What Art is REALLY About

Some e-migos and I were discussing this in an offline.  The movie in question was Fight Club.  I think we all agreed that the movie’s no-doubt-SJW writer thought his film was about “toxic masculinity,” but that’s not how it was received — most people nowadays who watch Fight Club (which came out nearly 20 years ago, remember) really want to be Tyler Durden.  He’s not a caricature of chest-puffing machismo; he’s an ideal to aspire to.

I know, I know, if they could see the obvious consequences of their positions they wouldn’t be liberals, but the goodthinkers behind too-clever-by-half “deconstructions” like Fight Club really ought to have had second thoughts.  Back in Fight Club days, postmodernism was all the rage, and if you got past English Lit 101 you’d soon be introduced to the joys of reader-response criticism.  A work’s author, this theory says, is irrelevant; what a given artwork “means” is how the audience responds to it.

Now as with all things Leftish, there’s a grain of truth to this.  Cracked.com (the genesis of this particular discussion btw) is chock full of semi-amusing listicles about authors who hated their most famous novels, actors who despiste their iconic roles, etc., almost all of which boil down to “the stupid audience doesn’t understand what I was doing.”  The audience is a big factor, probably the main factor, in determining how a work will be received.*

Which suggests a nice line of counterattack for the Alt-Righters, who internet much better than the SJWs.  Reader-response criticism puts authors on the defensive.  If everyone who loves Fight Club thinks Tyler Durden is a role model, then it’s up to Jim Uhls (screenplay) and Chuck Palahniuk (novel) to explain why he’s not.  Maybe they’re too big to respond to the likes of us, but it should be pretty easy to back your average Gender Studies major into a corner in a comment section: “So tell us, Snowflake, just why is Tyler Durden an avatar of ‘toxic masculinity’?  And no, ‘wow just wow I can’t even’ is not an answer.”

Meme it up.  Why, for example, is this so bad?

97bfbc65ac9576f2d7dbe478f8d71f36

Someone like me can discuss the pros and cons of National Socialism with you, because I’ve read a book that isn’t Harry Potter.  Can your average SJW?  To ask is to answer.  I say The Man in the High Castle, book and tv series, is about how great life is in the Greater German Reich.  Discuss.

See what I mean?  Put them on the defensive.  Wow just wow, you can’t even?  Gosh, you’re really getting your $250K in student loan debt’s worth, eh Snowflake?

 

 

 

 

*Which explains a lot of “great” literature, in my opinion.  Starting around the turn of the 20th century, writers wrote exclusively for critics — guys like James Joyce would be embarrassed to death to make a single grubby dollar off their work.  The audience responded, and we’ve all had to memorize the “fact” that bizarre, schizophrenic-chimp-on-crack stuff like Finnegan’s Wake is “Great Art.”

Leftism: Failing to Get Losers Laid Since 1789

Perusing Stacy McCain’s writeup of pocket-sized feminist gadfly Laurie Penny’s run-in with pickup artist Roosh V., I’m reminded of one of the staunchest weapons in our arsenal: Lefties are loveless freaks who can’t score.

You can, in fact, make a pretty good case that Leftism, all of it, is, and always was, nothing but a last-ditch attempt by social dregs to finally get some action.  If it takes overturning the nuclear family, religion, social convention, and the very concept of gender itself to finally get the chance to bump uglies, well, Laurie Penny et al are up to it.

The whole thing is well worth reading, but the highlights will do here.  From the top:

Roosh is tall and well-built and actually rather good-looking for, you know, a monster.

Aaaand there goes the no-hitter, right there in the first paragraph.  Her readers are supposed to focus on “monster,” but like the man said, SJWs always project.  Her polemical purpose would be much better served by focusing on a flaw, any flaw — maybe Roosh’s fingernail grooming regimen needs work.  At the very least, Hit Piece 101 says leave him undescribed — your readers are already looking for an ogre; their minds will supply them with one.  By admitting Roosh is attractive, she’s already given the game away.

And then there’s this:

Number two: I seek to destroy the nuclear family, and disturb traditional relationships between men and women. This is also true, although I remind him that the nuclear family as it is currently conceived is actually a fairly recent social format.

This is called “lying by omission,” and it only works on people who don’t know any history (i.e. all liberals everywhere).  Yes, it’s true that “the nuclear family as it is currently conceived” — Mom, Dad, and kids under one roof — is fairly recent, but only because the nuclear family used to be an entire atom bomb of blood relatives.  Until very recently, grandparents and even great-grandparents lived in the same house with their married children and their children.  The “modern” nuclear family — the Leave It to Beaver life that Laurie “seeks to destroy” — isn’t a newfangled patriarchal imposition from the Nifty Fifties; it’s a severe decline in community relations that social commenters have been bemoaning for over 200 years.

The reason Lefties all hate the “nuclear family” is — just ask ’em! — that it serves to “control female sexuality.”  By which they mean “stifle female hypergamy,” and they are 100% correct — the family does try to do that, and it was a damn good thing for Western Civ that it worked as well as it did for as long as it did.  Unchecked female hypergamy in premodern cultures led to gaudy chivalric displays of “let’s you and him fight.”  In modern cultures, it leads to the culture-wrecking alpha fux / beta bux dating dynamic, with the latter being replaced at light speed with “gubmint bucks.”  You don’t need egghead studies to tell you that single mommery correlates with just about every social pathology there is; just look around (and note that this is the uber-liberal Brookings Institution admitting that

Children raised by single mothers are more likely to fare worse on a number of dimensions, including their school achievement, their social and emotional development, their health and their success in the labor market. They are at greater risk of parental abuse and neglect (especially from live-in boyfriends who are not their biological fathers), more likely to become teen parents and less likely to graduate from high school or college.

Oh how that must’ve killed them!  But at least they won’t get called rayciss – though the black illegitimicy rate in America is sky high, no iteration of “black,” “African-American,” or “race” appears in the article).  Hypergamy is civilizational dynamite.

But it does score losers some occasional nookie, though.  Skim McCain’s archives if you’ve got a strong stomach; he’s forever forwarding the adventures of women who are a) strong, confident, whatever, and b) completely surrounded by cats.  You could be forgiven for thinking that “sex columnist” and “serial pump-n-dump victim” are synonyms.  One gets the impression that any one of these gals would drop her entire schtick for a nice candlelight dinner… but alas.  We’re a 100% transactional society now; sex is as mechanical as sliding your debit card at the checkout.  We need to be asking these people: Is a night of torrid passion with Trigglypuff or Comic Book Guy really worth it?

Shame Culture II: The Sluttening

E-migo Nate Winchester sent this to a few of us in an offline:

Breaking up

My first reaction is: While I understand the hindbrain urge to slug the guy, a moment’s reflection shows I really should be thanking him — he saved me from investing a single minute more in a ditzy skank.  Another moment’s reflection, and I’m pretty sure I should join the Marines — it’s not as if a girl who would put something like this on Twitter wasn’t dropping hints of her ditzy skankiness all over the place.  She must’ve all but hired a skywriter to advertise it to the world, and I missed it.  Clearly I need to see a lot more of the world before being released back into civil society.

A third moment’s reflection, and I think about the bedrock economic concept of marginal utiltiy, and how hard our society tries to make sure young people never learn it.

Marginal utility, Investopedia says, is “the additional satisfaction a consumer gains from consuming one more unit of a good or service,” but of course it applies to most any human endeavor.  When you first start learning a language, for instance, the marginal utility of each hour of study is very high — when you don’t know word one, just being able to say “¿Dónde está el baño?” in the appropriate context feels like a major accomplishment.  But the more you know, the less marginal utiltiy each study-hour has, and unless you’re a naturally talented linguist (and can go total immersion), at some point it drops to zero (e.g. you might never master some weird mutant verb tense that only shows up in avant-garde fiction).  Ditto weightlifting, carpentry, flower arranging, jiujitsu, or whatever — no matter how naturally gifted you are, no matter how hard you practice, you eventually hit a hard limit.  Marginal utility zeroes out.

I’ve written about this a zillion times before, but it still bears repeating: Back in the Jurassic, Little League and the Sadie Hawkins Dance taught all but the spergiest loser boys everything they needed to know about marginal utility.  Some of us — most of us — will never be able to hit a curve ball or date the prom queen, and while there can be tremendous satisfaction in the progress you do make in improving your game (in either sense), you’ll never get where you want to be.  That realization also entails a free bonus lesson on the fundamental unfairness of life, and those two lessons, well-learned and with the guidance of a competent mentor (the ancient Anglo-Saxon term for this was “fa-ther”), reconciled most Jurassic Age boys to their fate.  Life’s about playing well the hand you’re dealt.

Girls learned about marginal utility in a different way, but back then they did learn it.  Because getting asked out was a literal thing back then — you didn’t “go out” with a boy unless and until he “asked” you — girls had to learn all the subtle (and not so subtle) ways of making their interest known.  For the benefit of younger readers, this included such devious, underhanded techniques as “putting on makeup” and “dressing well” and “being pleasant” — you know, all that evil stuff we Patriarchs imposed on you back when the world kinda made sense and young people were tolerably happy with each other.  But just as all the batting-cage time in the world won’t let a boy hit a curveball unless he’s got the genetics for it, there are hard limits to how attractive a girl can be.  Marginal utility, see?  Makeup and a winning personality could take you farther than is commonly supposed, but not as far as the promised land.

But just as Special Snowflakism has infected all 7,291 modern genders with the academic version of shame culture we talked about yesterday, it has really screwed up their girl versions.  Because there used to be one sure way for a girl to vault herself temporarily into the big leagues — putting out.  As hard as younger readers will find this to believe, this was once frowned upon, and the reason it was frowned upon was that it zeroed out the marginal utility of everyone else’s efforts.  A plain-but-slutty girl could temporarily leapfrog all her peers in the competition for the quarterback’s attention… but temporarily, on a high school time scale, feels like forever.  Hence, “slut shaming,” which back then — again, I know this is tough to grasp — wasn’t a pejorative; it was a socially beneficial feedback mechanism.

Alas, modern girls are completely shameless, and because boys have always been shameless where nookie is concerned, the whole system has gone down the toilet.  With obvious results.

Face and Shame

Flashback to high school: Some assembly or other, with the dorks in the National Honor Society up in the front rows.  The principal is droning on about the importance of academic integrity.  Then he says something about cheating, and how everyone should follow the example of the NHS kids.

Remember, this is the National Honor Society — the biggest collection of brown-nosers and apple-polishers in captivity.  Openly mocking a principal is, for them, as inconceivable as missing Harvard’s early decision deadline.  But we couldn’t help it — the whole group burst into laughter.

You see, this was a new school in a posh suburb created ex nihilo by the regional tech boom.  There were maybe three white kids in the National Honor Society.  Everyone else was first-generation Asian, which meant that the NHS was filled with blatant, unapologetic, enthusiastic cheaters.  They cheated on everything, all the time.  They cheated when there was no possible benefit to cheating.  They cheated when it took way more effort to cheat than to play it straight (a favorite tactic was to load up the memory of a graphing calculator with elaborate shorthand symbols of their own devising; you haven’t lived until you’ve seen some sweaty Chinese kid begging the teacher for permission to use his calculator in English class).

That was long ago and far away, and at the time — incipient little shitlord that I was — I wrote it off to cultural diffrence; I would’ve quoted Kipling had I known it.  Asian cultures are shame cultures — it’s only bad if you get caught, and it’s shameful not to put one over on the gwai-lo if you can.  I thought this attitude was non-transferable.

We’re not turning Japanese here in modern America, but a few decades of self-esteem indoctrination has produced something similar to a shame culture in the college kids I see.  There has always been cheating in college, of course, but back in the Jurassic it was a desperation maneuver.  These days, nobody thinks twice about turning in a paper copy-pasted directly from Wikipedia, sometimes with the hyperlinks still in the text (I wish I were kidding).  Not only are they shameless about it, they actually get mad at me when I catch them.  It’s bizarre.

What that says about the future of America I don’t know, but it’s nothing good.  The NHS kids I went to high school with were actually, legitimately smart — they cheated, yeah, but they could do the work.  Kids today, though?  It’s not going to end well.

SNUL: Generational Politics

Interesting post over at Z Man’s about generational politics.  But in addition to the inevitable NABALT from the Boomers in his readership,* Z Man made the mistake of brinigng up Allied bombing raids in World War II, so cue the spergout.**  But it’s a fun topic nonetheless.  I don’t have much to add, so please indulge some noodling:

I wonder if they have discussions like this on the Left?  My initial read is no — as your typical Leftist was raised by a single mom (=in daycare dawn to dusk, being “raised” by whatever minimum wage drone they employed that week), they don’t really see the impact of “generations.”  On the other hand, Leftism is just Daddy Issues writ large, so there must be something to it.  On the third hand (hello, Chernobyl!), every single one of them is the specialist snowflake that is, was, or ever could be, so even if you pointed out their remarkable similarity to everyone else in their cohort, they’d deny it… so probably not.

And this is where the laity might get confused about the role of the university, if they ever thought about it (seriously, though: If you find yourself being confused about the role of the university, or thinking about it at all, and you’re not directly employed by one, seek therapy).  There are, after all, entire academic fields that should have an interest in this kind of thing — History of course, but also Cultural Studies and American Studies.***   Alas, the ivory tower doesn’t work like that.  They’re against the familiy, you see, and have been since Engels, so studying it falls to the feminists (who — I bet you’ll never guess! — have labeled it a patriarchal imposition of the CisHetPat capitalists).  If you want to study this kind of thing, you’ll have to do it yourself.

Fortunately, stuff like Project Gutenberg makes it pretty easy.  Heck, the Penguin Classics do, if you do it right.  Pick popular or significant works about 30 years apart and read them back to back.  They might as well have been written on different planets.  You can even do this with YouTube, if you like — aside from the ship having the same name, Star Trek TNG has nothing at all to do with the original.  See also any show recently remade (McGyver etc.) — the new version looks like it was made by Martians.

Seriously, try it — what culture could possibly have produced something like My Mother the Car or Diff’rent Strokes?  Comprehend that, and you’ve learned a lot about your own generation too.

 

 

*Reminds me of an old joke about a preacher began a sermon with, “I’ve noticed there are some women in my flock who take every general statement as if it applies to them personally.”  Immediately every woman in the congregation jumped up and yelled “No I don’t!”

**Irrelevant to the topic or the spergout, but who says Germans don’t have a sense of humor?  Goering, the head of the Luftwaffe, said at the beginning of the war that if one Allied bomber were seen over Berlin, his name was Meyer.  From there on out, every time an air raid siren went off, Berliners would start waving at the sky and shout “Hello, Herr Meyer!”

***In which you get your PhD by reading the whole run of a comic book and comparing it to Star Trek while ranting about capitalism.

Conservative Revolutions

Before it became common knowledge, it was chic and edgy to say “the American Revolution was a conservative revolution.”  By going on “the rights of Englishmen” and so forth, George Washington and the rest of the CisHetPat slaveowning gun nuts were really securing their position at the top of the North American food chain.  The Stamp Act and whatnot were threatening their economic prosperity, you see, so “no taxation without representation!”*

That position is stupid and based on deliberate misrepresentation of data — everything put forth by Marxists is — but there is such a thing as a “conservative revolution.”  In fact, all revolutions before the printing press were conservative.  They all looked backward, to a golden age — even the bizarre millennialist sects in the Middle Ages thought they were practicing “original” Christianity, as it was (or should have been) before the Church, a.k.a. the Whore of Babylon, captured it.  It took the printing press and Puritanism to pull revolutionaries’ eyes off the golden past and onto the glorious Utopian future.**

We need to realize this, because without a “conservative” revolution, Western Civ is dead.  “Progressivism” is, as the Z Man says, a nihilistic death cult.  They were never too strong on what the Glorious Communist Utopia was supposed to look like, but with 100 years’ data to go on, it’s now obvious that the Glorious Future was never the point — it was always about killing people and breaking stuff in the here and now.  Pick any item on the SJW agenda — nobody knows what will happen when we finally reeducate all the badthinkers, but boy oh boy are they eager to get started.  Here’s the passenger list for the first cattle car….

Revolutions can look backward.  Ours needs to.  Pick a golden age — the 1950s, say — and let’s get to work.  Call it “the retro future” or something, like a Fallout video game.  Otherwise, the real future is going to look like… well, like a Fallout video game.

 

 

*It makes superficial sense, if you don’t know anything about 18th century political theory, or how the British Empire actually worked, or… well, you get the idea.  How on earth could the colonies ever get representation in Parliament?  It took months to get back and forth across the Atlantic, which colonial merchants of all people knew.  Plus, there were only thirteen colonies; they were guaranteed to get outvoted on anything important.  Yet they kept insisting on representation.  Obviously, then, it was all just a ruse to stir the rubes up!

**n.b. that the goal was always the same — greater freedom, greater equality, the overturning of stifling social convention, and free stuff for everyone.  Fra Dolcino, say, expressed himself in the parlance of his times, but he was still talking about Social Justice and gibsmedats.  Which suggests that “revolutionary” is an immemorial human type….

What’s Wrong with Socialism?

Nothing, actually.  At least, there wasn’t — not until Karl Marx got ahold of it.  Take Marx out of it, and “socialism,” like “capitalism,” is just shorthand for a universal human tendency.

An illustration will help.  George Fitzhugh was an antebellum Southern intellectual, which meant he wrote defenses of slavery.  He had himself a prose style, and carried on a quixotic correspondence with The Liberator, so he still occasionally pops up in those anthologies about how awfully racist those racist Southern racists were.  He famously declared that “slavery is the perfect socialism”….

…which is fun to taunt an SJW with, but it’s also an idea worth taking seriously.  Fitzhugh had two main arguments in favor of slavery.  The first was the basic Aristotelian one, advanced by pretty much anyone who spared a thought for mankind’s oldest and most common labor system: Slavery allows true culture to flourish by freeing the best minds from manual labor.  It’s boring, because commonplace.

The other one, though, is unique to modernity, and so far as I know, unique to Fitzhugh: Slavery protects everyone, slaves and masters alike, from the alienation of industrial capitalism.

Whether this actually applied in the South (or anywhere else) is beside the point.  Fitzhugh nailed the fundamental problem with industrialism: It has a logic of its own, that eventually reduces everyone involved to cogs in a machine.  One doesn’t feel anything but annoyance for cogs when they break; one simply throws them out, and moves on.  Slavery, Fitzhugh said, prevents that by keeping communities intact.  Moreover, slavery eliminates the stress of being forever on the knife’s edge.  Even the best-paid factory worker is subject to economic forces beyond his control; a bankruptcy in London four months ago could put him out of a job at a moment’s notice.  No matter how hard times got in the South, Fitzhugh said, slaves would always be taken care of.  Slavery is hard work, but it’s honest work, without the vague and incurable stress that was reducing so many Northerners to neurasthenic wrecks.

Again, whether anyone would take this deal if if were offered them is beside the point.*  I don’t think Fitzhugh ever read Marx, but his “capitalism is worse than slavery” argument simply takes Marx’s assumptions out as far as they will go.**  If Marx is right — if Capitalists will always reduce workers’ wages to, and then past, the point of subsistence — then, for the proles, slavery really is objectively better than capitalism.

Socialism, then — as Fitzhugh uses the term — simply means “keeping communities intact.”  An organic community wouldn’t let its members starve, even if they were no longer economically productive.  Communities preserve human relations, instead of Industrialism’s “what can you do for me today” pirate ethic.  Socialism is the deliberate, planned attempt to keep this at the forefront of human relations, and as such, there’s nothing wrong with it at all.

 

 

*Fitzhugh himself (probably) didn’t buy his own argument — he seemed to enjoy trolling his Southern readers, too, and at one point all but suggested enslaving poor Southern whites if they obviously couldn’t take care of themselves.

** There’s no contradiction here.  It didn’t matter if Fitzhugh read Marx, because nothing Marx said about the proletariat was original.  “Owners will screw workers past the point of death” was conventional wisdom among the free-thinking crowd in the late 18th century; it’s all over William Blake, for instance.  When you come right down to it, Marxism is a marketing stunt — it’s the conventional wisdom of the bleeding hearts, packaged as economics for innumerate people who fucking love science.

Junior High Dating Game

At some point in the junior high years, every boy likes a girl who doesn’t like him back.  When his Mom hears about it, she says something like “don’t worry, son; she’s a silly girl and she doesn’t know what she’s missing.”

I don’t think I’m exaggerating too much when I say that what happens next determines most of that boy’s future.

Back in the Jurassic, most American boys eventually learned that Mom, bless her heart, was wrong.  She wasn’t lying to you — at least, not consciously — but she’s a girl, and girls don’t get it.  So Dad / Older Brother /  Kind Uncle stepped in with a version of The Talk.  I doubt any boy, even a junior high one, was so dense as to need the full version, but it went something like this:

“Son, of course she’s not going to go out with you.  She’s way out of your league.  She’s going out with the quarterback.  He’s taller, stronger, better looking, more socially skilled, and because of all that, far more popular.  So now you have two choices: Work your ass off to get into that league — knowing that failure is 99.8% guaranteed — or set your sights on someone in your league.”

Let’s leave aside the vexing contemporary phenomenon, so well documented by “Game” writers, of every single Millennial girl carrying on her whole lives as if she’s playing in the Majors.  Just focus on the boys.  Back when we had a rational(ish) society, dating and Little League taught boys the fundamental economic concept of marginal utility.  At some point, the return on your efforts to hit a curveball / date a cheerleader goes negative.  You’ve maxed out, and now you learn how to make the most of the talents you do have — learning, in the process, that happiness in life is how you live it.

Or not.  Some chumps believe their Mom.

These, of course, are the Social Justice Warrirors, and they’re all convinced — literally, I’m coming to believe — that being superficially clever just IS being smart, virtuous, and sexy.  Pretty much the entire SJW catechism is not just an effort to deny Reality; rather, it’s an effort to virtue-signal just how clever one is while denying Reality.  If denying Reality were the sole point, one could very easily pretend to be Diogenes, like they did back in the Sixties (unwittingly, of course).  No, the point is showing off how blatantly and counterintuitively one can deny Reality — not even Diogenes, I’m sure, would argue that “gender is a social construction.”  It’s not enough to say “no, she’s not out of my league;” one must deny the very concept of leagues.

Back in the days — that is, before everyone was expected to go to college, or at least act like they did — this kind of thing was confined to the professoriate.  Any decent college library has shelves stacked to near-collapse with volumes proving that socialism really works, that the USSR consistently out-produced the USA, that there are no such thing as gulags, and anyway the bastards deserved it.  You really have to admire the perverse ingenuity of it all.

Alas, now everyone carries on like this.  Thanks, Mom.

AN ARGUMENT AGAINST GUN CONTROL YOU PROBABLY HAVEN’T HEARD

Guest post from Nate Winchester:

The following is a true story*.

Where I grew up is on the border of rural and suburban (subural? rurban?). A little less than a mile from that house is a neighbor, we’ll call ‘Ed.’ He’s an older fellow, the spitting image of what pops into your head when you picture “old farm boy.” Yeah, a walking cliché of “rough around the edges.”

This road I grew up on is one surrounded by farm lands behind and around all the houses lining it. Some of the farms hold crops, others livestock. One day, a bull owned by another neighbor escaped from his field and attacked Ed who was working outside in his yard. Now, if you’re pretty citified, the most exposure you’ve had to bulls is probably the Spanish fighting ring and rodeos. You might even believe the clowns of the latter are more of a threat than a walking steak. So let me explain how a bull attacks someone: the one ton plus animal likes to body slam its target, which will knock said target to the ground nine times out of ten. Once the target is on the ground, the bull proceeds to continue to ram its head, body and front hooves into the target over and over and over until the target has no more bones. Needless to say, it takes awhile and is fatal.

Luckily for Ed (well, as much luck as he could have after somehow getting a bull mad at him**) a bull attack isn’t exactly silent and several neighbors heard what was happening and came running to help. From what I understand, they started shooting the bull. It wouldn’t stop. Neighbors had to keep escalating firepower before they were finally able to stop the beast. If I heard correctly, they started with a pistol, then tried a shotgun, finally someone had to use a high-powered rifle and even that took more than one shot.

Now this story does have a happy ending. Although it was iffy for awhile, Ed ended up recovering and after a long stay in the hospital, is now back home (it helps that decades of hard work have made the guy too tough to die). So what was the point of this story? Only as an answer to those who want to ask “what do you need ___ for?” when it comes to the gun control debate. What do you need “assault weapons” for? Because less firepower only makes the bull mad. Why do you need a greater than 10 bullet magazine? Because those first shots may not slow the bull down.

I will be honest here. Had gun legislation gone through and kept weapons out of the hands of Ed’s family & neighbors, do I think the supporters of such legislation would have wanted Ed to die? Of course not! That’s why such things are called unintended consequences.Because nobody intends them. Heck, during the entire gun legislation debate, I never even considered such a scenario as an argument for the gun rights side. In a country of millions, none of us have any hope to realize every possible scenario on how a law will affect one of those millions.

Thus we should all approach law with humility and the realization that there will be unseen costs to our actions. If we are not willing to pay them, then we should reconsider.

*I hate to make a claim without some evidence (especially with all the hoaxes that happen on the internet) but after a lot of searching, I never could find a local news article covering the incident. I also know how some people can be outright assholes when it comes to people challenging their notions so I’m not giving any more details to allow jerks a chance to harass Ed. (Though do you really want to mess with a guy who survived a bull?) If you’re with a legitimate news organization and would like to verify the story, talk to Hube.

**To this day, nobody knows why the bull hated him so much. Sometimes you just get a nemesis.

Book Recommendation: The Socialist Phenomenon, by Igor Shafarevich

This one isn’t in most public libraries, but you can find it online no problem.  Shafarevich was both a world-class mathematician and a dissident; the book was samizdat.  It’s quite readable, but there are understandably a few stylistic quirks.  The first two sections, for example, are historical, and while interesting, you don’t really need them — Shafarevich acknowledges as much, and puts handy summaries at the end of each section.

His goal is to abstract the essence of socialism from its theory and practice.  We Alt-Realists hardly need a book to tell us that Marxism is an obvious fraud, that “social justice” is equally chimerical (and n.b. this was written in the USSR, in the 1970s!), and so on.  But mathematician Shafarevich follows the logic of socialism out to its horrifying conclusion: Socialism, he says, aims at nothing less than the total destruction of the human personality; when actually put into practice, socialism aims at the annihilation of the human race.

He acknowledges that this is a tough pill to swallow – how can such a nihilistic creed ever have mass appeal?  He suggests Freud’s “death instinct,” and while such a bald statement deeply offends the touchy-feely spirit of our brave new world, you don’t have to spend five minutes among the online Left to see the old cokehead — Freud, not Shafarevich — was onto something.  In 1949, Orwell wrote that Eastasia’s version of Ingsoc translated to “death worship;” nearly 70 years later, it’s obvious that modern Leftism is, as the Z Man often says, a nihilistic death cult.

The Socialist Phenomenon, then, is profitably read as the academic companion to Hoffer’s The True Believer, as they describe the same phenomenon separated by time and culture (the point of Shafarevich’s historical exposition, btw).  True Believers hate themselves so much that they want to destroy their personalities by merging completely with a Whole.  Shafarevich saw his death-worshiping countrymen annihilate themselves inside the Party.  Our Maolings are trying a different tactic: Endless differentiation.  They’re purely negative — no Prog can even begin to tell you what xzhe’s for, but nurtures an endlessly growing list of what xzhe’s against.  The endpoint of the constant micro-calibration of ever more obscure genders, sexual preferences, skin colors, ethnicities, etc. is a being who is totally alone in the universe…. and then pops out of existence like a quark.

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— The book is full of interesting side trails.  Blogfather Morgan would like Shafarevich’s argument that Pharaoh was indeed left wing.  Shafarevich is careful to distinguish between what he calls “chiliastic socialism” — the kind that actively seeks the end of the world — and “state socialism,” in which the government controls the means of production.  I see his point, but I still feel that the distinction obscures the unique evil of Leftism.  It’s not about the organization of the means of production; it’s about changing humanity.  After reading Shafarevich, my rule of thumb is: You can tell a left-winger by his attitude towards children.  Should parents be allowed to keep theirs, or should the state take over as much as possible, as early as possible?  Pharaoh didn’t care how his serfs raised their kids — so long as they were around to build his pyramid, it was all good.

— There’s a wonderful tradition of anti-socialist critique out there.  Unfortunately it’s all in Russian, so we only get it secondhand, like this gem from Sergei Bulgakov: “Marxists predict communism like astronomers predict an eclipse… and then immediately form a Party to bring the eclipse about.”

— Finally, socialism has always had a unique version of the free rider problem: Dorks jumping on the bandwagon trying to get laid.  All the chiliastic socialists of the Middle Ages and Reformation preached that “common property” included common wives; Marx and Engels were still getting asked this question — and dodging it — well into the 19th century.  Which makes sense when you look at Bolshevik women.  If that’s your dating pool — and I think we all take it as read that SJWs have zero game — then oh my god yes, let’s socialize sex.  Here again, the best Alt-Realist tactic seems to be: Make fun of these dorks for the dateless wonders they are.