Short Takes: July 2016

Time for another edition of Short Takes, my roundup of thoughts that are worth saying, but too limited to warrant a full blog post. It’s shaping up to be a long, hot summer, and it’s not easy to keep up with everything going on, so let’s get these thoughts out the door while, like a tray of buns just out of an oven, they’re still hot and fresh.

*  *  *

• The founding fathers of the United States considered themselves too good – too intellectual, too advanced, too sophisticated – to say that what they were founding was explicitly a white nation that would operate on traditional Christian/Western principles. Therefore, their descendants live in a mongrel nation that operates on liberal Jewish/Puritan principles.

• The role of the reactionary is to remind people that our ancestors – long sneered at by “progressives” of every stripe – were neither fools nor monsters, but were wise and sensible people who did what needed to be done in the hard, tireless struggle to maintain civilization and keep the darkness at bay. One of the things they understood is that if riots are not stopped immediately, with massive force, things will only get worse. They will grow, and sympathy riots will start in other places – more cities will burn, and more people will be hurt than would be hurt by stopping the riots early and decisively.

We are – once again – paying the price for rejecting the wisdom of our ancestors. The price will continue to rise until we admit our error and do as our ancestors would tell us to.

• What must be understood about leftism is that it always delivers the exact opposite of what it claims it will deliver. By this I do not merely mean that it doesn’t deliver what it promises; I mean that it is remarkably effective at delivering the total inverse of what it has promised. Where it promises prosperity, it brings famine. Where it promises liberation, it brings oppression. Where it promises peace, it brings strife. Where it promises progress, it brings stagnation. Where it promises paradise, it brings misery. Where it promises enlightenment, it brings illusion and folly. In the United States, for half a century it has promised to eradicate poverty and bring the races together in brotherhood. Instead, our urban ghettoes are more impoverished, crime-ridden, and nightmarish than ever, and the races are at each others’ throats in a conflict that has steadily gotten worse and seems poised only to get worse still.

When will we all stop believing the pie-in-the-sky promises of these charlatans? When will we learn that any crank, con artist, or snake-oil salesman can say that he’ll give you the moon and the stars; but it doesn’t matter what they can promise, only what they can actually deliver?

• The biggest problem with white nationalism is with its tendency toward what might be called “Captain Ahab Syndrome”. It’s what happens when people are motivated by revenge and hatred for others rather than love for their own. They become willing to countenance any evil and accept any loss in order to get back at those who wronged them. In the end, this leads to the path of self-destruction, as people stop caring about preserving or defending what is theirs, and come to care only about destroying what is their enemy’s. If everything they care about comes to ruin, they will think it worth the cost in order to strike a blow against those they hate. And where that is the case, then everything they care about will come to ruin.

People often misunderstand and misuse the words about forbearance and forgiveness that Jesus Christ spoke in the Bible, but I’ve come to believe that their true meaning is a warning against exactly this.

• That said, I am an enemy of all civilization-wreckers, as all of them are my enemy. Where two groups of them are pitted against each other, I wish only for the destruction of both. I am friend to none, I will aid none, I will praise none, I will comfort none, I will cry over none.

• Anyone who advocates giving in to the left on social issues is a cuck, even if they advocate doing so in order to “move past them” and get on with the business of re-segregating blacks and deporting Mexicans and Muslims. You may be a racialist cuck, or a nationalist cuck, but you’re still a cuck and I still have no use for you.

I fight for what is good and against what is evil, so if you consider yourself “beyond good and evil” then you are of no use to me. And you are a damn fool if you think that’s a realistic position to take in this world or really is anything more than pretentious, edgy-wannabe “more sophisticated than thou” posturing.

Similarly, I have no patience for the distressingly common claim by some on the alt-right that, by amazing coincidence, only those exact parts of Western civilization that they care about saving are salvageable, while the parts that they don’t care about saving are clearly a lost cause and not worth the effort to try to save. Nice try, but I didn’t just fall off a turnip truck.

•Related: Anyone who thinks there can ever really be such a thing as “post-Christian rightism” is delusional, historically and philosophically illiterate, and doesn’t understand what the word “rightism” means.

• Keep in mind that Karl Marx claimed that what he had was not an economic or political theory, nor even a rational philosophy – he claimed that what he had was hard science, as objectively true as physics, and as inevitably correct in its predictions as an astronomer’s predictions of planetary orbits. Because of this belief, which is common to all of its various strains, leftism has always defined a person’s intelligence by how closely their beliefs conform to its narrative – obviously, the more one believes that which is objectively true, the more intelligent one is, and the less one believes what is objectively true, the less intelligent one is. The upshot of all of this is that if your beliefs do not conform to the leftist narrative, then they will never stop calling you stupid. (This is, for example, the basis for the curious claim that a man who graduated from the Wharton School of Business, ran a multibillion-dollar real estate empire, and defeated an entire party establishment to become a candidate for President of the United States, is an obvious blithering idiot.) Thus, there is no point in trying to convince a leftist that, while you may disagree with their narrative, you are not, in fact, stupid. It doesn’t matter how many advanced degrees you have, how high your measured IQ is, how much you have accomplished in your life, how masterful your command of the facts may be, or even how painstakingly and carefully collected the facts you have are. By the definition that they use, you will never not be stupid as long as you disagree with their narrative (while conversely – and how conveniently comforting for them! – they never will be stupid as long as they accept the narrative).

• Is culture downstream from politics, or is politics downstream from culture? The answer is that in a normal, healthy society, politics is downstream from culture. The entire strategy of Cultural Marxism, however, has been to reverse this – to take over political institutions (including schools and mass media, for these are the greatest political institutions of all) and to use them to artificially manufacture a leftist culture. The rules of a normal society do not apply to a dysfunctional Cultural Marxist dystopia – if there is anything that the 20th century has proven, it is that attempts to remake culture from the top down by methods that include the use of both mass indoctrination and coercive force can indeed be successful.

• Most people don’t know the story of how the Salem Witch Trials ended (and I mean in reality, not the Marxist/Arthur Miller version of the story). It’s a bit of history worth learning about.

Salem is now a suburb of greater Boston, but in those days, villages were isolated and news took weeks to travel between places that were only a few miles apart. When rumors started to spread that the people in Salem were killing their own wives for being witches, the reaction was slow because, first, nobody really knew how true the rumors were, and second, because Salem had a reputation as a town full of fundamentalist nutters anyway, and thus everyone outside of Salem figured that even if it was true, it was the fools out in Salem’s problem, not theirs.

The tipping point came when the witch hunters, having run out of people to accuse in their own town, decided to expand. They made an accusation against the wife of the minister of the town of Beverly, a short distance away. The minister of Beverly, however, was old friends with the Royal Governor down in Boston. The minister wrote a letter to the Governor, and the Governor wrote a letter to Salem, explaining that the trials would stop – NOW – or he would personally march up to Salem with a few hundred redcoats and put a stop to them with extreme prejudice. It was all fun and games while a town notoriously full of crazies were killing their own, but once they decided to ensnare normal, decent folk in their web of madness, enough was enough. Upon receipt of the letter, the trials promptly ceased.

That is how to put an end to an out-of-control holiness spiral.

• Remember Stevens’s Law: Equality = Communism. Yes, it really is that simple.

• These three brief Tweets sum up everything I’ve spent nearly four years and thousands of words trying to express:

Congratulations to Mr. Scientism for having distilled these critical ideas down to their essences. If you use Twitter, you’d be wise to follow him.

Advertisements

Short Takes: April 2016

It’s been quite awhile since I posted an edition of Short Takes – my roundup of thoughts that are worth saying, but too limited to warrant a full blog post. But in this political season, there’s a lot that requires some attention to be paid. So let us pay it, without another moment’s delay:

*  *  *

• I’m getting pretty sick and tired of the countersignaling against pro-life that seems to be fashionable amongst certain segments of the alt-right these days, as if saying that murdering babies is wrong is just too pleb-tier for edgy intellectuals like us. I have no patience for this. Murdering babies is evil, and should be illegal, with extreme penalties for violating the law. Full stop. If we as the alt-right can’t say that, then we’re worse than useless. Yes, some moral questions require subtle and nuanced thinking. But some do not, and in those cases, moral relativism is evil’s foot in the door. Abortion is one of those cases. Either abortion is murder, or it isn’t. If it is, then nothing justifies it except a direct and certain threat to the life of the mother, in which case one life is balanced against another – one will live, one will die, and the only choice is who. But if it is not, then abort away – one million a year, ten million a year, a billion a year, it matters not, and no more thought should be given to it than would be given to trimming a fingernail. Any other position – any half-measure, any “legal but rare”, any “in this case but not in that case”, is dishonesty both on a moral and a rational level.

• Related: Something to be cautious of is the increasingly large number of what I would call “racialist liberals” who are claiming to be a part of the alt-right. These are people who, politically-speaking, want all or most of what liberals do, but who are either (understandably) fed up with the disproportionate criminality of certain ethnic groups or who (correctly) believe that a liberal social order is unworkable with too many underperforming minorities acting as a drag on the system. Such people are, of course, entitled to their opinions. But they are not entitled to appropriate the term “rightist” (alt- or otherwise) without being called on it.

Being on the right means believing rightist things. If you don’t, then you aren’t on the right, and you shouldn’t claim that you are. So, if your claims that you are a rightist when you really aren’t are due to some sort of mistake or confusion, I’ll be happy to help correct any misconceptions you may have. If, however, they are intentional misrepresentation, then you are a left-entryist who must be revealed for what you are and ruthlessly denounced until you are hounded out of rightist circles. Again, you are entitled to your opinions. If you’re on the left, go be a leftist, and if the left is presently too racially egalitarian for you, then you’re welcome to agitate however you like to try to change that. But you aren’t entitled to acceptance under false pretenses, and I won’t extend you any.

• Also related: The Trump campaign is having all the effects on the alt-right that I predicted it would, for both better and worse. It must be conceded that Trump has had the effect of shifting the conscousness of the rank-and-file “normies” noticably rightward, or at least has made them far less afraid to speak out. In doing so, he has indeed moved the Overton Window. He has also caused the GOP establishment to be revealed for who and what it actually is, and few people (especially people under 60) will ever trust it again. These are all good things. Yet it must be said that the larger Trump phenomenon may all be based on illusion; it seems to me that Trump is something of a Rorschach test – the right (outside of the GOP establishment) sees him as the embodiment of all their hopes, while the left sees him as the embodiment of all their fears. In truth, he is almost certainly neither, and both those who need a hero to follow and those who need a dragon to slay are projecting those needs onto him.

On the other hand, the recent spate of anti-pro-life signaling has appeared largely because of Trump’s recent perceived “stumble” on an abortion-related question. Certain circles of the alt-right, having fallen into the trap of thinking that jettisoning principle to gain power is a sustainable strategy, have decided to throw pro-life under the bus as quickly as possible so as not to derail the Trump Train any further. These sorts never seem to stop and ask themselves what sacrificing principle for a chance at power has gotten mainstream conservatism. Thus, they inevitably turn into the very thing they’re rebelling against. In short, they’re every bit as much a bunch of cucks as Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio, just on a different set of issues.

In the end, it may be fair to say that the Trump phenomenon has made the populist normies better and the alt-right elite worse. These elites, however, (by virtue of being elites) ought to have known not to let this happen to them, and there’s a lesson for all of us to be had here: this is what comes of a philosophical movement allowing itself to get too attached to a single leader, a political party, or even to power itself. Whether Trump is or isn’t the best of the available presidential candidates is beside the point; the excessive attachment that some on the alt-right have developed to him, combined with their renewed faith that they will ever get anything but defeat and humiliation out of mass democracy, represents a serious failing, and there will be consequences to this whether Trump wins or loses the election.

As for me, to misquote Christopher Hitchens, I’m not running for any office, so I don’t have to pretend to respect ideas that are foolish, hypocritical, or evil when I don’t. In this sense, having no aspirations to political power is freeing. Fiat justitia ruat caelum – I will continue to do my part by telling the truth, no matter what the consequences.

• The philosophy of “passivism” has been making the rounds lately in certain alt-right (and especially neoreactionary) circles, and with all due respect to those advocating it – many of whom are thinkers I deeply respect – I must admit to not being particularly impressed by the idea. It makes a certain amount of sense on paper, but in the real world, it is just too easy for it to degrade into lazyism and do-nothingism.

Most especially, I am puzzled by this: If passivism’s plan is, 1) Become worthy, 2) Accept power, 3) Rule, then what exactly is the strategy for making 2) happen? It looks to me as if this stage is glossed over in the manner of the infamous “underpants gnomes” of South Park. But it is not an unimportant question, and it would seem that passivism is all about avoiding it on the assumption that if we just become worthy enough, power will eventually come knocking on our door, hat in hand, begging us to accept it. I find this to be rather unrealistic, to say the least.

I understand, absolutely, saying that hippie-style protests will never work for the right. I understand saying that we should focus on the philosophical and meta-political, and leave the machinations of day-to-day politics to others. But when that turns into the idea of retreating from the world to spend our time in navel gazing and self-improvement schemes rather than trying to accomplish something in the here and now, my response is that if I wanted to do that, I would have joined a monastery. Instead, I started writing and speaking out because I wanted to change things, and I’m not planning to become “passive” anytime soon.

• Taikung Jen, in a conversation with Confucius:

“I’ll teach you how to escape death…

…there is a raven in the eastern sea which is called Yitai (‘dull-head’). This dull-head cannot fly very high and seems very stupid. It hops only a short distance and nestles close with others of its kind. In going forward, it dare not lag behind. At the time of feeding, it takes what is left over by the other birds. Therefore, the ranks of this bird are never depleted and nobody can do them any harm. A tree with a straight trunk is the first to be chopped down. A well with sweet water is the first to be drawn dry.”

•The city government of San Jose – heart of the Silicon Valley – has announced a campaign to crack down on unlicensed “massage parlors”, which they (correctly) accuse of being fronts for prostitution. While I carry no brief for houses of ill repute, I nonetheless find this move deeply disturbing. For as long as anyone I know can remember (going back to my grandparents’ time, and further) there has been an unspoken truce that has existed in every American city in which East Asian ethnic neighborhoods have formed. The terms have always been approximately this: the neighborhood will remain largely self-policing – violent crime among residents will stay rare, and violent crimes against outsiders (especially tourists) will remain virtually unheard-of. In exchange, the police (who, being no fools, surely know where to find it) will turn a blind eye to discreetly-operated dens of the sort of vices that East Asians particularly enjoy (gambling, prostitution, and the occasional opium den prominent among these). The new anti-vice campaign on the part of San Jose’s municipal government represents a violation of this long-established, stable, mutually-beneficial truce.

The Puritan left, of course, knows no honor, so any truce it offers will last only until they feel they have amassed enough power to break it with impunity. San Jose’s campaign fits in neatly with the left’s recent transgressions of other lines that, not long ago, they swore they would never cross – including those involving freedom of religion and even freedom of speech. And they will stop at nothing, nor will they respect any borderlines, in enforcing their new dictates. As Fred Reed noted, in the New Order, no one will be left alone – not anyone, not anywhere, not ever. There is no corner of the internet hidden enough, no small-town bakery obscure enough, no private sanctum deep enough within your own walls, no low-down barroom dingy and smoky enough, and no alley in Chinatown dark and narrow enough that the Puritan left’s Inquisitors – whether they are officials of the state or private vigilantes – will not insert themselves there in their hunt for demons to exorcise and witches to burn.

First they came for the Chinatown whorehouses…

• Related: The newest addition to the left’s long, long inventory of things that are triggering and oppressive and must be purged for the good of the children: Animanics. No, really.

Attention leftists – when you’ve reached the point where your enemies list has grown so long that it now includes Yakko, Wakko, and Dot, you’ve objectively gone batshit insane.

• There may, however, be a ray of hope out there in the darkness. Over at amerika.org, Brett Stevens has come up with a novel proposal for getting the lefties to leave us alone. He advocates a strategy of passing laws distasteful to them, not only because such laws are sane and reasonable, but also with the intent of getting them to boycott us (and thus to go away). Relevant quote from his article (which is very much worth reading in full):

“The only place safe from the ever-greedy belly of socialist-style government and the neurotic fatwas of Coastal liberals is the place that no one wants. Become that place. Make the South look utterly terrible to these Coastal neurotics and schizoids, and let them pull back. If they want a wall, let’s build that wall. Let us seal ourselves off from the North forever because we are so disgusting to their eyes.

In the meantime, cut free of their neurosis and the easy-money jobs of the cities that make people into robot zombies, we can rebuild civilization and eventually have enough tactical nukes to vanish them if they charge over the wall. Let the Coastal liberals face the fate of their reality-denying, misery-spreading Leftist mental health issues. We must break free, and it begins by making them not hate us, but be grossed out by us.”

At the moment, this seems to be working brilliantly, not only at keeping degenerate pornographers at bay, but in preventing attention-seeking show biz has-beens from pestering decent folk, and even at driving off crooked, predatory globalist banksters. So far so good then – I’ll lend my personal endorsement to the Stevens Plan. If it keeps undesirables from darkening our doorsteps, then it’s a win-win all around.

By the way, would it be silly of me to ask why the left suddenly finds millionaires and huge multinational corporations interfering in politics to be totally acceptable when that interference furthers the left’s own political aims? Yes, I suppose it would.

(UPDATE I: Washed-up 80s relic Cyndi Lauper says she’ll donate all of the proceeds from her next concert to a gay rights organization trying to get the North Carolina law repealed. So, there’s another $4.25 or so in the kitty! You go, girl.

UPDATE II: And now insufferable prog lardsack Michael Moore has announced that in response to the new law, he won’t be releasing his latest dismal propaganda film to theaters in North Carolina. This law just keeps getting better and better!)

• Has anyone else noticed that among leftism’s innumerable internal contradictions is the fact that their dogmatic belief in blank-slate theory directly contradicts their opposition to hereditary monarchy? If blank-slate theory is true, then there is no reason to fear a “bad seed” on the throne – all that will be needed to produce the ideal philosopher-kings of which thinkers since Socrates have dreamed will be to give them the right upbringing and education. (This latter is especially important, for the left’s belief in education as alchemy – able to turn any human material into any other kind of human material that may be desired – is essentially absolute.) So why then do they not, instead of opposing monarchy, devote their energies to advocating for the right sort of education for young princes?

Perhaps in their mind lurks the knowledge that Nero’s teacher was Seneca, and Commodus’s was his father Marcus Aurelius. Then again, when did “progressives” ever stoop to learning from history?

• The left is an engine of sadism and destruction; included in this is sadism and destruction directed inward – i.e. masochism and self-destruction. This is not incidental to leftism nor a by-product of it; the sadomasochistic imperative is in fact central to leftism. Nothing that the left does can be understood unless seen through this lens; looked at any other way, its actions seem random and bizarre. It explains both the left’s pattern of rewarding those who engage in behaviors destructive to society at large and even to the left in particular, as well as its otherwise-inexplicable alliance with Islam. For example, Muslims knocked down the Twin Towers; and as a result, the number of Muslim immigrants in the United States has been doubled since that day. Or consider that the massive sexual irresponsibility of gays spread an epidemic that killed tens of millions; and as a result, they were rewarded with gay “marriage”. Or that violent criminal predators have turned the streets of our once-gleaming cities into dystopian war zones; and as a result, they are getting handsomely paid off in exchange for a pinky promise to not do it again (contrast this to the penalties in technically-communist but non-self-destructive China for “hooliganism”).

The left desperately wants death, but the sadomasochistic imperative at its core means that its suicide will not be in the form of an otherwise-harmless self-immolation in the style of Thich Quang Duc. Instead, the left will destroy itself in the manner of Andreas Lubitz – intentionally taking everyone who they have trapped within their power along with them in their death dive; the helpless victims, in a rather more urgent version of William F. Buckley’s response to leftism, pounding helplessly on the cockpit door as the mountains get ever-closer, telling: “No! No! For the love of God, stop!”

Either we destroy the left, or it destroys itself and takes us along with it. In the end, which is more humane? More reasonable?

• I was 15 years old when the film Rain Man was released to theaters. I remember Good Morning America running a segment just before it debuted in which they had to explain what autism was, (being especially careful to make the point that it was not the same thing as mental retardation) because at the time it was such an unknown condition that most people had never heard of it. Over the intervening years, it seems as though autism, like homosexuality, has gone all the way from existing in the shadows to being the new normal. Scientists and physicians, I’m sure, have well-reasoned explanations for the increase in rates of autism over the last thirty years or so, and I have no doubt of the correctness of their explanations. But I can’t help but notice that autism seems to be the signature disorder of our age – a medical condition that perfectly reflects where we are as a society. Of course, autism is the apotheosis of the Whig thinking that, over the course of centuries, has become the central current of thought in the West (and, via the transmission lines of globalism, the world). Ruthlessly logical, humorless, uncultured, literal – it is the thinking of a cog in a system, but essentially nothing else. What could be more reflective of the computerized, post-industrial age – an age in which our lives are defined by interaction with machines, and in which thinking like a machine is increasingly considered to be the height of intelligence?

Whoever you turn into heroes, that is who people will seek to emulate. Now, think of all the high-functioning autistics who we have held up as the great heroes of our age – Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and others who built huge fortunes quickly in the Great Silicon Valley Gold Rush of 1975-2010. When the heroes we were all taught to emulate were cowboys, soldiers, policemen – men who reflected masculine virtue – what sort of men did our society produce? And now that socially-maladjusted, overly-literal machine-men – they who know circuits and cost/benefit analyses, but who can discern no use for God or philosophy or morality – now that these are our heroes, what sort of men is our society producing?

Perhaps the scientists will say that’s all a coincidence. If it is, it’s a remarkable one.

• From New York comes word that the NYC subway’s implementation of NFC payments will take at least five more years (and likely much longer), and that only $10 million of the projected $450 million budget for the project has actually been allocated. Behold the entropy of a decadent, declining, systemically corrupt system in action! New York City – so great a showpiece of advancement in the 20th century that the young Ayn Rand, fresh off the boat from Russia, wept when she beheld its towering skyline – cannot, in this century, find a timely and cost-effective way to implement a technology that Tokyo, Seoul, Taipei, and even Bangkok have been using for years.

My prediction:The NYC subway system, which has for many years been desperately in need of a major modernization (not just in terms of new technology like NFC payments, but in basics like better ventilation and some escalators to replace endless flights of stairs in big stations), will not be getting significantly more modern anytime soon. The NFC project will crawl along for years, with nothing much coming of it. When it is finally finished, years late and tend of millions over budget, the final product will be barely-functional at best. Meanwhile, astronomical amounts of taxpayer money will disappear into politically-connected pockets (all in ways that are technically perfectly legal).

Bob Grant used to say that we are slipping and sliding into third worldism. This is a fine example of that trend. Do not expect it to be reversed anytime soon. An occasional rocket landing on a boat aside (every trend line has a few bumps in the opposite direction), we are not a society that can get things done anymore.

• Related: Will everybody please shut the hell up about Uber? Stop treating it like it’s the past decade’s most innovative development in tech. For heaven’s sake, it’s just a phone app that helps you to hail a gypsy cab; it’s not the freaking Apollo moon landing program.

• He’s back! After an absence of four years, the prognosticator of prognosticators, the badass of business – everyone’s favorite Texan investor, Johnnie Walker drinker, and secret brony – the man they call Ghost has returned with all-new episodes of True Capitalist Radio! I’m a big fan of the show, the host, and even (maybe especially) the trolls, so trust me here – if you listen to a few episodes, I’m confident that you’ll be hooked.

 

Short Takes: Holiday Bonus Edition

Santa has come and left a bounty of Short Takes – ideas that are worth expressing, but that are pithily short enough to not require a full column to express. Let’s look under the tree and start unwrapping them, shall we?

1. I’ve long said that the Two-Minutes’ Hate sessions that the left directs at those who dare challenge its orthodoxy (see Paula Deen) would only lose some of their devastating effectiveness once a couple of people very publicly refused to back down and grovel in the face of them. First it was John Derbyshire, then Pax Dickinson, now Phil Robertson – the first few brave souls have shown that it can be done, and God bless them all for it. Derbyshire has said that when the left demands a groveling apology for some transgression against Political Correctness, the only possible reaction is to spit in their eye, and he’s quite right. The left are shameless bullies, and bullies start losing their power the second that people begin to stand up to them; when demonstrate that the bully is not as invincible or all-powerful as he makes himself out to be. Let’s hope that these are the first of a new dawn of eye-spittings, both in America and worldwide.

2. Sometimes there appears a movie or TV show that captures the imagination of the left; sometimes one that captures the imagination of the right; sometimes one that captures the imagination of libertarians. (Yes, I know that, Hollywood being what it is, one of those groups gets a lot more attention than the others, but bear with me). Sometimes, however, a movie or TV show comes along that captures the imagination of both the left and the right, who see different things in them that they identify with. The Matrix was a good example of that – praised by both Maoists and Neo-Reactionaries (no pun intended), who saw something in it they latched on to (Sometimes I even wonder if the Wachowskis would have made The Matrix at all, if they had known the galvanizing effect that its metaphors would have had on the then-nascent Neo-Reaction). In the present-day, the Hunger Games trilogy seems to be having a similar effect (though more on the mainstream of the left and right than on their alternative sides, who still tend to favor The Matrix). Liberals see in it the story of poor protagonists (led by a warrior-woman) struggling against a small class of rich, privileged, “one-percenter” economic elites. Conservatives see in it the story of largely white, rural, working-class protagonists struggling against a small class of effete, decadent cultural elites. Suzanne Collins may have written her books with precisely this effect in mind, in order to maximize appeal across the political and cultural spectrum – if she did, it was very clever of her. And it appears to be working. Expect to see mockingjay pins at both Obama rallies and Tea Party protests for some time to come.

3. It becomes more evident every day that true intellectuals – as opposed to pretentious, herd-mentality, pseudointellectual poseurs – are increasingly abandoning leftism for libertarianism or the Neo-Reaction.

4. Sometimes I really wonder what black people think that being white is like. I get the distinct impression that most of them believe that it is a ceaseless series of unearned freebies given, unsolicited dream jobs offered, unsought opportunities provided, unasked-for hands extended, and problems discreetly made to disappear. If that is what blacks think that being white is like, then no wonder they believe that they have not achieved parity or equality with whites – they see the everyday struggles that they have in their lives and believe that whites largely do not have them. But here, of course, they are wrong – especially when it comes to the experience of lower-middle and working-class whites, who struggle and suffer and frequently lose, and who feel (rightly) as if no one has handed very much “privilege” of any kind to them. No wonder there is so little meeting of the minds between these groups.

Of course, there also exists a professional race grievance industry – large and powerful – which actively tries to exacerbate these problems, and has had great success in doing so.  Yes, there’s that too.

5. It is obvious that throughout the West, big business and big government have merged into a near-seamless whole; though the question of which is the senior partner and which is the junior partner is still a bit unclear. But two things are clear. The first is that cut out of this power structure, Tom Hagen-style, are the church and the middle class. The second is that this power structure is one of the faces of the enemy.

6. You’ll notice that I tend not to use a lot of figures and statistics in this space. This is intentional. We live in the great age of fraud, and it is obvious that many of the statistics we are given by the power structure (both in its business and its government incarnations) are completely fraudulent (organizations like Shadowstats prove this as well). Do you believe that the government, and the rest of the power structure, is honest? If not, then why would you believe numbers and statistics given to you by known liars? Open your eyes and look at the world around you. What do your own observations tell you about what’s happening?

7. “I see no certain term to the continual wars of Britain but in the downfall of her paper credit”. Thomas Jefferson said that two centuries ago, and it was perfectly true, though it would take nearly a century and a half to come to pass. Today, the same sentiment is true of the nation that Jefferson helped to found. But in the latter case, the “certain term” will come after not nearly as long a wait.

8. The United States becomes every day more the image of what someone once said about Mao’s China: A place in which everything that is not forbidden is mandatory.

9. Workers of the world – but especially of the United States – the left has abandoned you. Like a middle-aged husband leaving his wife for a younger woman once her beauty has started to fade, the left has abandoned the working class and their interests in favor of its new partners: the welfare class, sexual libertines and deviants, and aggrieved race hustlers.

To be clear: I do not mean to imply here that the Republican Party (or really any big mainstream Conservative party in the west) does stand for the interests of the working class – it most certainly does not. No, what I mean to say here is that the power structure has abandoned you entirely, leaving you with no effective representation nor much of anything at all besides lip service. The fact that the American working and middle classes are slowly, steadily shrinking down to nothing is not unrelated.

10. Do I feel any discomfort or irony in using the products of overtly left-leaning technology companies like Apple and Google? Not at all – they have sold me the rope with which I will hang them.

11. Speaking of Moldbug, his native San Francisco Bay Area seems to be in the process of becoming something of a hotbed of both libertarianism and the Neo-Reaction. I wonder if the truth of San Francisco is not that it is an inherently leftist place, but instead that it is an inherently countercultural place. When the prevailing culture was conservative, it was leftist. Now they the prevailing culture is radically leftist, San Francisco and its environs begin to shake with tremors of the ideas which will challenge that culture.

Or maybe the Bay Area rumbles with these ideas for the same reason that post-Soviet Russia has become increasingly rightist: Because seeing firsthand where leftist ideas inevitably, invariably lead will cause any decent and reasonable person to rebel against them as vehemently as possible.

12. People fight hard for the things they genuinely believe in. If an individual or group is visibly not fighting very hard for something they say they genuinely believe in (see: the Republican Party on social issues, the Democratic Party on the ever-more-encroaching police state), then something is wrong with that picture. The most likely explanation is that those people do not, in fact, believe in those things anywhere near as genuinely as they claim to.

Yes, this is obvious. But you know what Orwell said about the first duty of intelligent men…

13. Lastly, in our Politically Correct, increasingly-totalitarian age, in which up is down, black is white, and day is night, we have reached the point at which simply saying “Merry Christmas” is a downright rebellious and revolutionary act.

I like rebellious and revolutionary acts. So, Merry Christmas to you and yours!

As always, I can be found on Twitter at @antidemblog – the more people follow me there, the more I’ll post.

Short Takes

This week just before the holiday seems like a fine time for another edition of Short Takes – ideas that I believe need to be expressed, but wouldn’t be quite long enough to have a column of their own. In the spirit of the season, let’s dig right in:

1. The more time goes by, the more I become convinced that American politics cannot be truly understood without a good working knowledge of professional wrestling. What’s that, you say? Professional wrestling is complete fakery? It’s a histrionic bit of badly-staged play-acting featuring terrible performers? That it’s full of one-dimensional “face” and “heel” characters that are completely phony and entirely predictable? That they mostly just pander to crowds to get cheap “pop” or “heat” and engage in pointless, playground-level smack talk devoid of any intellectually stimulating content?  That only the most unsophisticated of rubes could fail to look past the “kayfabe” illusion they’re being shown, and to see that the what is presented to them as “real” actually bears no resemblance whatsoever to the reality going on behind the scenes? That it’s all a fixed game – designed to distract fools from the fact that they’re being suckered by cheap theatrics?

Exactly.

2. Here is the essential difference between libertarianism and liberalism: Libertarians define freedom as being left alone to do as they please, and in return agreeing to take the consequences of their decisions upon themselves. Liberals define freedom as being left alone to do as they please, and being granted the ability to pass off the consequences of their decisions onto other people. Thus, while libertarianism may be unworkable in a real world that must deal with human nature as it actually exists, it is at least a philosophy of adults. Liberalism is no more than the philosophical and political arm of the desire for eternal adolescence.

3. Related: The older I get, the less I feel any desire to shield fools – and especially arrogant fools – from the entirely predictable consequences of their own obviously poor decisions.

4. Remember this, Christian, as you defend yourself against the sophistry of unbelievers and the wicked: Christian forgiveness is neither universal nor free from conditions. Specifically, there is no requirement to forgive the unrepentant. In fact, extending forgiveness to the unrepentant is, in itself, a form of sin and rebellion against God. Remember that Christian forgiveness is a two-step process. First comes repentance – then, only then, comes forgiveness. Don’t ever lose sight of this, and don’t ever allow yourself to get talked out of it.

5. I am not myself an Objectivist or Randian, for reasons I’m sure I’ll go into greater detail about at some point, but here’s some free, heartfelt advice to them. Objectivism needs its own version of the Communist Manifesto. Allow me to explain: The production of the Communist Manifesto was a stroke of genius by Marx. Though Marx had produced thick, dense, complex tomes describing his ideas, he also produced the Manifesto as a companion to them, which was primarily meant for consumption by the masses that he hoped to reach. It was short, direct, concise, worded in a way that anyone with a basic education could understand, easily translatable into other languages, freely distributable, and both easy and cheap to mass produce copies of. The works of Ayn Rand are none of those things, to say the least. Yes, I understand that part of Objectivism is a certain elitism that revels in the fact that Rand’s works are difficult and inaccessible to many. That’s great if you want your ideas to stay limited to a relatively small group of people. If you ever want them to gain popularity with a wider selection of the population, you’re going to need an Objectivist Manifesto.

6. The tech writer John C. Dvorak is right: the “Wild West” glory days of the internet are over, probably forever. By this, I’m not just referring to the Snowden/NSA affair or other nefarious actions of government. The internet, once raucous, has settled down into what is effectively a set of monopolies or near-monopolies – Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and eBay being the most prominent examples. The last two are particularly telling. I cannot speak for you, gentle reader, but as for myself I can say that basically all of my online purchases of physical goods in the last five years or so have been from Amazon or eBay. Part of that is for convenience, part to limit the number of places that my credit card information is on file… all good and practical reasons, but all leading towards a corporatized, cartelized, monopolistic internet that is all too cozy with big government.

7. Speaking of the internet – much has always been made of the internet’s supposed resistance to censorship, with the saying about it being that “the net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it”. From a certain point of view, this is true: it is indeed very hard to stop information that has made it onto the internet from propagating. But that ignores the fact that censorship of the internet is rather simple if it’s done the “old-fashioned way”; i.e. by, once an undesired idea has appeared on the internet, tracking down who said it and punishing them personally. This can be done by outright arrest and imprisonment, by civil lawsuit, or by blacklisting and attacks on one’s ability to earn a livelihood (which is the preferred method in the United States). This not only shuts down the speaker, but the chilling effects of it ensure that few will take the risk of speaking out. In this way, the internet – a medium in which tracking and surveillance, and therefore finding out who said what, is relatively easy – is just as vulnerable to censorship than old forms of mass media were.

So if you’re going to speak out online, be wary, be careful, and be brave.

8. More interesting to me than the outcome of the recent “government shutdown” farce in Washington were the effects of the changed media landscape on how things proceeded. It is, in fact, a near-perfect microcosm of how the new media landscape had affected politics – a basically-identical situation happened in 1995, just as the internet was becoming mainstream but before it had seriously changed much of anything. The difference seems to have been this: That in 1995, with control of the media centralized in leftist hands, the “shutdown” was an utter victory for the leftist in power and a crushing defeat for the public perception and popular ratings of his opposition. This time, the effect of the “shutdown” was, not that it handed victory to the opposition, but that it seems to have badly damaged the perception and ratings of both sides. An interesting outcome – especially to those of us who see any erosion of the legitimacy and credibility of the current system as a good thing.

9. The American left has completely abandoned whatever genuine desire it may have had to protect American workers in favor of obsessions with race hustling, “freedoms” based in (often deviant) sexuality, and currying the favor of the ever-expanding welfare class. There is no major party in America that any longer truly represents the American worker, nor is there any realistic prospect of one arising anytime soon. That the middle class is being steadily eroded into nonexistence is not unrelated.

10. Another election apparently passed, and I did not vote in it. You should’t vote, either. Richard said withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy…

11. Do I hate homosexuals? My response is that I didn’t used to – not before they, as a group, declared open war on the traditions, morals, and religious teachings that I hold to and believe in passionately. My natural reaction to homosexuals is to pity them, but to think that they should be quietly left alone if they go quietly about their business. But what if they don’t do that? What if they try to upend society and destroy beliefs that I hold dear as a part of their obsessive quest for the validation of society at large, even if they must use coercive force to get it? Why should I not resent those who have chosen to make themselves my enemy?

12. Related: Leftists rely on sophistry, so understanding the language that they use is key. Now that they have gained power, it is obvious that what they actually meant when they used to say “You can’t legislate morality” was, essentially: “You – conservatives, traditionalists, Christians – YOU can’t legislate morality. WE, on the other hand…”

As always, I can be found on Twitter at @antidemblog – the more people follow me there, the more I’ll post.

Short Takes

I apologize for the long delay between posts. In my own defense: how could I be expected to think or act with the Federal Government shut down? Since I am (obviously) still recovering from the trauma of not having 100% of the government there to tell me how to run my life, I present what will (I hope) be the first in an intermittent series of posts of short thoughts – things too important to be left unsaid, but not long enough to require a column of their own.

1) To the extent possible, this column will not deal with the mundane, day-to-day affairs of politics. I shall leave mundane politics to mundane thinkers – the Rush Limbaughs of the world handle such things better than I could, and have more interest in them than I do. After all, anyone who knows history and is not blinded by ideology or hubris knows how this will turn out in the end. There will be no coming-to-senses to save the Republic. It will slide further and further into moral degeneracy and economic bankruptcy until either tyranny or dissolution occurs. Plato told us 2500 years ago that that was the inevitable path of democracies. In our hubris, we believe ourselves to be an exception. We aren’t. Watch.

2) Attention conservatives, traditionalists, libertarians, and believers in fiscal prudence and sustainability of every stripe: You will not win through democracy. Not now. Not ever. You’ve had twenty-five centuries of warnings from wise men and examples from history that show you that this is the case. The sooner you get it through your thick skulls, the better.

3) Heard on the internet: “Modern mass-media techniques of the manipulation of public opinion have rendered democracy obsolete.” True enough. Democracy was never a good idea and was never going to last no matter what, but the experience of the past century has proved beyond any doubt that democracy is incompatible with modern mass media. Whatever faults democracy has on its own, mass media amplifies, intensifies, and accelerates them.

4) I don’t care about the Constitution (or the Declaration of Independence, or any of the other “founding documents” of the United States). I long ago stopped believing that an idea was unquestionably true just because a group of 18th century farmers believed that it was.

5) That said, the United States does not in any real sense have a Constitution. The unlimited power to “interpret” the Constitution is functionally identical to the unlimited power to rewrite the Constitution. Thus, the US does not functionally have a Constitution – it has the ideologies, biases, and prejudices of nine black-robed government functionaries who only have to be clever enough to cloak those things in some sort of rationalization that mentions the Constitution, no matter how tortured, farfetched, or arbitrary that rationalization may be. This is key because it illustrates that on at least some level, the United States is already a fascist country: Can anyone tell me how having important social policy set by one man in a brown shirt is very much different from having it set by nine people in black robes? Neither any genuine constitutionality nor the will of the people is a significant factor in determining the outcomes in either scenario; so why is one fascism, but not the other?

6) Speaking of fascism, I continue to be mildly surprised that a Sulla/Caesar/Augusts has not yet appeared to put the sad remains of American democracy out of their misery. Could it be that our society is so degenerate and disspiated that we are no longer even capable of producing a man of their sort? Or is it that we are actually in what is the real final stage of the Spenglerian cycle – the Rule of the Bureaucratic Mandarins?

7) First it was “Shit My Dad Says”, then “Schmidt My CEO Says”, now it’s “Shit My Pope Says”. Being a Catholic these days and listening to the Pope can be just as maddening and embarrassing as what Google employees went through under their lead-tongued former CEO. Ugh.

8) Related: The practice of nuking one’s allies in order to impress one’s enemies with what a swell guy you are, formerly known as “Jonah Goldberging”, will henceforth be known as “Pope Francising”.

9) Off the top of your head, can you name anything in America today – from politics to the economy to mass media to, well, anything – that is not a rigged game? Me neither.

10) One of my favorite things that anybody said, ever, was when Neal Stephenson defined intelligence by saying: “The difference between stupid and intelligent people – and this is true whether or not they are well-educated – is that intelligent people can handle subtlety”. One particular form of inability to handle subtlety is excessive literal-mindedness. Remember this the next time you’re dealing with an internet atheist: Excessive literal-mindedness is not a sign of intelligence; it’s just a sign of autism.

11) Leftists often, in their usual mode of condescending fake concern, accuse men of the right of being “angry”. Am I angry? You bet I am. Why is that necessarily a bad thing? There are things that happen in this world that, if they don’t make you angry, there’s something very wrong with you.

12) A shameless plug: You can find me on Twitter at @antidemblog – the more people follow me, the more I’ll Tweet, so please do see me there.