observable reality must be dismissed as false. That is because reality – not our hopes, plans, wishes, dreams, or pet theories – is final.

Let us start by considering a test case: the issue of ethnic diversity. Is it a means, or is it an end? If it is a means, what are the ends, and do our observations of the world around us indicate that it is actually producing those ends? If it is an end, then what are its inherent benefits, and do our observations of the world around us indicate that those benefits are actually accruing? Does what we observe in reality around us square with what we were promised by those who supported increased diversity, without any appreciable amount of unintended bad consequences?

My own observation of reality tells me this: I see no end to which increased diversity is acting as an effective means except for increasing the power of leftist political parties who want the guaranteed votes provided by the importation of millions of dirt-poor immigrants, and the profits of businessmen who want the cheap labor of illegal scabs. Since I do not support these ends, I must reject diversity as a means to anything beneficial. As for diversity as an end with inherent benefits, I say this: If diversity was working as advertised, with no serious bad side effects, then I would have no objection to it. But it visibly is not: the loss of social cohesion, the erosion of freedoms (such as freedom of association and even freedom of speech), the increased risk of crime and terrorism, the slide into socialism based on untenable debt brought about by the increased power of these leftist parties, the “slipping and sliding into Third Worldism” that the great Bob Grant so presciently warned us against – all of these and more present themselves to me in reality as disastrous effects of diversity that those who supported it did not describe as part of the bargain. Weighed against this are benefits – “enrichment” and “vibrancy” – the very unquantifiable vagueness of which testifies to their effective meaninglessness.

In short, as they say on eBay: “Item not as described”.

Now, let us apply this concept to another idea; one that is even more unquestioningly held to in the modern world: democracy. The first problem we face here is that questioning democracy* pretty much automatically makes one a heretic everywhere in the Modern world. Mencius Moldbug described the situation a few years ago:

[D]isbelieving in democracy in 2008 is a lot like disbelieving in God in 1758. For one thing, you disagree with basically everyone in your society. For another, your thoughts undermine the theory of legitimacy on which your government is founded. For a third, acknowledging your beliefs, let alone evangelizing them, is not exactly an effective way to make friends or influence people. And for a fourth, your original reason for believing in it was that when you were very small, grownups told you that it existed and was good.

Americans especially are fanatically – often hysterically – attached to democracy, entirely for sentimental reasons. We were all told by grownups when we were very small – and still are told today – that America is a “proposition nation”, and that the proposition involved is democracy. I have even heard it said that “our culture is the Constitution”, as if a 20-page guide for setting up a caretaker government is a substitute for a fully-developed native culture built and refined over centuries or millennia**. And Americans get very upset indeed if you question these beliefs. Here, for example, is a quote from usually-rational author John C. Wright, taken from a debate in which he participated:

[Y]ou say inferiority to a monarch is not the same as inferiority to me, John Wright. The answer already given there is that I am a member of the sovereign ruling in America, hence the same rank as a king.

This is simply delusional. Here is a question for Mr. Wright: How do you recognize the sovereign when you see him? The answer is that the sovereign is the guy who’s getting his way on issues of policy. When the sovereign (and here I mean the real sovereign; not some figurehead who may ceremonially hold that title) makes his will known, that is the law. I know that Mr. Wright styles himself a conservative. Has the history of the past couple of centuries been a tale of conservatives like Mr. Wright getting their way on matters of policy? Or, a few bumps in the road aside, has it been a story of them suffering loss after loss to the point that, as his friend Vox Day has pointed out, conservatives have failed even to keep men in dresses out of the ladies’ room? Mr. Wright seems to have a great deal of his self-image tied up in the idea that he is sovereign, or at least a significant member of the “sovereign ruling in America”. But if this is the case, then why has his rule been so ineffective in yielding him the results he wants (and that I, as a traditionalist, want as well)?

Mr. Wright, allow me to quote that most reactionary of recent films and ask: Do you feel in charge?

The difference between myself and Mr. Wright is that I have not one ounce of sentimentality in me towards government – not the one I live under, or any other. This allows me a bit of realism that eludes both Mr. Wright and (in fairness to him) most Americans. Allow me to explain the reality of the situation: There are approximately 220,000,000 eligible voters in the United States (the rest of the population being children, felons, or nonvoting aliens). Mr. Wright is one of them, and thinks of himself as a sovereign – equivalent to a king who has 1/1 of the decision-making power in a monarchical society – because his sentimentality has allowed him to believe in the obvious delusion that a 1/1 share and a 1/220,000,000 share in something are exactly the same.

Think of it this way – I’m not sure how many shares of Apple stock are currently in circulation, but for the sake of argument, let’s say there were 220,000,000. Let’s further say that I bought one of them. If I then attempted to use it as a justification to stop by a meeting of the Board of Directors and start instructing Tim Cook on how to build iPhones, how do you think that would go? The answer is that it would go about as well as if you went to Washington and started insisting that the government has to listen to you because you are “a member of the sovereign ruling in America”. Here’s the harsh truth: the government is just another corporation – in fact, it is the biggest corporation of all. It just happens to be one in which you are issued a single share of voting stock when you turn 18. And, unlike any other corporation, you will never have the chance to acquire any more voting shares than that. So face facts: You are not the sovereign; not even a little bit. Believing that you are will not help you get your way on policy issues; in fact, it is a fantasy that’s used to keep you quiescent while the government runs roughshod over you.

Here we return to critically important point: that if everything is X, then nothing is X. If everybody is a king, then nobody is the king. And who ends up in charge then? Those who always end up in charge when there’s a weak king – the schemers behind the throne, hidden in the shadows. Money men, slick talkers, flatterers, liars, clever sophists skilled in manipulating the crowd, and snake-oil salesmen with a heart-tugging story to tell and a tinhorn utopia to peddle.

This is all the long way of saying: Hey rube, stop being sentimental about government. Stop believing in the inherent goodness of a system that commits incessant wickedness just because when you were very small, grownups told you that it was good. Then take the big step by asking yourselves: What actually is good? Presuming you are the sort of impeccably moral sort who wants what is good (and how could any of my readers be otherwise?), we may them move on to this question: What would our society look like if you did get your way on issues of policy? Pretty much as they do now, or would there be a whole lot that was different? Finally – and most importantly – we reach this: Why should you not support whatever system is likely to deliver the ends you want? Why should you not prefer the good to the bad, and wish to see what is good done instead of what is bad? Is this not both more logical and more moral than a sentimental attachment to a system that consistently delivers foolishness, wickedness, and unsustainability?

Here I will doubtless hear the old saw that “the ends do not justify the means”, which is the sort of idea that spreads when slogans take the place of rationality in public discourse. If this were true, we would never do anything that was a means to an end, which means that we would do virtually nothing that we ever do our lives. My earlier condemnation of the rat race of consumerist capitalism aside, I must eat, and so I have a job. Do you? Unless you are working for the sheer joy of it, then your job is a means, the ends of which is paying your bills. Do you drive a car? Unless you are doing so for recreation, then it is a means, the ends of which involve getting where you want to go. A much truer statement would be that the ends don’t always justify the means: that there are some cases in which there are some means that are not justified by the ends they involve. Robbing banks will pay your bills just as a job will, and hijacking an airplane will get you where you want to go, but there are specific moral reasons why these ends justify some means but not others. So yes, in fact, except for a few edge cases, the ends we pursue generally do justify the means we use to achieve them.

And it is here that we circle back to the question we started with: Is our current form of government a means, or is it an end? What sense would it being an end make? How would it be rational to have a certain form of government just for the sake of having that sort of government? Other than for reasons of sentimentality, it makes none; we must dismiss this as an acceptable conclusion for rational and moral people to come to. So then, we must see it as a means. But then, what is so great about it as a means that it justifies the awful ends – i.e. the actual results – that we can observe ourselves?

I too had been told by grownups since I was very small that democracy was good; but it was when I could not figure out any answers that squared with what the grownups had told me to these questions that I began to turn against democracy. I became unsentimental about government, and came to the conclusion that I value ends above means and product above process. And unlike Moldbug, my conversion to Christianity only strengthened and confirmed these beliefs. The Gospel of Matthew teaches us that our Savior said: “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them”. So what are you going to believe: a set of political theories concocted by men two hundred years in the grave who never got to see the real-world results of what they were proposing, or your own lying eyes? In the end, people like Mr. Wright talk themselves into the idea that democracy produces good results for the same reason that someone who bought an Edsel would try to talk himself into the belief that he bought a top-of-the-line car: It hurts our pride to believe that we’ve been suckered into buying a lemon.

There are those who would say in the wake of the rightward shift seen in elections worldwide during 2016 that “the pendulum has swung back right”, and there is no reason to worry. This misses the point entirely. I don’t want “the pendulum”. I don’t want wild and unpredictable swings between having rulers who will give me tolerable laws and those who will give me intolerable laws. I want decent, sustainable laws, and I want them consistently and predictably. I will support whatever form of government provides that to me. Of course I do not expect absolute perfection from any system derived by man; that has nothing to do with the realities of this world. The operative question is: what system delivers the results that I consider best the greatest amount of the time? What led me to “throne and altar” monarchy is the fact that on balance I think it provides the best chance of actually getting the laws I want. But again, I am unsentimental even about this. If mass democracy or a classical liberal republic delivered consistently good results, then I would support it. And if any particular king turned out to be a new King Manasseh or Ivan the Terrible, then I would be first in line to drag His Majesty kicking and screaming from his palace, end his reign with an axe, and find someone who would do a better job.

Treason? Don’t be naive. Again, the government is just another corporation with a job to do; if it does it acceptably, then all is well; if it does not, then it is expendable. Why should it be otherwise? Get this through your heads, citizens: You are subjects, and not, as Mr. Wright believes, sovereign rulers. As such, your interest is in product, not process. Of what use is salt that has lost its flavor? It is good for nothing, except to be thrown out and trampled under the feet of men. And if that is true of salt and apostles, how much more so of kings and presidents and senators and caesars?

So what is the actual end that I want? I want good to win and evil to lose. It’s as simple as that. Everything else is a means to that end, and anything else is insanity.

I have often said that the road to reaction begins with conceding some points to the left. If what I have said seems extremist, please understand that I am merely conceding that the left’s view of political power is practical and realistic (which does much to explain their triumphs over the pst 250 or so years). When I say that the left has no principles, only ideology, that is only an observation, not a criticism. They are putting the product they want above any process, which not only do I not find contemptible, but is utterly rational. It is the way of non-cucks.

As John Glanton explains:

You have to admire the Left for its clarity of vision. It has identified its enemies, and it does what it can to drive them from the field. The recent fireworks in Indiana are a perfect illustration. Team blue knows that Christians are hateful homophobes, and so it goes to bat for the right of homosexuals to sue them over wedding cakes. The Right, with its characteristic acumen, mistakes this bushwhack for a principled stand. “Ah!” they say, “But if you support the right of a gay man to force a Christian to make a cake then you must support the right of the KKK to force a black baker to make a cake!” The average liberal couldn’t imagine a more irrelevant rejoinder. They aren’t making any such proposition at all. In their calculus, Christians (of the Not-fans-of-Pope-Francis type at least) are the bad guys and thus their interests are hateful and invalid and must be opposed. The KKK are bad guys and thus their actions are hateful and invalid and must be opposed. You attack bad guys. You don’t attack good guys. Whence the confusion?

I am proposing that we on the right should have the same clarity of vision, and stop allowing sentimentality or philosophical confusion to get in our way. Let us focus on ends, not means – whether those means are abstract universalist principles, particular forms of government, or old pieces of paper***. Let us say: Victory for good and defeat for evil – at any cost and by whatever means necessary – that is what we want. It is only once we do say this that the victory of good will become possible.


(*Let us here dispense with the rather silly notion that the difference between a republic and a democracy is vast enough to have any real effect on this discussion. If nothing else, limited republics don’t stay that way; inevitably, some demagogue comes along and offers to expand citizenship and/or the franchise to new groups of people in exchange for a tacit understanding that this group will support them or their party. This will continue until the limited republic has morphed into a mass democracy. In Rome, the process started with the Gracchus Brothers; in America, it started when the property qualification for voting was abolished. It never ends well.)

(**Is it unpatriotic for me to say these things about the republic, the founding fathers, and the Constitution? I ask you then: What is patriotism? Is it attachment to a people, a history, a culture, and a set of traditions, or is it attachment to a government? If the former, then it is not contemptible; if the latter, then it is foolish and servile. It is faith, blood, and soil that defines a people; a particular form of government should never define them. Although we have forgotten this as a “proposition nation”, that view has been the near-universal norm throughout history – and certainly before American ideas went universal. Don’t forget that in Leipzig during the 20th century, the government went from monarchy to republic to fascism to communism and back to a republic – but the people there never stopped being German, nor, presumably, being patriotically so. It is only very recently, with the push to displace the German people from their lands and replace them with other peoples, that German identity has faced any real threat.)

(***You cannot – can you? – be so naive as to believe that the Constitution, i.e. the EULA that supposedly regulates our civic life, really protects you. Like all EULAs, it protects its creators (i.e., the government), not its end users. In terms of preserving your natural rights, the Constitution has been a dead letter since 1803, when the Supreme Court arrogated to itself the unlimited power to “interpret” this document, which of course is functionally identical to unlimited power to rewrite it. Thus, functionally speaking, we do not have a Constitution at all, but are ruled by the biases, opinions, and agendas of nine government lawyers in Hogwarts costumes. The left harbors no illusions about this, and we are perpetually a Supreme Court appointment or two away from the First and Second Amendments sharing the fate of the Ninth and Tenth.)


Too Dumb For Democracy

Today we have something a little different, and a first for this blog – a reader submission. Via reader Aristokles Smith (@Aristokles11235 on Twitter) comes this article from Live Science, which appeared on Yahoo News. This one is important, so I’ll reproduce it in its entirety here.

People Aren’t Smart Enough for Democracy to Flourish, Scientists Say

The democratic process relies on the assumption that citizens (the majority of them, at least) can recognize the best political candidate, or best policy idea, when they see it. But a growing body of research has revealed an unfortunate aspect of the human psyche that would seem to disprove this notion, and imply instead that democratic elections produce mediocre leadership and policies.
The research, led by David Dunning, a psychologist at Cornell University, shows that incompetent people are inherently unable to judge the competence of other people, or the quality of those people’s ideas. For example, if people lack expertise on tax reform, it is very difficult for them to identify the candidates who are actual experts. They simply lack the mental tools needed to make meaningful judgments.
As a result, no amount of information or facts about political candidates can override the inherent inability of many voters to accurately evaluate them. On top of that, “very smart ideas are going to be hard for people to adopt, because most people don’t have the sophistication to recognize how good an idea is,” Dunning told Life’s Little Mysteries.
He and colleague Justin Kruger, formerly of Cornell and now of New York University, have demonstrated again and again that people are self-delusional when it comes to their own intellectual skills. Whether the researchers are testing people’s ability to rate the funniness of jokes, the correctness of grammar, or even their own performance in a game of chess, the duo has found  that people always assess their own performance as “above average” — even people who, when tested, actually perform at the very bottom of the pile. [Incompetent People Too Ignorant to Know It]
We’re just as undiscerning about the skills of others as about ourselves. “To the extent that you are incompetent, you are a worse judge of incompetence in other people,” Dunning said. In one study, the researchers asked students to grade quizzes that tested for grammar skill. “We found that students who had done worse on the test itself gave more inaccurate grades to other students.” Essentially, they didn’t recognize the correct answer even when they saw it.
The reason for this disconnect is simple: “If you have gaps in your knowledge in a given area, then you’re not in a position to assess your own gaps or the gaps of others,” Dunning said. Strangely though, in these experiments, people tend to readily and accurately agree on who the worst performers are, while failing to recognize the best performers.
The most incompetent among us serve as canaries in the coal mine signifying a larger quandary in the concept of democracy; truly ignorant people may be the worst judges of candidates and ideas, Dunning said, but we all suffer from a degree of blindness stemming from our own personal lack of expertise.
Mato Nagel, a sociologist in Germany, recently implemented Dunning and Kruger’s theories by computer-simulating a democratic election. In his mathematical model of the election, he assumed that voters’ own leadership skills were distributed on a bell curve — some were really good leaders, some, really bad, but most were mediocre — and that each voter was incapable of recognizing the leadership skills of a political candidate as being better than his or her own. When such an election was simulated, candidates whose leadership skills were only slightly better than average always won.
Nagel concluded that democracies rarely or never elect the best leaders. Their advantage over dictatorships or other forms of government is merely that they “effectively prevent lower-than-average candidates from becoming leaders.”

The science is in, as Adam Curry might say. And here’s what it says: The “wisdom of crowds” is a lie; there is no inherent excellence in democracies or their leaders; and democracy, like all forms of Demotism, cannot escape failure at the hands of its implacable nemesis, human folly.

P.S. Yes, I’ve seen the TechCrunch article on the Neo-Reactionary movement. If you haven’t read it, you should. More to come about it, and the mainstream attention that the Neo-Reaction has started to receive, soon.

The Scam Of Democracy

How should a subject of the law view the laws that govern him? What is the rational way to look at the law?

The truth of the matter is that citizens are, for lack of a better term, consumers of laws. Use of this term is somewhat problematical (I am not, in general, a fan of those who try to reduce every facet of human existence to the rules of economics), but looking at one’s relationship to the law in the context of the modern consumer allows us to see it in a practical light. Do you care – or even really know – how the things you consume are made? How much do you really know about what is involved in making flat-screen televisions, or scotch tape, or breakfast cereals? Most people, in fact, don’t know or care about these things, and why would they? All they care about, and all they need to care about from a rational perspective, is that the end product is of high quality.

If there is a good reason why the same logic should not apply to laws, I don’t see it. As a citizen, my interest in government is, and really only is, that it provides good laws and enforces them fairly and consistently. Thus, the only rational definition of a good government is one that reliably does these things. If a government does not reliably do those things, then it is not a good government. It does not matter what process is involved in coming up with its laws. No process of coming up with laws should be accepted prima facie as being good irrespective of the quality of its results. After all, what is the rational definition of a good process? A good process is one that consistently produces a high quality result. If it does not consistently produce a high quality result, then it’s not a good process.

I cannot speak for you, dear reader, but as for me, I care precious little about process compared to results, and see no rational reason why it should be otherwise.

Which brings us to democracy.

One of the things that makes democracy such an insidious hazard to decent governance is that it is, in essence, a species of con game; a magic trick played by governments to fool people into thinking that they have acceptable government when they actually don’t. Like most magic tricks, this one relies on sleight of hand, in which the viewer’s attention is distracted away from what’s going on in one of the magician’s hands and focused on what’s happening in his other hand. Thus, while everyone is looking at him wave around cards in his right hand, he quickly pulls an ace out of his left sleeve. It’s an age-old method employed by carnival hustlers, sidewalk three-card monte dealers, and riverboat card sharps worldwide, which explains why it is also popular with politicians in democracies.

This is what democracy does: it focuses attention on the process by which laws are made instead of the results that come from it. Are you worried about the creeping surveillance state, the sweeping away of free speech and free association in the name of combating “hate”, the slow death of the 4th Amendment, and the militarization of the police? Nonsense, say the democracy’s politicians! This is a democracy – it is your government, which you voted for – and thus it cannot possibly be oppressive! Further, it lays blame upon the citizens themselves (some of whom deserve it, some of whom don’t) for the dysfunctional, nonsensical, and oppressive actions of their government. They use the word “democracy” as a synonym for “liberty” and “decency”, and you are expected to accept this prima facie; thus it is expected that you should define democracy, as a process, as being good irrespective of its results.

Does this make any sense? Look around you, to the state of your nation and the whole of the Western world. Do you have high-quality governance by any reasonable definition of the term? Are these governments providing high-quality laws, and enforcing them fairly and consistently? Do these seem like good results?

If not, then why would you – why would anyone – continue to believe in the unquestionable, inherent goodness of the process that has provided these results? Because the people whose power relies on the scam of democracy have spent years trying to scare you away from the perceptions of your own senses and the judgments of your own rationality by feeding you the idea that there are only two kinds of government possible – mass democracy, or Hitler?

No… I just don’t see it.

The Tragedy Of Unseriousness

In a previous column, I addressed the phenomenon of so many of the left’s prominent spokesmen – Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert being the most obvious examples – being professional comedians. It’s ludicrous, of course, but not terribly surprising if you think about it. The left’s economic, moral, and spiritual underpinnings are, after all, a total joke – and who better to tell a joke than a comedian?

Now the left has gone even further, creating an abortion video game as an “educational tool”. I must emphasize, this is not a stunt video game created for shock value a la the Postal series of video games or the recent “Angry Trayvon” game.* They’re dead serious about this.

Or perhaps I should say, they’re unserious about this. Whatever one’s position on the issue of abortion, the idea of trivializing it by making it into a video game should be appalling to any person who has any degree of seriousness about them. But, for all the seriousness and tragedy in America these days, Americans are an increasingly unserious people. Yes, the left is worse in its unseriousness, and yes they’re more insufferable for being endlessly sneering, arrogant, and snotty in their unseriousness, but it’s not just them – it’s everyone. The last thirty years have, for example, seen the mainstream right’s spokesmen go from men of culture and erudition like William F. Buckley, to ill-educated carny barkers like Rush Limbaugh, straight through to ranting apocalyptic nutters like Glenn Beck.

All of this has consequences. When was the last time the United States had a President who was verifiably a grownup? Bush the First, perhaps – now more than twenty years ago?

And even all of that is among people who are serious enough to care about the nation and its laws (beyond the level of who will hand the the most goodies out of the public treasury, I mean). Most people aren’t even that serious or informed. Welcome to the world of 2013, where “Katniss” and “Django” have made the year’s top ten baby names. This isn’t inspiration from literature, like naming a child after a character in a Dickens novel. This is saddling your child with the (weird) name of a character from a Hollywood action film because you don’t have the foresight to understand that by the time your child becomes an adult, almost nobody will get the reference anymore. And this, with a decision as important as your child’s name. This is out-of-control unseriousness on display.

Tattooed, saggy-panted, pierce-lipped, drugged up (on malt liquor, weed, or Prozac – it hardly makes much difference which), “informed” (if at all) by comedians and carny barkers, edutained by bad historical movies, unable to tell the difference between the plausible and implausible much less between truth and fiction, easily swayed by excessive pathos and generally unacquained with ethos or logos, and convinced through it all that they are the smartest, strongest, and most moral people who have ever lived – these are Americans in the Year of Our Lord 2013.**

I am strongly opposed to democracy, but even the men who created the American republic in the late 18th century would be the first to say that only a certain kind of people are capable of maintaining a democracy as a going concern.

The American people of 2013 ain’t that. And things that can’t go on forever, don’t.

(*If “Angry Trayvon” can get disappeared from app stores after liberals decided that you can’t be allowed to play it because it offends them, then the same should apply to Abortion: The Video Game. If and when this thing ever sees the light of day, speak out and demand that you get the same consideration that the left does.)

(**Not the 15%, of course, but I’ve already exempted them.)

Inbound From The Fringes

Noted in stories, columns, and blogs related to the recent events in Egypt – in comments sections, in the dark and obscure corners of the internet, on the fringes (But how much that we face in modern life was at the fringes not so very long ago?) there have been a great many remarks made along the lines of: “If only our military had the guts to do what Egypt’s just did!”.

I’ve long said that any country that worships its military as much as America does is almost certain to end up ruled by it. Perhaps with some pretenses and external trappings of democracy (Note that even Augustus didn’t dare to formally disband the Roman Senate; he simply made it an irrelevant rubber stamp), but with the military as the real power.

I am a monarchist, and not by nature an advocate of military dictatorship (though certainly it is far better than democracy), so I am of mixed feelings about all of this. Make no mistake, however, this sentiment is moving off the fringes – more quickly than most would believe.

Oops, We Did Cultural Marxism Again!

Today in the news: Costa Rica “accidentally” legalizes gay “marriage”.

Which looks worse for democracy, I wonder: The idea that these lawmakers actually voted for and passed a bill not knowing that it completely upended the basic social unit of their society and invalidated thousands of years of human tradition, or the idea that they did know it, passed the law in complete contravenance of the promises they made to their people (but very much in line with the will of the Frankfurt School Cultural Marxist elites), and then came up with an the most ridiculous and insulting of lies to excuse why they did it?

Either way, can any thinking person any longer believe that they will get good and decent governance out of democracy? That democratic governance will seriously impede the cultural and economic elites from getting everything they want in the end?

EDIT: A story from today’s news (July 9th) makes me lean towards the viewpoint that yes, politicians in democracies really are just so doltish and careless that they routinely pass laws that contain astoundingly stupid, repressive, immoral, or unworkable provisions without carefully examining, or even simply reading, them. It seems that the elected government of Florida just accidentally banned all cell phones and laptop computers in their state. Truly, governance at its finest.

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.

How Bad Laws Undermine Bad Governments

One problem with bad – or even just badly-passed – laws is that they encourage disrespect for the law in general. Look at Prohibition: a ridiculous law that was widely-ignored, and caused normal people to look the other way on principle as criminals violated it. What did this do? Well, first, it made criminals of people who saw themselves as normal citizens, causing them to fear the government as an enemy instead of valuing it as a servant. Secondly, it entrenched organized criminals so deeply in our society that their influence didn’t really wane until the rising socioeconomic status of the communities it operated in allowed the people who might have gotten involved in it to find better job opportunities that didn’t involve the possibility of getting machine-gunned.

Illegal immigration is a fine example of this point. If millions of people can feel free to simply ignore the law – if they are, in fact, encouraged to do so – because it is useful to people who have money and power that they should (more cheap labor for Republican-donating business interests, more potential votes for Democratic politicians), then why should anybody else feel an obligation to obey the law based solely on principle? Why, too, when Wall Street crashes the economy with massive, bare-faced fraud, and not only does no one go to jail for it, but politicians of both parties bail them out with taxpayer money for their trouble? It begins to appear to people as if laws are something only the middle-class need worry about – that there are people who are above the law and below the law. Obeying laws you dislike or disagree with simply out of respect for the legitimacy of the government that created them starts to look like a game for suckers.

Once that respect and sense of legitimacy starts slipping away, it’s very hard to restore. It’s one of those psychological barriers that, once you pass it, you can’t really go back again: like the sense of white colonizers as all-powerful and godlike that kept the dark-skinned and colonized from rising up against them – once that barrier was breached and the realization that the colonizers were only human really sunk in, colonialism was doomed. Shattered illusions are powerful and dangerous things.

Unless a government plans to come out as an absolute, goose-stepping, Gulag-building tyranny, it really needs to be careful not to pass a lot of laws that, pass laws in such a way that, or selectively enforce laws in such a way that undermine its legitimacy and respect for its laws in the eyes of its people. The thing is, you can’t arrest everybody. Governments rely on the fact that most people will abide by the law, even laws they disagree with personally. And people do so for only two reasons – out of acceptance of the legitimacy of a government and attendant respect for the laws it passes, or out of fear of its enforcement apparatus.

So what happens when the former becomes irretrievably eroded?

Well, then two possible things – chaos, or tyranny. Once the majority of people have the illusion that the government possesses legitimacy shattered for them, and once they lose respect for the law, then the only thing left in the government’s bag of tricks, if they want people to continue to not simply ignore laws they don’t like, is fear.

Neither option – either chaos or tyranny – sounds too pleasant to me, but here we are.

By no means am I saying, by the way, that we have yet arrived at that juncture. But it is clear that we have a trend on our hands – one that has been continued through Presidents of both parties, and that I see no evidence will be reversed anytime soon.

This I (Don’t) Believe

Some people say the state of the world has left them unable to believe in God. I’m the exact opposite – the state of the world has left be unable to believe in anything but God. I don’t believe in democracy, I don’t believe in the goodness of my fellow man, I don’t believe in the wisdom of crowds, I don’t believe people who tell me they’re from the government and they’re here to help, I don’t believe that most “smart people” are anywhere near as smart as they think they are, I don’t believe that being intelligent generally makes you a better – or even a greatly more sensible – person, I don’t believe that science knows – or can know – anywhere near as much as it claims, I don’t believe that if you read it in a newspaper it must be true, I don’t believe that a truly “good” (as opposed to “less bad”) form of government ever has or ever can exist, I don’t believe that humanity is on a great march of progress, I don’t believe in utopia on the Earth, I don’t believe in utopia in outer space, I don’t believe that good intentions are all that important, I don’t believe that all you need is love, I don’t believe that people are generally honest about their intentions, I don’t believe that if you just believe in yourself you can accomplish anything you want, I don’t believe that academics are wise or even very smart outside of their narrow fields, I don’t believe that mass media runs on creativity and inspiration, and I don’t believe that much of what happens in the world is anything more than some or another species of scam.

I save up every bit of credulity I have in my whole system for Sunday morning. After that, I’m tapped out. As the old sign seen on many a bar wall in the south says: In God We Trust – all others pay cash.