Explaining Academia: Mystical Manipulation

Part I here.

Mystical Manipulation. The manipulation of experiences that appears spontaneous but is, in fact, planned and orchestrated by the group or its leaders in order to demonstrate divine authority, spiritual advancement, or some exceptional talent or insight that sets the leader and/or group apart from humanity, and that allows reinterpretation of historical events, scripture, and other experiences. Coincidences and happenstance oddities are interpreted as omens or prophecies.

Here’s a fairy tale: 30-ish A.D, Roman authorities in Palestine execute yet another in a long line of rabble-rousing, apocalypse-preaching mystics.  But this time they botch the job somehow, because reports quickly begin to circulate that the guru is still alive.  His followers, though, insist that the mystic actually raised himself from the dead — as he said he would — thus fulfilling all the prophecies about him and proving all his claims.

Most of that actually happened, as proven by sources any reasonable historian would accept.  The kicker is the guru’s followers’ claim, that the mystic actually did rise from the dead.  Because that claim is so implausible, we immediately discount it… but because his followers seem so damn sure, we start looking for alternatives: He was in a coma.  The Roman authorities thought he was dead when they took him off the cross, but he was still just barely alive, and recovered.  The disciples found a convincing lookalike.  Mass hysteria.  Whatever — we accept that something like the Resurrection actually happened, just not the thing itself.

Which is an at least superficially plausible account of Christianity’s origins, and, since the appeal of its message is obvious, is thus a superficially plausible account of Christianity’s subsequent career.  Most of us “know” lots of intellectual and cultural history that way — e.g. you probably memorized something like “the Romantic movement was a backlash against the Industrial Revolution” without thinking about it too much.  If you’re not a believer, Fox Mulder’s motto is good enough — they wanted to believe, so they did, on whatever grounds did the trick at the time.*

Here’s another fairy tale: in 1517, the Western world was being trampled under the two oppressive boots of The Church and Feudalism.  Combined, they stifled free thought, free expression, and, most importantly, the free movement of goods and gold.  So when Martin Luther posted up his famous Theses, merchants everywhere seized upon their revolutionary potential to overthrow both the Church and its enabler, Feudalism (remember, the Church owned up to half the land in most kingdoms).  From then on, money and reform went hand in hand — Capitalism created Protestantism; dialectically, Protestantism created Capitalism.

This, too, is a superficially plausible account of the origins of the Early Modern world.  To take one of endless examples, it seems pretty suspicious that the guys leading the charge to overthrow and execute Charles I — an old-school Divine Right monarch if ever there were one — just happened to be both Puritans and petit bourgeois.  See also the Huguenots, the Plymouth Colony, etc. — nobody drives a harder bargain than a guy who thinks we’re all damned to hell.

Again — superficially plausible.  Problem is, unlike Christianity, Marx’s whole schmear doesn’t rely on a physical impossibility (for those who went to college after about 1990, or who skipped class before, that whole Capitalism/Protestantism thing is Kapital 101).  Saying credo quia absurdum doesn’t get you any social cachet – this is the much likelier response, plus loads of crippling self doubt on a lot of sleepless nights.  Reducing the vast sweep of human thought to “the needs of Capital,” however, makes you sound smart, or at least college educated, to people who have been trained to regard polysyllabic gobbledygook as profundity — that is, any graduate of the American school system in the past 50 years.  And since nearly all of us forget, nearly always,  that correlation is not causation, the fact that lots of merchants were Puritans makes us behave as if the desire to make a buck caused Puritanism, or vice versa.  We ignore all the Puritans who weren’t merchants (the vast majority), all the merchants who weren’t Puritans (ditto), and all the angst Puritan merchants themselves had over their lifestyles (cf. Max Weber, above, and the Salem Witch Trials).  “Capital” doesn’t do anything, because it can’t — capital-C “Capital” is historians’ shorthand for the outcome of a lot of interrelated but autonomous processes, not some mysterious Force that arranges people like chess pieces to accomplish its mysterious designs.

Mystical manipulation, see?  Because Protestantism, the consolidation of national states, a rapid rise in literacy, the expansion of international trade, a revolution in military tactics, and a zillion other things were all happening at the same time, and because you need money for all of them, it not only doesn’t sound absurd to say “Capitalism” caused them all, it actually sounds correct.  And because of that, the guy who says it sounds like a genius.  And because of that, that guy’s disciples start furiously spinning their rationalization hamsters to come up with canon-consistent explanations for all the stuff the guru got wrong — which is to say, the vast majority of it.

And, of course, if you disagree with me, I’ll flunk your term paper.

 

 

*Not being an ancient historian or a Christian apologist, I’d be curious to know if there were any other resurrection claims in the ancient world.  If you assume Christianity is just a myth, James Frazier-style, then yeah, there’s Osiris, Orpheus returning from the underworld, etc.  But did anyone, anywhere, ever claim that about a man?  Christianity spread by word of mouth from people who unquestionably existed, and who personally saw Jesus, before and after.  Saying that Christ was transformed into an Osiris figure after his death won’t hold, unless you also claim that the Apostles were also suffering from that specific delusion, immediately after the crucifixion.  I seem to recall that there are lots of references to sorcerers who claimed to be able to raise the dead, Witch of Endor-style, but no references to any individual so raised walking around in the sun.

Explaining Academia: Milieu Control, Part I

Milieu control is a basic mind-control tactic.  Severely restrict the environment, and you limit the mental world of its inhabitants.  Robert Jay Lifton’s Mind Control and the Psychology of Totalism is still the best primer on how this is done.  He identifies eight factors for successful “brainwashing.”  Lifton’s subjects were American POWs from the Korean War and former Chinese labor camp inmates, but stop me if this sounds familiar:

Milieu Control: This involves the control of information and communication both within the environment and, ultimately, within the individual, resulting in a significant degree of isolation from society at large.

Mystical Manipulation. The manipulation of experiences that appears spontaneous but is, in fact, planned and orchestrated by the group or its leaders in order to demonstrate divine authority, spiritual advancement, or some exceptional talent or insight that sets the leader and/or group apart from humanity, and that allows reinterpretation of historical events, scripture, and other experiences. Coincidences and happenstance oddities are interpreted as omens or prophecies.

Demand for Purity. The world is viewed as black and white and the members are constantly exhorted to conform to the ideology of the group and strive for perfection. The induction of guilt and/or shame is a powerful control device used here.

Confession. Sins, as defined by the group, are to be confessed either to a personal monitor or publicly to the group. There is no confidentiality; members’ “sins,” “attitudes,” and “faults” are discussed and exploited by the leaders.

Sacred Science. The group’s doctrine or ideology is considered to be the ultimate Truth, beyond all questioning or dispute. Truth is not to be found outside the group. The leader, as the spokesperson for God or for all humanity, is likewise above criticism.

Loading the Language. The group interprets or uses words and phrases in new ways so that often the outside world does not understand. This jargon consists of thought-terminating clichés, which serve to alter members’ thought processes to conform to the group’s way of thinking.

Doctrine over person. Members’ personal experiences are subordinated to the sacred science and any contrary experiences must be denied or reinterpreted to fit the ideology of the group.

Dispensing of existence. The group has the prerogative to decide who has the right to exist and who does not. This is usually not literal but means that those in the outside world are not saved, unenlightened, unconscious and they must be converted to the group’s ideology. If they do not join the group or are critical of the group, then they must be rejected by the members. Thus, the outside world loses all credibility. In conjunction, should any member leave the group, he or she must be rejected also.

Sounds like “How to Build an SJW in Eight Easy Steps,” doesn’t it?  American colleges have spent the past half-century perfecting it.

The first trick, that starts even before you arrive on campus, is “mystical manipulation.”  Obviously it doesn’t take a prison camp somewhere in the jungle to control a milieu.  In their long march through the institutions, our Gramscian Leftists have successfully co-opted the “rah-rah-sis-boom-bah” going-off-to-college thing, using the form while subverting the content.

Think about it for a sec: Where are you likely to find the most “offensive” team nicknames?  For as hot and bothered as our mini-Maos get over the Washington Redskins, there’s no comparable outcry over the Fighting Illini (Indians), the Hoosiers (yokels), the Fighting Irish, the Jayhawks (abolitionist guerrillas), the Seminoles, the Aztecs, and all the other horribly racist mascots and team names out there.  Some of that can of course be attributed to college kids’ vast, cosseted ignorance (I myself had no idea who Francis Redding Tillou Nicholls was), but some of the others are pretty obvious.  Ditto campus traditions like the University of Iowa’s famous pink visitors’ locker room.  This gets a little squib in the sports news every fall, as feminist professors and students stage their annual protest.  But it never gets changed, even though football is as Patriarchal as it gets and Iowa, like Wisconsin, Michigan, and the rest of the corn-country bolsheviks, prides itself on its progressive bona fides.  The answer is pretty simple: love them or hate them, the act of either loving or hating them is one hell of a team-builder.  Nobody who didn’t go there has ever heard of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, but I promise you that every current and former student has a very strong opinion on whether or not the “Vaquero” mascot is offensive.  And that’s not even considering all the “offensive” high school nicknames and mascots out there.  Grade school “educators” and administrators are the most PC people on the planet.  Don’t you think the Midgets and the Arabs would be changed in a heartbeat in any other context?  It’s by design.

Our declawed modern adolescence plays right into their hands.  Teenagerhood is a frantic quest for an identity.  That’s what all those hokey high school rituals used to be about.  You get some girl to wear your letter jacket, and you write her name on your book covers, not because you’re the love of each other’s life, and certainly not to stake a claim or whatever the feminists would have you believe.  It’s an identity claim: I am the type of person who can get a girl to wear my letter jacket / get a boy to write my name on his book covers.  And you go to prom together, and you have “your song” that you have to stop and kiss whenever it plays on the radio, and all that other gloopy Leave It to Beaver crap.  And so too with any of the other identities high school kids used to put on and take off, like the clothes that marked them — “goth,” “stoner,” “preppie,” whatever.  It didn’t matter that you didn’t actually like The Cure all that much, or if your girlfriend lived in Canada; everyone pretended to believe your identity claim, because you were pretending to believe theirs, and that’s how you got the mental, emotional, and social tools to actually construct a real identity for yourself when you got out on your own.

Cultural Marxism killed all that.  Technology played its part, too — nobody has “their song” in the iTunes era — but mostly it was deliberate.  Now everyone gets a letter jacket and it’s some kind of hate crime to hold hands with someone of the opposite gender — if, of course, you still believe in such an outdated and hateful concept as “gender” — in a public place.  Nobody’s different and everyone’s the best at everything, as Principal Skinner put it.

So identity formation gets put off until college.  You start out as a Wolverine or a Tiger or a Banana Slug or whatever, but you end up a Social Justice Warrior.  You come to college decked out in all the gear, your dorm is festooned with the mascot, the streets of the town are all named after famous alumni, and every business seems to cater just to you (complete with “welcome to campus!” specials).  The word “townie” enters your vocabulary, and if you’re in a big city, you learn that the surrounding area is a no-go zone (the “townies” in that situation invariably being Vibrant and Diverse, but in a non-celebrated way).  Nobody learns the fight song or wears the freshman beanie anymore, but thanks to campus-specific social media, you learn right away, and in great depth, what it means to be a Directional Tech Fightin’ Whatever.  You’re already separated from you hometown, your high school, your parents, and your friends (even your best buds, and especially if they went to hated rival Regional State).  You’re primed and ready, in other words, to believe anything your indoctrinator tells you.

And then you go to class.

Part II soon.

 

Media

Ideology, revolutions, and media culture go hand-in-hand.  Before the printing press, information transmission was glacial, and all conflicts were local conflicts.  Even big, seemingly ideological movements like the Crusades have been convincingly portrayed as “inventions” — historians’ shorthand for diffuse, superficially correlated movements that appear much more interrelated in hindsight than they actually were, and that the writing of history itself helps to construct (see also “Gnosticism,” the “Hundred Years’ War,” etc.).  Protestantism is the obvious example of media’s effect.  Had it not been for the printing press, Luther’s theses would’ve remained what he insisted they were — “a learned dispute between monks.”  Back when schools actually taught history, that was taken as read, along with the idea that “a vigorous print culture” was one of the key factors behind the English Civil War, the American Revolution, the French and Russian Revolutions, etc. (Russia was so “backward” vis-a-vis the West, its development of print culture so recent, that a novel has been blamed for lots of its 19th century turmoil — What Is to Be Done?by Nicolai Chernyshevsky (later turned into murder manual of the same title by V.I. Lenin)).  No media culture, no revolution.

That said, how’s American media culture doing these days?

There are no obvious historical parallels, as we’ve never seen a free press prostitute itself so completely before.  Speaking of “inventions” in the historian’s sense, a “free press” is a pretty recent one, and the idea of an “objective” media took root in living memory.  Ask your grandma — even small cities and large towns used to have three or four newspapers, all nakedly partisan.  You’d have your Republican Post-Intelligencer, your Democrat Times-Picayune, and often an immigrant-oriented paper written in the old country’s language, plus a “Negro” paper in any town with more than four black residents.  It kept everyone relatively honest, as you could always count on the enemy’s newspaper snooping around, and retaliation for any misdeed was guaranteed.

But, of course, the “”””Progressives”””” got ahold of it, Gramsci-style, and did what they always do.  They proclaimed their perspective the only “objective” — and therefore, only legitimate — one, slapped an academic credential on it, and began infiltrating their newly-degreed saboteurs into every newsroom in America.  When ordinary Soviets joked that “there’s no news in the truth, and no truth in the news,” they were punning on two media outlets that had always been under the Party’s control.*  Our newspapers volunteered to censor themselves, and our “journalists” wouldn’t admit (publicly) to being Party organs if you waterboarded them.  They insist they’re defending the Truth — “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” as the National Laughingstock puts it, in a phrase that’s so quintessentially MiniTrue George Orwell’s ghost must be kicking himself for not thinking of it.

What happens now?  There’s truth out there, and real news, too… but where?  More importantly, do things like Gab have any legitimacy among the masses?  Who reads them, and of the readers, who, if anyone, is prepared to act?  All the Revolutionaries in Boston in 1775 read Franklin’s broadsheets, and the Jacobin clubs of Paris all had their dedicated newspapers.  You can find out what the New Model Army was thinking by reading its pamphlets.  Do we have any Jacobins?  Are the various “Alt-Right” (whatever that means today) websites the equivalent of samizdat?  Most importantly, does anyone capable of doing anything read them?  (Remember, it wasn’t Ivan Sixpack who overthrew the USSR, but pro-Yeltsin armor officers).

I don’t know, and I have no idea how to find out.  If someone does, though, please do.  If there’s hope, it lies with the proles… provided they actually know anything, and care about what they know.

 

 

*Izvestia was a Soviet propaganda sheet whose name meant “news;” Pravda, the other Soviet propaganda sheet, means “truth.”

The Return of Muscular Christianity?

When I was in college way back in the Jurassic, the Campus Crusade for Christ* would bring around a Power Team-like traveling freakshow of bodybuilders** who would rip phone books in half and such for Jesus.  It wasn’t particularly effective, ministry-wise — this was early in the Grunge Era, when it was “lame” to be able to bench press anything heavier than a Mother Love Bone CD — but as American history was actually taught back then, I recognized it as a late, weird manifestation of a fun Gilded Age social trend, “muscular Christianity.”

Christianity has always had, for lack of a better term, a pussy problem.  Hellenistic thinkers like Celsus derided it as a religion for women and slaves, an opinion that continued at least down to, and found its most virulent expression in, Friedrich Nietzsche.  In America, laments that the churches have all been taken over by meddling women are as old as Puritanism, and after the Civil War your Henry Ward Beechers made a good living feminizing popular Christianity (Beecher was very popular with his female congregants, if you get my drift).  Nagging busybodies like the Women’s Christian Temperance Union didn’t help.

Not the most effective threat, ladies

Not the most effective threat, ladies***

Worse yet, modern life itself seemed to be sapping young men of their vitality– Gen. Jack D. Ripper’s concerns about our precious bodily fluids were a joke, but late Victorians took things like spermatorrhea very seriously, as part of the widespread degenerationneurasthenia, and decadence brought about by industrialization.  In response, young evangelicals pushed the idea of “muscular Christianity,” emphasizing Jesus’s strong carpenter-y muscles, the scourging of moneylenders from the temple, that kind of thing.  Your ideal muscular Christian spent his young manhood working out at the Y, getting pumped up to bring the Gospel and civilization (the two were basically the same) to the wogs somewhere out East of Suez or in darkest Africa, or to the Papist Irish in the benighted slums of New York and London.

And now this.  I’ve already said that getting religion is the next logical step for both SJWs and the “neomasculine” movement, and for the same reason — as purely negative philosophies, their neverending quest for external validation leads very quickly to quietism or nihilism.  Muscular Christianity splits the difference — one can remain endlessly, obsessively fixated on the external trappings of one’s pwecious widdle self, but without secularism’s crippling self-doubt.  And if the “Jesus” part of ‘roiding up for Jesus gets dropped about three sets into your bitchin’ biceps routine, brah, well, at least you’ll be shredded.

Buddy_christ

 

 

*note that even they’ve gone PC, changing their name to “Cru” so as not to offend the sensibilities of folks who behead Christians in sandy lands.  And you wonder why nobody listens anymore.

**It may actually have been the Power Team; if so, I personally witnessed a funky footnote to the last great explosion of televangelism — it’s worth a few sentences in my memoirs, anyway.

***yeah, it’s satire, but it’s true.

I’m Confused

Back in November, the Left and the #NeverTrumpers (BIRM) wanted James Comey fired.  Now that he actually has been fired, it’s a “coup.”  Or is it a Reichstag fire?  I thought Sessions’s appointment as Attorney General was the Reichstag fire, but maybe that was also a “coup.”  He’s Literally Himmler, I’m pretty sure of that…. if you wanna get technical I guess he’s Literally Otto Thierack, but since the Left doesn’t read they don’t know but three or four Nazis… which is funny in itself, given how much they love to throw Third Reich allusions around (for the record, comrades, CIA director Mike Pompeo is Literally Reinhard Heydrich, Education Secretary Betsy de Vos is Literally Bernhard Rust, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is Literally Carl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel.  Why?  [Belch] Why not?!  And besides, it’s more fun to say “von Stülpnagel” than “Mnuchin,” and Trump’s Literally Hitler cabinet needs at least one guy with an umlaut in his name.  Remember that, it’ll be on the midterm).  Anywho, would y’all make up your minds please?  You’re really only allowed one Nuremberg Rally, one Reichstag Fire, and one Machtergreifung before we start thinking you’re a ridiculous hysterical ninny who should be lightly tazed every time you open your mouth, until such time as you actually read a book that isn’t Game of Thrones or Harry Potter (hell, I’d put you on tazer-probation if you could demonstrate that you’d actually read either of those, instead of just catching the movie highlights on YouTube).

So unless you can explain to me why Comey needed to be fired then, but is the last bastion of free government now, just shut the fuck up, mmmkay?  Thanks.

Why is F/SF Left Wing?

Mentalities (say it French style for ivory tower street cred: mon-tall-ee-TAYS) are the hardest thing for a history teacher to convey.  The past really is a foreign country, as some dead white dude said; they do things differently there.  Archimedes, to take a well known example, invented all kinds of cool stuff that could’ve changed the world, and the Greeks even had a steam turbine.  Pop quiz, hotshots: Given all that, why was there no “steampunk” in the Classical World?

The answer is: Slavery.  Steam engines, hydraulic gears, levers, and all that badass Archimedes stuff are all, at bottom, labor-saving devices.  The ancient world was not about saving labor.  The ancient world had the opposite problem.  They had excess labor and no real way to dispose of it, save slavery — and even that was woefully inefficient, often counterproductive (see, for example, the Roman latifundia destroying their military manpower base).  So steam power was to them what nunchucks are to us — cool, but useless.

For certain values of "cool"

For certain values of “cool”

Problem is, it takes real imagination to see that.  I’m pretty sure they still teach that slavery was the basis of the ancient economy, but that’s just a fact, one of several dozen equally meaningless facts one is required to memorize for the test.  What is it like to live in a world where slavery is the primary form of labor?  Who cares?  It’s just like the American Civil War — write “slavery” in the blank and move on.  Since there’s no effort made to inhabit their mental world, it’s impossible to make connections between disjointed facts.

“Inhabiting their mental world” is, in fact, very strongly discouraged.  Let’s say I’m teaching a course on the antebellum United States, and I assign you to read John C. Calhoun’s Exposition and Protest.  Calhoun makes some pretty solid arguments, and walking a class through them would be, if done right, not just a primer on American Constitutional theory, but on social contract theory in general… not to mention hitting the high points of Federalism, Anti-Federalism, Jacksonian democracy, the First American Party System, the first Industrial Revolution, &c.  The problem, of course, was that the Exposition and Protest wasn’t “really” about the Tariff of 1828.  It was really about slavery, and if you give an inch to Calhoun’s arguments, you can’t help but conclude that he was probably right about the legal basis for slavery, too.  Which is Badthink in the First Degree, punishable by an F in the class, a semester of mandatory Diversity Awareness, and the entire university kangaroo court apparatus hounding you every day for the rest of your brief college career.  And that’s just what would happen to you, the student — I’d be sent to the salt mines.

Which brings us to Fantasy and Science Fiction, and why it’s nothing but SJW propaganda these days (betcha didn’t see that coming!).

I honestly have no idea what our K-12 ed professionals think they’re trying to achieve, but what they actually do achieve is the annihilation of imagination.  History and Literature are still taught, of course, but only in the manner I’ve described — disjointed facts and canned answers to be memorized, regurgitated, and forgotten.  How could it be otherwise?  Western Civ is 99.97% the story of CisHetPat White males, who are, always have been, and always will be, pure evil.  Why would anyone care what they thought about anything?  Thus History, when it leaves off slamming the native stock’s many and obvious flaws, is nothing but the hagiography of Diverse nobodies sticking it to The Man.  Ditto Literature, all of which can be CliffsNoted “Blackity Black Latinx homo vagina, kemosabe.”

How, then, is one to even begin imagining a different world, full of elves and dragons and androids and whatnot?  The only creativity tolerated in our grade schools is the kind that brings a so-called “fact” into conformity with the Current Year’s Social Justice catechism.  These kids exist in an endless, contextless present; if there is no past, how can there be a future?  This has been the state of American education for the past 50 years, and when you consider that Upper West Side SWPLs — you know, the folks that run every traditional publishing house in Manhattan — got it first and hardest, well, it stands to reason, doesn’t it?  To these drones, pronounless gunch really does seem like groundbreaking stuff, not a sophomoric marketing stunt.

I don’t really read F/SF, or much fiction at all anymore, but I teach kids who do.  They really think this crap is creativity.  The faster Vox Day and Castalia House buries them all, and salts the earth around them, the better.

 

Lefties Getting Religion

It’s time now for another one of my wild-ass predictions.  Limber up your commenting fingers now; I look forward, as always, to hearing how wrong I am.  But I’m willing to bet that the Left is going to find religion in a big way here in the next few decades.  And I don’t mean it in the trite (and, of course, true and obvious) sense that Leftism itself is a religion.  I mean an honest-to-God (heh), come-to-Jesus moment.  It’s the next logical waypoint on their trajectory.

Have you read Eric Hoffer’s The True Believer?  If you haven’t, do so right away — it’s short, it’s pithy, and it explains Leftism like nothing else can.  Hoffer points out that all modern mass movements, from creepy cults with a few dozen members to the Democratic Party, are comprised of the same basic type of loser: Someone so dissatisfied with himself that he longs to submerge himself in something greater, to trade his own flawed individual identity for the perfect anonymous Identity of the collective.  The movement’s doctrines change according to circumstances, but it always offers the same solution.  That’s why, as he notes, Nazis and Communists in Weimar Germany put so much effort into recruiting among their avowed enemies.  The KPD had less quotable leadership than the Nazis, so we’ll have to take Goebbels’s word for it — he bragged that he could turn a Red into a Brown in two weeks.

It should be obvious that this is the emotional fuel of Leftism (or “this stuff we today call ‘liberalism’,” as Morgan prefers).  This is how today’s angel was yesterday’s devil and back again — see, for example, the recent saga of Stephen Colbert’s “homophobia.”  It hardly needs to be said that an unreconstructed Reich-winger like myself would lose everything I own had I publicly called someone a “cock-holster,” no matter how many gay friends I paraded out to give me absolution.  It’s not hypocrisy, not really.  It’s just that cognitive dissonance doesn’t exist for the Left, because “Left” isn’t an ideology, it’s an identity, and a psyche divided against itself cannot stand.  Pick any bullet point of the modern Left’s catechism and trace it back a few years — I guarantee you you’ll find them hyperventilating about the exact opposite thing.  Why, in just my post college years I’ve seen the very same persons go from

  • “monogamy is a vile, breeder-imposed insult to the gay lifestyle” to “gay marriage is a fundamental right;”
  • “illegal immigrants are bad because they bring down the American worker’s wages” to “ur a raciss for putting the word ‘illegal’ in front of ‘immigrant;'”
  • “there are only two genders (what do you think the “B” in “LGBTQ” stands for?)” to “there are as many genders as one feels xyrzelf needs at any given time”

etc.  If cognitive dissonance were a real thing out there in Lefty-land, it’d be raining brain matter to this day from all the head explosions.  That’s because cognition has nothing to do with it.  It’s a matter of belief and identity — the exact same mechanism that gets the Christian believer over the logical contradiction between “Jesus is God” and “Jesus was a man,” gets the Leftist over all of his many, many, many (many many many many many) daily self-contradictions.

And now for the supernatural bit.  For these past 200 years, Lefties have gone all-in on “science,” which to them means blank-slate equalism and dialectical materialism.  Those aren’t the terms they’d use, of course — I bet you not one Liberal in a thousand has read word one of Karl Marx — but that’s what they mean.  Problem is, both of those are laughably false, and you can’t read actual science for five minutes without seeing it.  So what’s a good “Progressive” to do?

Every Christian I know (and I am one myself) agrees that biology is valid — it is not possible for a man, or any organism, to come back from the dead.  We all hold the truths of logic to be self-evident, too — one entity cannot be both man and god, because that violates the principle of non-contradiction.  But that doesn’t stop us from being Christians; we feel it to be true, and that’s enough — the consolations of faith are far more important than the sterile truths of biology and logic.  I trust I don’t have to spell the rest of it out — given a choice between “I fucking love science” and actual, you know, science, your Lefty will take the meme every time.  It’s a religious belief, and he damn well knows it….

…which makes simply saying so the natural next step.  The only reason we think they won’t do it is because they’ve devoted their entire lives thus far to making fun of the drooling, cousin-porking Bible thumpers and their Magic Sky Fairy.  But again, CogDis isn’t a thing in their world — see the bulleted list, above.  Don’t you see?  We’ve always been at war with Eastasia.  And best of all, as Our Betters constantly inform us, Jesus himself was a Socialist.  Why do you think they keep trotting that chestnut out?  Obviously they themselves don’t believe it, as they themselves aren’t Christian…

….yet.  Give it a decade, two at the outside.  I’d look for the so-called “social gospel” to make a roaring comeback here soon.

The Boxer

I am just a poor boy
Though my story’s seldom told
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocketful of mumbles
Such are promises
All lies and jests
Still a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest

Karl Marx was right about a lot of things.  No, really – social classes work pretty much the way he says they do, culture pretty much is the “superstructure” built on its era’s economic “base,” etc.  His Capital Letter stuff — History, Dialectic, etc. — is horse hockey, as all non-religious Capital Letter Stuff is, but that’s not why Marxism is wrong.  Marxism is wrong because it’s a category error.

Marxism isn’t an economic doctrine, and was never intended to be.  That probably sounds funny to anyone who knows Marx wrote a long book On Capital, not to mention all that stuff about “the workers” and “the means of production.”  And, of course, everywhere anyone has actually attempted to implement Marxism, they start with the command economy.  But it’s still wrong.  A ten minute trawl through Marx’s writings reveals that it’s really all about the Capital Letter Stuff.  Marxism is a religion; that stuff about “the dictatorship of the proletariat” and “the state withering away” is soteriology.

Marxism is sold — pun fully intended — as an economic system, and that’s how it hooks you.  Marxism needs Boxer the Cart Horse to be fully invested in the system, and it wins him over with superficially plausible arguments about “fairness” and “justice” — Mr. Jones exploits the animals horribly, and that’s why life on Animal Farm is so tough.  Because Boxer is so fixated on the utopia just around the corner, when all horses have shoes and the hens get to keep their eggs, he never stops to question why life is so much worse now than it was under Farmer Jones.

Animal Farm was written in 1945, though — that is, back when England and the rest of the “developed world” still had economies dependent on producing stuff.  Our Boxers, by contrast, are the muddleheaded “intellectuals” who still keep pimping this stuff as if it were an economic doctrine when, again, a ten-minute examination of how our pigs really live would show them it’s all nonsense.  Has the lot of the American worker improved since 2008, would you say?  Does Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders know?  Has it ever occurred to either of them to ask this question, or even that such a question could be asked?  Are all of these rhetorical?

The point of Marxism isn’t to save the feet of the cart horses — that could be accomplished in six months, even under so inept a system as communism.  It’s to save the souls of the Marxists.  Whether the peasants actually get enough to eat or not; whether the lot of the worker is materially better or worse; none of that matters a bit.  They’re buying salvation with Boxer’s sweat, just like they were back in the 1940s.  And they’d do well to remember that there’s no “college” on Animal Farm, no university, no internet on which to Voxsplain things for 75 large per year.  And then they should think on what happened to the intellectuals back in Stalin’s day (the “young pigs” of the novel).

Trolling

Back in the days, you actually had to buy a ticket to the ball game to tell the center fielder he sucked.  It wasn’t healthy back then either, but the cost of the ticket, combined with the possibility of Ty Cobb charging into the stands to rebut you, kept the worst behavior from spreading too far.  Nowadays, of course, you can call a guy a bum on a blog, a comment on a sports site, a tweet, a call-in radio show, all with no fear of reprisal.  And everyone is a potential target — anyone who has written anything on the internet is familiar with the drive by troll, who drops in on a single post to tell you you suck, then is heard from no more.

It has serious real-world consequences, as we’re starting to see in Berkeley and elsewhere.  While organic free-range gluten free tofu is great for pumping up one’s keyboard muscles, it’s notso hotso against bikers and Based Stickman — a fact they surely would’ve known had they any familiarity with real-world conflict.  (Since Our Betters, the Liberals, are nothing if not raging hypocrites, how soon do you think they’ll be discovering the wonders of the 2nd Amendment and concealed carry?).

It’s actually worse than that, because it’s not just the internet.  Not only can they not understand that the big dude with the muscles might actually know how to use them, they’re specifically trained not to think about it.  The Liberal perspective is the only perspective that is taught, K-thru-PhD, so why wouldn’t they think grrrl power really works out on the street?  As far as they know, History is nothing but the story of women and browns triumphing over white guys… who have all the advantages, such as Patriarchy, Capitalism, etc., but who are somehow always losing.  And so you get 90-lb dreadlocked girls trying to hit grown men, and getting mollywhopped for it.

It’s all part of our flight into fantasy these last 50 years.  If they didn’t deserve it so very, very much, I’d almost feel sorry for the “antifa” out there getting wedgied.  They’ve been lied to all their lives.  And what’s worse for them, psychologically, is all the grief retconning their theories is going to entail.  Think about what it means to see your 90 lb. dreadlocked genderfluid friend getting xyr face caved in.  That goes against everything the Left has been taught all their lives.  You mean, men are stronger than women?  And that some of them won’t sit still to let you explain why that’s a problem?  And then the next day they’re going to go back to class, where their hippie-reject professors are going to explain to them that no no, it’s all just a social construction….

You could be forgiven for thinking that the Left as a whole is Satan’s own troll job, going 4chan on the entire human race.

Communication Studies

All revolutions — political, cultural, technological, what have you — depend on communication.  The better and faster the means of communication, the greater the likelihood of the revolution succeeding.

Successful “revolutions” in the Middle Ages, for instance, were cultural and technological.  Before the printing press, the realm of ideas was limited to the clergy and a few literate aristocrats.  Thus, the speed of communication was very slow; revolutions had to happen from the ground up, with some guy traveling to a distant land and reporting back “that’s how they do it over there.”  Which is why you see academic tomes covering things like “the 12th century renaissance” and “the evolution of courtly culture.”

Political revolutions didn’t really happen.  Even if a thinker — Nicholas of Cusa, say — had a radical political program, by the time his hand-copied manuscript got circulated to enough aristocrats who were willing to field an army to implement it, conditions on the ground had changed so much that nobody was willing to risk it.  Thus, there were only three kinds of medieval “political” “revolutions” — the “charismatic cult leader” type, the “society-wide riot” type, and the “Game of Thrones” type.

The GoT type should be obvious — swapping one branch of the aristocracy for another.  Your rebel lord didn’t have a coherent program to be a better king than the guy currently wearing the crown; all he had was a sufficiently large group of similarly disaffected nobles, who felt they had less to lose by rebellion than by maintaining the status quo.  This was the main source of turbulence in the Middle Ages, and the results could be spectacular — English kings never lacked for opportunities to go to war in France, and vice versa, because there was always some malcontent local lord willing to give the other guy a shot.  The stuff about tennis balls and the Salic Law makes for fun theater, but there’s really no political philosophy involved at all.

“Charismatic cult leader” rebellions are much more fun to read about, and you still can’t do better than Norman Cohn’s classic The Pursuit of the Millennium for all the gory details.  They were probably more fun to live though, too — until you got to the burning at the stake part, anyway — because the CCL’s main appeal was overthrowing social convention, which in the Middle Ages always quickly devolved into sexual license.  Of course they had “theories” about overthrowing social conventions, but they all boiled down to “we kill off all the sinners while sleeping around as much as we want, and then the world ends.”  Here again, no elaborate justifications are needed.  By the time the theologians start picking your doctrines apart, you’re getting racked by the Inquisition; by the time the rest of the country hears about it, your head is on a spike in a public place.

So, too, with the “society-wide riot” type of rebellion.  Guys like Wat Tyler had a program, sort of, but it didn’t extend much past “get the nobles off our backs by burning the debt records.”  No deep thought here either, and so they’re useless as precedents — Wat Tyler still popped up in English folk mythology, but nobody would cite “Wat Tyler’s legacy” as a reason for attempting to overthrow the legitimate government.  See also the Jacquerie in France, where chaos for chaos’s sake was raised to an art form.

When they fail, all these types of rebellion fail for the same reason: Lack of communication.  Yes, even the GoT ones.  Because communications were so slow, and the literate population so small, all gripes were basically local gripes back then.  We might know what, specifically, a guy like Wat Tyler wanted, but what reason does the rest of the country have to join him?  Ditto the crazy cult leader, whose “ideology” was probably pretty appealing if you had the chance to hear it… which, of course, you never did, unless he or his movement passed directly through your region (in the medieval sense, meaning “passed through the next village over,” not “passed through France”).  Ditto the rebel lord, who needed to convince the nobility as a whole, and at least some of the peasantry, to support him.  One of the main reasons Percys and Howards were forever getting themselves beheaded in England was, their rebellions were too obviously about obscure Scottish border stuff.  You need national appeal to effect real regime change, and communication conditions in the Middle Ages guaranteed that would almost never happen.

The printing press changed all that.  Now local gripes could quickly be made national gripes.  Quickly, of course, is relative, but in the 1530s the speed of information reaching the backcountry could produce something like the Pilgrimage of Grace, a set of local gripes against Henry VIII’s reformation that quickly became quasi-national.  By the 1630s, stuff like the Five Knights’ Cases and the Ship Money controversy, which would’ve been local affairs a century and a half before, helped bring down the King.  He who best mastered his era’s communications was the victor.

Not coincidentally, the print media age is also the age of ideology.  For the first time, would-be rebels could set out a clear vision of how they wanted the world to look, and a coherent program for getting there.  For the first time, “reform” is forward-looking, rather than a return to the past.  The Pilgrimage of Grace is instructive here, as a transitional moment.  The literate leaders, like Robert Aske, were “forward-looking,” in that they could see the need for structural reform and debate at least some of the philosophical issues surrounding it.  The illiterate peasantry, by contrast, were backward-looking — they just wanted their robes and candles and pretty pictures back.  (Note that Aske himself ended up hanged in chains).

Henceforth, no rebellion could ever hope to get far off the ground without a coherent ideology, and a convincing picture of what the world would look like because of it.  Improvements in communication facilitated that, both in getting the word out, and refining the arguments of the would-be revolutionaries.  There are a million examples of would-be revolutions failing in the modern age, but the nearest and dearest to our hearts is probably the failure of Leftism.  They had the vision, all right, and they spent the century between The Communist Manifesto and the dawn of the internet refining their arguments.  But, of course, their initial successes doomed them — instead of communicating with the masses, they now only communicate with each other, with the inevitable deterioration of their logical, historical, and rhetorical facilities.  And that’s why the Alt-Right is running rings around them.

That should be a warning to the Alt-Right, though.  As of now, their “program,” if they can even be said to have one, is backward-looking.  It is both true and obvious that the Enlightenment has failed, that Equalism is wrong, and that “democracy” as currently practiced is a suicide pact.  But… what will we replace them with?  Nobody really wants to live in the Middle Ages, you know — not even authors of fantasy novels and cosplay enthusiasts.  It’s crucial that we communicate what the world will look like once we’re done with it.  Otherwise, we’ll have lots of fun, but it’ll be Wat Tyler-style fun… and probably with the same result.