Chernobyl Heart, Chernobyl Head

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.

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Sinking

Forty years ago today, the Great Lakes freighter Edmund Fitzgerald broke apart in a ferocious early winter gale while carrying a full load of taconite ore from the iron mines of upper Minnesota to the steel mills of Detroit. She sank with all hands; Captain Ernest McSorley and the twenty-eight men of his crew died at their posts, and none of their bodies were ever recovered.

It must have been a hell of a storm. McSorley, who had sailed them since he was a boy, was known as the best rough-weather captain on the Great Lakes; as for his ship, it was not for nothing that she was called “queen of the lakes” and “the pride of the American flag”.

But many of you probably already know of the ship and her fate. The sinking took place back in the glory days of the folk singer-songwriter, and the year after it, a musician by the name of Gordon Lightfoot recorded a song that told the story of what happened. For those who may not have heard it, here it is:

Take a moment to notice both the form and the lyrical content of this song. The melody is a modern-day sea chanty – it is timeless, and in its timelessness connects the Edmund Fitzgerald and her crew to the traditions of the sea and of all the sailors who came before them. And then there are the lyrics, which resonate with heartfelt, non-ironic respect and reverence for the white working class, instead of with the condescension toward them of a Bruce Springsteen or with the Marxist rhetoric of a Pete Seeger or a Woody Guthrie. In Lightfoot’s song, the captain and his crew were neither fools nor cowards; they are not portrayed as piteous or as oppressed pawns of their betters. They were strong and brave souls who by chance ran afoul of the implacable forces of nature at their most destructive, and who faced them like men to their last breaths.

Wait – the white working class? Don’t I know that makes me sound like a Nazi? Well, perhaps it does!

If the intention of this clip was to make the Nazis seem horrifying, then it failed miserably (and judging by the comments posted underneath this video, I am far from the only person to share that sentiment). Of course, for our purposes, the key quote is: “Here the worker is honored, not a means to an end”. In other words, the working class (which, let us note, is not the same thing as the welfare class, no matter how much certain politicians try to conflate the two) should be honored because they deserve it, not as lip service to get them to support political agendas, including those that run directly against their own best interests. Who other than our TV-villain Nazi anymore believes things of that sort?

Certainly not the ideological left. As hard as this may be to remember, leftism was actually founded in order to protect farmers and factory workers from bourgeois, decadent, effete, overeducated, libertine urbanized elites. That’s why its symbol was a workman’s hammer and a farmer’s sickle. As one might have expected from a philosophy so ignorant of both economics and human nature, leftism ended up doing the exact opposite of what it set out to do; it has come to be used as a weapon by the people it deplored against the people it was trying to help. The working class has been abandoned. The Republicans never cared about them, and the Democrats were last seen even pretending to care about them in a Dick Gephardt speech sometime around 1989. The face of modern leftism is upper-middle-class white women with Master’s degrees in economically useless fields complaining about the content of video games, while what used to be the native-born working class sinks deeper into poverty, hopelessness, purposelessness, welfare dependency, oxycontin and/or methamphetamine abuse, and self-destructive sexual irresponsibility.

Any who think that I exaggerate should have a look at this recent study by a husband-and-wife team of economists from Princeton. They’ve found that death rates among middle-aged working-class white men have risen by 22% over the course of only the past fifteen years – an increase that is shocking both in its number and in the rapidity with which this phenomenon appeared. The increase can be attributed entirely to three causes: drugs (particularly prescription painkiller abuse), alcohol, and suicide. These are men in their forties or fifties (ones who entered the workforce just as trade agreements of the likes of NAFTA and GATT were being enacted) who in an earlier era would be settled into a comfortable existence. They would be respected in their communities, at home, and at work, where they would have seniority built up, and perhaps would have made foreman or shift supervisor or shop steward. Their sons at home, and the young guys just starting out at work, would look up to them and seek their advice. They would be beginning to think of retirement, on a generous and well-earned pension that would take care of them for as long as they lasted, and of their wives after they were gone.

And now, by the thousands, they are literally dying of despair in a society that no longer needs them, no longer respects them, and no longer has any place for them. There is not even any sympathy for them – as their jobs disappear and their marriages and families disintegrate, the society that once wrote songs about them now only tells them that an endless list of the problems of people who they have never met can be laid at the feet of their “privilege”. I wonder – do “privileged” people often drink themselves to death, die of overdoses of pills designed to take away their pain, or commit suicide because nothing better lies ahead of them?

These men, their entire socioeconomic class, and everything that was a part of their world is sinking; sinking as surely as Edmund Fitzgerald sank forty years ago today. Consider: when she was built, three hundred lake freighters just like her hauled raw materials from mines to factories in what was not yet then known as the Rust Belt, and finished industrial goods from those factories to market. Now less than half that number still sail the lakes. As for Detroit, her destination on that fateful day, it is a deindustrialized ruin that is slowly giving way to the weeds. But it isn’t just Detroit – this week’s news tells us that the last of America’s aluminum mills are cutting capacity and laying off workers as their industry buckles in the face of cheap competition from China.

The men of our working class – once the envy of the globe – have been cut adrift, and no one even waits at the dock for their return. As we mourn the twenty-nine men lost that night forty years ago, let us also take a moment to mourn the entire working-class world that has disappeared since. Let that be our way to show the world that someone still honors what has been lost.

Short Takes: June 2015

It’s been a while since I posted an edition of Short Takes – my regular roundup of thoughts that are worth saying, but too limited to warrant a full blog post. For the past year or so, I’ve been using Twitter as a platform for such thoughts, but now that I’ve decided to leave Twitter, the long-overdue return of Short Takes has become a priority. So without further ado, here are my very choicest brief thoughts.

Let’s start with a couple of thoughts related to competition:

*  *  *

• In 1991, everyone believed that we had defeated communism forever. I remember the joyous triumphalism myself. Famously, the end of history was declared, and at the time, that did not seem all so very farfetched at all. But it is now obvious that 1991 was not an extinction event for communism, but an evolutionary event. It was the culmination of a competitive struggle for dominance between two closely-related subspecies, like that between Homo Sapiens and Neanderthals. Soviet-style communism hit an evolutionary dead end, but its failure simply allowed a competing subspecies – Frankfurt School Cultural Marxism – to prosper. And with its competition in its evolutionary space eliminated, that’s exactly what it did.

• What explains the burning hatred that the left/the New Atheists have for Christianity? Simply not believing in it is not enough to explain it. They do not believe in Buddhism or Hinduism either, but do not express the same hatred of these faiths – not even of Islam, which is arguably even more antithetical to their beliefs than Christianity is, receives anything close to the same level of hostility from them. And besides, are these not the same leftists and atheists who not so very long ago, when they were the underdogs and were pleading for tolerance, used to quote Thomas Jefferson’s pronouncement that “It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg”? If this is so, then the reaction of those who do not believe in God toward those who do (or those who believe in evolution toward those who, for religious reasons, don’t) should be only apathy. So their neighbors believe something that we regard as irrational – so what? The world abounds in irrational beliefs, both religious and secular. They will never all be eradicated, so why bother wasting time and energy in hating it and trying to talk people out of it? (Which the do, incessantly – one can barely say “God bless you” after someone sneezes without having some atheo-leftist who happened to be within earshot fly into an angry anti-Christian tirade).

The truth of the matter is that the left hates Christianity because the left is a fanatical utopian cult, and Christianity represents competition in its space. There can be only one utopia, and only one true path by which it can be reached. Either it will be the Kingdom of Heaven, reached by following the Holy Word of Jesus Christ, or it will be the Whig/leftist “end of history” eschaton, reached by following the Holy Word of Equality. There is no room for both – for one to be true, the other must be false, and in order for people to accept one as true, they must reject the other as false. Anyone who attempts to find a middle way is a fool who is wasting their time on an impossibility. Leftists understand this, which is why they despise anyone of genuine Christian faith and treat those who practice “progressive Christianity” as mere useful idiots (which is precisely what they are). The atheo-left passionately hates its competition, and works tirelessly to destroy it by any means necessary. The mainstream religious right does not fully understand any of this, merely dislikes its competition, and seeks ways to limit it via the gentlemanly rules of liberal democratic capitalism.

Who’s winning?

• Modern politically correct leftism is all Puritan, and Modern Puritanism is all politically correct leftist. But by what process does Puritanism turn into leftism? It does so because of a paradox that it cannot resolve any other way. Puritanism becomes leftism because it cannot abide hypocrisy, but it also cannot eradicate vice. As I have discussed elsewhere, most traditional societies understand that vice is ineradicable from the human condition, and thus accept as necessary a certain level of hypocrisy – that we keep vice in the shadows and condemn it publicly, even when we practice it privately behind closed doors. This was understood as a necessary compromise between idealism and reality. The Puritans, being idealist, utopian, and ideological – in other words, pure Modernists – upset this balance in the name of eradicating the tiniest bit of vice, no matter how hidden, in deed, word, and thought.

And yet they too eventually were faced with the unfortunate, yet undeniable reality that vice cannot be eradicated from the human condition. Prohibition was the last great experiment in eradicating vice, and when it failed the Puritans could no longer deny the obvious. But where did that leave them? Hypocrisy hides vice, and to eliminate hypocrisy means to bring vice out into the open; but if the purpose of bringing vice out into the open is to eradicate it, and if we must accept that vice cannot be eradicated, then what is there to do? One path would be to admit that their entire frame was faulty all along, and to go back to the proven, traditional way of tolerating a certain level of hypocrisy and turning a blind eye to discreet vice. That would have been sensible, prudent, and in accordance with the wisdom of our ancestors. So of course that was not what was done. Instead, the only other possible path was taken – that hypocrisy would remain intolerable, but that vice would be normalized. The paradox is resolved if it is declared that vice is not a bad thing after all; that the only wrong is being a hypocrite about it. And so modern Puritans continue to bring vice out into the open – only now to normalize it, to celebrate it, and to demand its acceptance.

In short, Puritanism now does the exact opposite of what it was created to do in the first place. That’s a common phenomenon in all the branches of Modernity (One may with difficulty recall that leftism was initially created for the purpose of protecting farmers and the working class – who were symbolized by the crossed hammer and sickle – from effete, decadent urbanized elites). This is because all Modernity prioritizes process over product. Modernity is heavily based on theory; specifically, on theories about social processes that will produce a good (or even a perfect) end product. The problem is that people come to believe so deeply in these theories that they lose sight of what the product was supposed to look like in the first place, and cling to their theories even even when it becomes obvious that they are not producing, and never will produce, the products that they are supposed to. Thus they will, in order to preserve the theories, either (like Marxist dead-enders) continue to delusionally claim that the desired product will show up any old time now, no matter how much evidence exists to show that it won’t, or they will (like the Puritans) adjust their expectations of the product until their definition of a good product is reduced to merely matching whatever the process is actually capable of producing.

Puritanism is unrealistic, utopian, heretical, and ignorant of human nature, and in the end has produced all that any such philosophy is capable of producing – decay and degeneracy.

• The left is licking its chops and reveling in the personal destruction of a family called the Duggars, who apparently (I am not much of a television watcher) are a traditional family that stars in a reality television program. The occasion for this destruction seems to be that, of their nineteen children, a single one of them made some exceptionally poor choices in relation to sex when he was an adolescent boy. Compounding this is the fact that, rather than instantly responding by having their son sent to prison for rape, thus ensuring that his life would be utterly and irrevocably destroyed, his parents tried every alternative they could think of to deal with the matter by other means. According to the left, that discredits all of them, their way of life, their religion, all of their beliefs, and anyone else who shares any of those beliefs or sympathizes with them in the slightest, forever. (Meanwhile, so we hear, though Stalin and Mao murdered tens of millions of people, that doesn’t count because they didn’t do that because they were atheists.)

No one should think that I mean to hold the Duggars blameless in this, because I don’t, but the mistakes they made were not the ones that the left (which apparently has no concept of trying to show mercy to an adolescent boy who made some terrible mistakes or to parents who wanted to not ruin their son’s life) accuses them of having made. No, their mistakes were ones which all traditionalists should take as lessons: Never, ever, under any circumstances, involve either the government or the media in your family’s private affairs. The media are jackals who delight in destroying even people who they were praising just yesterday; and if you are a traditionalist, they hate you like poison. They will look for any means to destroy you, as they have with the Duggars. Whether you’re in it to be a celebrity or to try to deliver some message you think is uplifting, it doesn’t matter – it’s not worth it. As for the government, if you love your family, DO. NOT. EVER. involve the government in your family’s private internal affairs, no matter how bad things have gotten. Government involvement will not make things better. Handle it yourself. That’s what men are for… what the expression “man up” means.

• The present-day leftist, unlike his more direct Stalinist forebears, does not seek to officially remove your rights, but to create so many burdensome regulations on them and exceptions to them that while in theory you still enjoy them, in practice you do not. If, for example, the government can tell you who you must or cannot hire at your business, what you must or cannot compensate them with, and who you must or cannot accept business from (not to mention taking a huge chunk of the money your business generates), then do you really “own” your business in any meaningful sense? Now the left is coming for the very free speech it championed while it was the underdog – the exceptions have started to appear: “Hate speech is not free speech”. First will come, not the thought police, but the thought vigilantes, saying: “No platform!” Later, well… the government does lots of things that twenty years ago I would have refused to believe that it would ever do.

So we enter the age of theoretical rights. This is the approach of the modern communist, who has learned from all the bad P.R. of showy things like the Berlin Wall and the Gulag Archipelago. Your rights will be taken away slowly, by stealth, and only de facto – you will still have all your de jure rights, but good luck trying to actually exercise them.

• In the wake of the Dylan Roof shooting, several retailers, including Sears, Walmart, Amazon, and eBay, have decided to stop selling Confederate-themed merchandise. According to the left, as private businesses, these outfits have every right to not sell such merchandise on principle. But your local bakery has no right to not sell a gay wedding cake. Because reasons.

Note that the Confederate flag is a symbol. That makes it important to the present-day left because they are obsessed with symbols and signaling. This, for example, explains their obsession with pop culture, and their constant vigilance about every tiny detail of pop culture remaining scrupulously politically correct. Despite their claims to intellectualism, they are shallow people who believe in insubstantial ideas because believing those ideas makes them feel good. It is no surprise that such people obsess endlessly over symbols, which are merely pointers to ideas instead of being actual ideas themselves. Evaluating actual ideas is hard; obsessing over symbols is easy.

• The removal of Confederate merchandise from important retailers is a presage of things to come. Soon, very soon, the left will start going after social networks, web hosting companies, and other internet platforms in earnest in an effort to have unapproved political speech effectively banned from the internet. The same logic will be used – that private companies have the right to refuse customers based on principle (again, unless it’s an unapproved principle). Free speech on the internet will then become yet another of the above-mentioned theoretical rights – in theory you will still have the right to voice whatever opinion you like online, but good luck trying to actually do it.

This push will be aided by the fact that the trend on the internet has been towards consolidation; towards effective monopolies, or at best towards having only a couple of serious competitors in any given space. There are, for example, online retailers other than Amazon and eBay, but few that matter, and even fewer that matter outside of a single specialty. Similarly, there are video sites other than YouTube, online payment systems other than PayPal, podcast hubs other than iTunes, blogging sites other than Blogger and WordPress, and social networks other than Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, but none that really matter. Once banned from these, having a meaningful online presence becomes far more difficult; people will have to go further out of their way to find you, and far fewer of them ever will.

A tech pundit (I think, perhaps, it was Robert Scoble) once said that for most people, the internet is Facebook, and while that may be a bit of an exaggeration, it is not all that much of one. For most people, the internet is a handful of high-traffic websites – Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, eBay, YouTube, Wikipedia, Netflix – and that’s about it. This means that only a few pressure points need to be hit in order to, if not completely ban unapproved opinions from the internet, effectively push them into the shadows where few will ever see them. This is far too attractive and easy a target for the left to ignore. And they won’t. Expect them to take action – soon, very soon.

• The contrasting stories of Dylann Roof and Omar Thornton (Who, you ask? Exactly.) perfectly illustrate the precise manner in which the mainstream press lies to us. They rarely ever say anything that is outright false; this would be easily enough detected. Instead, they carefully select which news stories to hype and which to ignore, as fit the needs of the narrative. They then hide behind the idea that the decision as to which news stories deserve wide coverage, and which do not, is subjective. This, like the reporting they do on the stories they cover, is technically true. Yet when a consistent pattern can be seen in the selection of stories such that it portrays the larger reality of the world as being something different than it actually is, then their reporting, collectively, represents a lie. Remember that – it is perfectly possible to lie horrendously without ever saying anything that isn’t technically true. Look past the details, and see the Big Lie.

• Related: The alt-right, and especially the neoreactionary movement, has been flooded with attempts at entryism from Neo-Nazis lately, and the more I’ve seen of these people, the more I’m convinced that no respectable alt-righter should have anything to do with them. They are a bunch of proletarian dullards who cling to their own brand of utopianism – the idea that if only everyone around them were the same race as they are, everything would be perfect. Not only that, but they are obsessive about their perceived enemies, and like all paranoids, make those enemies out to be supermen of positively mythical abilities. This rather counterintuitive mental maneuver exists so that they can avoid any responsibility for their sad condition being laid at the feet of themselves or their own people. One thing I’ve learned in life is that whenever you meet someone who always has a story about how every one of the bad things that have ever happened to them in their lives are all entirely someone else’s fault, and never any of their own, you should be very cautious indeed and should treat the things they say with more than a few grains of salt. This is true both at the individual level and at the group level. Look, for example, at the black community, which has been blaming whites for all of their troubles instead of trying to fix their own flaws for the past half-century. How has that worked out for them? We can – we must – do better than that.

In order to survive and be relevant, the alt-right must be two things: ruthlessly intellectual, and deeply soulful. With the present political system lost, it should focus heavily on self-improvement, both at a personal level and at the level of creating more robust communities with a more robust culture. We can’t do any of that if we spend all of our time obsessing about how awful our enemies are and how badly they’ve done us wrong. Even if it’s true, and they did, who let it happen? Why? How can we change our own perceptions and the ways in which we operate in order to prevent ourselves from making the same mistakes which allowed that to happen all over again the next time?

This is a long, painful and difficult process of study, self-examination, and soul-searching. Theories about how to best improve ourselves will have to be developed, debated, and ultimately, tested. It’s much easier, and feels much better, to just go online and rage about the Jews, or the blacks, or the Mexicans. Yes, easier… too easy; another case where “If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is”. We should not allow ourselves to fall into that trap.

• So am I a White Nationalist? To steal a line from John Derbyshire when once asked if he believed in God, the answer is: “Probably not to the satisfaction of most people who would ask the question”. It is my belief (actually more my observation) that it is simply part of human nature for people to wish to be around others who they perceive to be like themselves. Though it is far from the only way in which people could perceive others as being like them, race and ethnicity represent one obvious and common way in which they do. Whether this is right, or fair, or just, or logically optimal is beyond the point. It is human nature, and our experience over the past century or two with systems that have tried to operate in direct opposition to human nature (on the theory that they could change or overcome it if they tried hard enough) should be enough to demonstrate that it is foolish at best to continue to attempt to make any such systems work.

What, then, is the solution? I am not much of one for “human rights”, but if there is any right that I am closest to being an absolutist about, it is freedom of association (Which is also, perhaps not so coincidentally, the one right that the current leftist Establishment hates the most and has gone the farthest out of its way to abolish). So long as they do so peaceably and are not engaging in a criminal conspiracy (as might be defined under reasonable laws, not under a leftist ideological tyranny), people should have the right to associate with whoever they wish, and to not associate with whoever they wish. This extends to the areas of forming communities, engaging in commerce, offering or accepting employment, and, really, basically every other area of human endeavor. The right to peaceably exclude others (and here we understand this to include the right to, with the minimum amount of force necessary, physically remove trespassers who refuse to leave when asked) is a fundamental and long-underrated liberty of free citizens. It is also a deep threat to egalitarian true believers, who know full well that as soon as the government boot is off people’s necks, they will filter out into groups of others (some, but not all, based on race) who they perceive to be like them, as it is human nature to do.

I support people in their right to act in accordance with their human nature in this matter. Which to some degree does make me a White Nationalist – and also a Black Nationalist, and an Asian Nationalist, and a Latino Nationalist. So the answer is yes, I suppose, but again, probably not to the satisfaction of many who might ask the question.

• Speaking of neoreaction: History tells us that no restoration movement ever succeeds completely. Nor should it – if something needs to be restored, that means it failed somehow, and if it failed, there must be some reason for its failure; some flaw that should be fixed to the best of our ability to do so. We don’t want to be a reflection of Talleyrand’s description of the restored Bourbon kings: “They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing”. Neoreaction takes the conservative approach of a good engineer. Engineers understand that if there’s an existing solution that works well or a proven answer that somebody else has already come up with, then coming up with a new answer or a new solution is stupid, pointless, and wasteful at best, and potentially dangerous at worst. Engineers prefer the proven over the unproven, the tested over the untested, the known over the unknown, and for very good reasons. Where they do end up using something new and unproven because of some advantage it brings to the table, they’ll test the bejeezus out of it, over and over again, exploring and documenting every possible failure mode, noting both their likelihood and their potential severity, and coming up with redundancies in case it does fail, before they’ll sign off on making it an operational technology.

When it comes to social technology, good, functional systems have already been invented, but were abandoned for bad reasons in favor of new systems that don’t work well. That’s not to say that the old systems didn’t have any flaws – even good, proven systems fail sometimes, and even good, proven systems need to be adjusted and refined in order to minimize failure to the greatest extent possible. So let’s restore the old, good, functional systems, while finding ways to adjust and refine them to the degree necessary in order to correct their flaws and adapt them to new conditions. Investigating how to do that is what neoreaction is all about.

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That’s it for Short Takes for this month. I’ve been away from the blog, busy with real-world goings-on, for some time now, but I’m positively brimming with ideas and will be back with a whole lot more to say in the weeks to come. Keep checking in! I hope to richly reward your patience with me.

Addendum: More On Free Speech

A recent article at the execrable online magazine Jezebel (one of the arms of Gawker – the sleaziest “news” outlet on the internet) is instructive in showing what leftists really think in regards to free speech. Long story short, they unapologetically announce that if you engage in speech they don’t like, they will do everything they can within the limits of the law to destroy you, including attempting to deprive you of your livelihood and ruin you economically. This works in two ways – first by actually destroying those who say things they don’t like (a la Paula Deen), and second by producing a chilling effect designed to terrify other potential critics into silence. Though this won’t shut down all opposition, it doesn’t really have to – to destroy effective opposition, it only has to work enough of the time. And it will – most people who don’t have a taste for martyrdom or penury (that is to say, most people) will keep their heads down, grumble to themselves, and say nothing.

I will, for the benefit of my readers, intentionally fall into the trap of believing that the leftist position here is sincere, and respond to it with sincerity. So here it is: free speech is not just a law; it’s a principle. The law (in this case, the First Amendment) merely codifies the principle. The principle is that society benefits most when all ideas – no matter how sane or crazy, orthodox or heretical, popular or scandalous, sacred or obscene – are given their chance to be presented in the marketplace of ideas so that they can be fairly received and evaluated, and then accepted or rejected by the citizens. For you to say – and it is what you’re saying – that you will do everything you possibly can do, with your only limits being the restraints imposed on you by the law, to intimidate people who oppose you into silence, or to harm them as much as you possibly can if they do choose to risk speaking out, shows that you have no understanding of nor respect for the principle of free speech whatsoever.

Of course, I don’t believe in absolute, untrammeled free speech either, for reasons I shall go into in more detail in a future column. But – and this what separates me from the liars and hypocrites of the left – I also haven’t, as they have, spent the last couple of centuries shouting from the rooftops that free speech was one of my most deeply-held, non-negotiable core principles. And that is the point of the exercise: to demonstrate once again that the left has no principles, only ideology. Any time that a leftist tells you that they have any core principles (with the sole possible exception of limitless sexual freedom), they are lying. Things like this prove why you should never give them the benefit of the doubt.

P. S. As a monarchist, I can assure you that no King with any self-confidence, self-respect, or dignity would sink so low as to seek to devote time and resources to finding and punishing a rodeo clown in a rural province for engaging in a few minutes of mild lampooning at the His Majesty’s expense. And he wouldn’t do it even if he wanted to – he’d know that it would make him a genuine laughingstock, as it would cause the nobles and people to see him as an insecure, petulent, overgrown child.

Of Horses And Transsexuals

Quoted For Truth this week is the proprietor of Occam’s Razor Magazine online, who, in a comment thread following a story on Steve Sailer’s blog regarding the incipient push for “transsexual rights”, noted the following:

“If somebody’s got a Y chromosome and male reproductive organs, then why should we take his claim that he’s really a woman any more seriously than if he claimed he was really a hamster, or a rhododendron, or a Klingon?”

Just so. But remember, that someone with a Y chromosome and male reproductive organs is male is merely fact; it is merely biological science. To the left, which claims to be the party of science and reason to the point of practically accusing the right of being closet voodoo witches, science is simply another tool of ideology – to be used as a cudgel when it seems to support their views, and quickly discarded when it seems not to. When it seems to support them, it is ultimate truth; when it seems not to, it will be sure to be denounced as “hate” – as if facts (which can really only ever be either true or false) could be “hateful” any more than they can be fluffy or plaid.

One is reminded of the case of Jason the Horse, a man who claims to actually be a horse trapped in a human body. An appearance on the Coast to Coast AM radio program made him a mild sensation in parts of the underbelly of the internet for a while. No national movement to allow him to urinate in the street whilst carrying someone on his back, a common behavior of horses, has, however, materialized. The fact that doing so would do nothing towards the goal of breaking the church, religiousness in general, traditional gender roles, and the family unit is, without doubt, purely a coincidence.

So, sorry Jason, you aren’t a horse. And sorry, “transsexuals”, you are the sex you are, and not any other. Them’s the biological facts, no matter how much you wish they were otherwise. The left may be political operatives par excellence, and able (at least in democracies) to steamroll their opposition, but they will never, despite all their best efforts, be able to abolish reality.

Not ever.

UPDATE: Just today, this – A “transgender” ABC news reporter relates a bizarre story of Jack Tripper-style amnesia, resulting in him figuring out that he isn’t “transgender” or even homosexual at all. So much for “born this way”.

You can’t make this stuff up, folks – you just can’t make this stuff up.

The Cynical Truth Of Gay “Marriage”

With more news articles appearing with every passing day about how many politicians, even among Republicans (which should further demonstrate the futility of voting for that forlorn party expecting any serious social conservatism out of them) have offered their support for gay “marriage”, it has become obvious that the cultural and political elite very badly want this issue on the forefront of the national discussion. Much has been said about the obvious ridiculousness and immorality of gay “marriage”, and there is little more that I can add to it. More interesting, however, is why this issue seems to have come out of nowhere and so quickly become something that the elites, especially on the left, want to do battle over. Of course the left is degenerate; of course they hate religion and tradition and embrace every sort of immorality, sexual and otherwise. But this is really about more than that. As with so many things in our time, this is primarily about misdirection.

The true origins of this as a new hot-button political issue lie in the left’s shocking (even for them) abandonment of true civil rights issues, which evaporated along with their opposition to useless Middle East quagmires on the day that Barack Obama became President. Yes, there are a few principled exceptions on the left; the likes of Glenn Greenwald, Ted Rall, and Cindy Sheehan come to mind – and yes, leftist groups like the ACLU occasionally must save some face by making a perfunctory muted growling here or there about the continuance and expansion under Obama of the horrendous civil rights abuses begun under Bush. But these are but pitifully small exceptions to the vast, bleak overall picture: that the left has failed at the one time it was really needed and could have shined. Its Bush-era posturing on war and civil rights – not to mention corporate welfare and Wall Street’s alarming hold on Washington politics – vaporized overnight as soon as a man with a (D) after his name came to occupy the Oval Office and began engaging in or benefiting from these things.

So what do you do to save face, or even to be able to look yourself in the mirror, when your massive, shocking refusal to live up to your own professed principles or to do genuine good becomes undeniable? You engage in misdirection and distraction. In this case, you fall back on two reliable old leftist tactics: turning the sexual into the political, and using excessive pathos on a weak-minded public. Or, more plainly, you mask your failure to protect actual, ancient, universal civil rights that are actually in the Constitution by grabbing on to a phony-baloney, made-up “civil right” that nobody had ever heard of before 1995 or so, and making that your new deeply-impassioned cause. If you are the elites, this is how you misdirect your base into continuing to support you and treat you as if you were important. If you are the rank-and-file of the left, this is how you live with yourself; it enables you to say, to yourself and others: “Of course I still defend civil rights – see how strongly I fight for gay marriage?” Meanwhile – a precious few exceptions, as I have noted above, aside – the left stands silent as genuine civil rights erode away, slowly and steadily, under “their” man just as they did under the men they opposed.

Here again, Aldous Huxley stands as the one of the great prophets of the age, as it was he who said: “As political and economic freedom diminishes, sexual freedom tends compensatingly to increase. And the dictator (unless he needs cannon fodder and families with which to colonize empty or conquered territories) will do well to encourage that freedom. In conjunction with the freedom to daydream under the influence of dope and movies and the radio, it will help to reconcile his subjects to the servitude which is their fate.” Just so.

And there, dear reader, is the awful truth: the elites (especially but not exclusively of the left) want this as a distraction from the loss of genuine freedoms, leftists are snakes who cannot be trusted to live up to their own rhetoric, the Republicans are a corporatist party who do not genuinely care about faith or tradition and thus are of little real value to the faithful and traditional, the voting lumpenproletariat are damn fools who are ridiculously easy to sway with a little pathos, you will end up both with less morality in public life and with less freedom at the end of all this, and this issue demonstrates as clearly as can be demonstrated both how bad things have gotten and how bad they will continue to get in the future.

Jon Stewart = Idiocracy

For many years, I heard people – intellectuals, media critics, activists – complaining about the “infotainmentization” of news. The news, we were told, was not like the old Murrow/Cronkite days of hard-hitting journalism, but was increasingly becoming an entertainment product – dumbed down, more concerned with stirring emotions than presenting facts, less and less serious and adult. I should point out that most of these critics were on the left, politically – and also that I have long agreed with them.

Ladies and gentlemen, I assert that “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” are the living embodiment of everything that these people had complained about for decades, and the perfect reflection of our current state of Idiocracy. I further assert that the fact that these shows lean left politically has indemnified them from the full brunt of criticism to which these critics would otherwise have subjected them, and which they richly deserve.

We now have millions of Americans who get their news and political commentary from the Comedy Network – and who consider themselves knowledgeable and sophisticated for it. Am I really the only one who sees a problem with this? Am I really the only one who thinks that Jon Stewart’s middlebrow know-it-all routine is a shit substitute for actual news or sober, informed, in-depth commentary? Sure, Stewart is a smart guy. So was Mark Russell, and yet if I said that I got my serious news and commentary from him, people would tell me I was a damn fool. But these days, people will look at you as if you’re a mouth-breathing rube for not knowing what Jon Stewart said last night – i.e., for refusing to get your news from a standup comedian on Comedy Central.

To those who claim that it is simply a meaningless comedy show, and I should not take it seriously at all, I say this: If Stewart and Colbert wanted to do a pure comedy that spoofs the news, they could do a 30 minute version of the news segment of Saturday Night Live, or of Jay Leno’s nightly monologue. But that’s not what they do – they talk about serious politics in at least some depth, and with very serious points to be made behind it. And occasional disclaimers in interviews aside, neither of them have done anything serious to discourage people from using their shows as serious news and commentary. Why would they? They wouldn’t want to drive their audience away.

Actual news can be found plenty of places. Al Jazeera streaming is free on the internet. BBC, RTE, CBC, NHK English, and PBS produce multiple daily news podcasts, which are also free. If you go to the CNN International website (as opposed to the US-focused website), you’ll find real news. Smart, well-informed columnists abound on all sides of the political spectrum, from the liberals of Counterpunch to the conservatives of Taki’s Magazine to the libertarians of lewrockwell.com to unclassifiables like Fred Reed. All are better options than getting your news and views from the Comedy channel.

So, everyone, I beg you: Stop going to comedians to get your news and commentary! Or at least, stop doing that and acting like you’re an intellectual for doing so. People who get their news from comedians aren’t well-informed. Why does anyone even have to point that out? It’s like what Orwell said about, in crazy times, it being the increasingly the duty of sane people to point out the obvious.