Everything Old is New Again: Antonio Gramsci

Ace of Spades, on the media:

Their [the MSM’s] mission is not mere delegitimization of those who do not worship their strange gods. Certainly they do that, endlessly. But it’s more than that — their mission is the full denigration, humiliation, and ultimately dehumanization of the outsiders to the Tribe.

I’ll say this three times because it’s important:

Cultural Power is Political Power.

Cultural Power is Political Power.

Cultural Power is Political Power.

Having been promoted to a position from which they can exert their Cultural Power to thereby exert Political Power, they do so, and they are less and less concerned with pretending they don’t do so.

Ace has just discovered Antonio Gramsci.

Antonio Gramsci was an Italian Marxist and, like all good little Marxists, was flummoxed by The People’s disinclination to revolt.  Marx — by which he meant capital-H History — had decreed proletarian revolution inevitable.  But not only were the proles not rebelling, they were actually getting happier with capitalism!  How could this be?

Again, as a good little Marxist, Gramsci knew that — despite everyone’s lying eyes — the world wasn’t getting better, cheaper, cleaner, safer, because by definition capitalism does the opposite of all those things.  And again — despite everyone’s lying eyes — life in the Soviet Union wasn’t getting meaner, poorer, nastier, shorter, because by definition communism is the opposite.  Therefore, Gramsci concluded, there must be a massive disinformation campaign going on, whereby the capitalists used all the cultural power at their disposal to flip the definitions — up is down; black is white; capitalism makes people happy and communism ends in a slave labor camp.

Gramsci called this massive disinformation campaign “cultural hegemony,” and to counteract it, he urged his fellow revolutionaries to capture the cultural high ground.  Get into the schools, the universities, the media, the arts, and subvert them from the inside.  Tear away the capitalist veil by preaching revolution from every available pulpit, and if the capitalists protest, why, you can use their absurd and antiquated reverence for so-called “free speech” against them!

It worked, too, as we can clearly see.  In our quest to find liberalism’s last new idea, then, we’re up to about 1920.

Just Another Politician?

I’ve often said that the surest way to derail Trump is to make him seem like just another politician.  Looks like he did it to himself last night.

Ace of Spades:

As for Trump: Trump’s own plan does in fact call for such reforms [of H1B visas] — the one on his website. But this is precisely the plan he disowned at the debate, claiming Becky Quick was just making this up. “I don’t know where you people get this,” he said, or words to that effect.

Although this seemed at the moment to be Trump demolishing Becky Quick for her shoddy research, in fact, she was correct: She read this on Trump’s website.

That’s the kind of for-it-before-I-was-against-it flip-flopping that is the hallmark of the Cuckstablishment*.  Teh Donald’s sole appeal is being NOT of the Establishment.  If he flip flops on this — his signature issue — he’s done.

If I were Cruz, I’d blast this to the rafters.  It won’t help — Trump’s “fuck all y’all” vote will go to Carson, and then we’ll have President Hillary for sure — but it’s the only hail mary he’s got in the playbook.

Trump better get a handle on this, and fast, or he’s exactly the kind of dimwitted amateur the political class says he is.

 

*yes yes, I know it was John Kerry who was for the war before he was against it.  But the phrase is still the cuckiest of the cuck.

Everything Old is New Again: The Social Gospel

As our four regular readers know, I think Bernie Sanders’s poll numbers are mostly wishcasting — when the only other “liberal” choice on offer is Mugabe-level corrupt, voting for Eugene V. Debs 2.0 is the only way for lefties to maintan a shred of self-respect.  But Bernie’s “party like it’s 1909” platform does give me a fun way to pass the time.  I’m off into the depths of the library, looking for the last new idea the American left ever had.  Let’s break out the spelunking gear…..

imagesBlog co-godfather Philmon’s excellent post on Church and State is a good place to start.  Phil imagines a hypothetical leftie arguing with a believer like so:

But isn’t Socialism or Communism doing what Jesus said to do?

This particular nugget dates all the way back to the 1870s.  It’s called the “Social Gospel,” and it is what it sounds like — a mix of Socialism and Evangelicalism.  Guess which one wins out?

Church and State in America have always been closely linked.  The New England colonies, of course, were designed as theocracies.  So was Pennsylvania.  So was Rhode Island.  Maryland was a haven for recusant Catholics.  Et cetera.

Now, it’s important to note that, when you click on those links, the phrase “religious toleration” is going to come up a lot.  Pennsylvania was supposedly chock full of it.  It’s why Williams and Hutchinson founded Rhode Island.  &c.  Context is key — “toleration,” in the 17th century, meant “toleration of our own views.”  William Penn quite obviously thought he was going to be dictator of Pennsylvania; Hutchinson and Williams were as dourly fanatical as the Puritans who kicked them out of Plymouth Bay.  With the horrors of the 30 Years’ War and the English Civil War fresh in their minds, colonial magistrates weren’t about to let freelance preaching get out of hand.  “Toleration” meant something like “we (probably) won’t burn you at the stake.”

Nor did the First Amendment rule out state churches.  In the interests of brevity, here’s the key:

When the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution was adopted in 1791, the First Amendment guaranteed that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This provision ensured that no one religion would be favored over another and protected religious groups from unfair treatment by the federal government. Still it did not protect against unfair treatment by state governments. Indeed, the amendment was thought by many to protect against congressional interference with state governments’ involvement with religion-that is, it was thought to prohibit the U.S. Congress from “disestablishing” churches established by state governments.

New Hampshire and other states passed laws until the mid-1800s that kept non-Protestants from holding public office. Connecticut, Massachusetts, and several other states declared official churches.

The Founders, who knew full well the problems caused by an official Church of England, were trying to prevent an official Church of America.  That’s it.

And, of course, the great reform movements of the 19th century were shot through with official religion.  The American Civil War was just as much a theological crisis as a political one.  Famed abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison didn’t call the Constitution “an agreement with Hell” for nothing, and he was thrilled at the prospect of secession — an independent slaveholding republic could be crushed by Yankee crusaders, and all the slaveholders shot.  Arguments over women’s suffrage were heavily theological, and it’s the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.  All of these were (among other things) an effort to give Christian values the force of federal law.

Given this loooooong tradition, it was perfectly logical for Evangelicalism to mesh up with the growing Progressive movement.  In its original, Gilded Age definition, “Progressivism” meant “the use of government for socially beneficial ends.”  Society would surely benefit if more people practiced the Christian virtues.  But since not everyone responds well to preaching, it’s simpler, and much more efficient — a favorite Progressive buzzword in those days — to ban vices.  Let’s use the government to save souls.

images

Ignorance of history is liberalism’s flux capacitor, of course, but for those of us who can still notice stuff, relics of the Social Gospel are everywhere.  Ever wonder why the guy in the Santa suit ringing the bell for spare change is a member of the Salvation Army?  Ever worked out at the Y — the Young Man’s Christian Association?  This variant of the Social Gospel, called “Muscular Christianity,” was designed to create buff, manly men who would go out in the world — especially the political world — and save souls (the Promise Keepers of the late 1990s were an updated version of this).  Catholics, always a little late to the party, developed their own version of the Social Gospel — “Liberation Theology” — in the 1950s; it’s the same basic stuff, but shot through with Frantz Fanon
postcolonial” nonsense.

Not that modern liberals care about what the Bible does or doesn’t say, of course.  It’s just a convenient way to score some cheap snarky points — witness their newfound respect for the Catholic Church under Pope Francis.  [I wonder where he stands on priestly pedophilia?  I wonder what he was doing all that time?  I wonder — oh, how I wonder!! — why none of these fairweather fans of Catholicism ever bother to ask him?].  And, of course, you’ll never dissuade them with mere facts — facts being to liberals what garlic is to vampires. But in case you’re ever tempted to think they might have a point with this stuff, don’t — and if you need some counterarguments, you can find a bunch of good ones starting in the Grant Administration.

Shell Ft. Sumter While You’re at It

When asked if I thought an actual civil war was likely under the current dispensation, I replied, “probably not.”  But if anything would do the trick, it’s this:

After MSNBC’s panelists prodded him into acknowledging Trump has a chance of winning the nomination, Kristol indicated it might be time for him to leave the GOP if Trump becomes its standard-bearer.

“If all the other candidates remain as pathetic as they’ve been so far, I suppose it’s conceivable he’ll [Trump] be the nominee and then we’ll have to support a third party,” Kristol said.

As The Z Man, from whom I got the link, says, Kristol is pretty much the voice of the Donor Class.  He’s correctly “predicted” the Repubican nominees in the last several contests, because he’s the man with the fullest Rolodex.  If he says the GOP will go third party, it’s a pretty good bet the GOP will go third party.

Now, it would be beyond stupid for the GOP to shank their putative nominee like that…. or so you’d think.  But look at it from their perspective.  They can’t, simply CAN NOT, afford to acknowledge that Trump (or Carson, if you believe that one Iowa poll) represents anything but a few not-even-likely-voters throwing a hissy fit in a few early primaries.  If Trump (or Carson) has any substance to him at all, it means that the GOP is fatally flawed, and that the People have a (teeny tiny) hope of prevailing over the Donor Class.

And that simply won’t do.  Now, the Donor Class might prefer — in the abstract — President Rubio to President Hillary, but Hillary will do in a pinch.  She’s spectacularly corrupt, and while the optics of her selling the Washington Monument to the People’s Liberation Army and slapping corporate logos all over the Supreme Court like it’s fucking NASCAR would be a bit, ummm…. problematic, at least they’ll get their money’s worth.  And, of course, the GOP can continue their neverending run of Failure Theater just as well under President Hillary.  What are the rubes gonna do, not buy a ticket?  It’s like Cats on Broadway, they figure, except with six-figure campaign donations and taxpayer-funded junkets.

And it’s not like there’s a Trump Party out there.  It’s just the man himself.  Maybe the Cucks’ pockets get a little fatter if a “Republican” controls the White House, but they’re willing to take one for the team.  Trump won’t be around after eight years of President Hillary — who, to thank the GOP for their support, will immediately sic the entire FTC on him– and they, the Cuckstablishment, will be right there to pick up the pieces…..

Or so they think, because — again — they’re utterly, congenitally incapable of grasping the implications of Trump’s (Carson’s) showing in the polls.  Even though it has happened several times in our nation’s past, and even though every indication says it’s going to happen again very soon now, the GOP’s “leadership” just can’t grok that the American people can and will vote for None of the Above.

Representative governments that don’t actually represent anybody don’t inspire any loyalty, either.  The GOP voluntarily turning itself into a third party will show, like nothing else could, that the game is rigged — they’d rather hand the top prize to their sworn enemy than obey the expressed wishes of their own people.

If that ain’t an invitation to actual, open, shots-fired rebellion, I don’t know what is.

Incitatus for Speaker!

Lookie lookie at all the kabuki:

I don’t blame [Paul] Ryan for trying to leverage the best terms he can get. The question is, does he really want the job? Some seem to think not and that’s he just laying out unreasonable conditions he know won’t be agreed to so he can say, “I’d have done it for the team” but then the “team” can blame those damn conservatives for stopping the last best hope for America from taking the job.

If Ryan doesn’t get the job because the Freedom Caucus won’t kiss his ass….well. My guess is the GOP moderates will freak out, call the conservatives traitors and cut a deal with the Democrats to install some super squish in the chair. And then the fun really begins.

As if installing some super squish wasn’t the point of all this from the get-go.

The problem with caesarism as an explanation for procedural shenanigans is similar to the problem with Conspiracy Theories.  With CTs, you’ve got too many moving parts.  Most of the good ones require thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people to be in on the plot — there’s just no way to maintain operational security.  With caesarism you have, in effect, too few moving parts.  Does anyone really care about how the Speaker of the House gets elected?  I’d bet good money that the vast majority of Americans — somewhere in the 80 to 90 percent range — don’t even know there is such a thing as the Speaker of the House.  Who is this whole song-and-dance for?

But the only other explanation is gross incompetence…. which, while always a good bet with the GOP, is a little tough to swallow in this instance. I don’t think even the Cucks are dumb enough to openly proclaim that we’re all just one happy family here in Congress.  How will Failure Theater continue to work if they all but announce that voting for Republicans gets you a Democrat?

 

Random Thoughts

Some probably silly stuff that doesn’t deserve a full post, but has been percolating in my brain lately:

Fads and alarmism.  I’m sometimes accused of alarmism.  “Things don’t change that fast,” they say.  And yet… consider fads.  I remember when Friends debuted and overnight, 1 of every 3 girls between 13 and 45 were sporting the “Rachel” haircut.  Or watch what happens when Starbucks comes to a small town.  Again, seemingly overnight, you’ve got half the non-senior citizen population pretending they’ve always been hipster sophisticates.  It’s a complete shift in manners — in identity — and it happens instantaneously.  Are political movements somehow exempt?  Remember: not every citizen has to be a commissar.  Not even one in one hundred need be.  All such a movement needs to succeed is the tacit — that is, cost-free and socially-approved — consent of the people.

Horror movies.  I’m not as gushy over The Walking Dead as my hipster contemporaries, but it, and horror movies generally, are an interesting peek behind the zeitgeist’s curtain (or, these days, up its skirt).  In both TWD and its recent spinoff, Fear the Walking Dead, the government is either nonexistent, or a backstabbing group of cowardly sellouts.  In Fear the Walking Dead, citizens who might otherwise be a social burden — the (non-zombie) sick, drug addicts, etc. — are rounded up for disposal, but before the liquidations can begin, the army prepares to pull out.  And — this is important — they’re thwarted by a few civilizans and a bunch of walking corpses before they can even do that.  Think about the implications for a sec:  The world’s premier fighting force, and they can’t handle an old man, a school counselor, and a bunch of literally brainless corpses.

The lesson of both Walking Dead series couldn’t be clearer — when the shit hits the fan, you’re on your own.  Your government – whose #1 job is the protection of its citizens — will be useless at best, an active hindrance at worst.  The first season of the original Walking Dead even has a scene where a scientist at the CDC in Atlanta mentions that the French were close to a cure for the zombie plague.  The French!  Meanwhile, every American scientist, with the sole exception of Exposition Man, has “opted out.”  Even the hipsters who make up 99% of AMC’s viewing audience, in other words, expects zilch from their government (and note that TWD premiered in 2010, i.e. right in the middle of America’s slobbering honeymoon with Obama).

Note, too, the prevalence of horror movies these days.  Note especially the nature of the monster.  Is it slashers, like in the 80s?  Or meta in-jokes, like the 90s?  Rather, it’s a relentless, inexplicable something, that one simply endures.  The apex (or is it nadir?) of this particular style is last year’s It Follows, in which the “monster” has no origin at all.  It just IS, and you’re supposed to pass it on to another unsuspecting victim.  If the original function of horror was life-affirming catharsis — we are basically good, and will triumph in the end — then modern “horror” is 180 degrees from that.  These things can happen to anybody, for any reason (or NO reason), and there’s no heroism, just survival (witness any of the torture pron movies like Saw).  This isn’t life-affirming catharsis; it’s existential angst.

Men are witches now.  In early modern societies, the breakdown of the majority culture led to witchcraft trials and heresy hunts.  Such is campus “rape” hysteria.  When you read accounts of early modern witchcraft, one of the most striking things is the pettiness of the harm alleged.  Women were hanged or burned for causing milk to sour, rheumatism to flare, and other mind-bogglingly minor acts.  She sold her soul to the Devil for earthly power, and used it to do that?  “Rape” on campus works the same way.  All the awesome power of The Patriarchy (TM) is deployed for a two-minute dry hump with a nearly comatose 5.  The standard explanation, note, for witchcraft hysteria is the waning power of that same Patriarchy (TM) — they needed to prop up their authority, and so took it out on the most vulnerable members of their society.  In the 1600s, those least able to resist were poor, old women.  Who are the most powerless members of modern society?  To ask is to answer.

The “Intransigence” of the Non-Compromising

Van Harvey, a friend of mine in the grassroots, was asked to comment on a recent David Brooks column in the NYT lamenting the GOP’s abandonment of traditional conservatism for right-wing radicalism.”  It’s ALLLL Fox News and Talk Radio’s fault.

If only.   And people really need to read their history if they think politics in the US has not been this contentious throughout its history.  Not that that’s GOOD, per se, it’s just that it’s nothing new.

Anyway, I first thought it was a general call for comments and not specifically just from Van, so I kind of jumped in.  And the train of thought that ensued I think warranted publishing.

Right off the bat I saw something that just stuck in my craw.  David says:

“conservatism stands for intellectual humility, a belief in steady, incremental change, a preference for reform rather than revolution, a respect for hierarchy, precedence, balance and order, and a tone of voice that is prudent, measured and responsible. “change

I’d strike “a belief in steady, incremental change”. Why? Because I believe that belief in change is idiotic. Belief in other things might drive steady, incremental change, but belief in steady, incremental change is just Saul Alinsky Lite.

A respect for precedence is great when conservatism has been running things all along, but when you get people in power over the course of, say, 100 years who do not believe in intellectual humility and do believe in change – and not necessarily steady or incremental – who have thus purposely injected things into the system to take advantage of future respect for precedence… you’ve got a bit of a mess on your hands.  So-called conservatives allow this over and over and over and over and over and over and over again … eventually if there are any real conservatives left, it’s going to give rise to someone like Rush Limbaugh to stand up and say, “enough of this crap, we’ve been Mr. Nice Guy long enough!”

Which to his credit Mr. Brooks alludes to in the end:

“These insurgents are incompetent at governing and unwilling to be governed. But they are not a spontaneous growth. It took a thousand small betrayals of conservatism to get to the dysfunction we see all around.”

Well we have yet to see if they are incompetent at governing. And if they are unwilling to be governed by people who only give passing lip service to the Constitution that governs THEM … when you compromise again and again on the very principles of Republican Government, what do you do? Sit down and quietly go down with the ship … and it IS going down … or stand up and sound the alarm that the ship is sinking, you know why, and let’s set about righting the damned thing, or die trying?

Now Brooks probably means when things change they should change slowly and steadily.” But the reason I am sensitive to the language is that when he says “conservatives believe in steady, incremental change” –– the progressive left will answer “hey, so do we!”

Rules_for_RadicalsI read “Rules for Radicals”. The progressive left does believe in change. They actually believe in change for its own sake. Sometimes they call it “transformation”. One of them got really ballsy and called for “Fundamental Transformation”. These are softer terms, found more palatable to the public, for “Revolution”. I’m not making it up, it’s in the book.

Transformation means to change. Fundamental means at the basic, foundational level. To change at the basic, foundational level.  Dude, that’s called Revolution.

goalpostsAnd it’s been going on for a long time. Compromise for the sake of compromise is playing their game. Make your opponent live up to his own rulebook. Rules of fair-play are fundamental to the classical conservative viewpoint. So they’ll play that. Deal is, they won’t stop pushing.

They will move the goal posts every time you compromise until they are where they want to be.They will play that game all day long. Happy to do it. It gets them what they want.

Say a guy really wants to fondle your wife, really badly.

feel up“Hey, mind if I ogle your wife?”
“Seriously?”
“How about I just look at her?”
“Well, I guess I can’t stop you.”
“Hey, mind if I grab her breast?”
“Well, yeah, I do.”
“Ok, how about I just put my hand on her shoulder?”
“No!”
“Why are you being so rigid?  You must compromise.  Compromise is a virtue.”
 *sigh* “Ok, you can put your hand on her shoulder.”
“Hey, mind if I remove your wife’s blouse?”
 “As a matter of fact, I do.”
 “Ok, how about I just stick my hand down her blouse?”
“No!”
“Why are you being so rigid?  You must compromise.  Compromise is a virtue.”
*sigh*

Well at some point a person who values his wife and his standards is going to have to say, “no, and get the hell away from my wife, and away from me, while you’re at it!”

And you’re going to call him belligerent?

It’s actually worse than that. When you finally tell the guy to get the hell away from your wife, he will come back with, “ah, but you set a precedent. I may put my hand on her shoulder! You can’t go backward!”

Then you acquiesce to this principle, and he leaves his hand on her shoulder. But he begins to slip it down a bit. When you protest, he says “Hey, my hand is still on her shoulder. See? My palm is still on top. Besides, who says the shoulder just consists of the top?”

You seek a court order to have him move his hand back to the top. But he counter sues, claiming the shoulder is technically more than just the top.

quadrantAnd the judge your guys nominated and got through comes back and says, “The shoulder may be interpreted as anywhere in an upper quadrant of the torso. He may proceed.”

He starts flagrantly groping your wife right in front of you.

You protest that this was clearly not the intent of your compromise. But now by doing anything about it you are violating his “rights”, you see.

You protest again, and he gets in your face. You hold your hands up, palms out, signaling for him to back off.

He starts shouting “DON’T PUSH ME! HE’S SHOVING ME!’

News cameras show up and interview the man, who has clearly been wronged by your backward adherence to your moral values and your wife’s honor.

They demand to know when you stopped beating your wife.

This is how America feels right now. Her good nature has been taken advantage of far beyond decency.

“But any progress that this groper might enjoy, would result from the husband’s willfully refusing to acknowledge what was actually going on. The groper isn’t attempting to behave in a civil manner, incremental or otherwise, but rather is covertly using the husband’s presumed civility in order to violate his wife’s person (and really, after the second grope, a ‘conservative’ wife would likely remove her pistol from her purse and then seek out a good divorce lawyer).”  – Van Harvey

alinskyRe: Alinsky. They didn’t just read it. They took it to heart, and it defines the driving methods behind the leftist ideologues.  Hillary wrote her thesis on him.  Alinsky is the recognized Father of Community Organizing – something we didn’t know existed until Obama started running for president.  It’s ACORN’s Bible.  Barack was an attorney for them. The Clintons had Cloward and Piven to the White House, fer crissakes. Frances Piven is ecstatic to have Obama in the White House. And the Democrats have an openly admitted socialist who has a reasonable shot at the presidential nomination for one of the two major parties — over the dishonest socialist Alinsky Acolyte who will not openly admit in so many words that she is a socialist – but she’s made pretty clear over the years that her preferred policies align quite well with theirs.

The goal posts for us to compromise with have moved so far to the left it is not even recognizable as American anymore. That should be a 5 alarm fire wake up call. But I suppose we’ll just keep on with our quiet, dignified compromise, deference to precedence, and measured tone.

The argument came back, “do you really think a Republican candidate can get 51% of the vote” as a reason not to fight against things it is opposed to, or as a reason not to fight for things it claims to be for.

Van beat me to my response and probably put it better than I would have:

“We don’t care. To enter a fight only because you feel assured of winning is cowardice in drag.

“A divide that may be insurmountable at this point…” The divide IS insurmountable, but it still may be possible to co-operate civilly, though that is most definitely not what the community organizers want, as Alinsky noted, they want conflict. Period. To attribute that to the 24hr news cycle is too convenient and mechanistic, but again, there’s our divide, pragmatism vs principle, and it has been visible and in the open, again, since the late 1800’s.”

My response was less measured.

“Well, honey, we can’t get 51%, so we’re just going to have to stand by quietly and let him grope you.”

The other side doesn’t care, either. Consider Pelosi’s quote on passing Obamacare:

“We’ll go through the gate. If the gate’s closed, we’ll go over the fence. If the fence is too high, we’ll pole vault in. If that doesn’t work, we’ll parachute in but we’re going to get health care reform passed for the America people.”

Now I don’t advocate trampling the intent of the rules to “get things done” like the democrats did to pass ACA. But, especially in the face of that kind of determination, if you don’t fight for it and try to get every vote you can regardless of whether you think you’re going to get 51%, then pack it the hell up and go home and hopefully let somebody who WILL fight for it do the fighting. Otherwise you guarantee the outcome will be the same as if you were not there.

Trampling is just what I believe Donald Trump would do — but the fight is why Trump is so popular – he is unapologetic about several issues that resonate with a lot of conservatives even though many of those conservatives realize he’s really not anything like a classical liberal “conservative”.  But it’s not even necessarily what he’s saying — it’s his perceived willingness to fight for what he apparently believes.  He pushes back on the media with the “gotcha” questions, and he’s unapologetic about it.

As for Talk Radio … if it weren’t for talk radio and Fox News, the ONLY arguments the people would hear would be the progressive left arguments.

And there’s good talk radio and bad talk radio. I can’t stand Savage. I think Hannity makes poor arguments albeit for the right things generally. But I’ll also say that I don’t think there’s’ any more thoughtful voice out there in the media than Glenn Beck’s – and if you don’t believe that you haven’t listened to him. I don’t agree with him about everything, but he’s right way more than he’s wrong.

Rush is a lot more thoughtful than his critics give him credit for. I said before I listened to him for a month precisely to get what he was saying directly from him rather than as filtered through his critics.  I found that his critics are mainly full of shit, and have probably not listened to more than sound bites.  Now his pompous schtick is just that.  It’s showbiz.  It’s a joke that the whole audience is in on.  It’s not my bag, so I stopped after the month I allotted myself. But what I found was if you are actually listening to him — he makes great arguments — FOR the things that Republicans say they champion but hide under their desks if they’re not SURE they can get 51%.  I saw a speech he gave at CPAC a few years back where he dropped the showbiz.  It was a really good speech.

Frankly I don’t watch Fox News, nor do I even really listen to Beck anymore on any sort of regular basis. I don’t need him anymore, but I’m glad they’re there — especially Beck. Instead I read Hayek, Bastiat, Rommen, Sowell, Lewis, and a whole host of other books that talk more about the why than the what.

But most people don’t have time for that. We have jobs.  We have families. Our side doesn’t have an army of Union workers and out-of-work welfare recipients to get out there and protest and lobby with a media friendly to its causes.  And the best most of the rest of us can do is tune into the radio in our cars or at work, or turn on some news channel at night that isn’t hyper-actively involved in the destruction of our own culture.

Caesar Debates the Democrats

The Ace o’ Spades gang’s take on last night’s Democrat debates:

Anderson Cooper not only didn’t make Hillary answer that question [do all lives matter, or just #BlackLives?), he actually changed the question’s wording when he came to her so that she didn’t even have to avoid the no-win scenario — he turned off the no-win scenario just for Queen Hillary.

Bernie Sanders protected Hillary from her email problems, too. It’s questionable, as Drew said, whether he actually is running for president either.

As Dave from Texas said, it felt like a beauty pageant in which everyone on the stage, including the judges, seemed to want to put the tiara on just one princess’s head.

Caesarism, you’ll recall, is when the ruling elite disguises its despotism with a sham version of representative government.  By pretending that his unlimited, despotic powers were actually limited, constitutional ones, Gaius Julius Caesar kept enough people happy enough to prevent outright rebellion — a state of affairs that worked, more or less, for the next three hundred years.

The trick is maintaining the delusion of self-respect among the plebs.  Slavery takes some getting used to, especially when, as in Rome’s case, your nation is half the world’s slavemaster.  Few Romans could stand to acknowledge that they were to Caesar what their household servants were to them.  It was a farce, and the Roman people surely knew it, but when your choices boil down to comfortable slavery, pointless rebellion, or painful death, most folks choose comfortable slavery…. especially when the master makes it easy to pretend that your condition isn’t slavery.  How could it be, when you get to vote on it every four years?

It’s doesn’t always work flawlessly — as Philmon pointed out, the original Caesar got stabbed — but see above.  It took a few generations to get from the O.C. to Caligula, and another two hundred to get to the outright oriental despotism of the Dominate.  Meanwhile, the Elite lived really, really well… while the people “voted” in fake elections and “debated” meaningless trivia in the Forum.

The problem is that once Caesar finished whacking the principled opposition, he tended to find the whole business of stage-managed “democracy” more trouble than it was worth.  And that was truer the longer the Principate lasted — Caligula, just to stick with a theme, delighted in rubbing the Senate’s faces in it, and he paid for it with his life.  And every assassination, rebellion, and civil war that followed was — of course–  justified in terms of “restoring republican traditions.”

Reading Ace’s recap of the Dem “debates,” I’d venture to say we’re pretty much nearing the end of our own Principate.  The Supreme Court bailed out on the last vestiges of its original function, along with its sanity, this summer.  The Repubicans have been in Caesar’s bag for a long time now — ask Scott Walker.  Most everyone who is anyone in politics appears to believe that the sham isn’t worth the trouble, that they can scrap the whole kabuki routine and go full Elagabalus.

Give that to the Fascists, at least — they don’t bother to hide the obvious from the voters.

“Left” and “Right” Are Meaningless

This is a topic that probably deserves thousands of words and tons of examples, so let’s crowdsource it.  I bet half of our four readers are going to agree with me 100%; the other two are going to think I’m a lunatic.  So I’m asking for examples and counterexamples for my thesis, which is:

“Left” and “Right” are all but meaningless today.  They describe, at best, a certain rhetorical style.  Calling someone a “conservative” or a “liberal” doesn’t predict much of anything, policy preferece-wise, and the few policies it does kinda sorta predict don’t logically mesh up with each other.

Consider “liberal,” “leftist,” what have you.  Ask liberals what they’re about, and they’ll give you some mush about equality, tolerance, diversity, etc.  And yet, those three terms are 100% self-contradictory.  If everyone’s the same (equality) then there is no such thing as diversity.  Achieving diversity requires intolerance.  Tolerance precludes equality (if you tolerate differences, you acknowledge that not all is equal.  If everyone’s equal, there’s nothing to tolerate).  0 x 0 x 0 = 0.

Consider “conservative.”  Ask conservatives what they’re about, and you’ll get stuff about free markets, lower taxes, robust defense, etc.  But…. look around.  Do you see any of that?  There are basically six corporations in the world, and they make everything.  How is that a “free market”?  The only thing that’s “free” in the “free market” is the supply of immigrant labor… which directly contradicts “robust defense” (what’s the army defending us from, when anyone and everyone can waltz over our nonexistent borders?).  “Lower taxes” means either “lower taxes on the six companies that make everything” — there’s a reason they’re offshoring — or “tax breaks for social engineering schemes.”  I promise you, the pinkest 1910s Progressive would love Jeb W. Bush’s tax plans.  Leaving the people alone — what we used to call “individual liberty” — hasn’t been on the Republicans’ radar since William McKinley.  (They only look good on that score compared to the other side, who really wants to put lots of us in labor camps and hardly bothers to disguise it anymore).

So much for ideology.  Consider individuals.  Barack Obama isn’t a Marxist, you know — no, not even a Cultural one.  He’s a slightly cleaned up Mau Mau; a virulently anti-white racist.  “Cultural Marxism” is virulently anti-white, too, so that’s the language he speaks to his supporters, but if he had to choose between advancing a traditional Leftist policy aim and sticking it to white folks — assuming, for the sake of argument, that there’s a difference — you know which one he’d pick, every single time.

And every single “liberal” in America knows it too.  That’s why they voted for him in the first place.

Regarding “conservatives,” consider ¡Yeb!  Whether or not you agree with my thesis, I don’t think I have to sell y’all on the idea that this chucklehead is about as classicallly conservative as Josef Stalin.  Hillary’s the yin to his yang, and neither of them can actually tell you why they want to be president, other than it’s their turn.  And this is “conservatism.”

So… what do y’all think?

Actually, Incitatus Would be an Improvement

See, Nate — this is why “caesarism” is descriptive, not prescriptive.  There’s no one Caesar coordinating all this, because Caesar isn’t stupid…

Republicans may be forced to solicit Democratic help to break their Speaker stalemate, Rep. Charlie Dent (R) said Thursday.

The Pennsylvania centrist, who often serves as a mouthpiece for outgoing Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), said there is only a small handful of Republicans who can win 218 GOP votes to fill Boehner’s shoes. The trouble is, none of them wants the job.

“We may need a bipartisan coalition to elect our next Speaker,” Dent told reporters after Thursday’s closed-door GOP meeting. “That’s a very real possibility right now, and I think anybody who’s honest about this knows it. They may not want to talk about it, but they know it.”

…. but then again, as human nature is eternal, the only real difference between Antiquity and Modernity is speed. It took two and a half centuries to get from Gaius Julius Caesar to Elagabalus; what with our innerwebz and all, we may have managed it in two and a half decades.

Hey…. maybe that’ll work!  Everyone hates the F-word, so how about the Dominate?