SNUL: The Classic Slum

Over at Z Man’s, “race realism” goes off the rails.  It always does.  Have you noticed?

Z Man’s complaint is against Our Rulers and their belief in what amounts to magic.  The only options for blacks’ lousy social, cultural, and economic performance vs. whites are race, culture, and magic, and since we’ve tried fixing culture and it can’t be race, it must be magic. Thus “critical race theory,” “white privilege,” and the rest, all of which can be summed up “bad juju, boss.”

I’ve got no beef with that.  But, as always, the danger is reductionism (see the comments).  Culture does play a part — a significant part.  For proof, read Theodore Dalrymple’s Life at the Bottom, then Robert Roberts’ The Classic Slum.  Dalrymple’s underclass British whites are indistinguishable from underclass American blacks — from whom, it’s easy to see, they draw much of their worldview, language, and style.  Roberts’ underclass British whites are very obviously proles, but they’re proud, industrious proles.  You could walk down the street at night in Salford; in most British or American cities today, you’d better have SEAL Team 6 escorting you if you venture outside after dark.

What happened, of course, is that clever academics realized we’re all hypocrites, and from that, concluded that the very idea of standards is a major way The Man is keeping us down.  Back in the Jurassic, we believed in God, so men falling short of their proclaimed ideals was no big deal — we’re not angels, we’re all fallen, let him who is without sin cast the first stone and all that.  You’d never hear the following, which my Millennial students all consider the atom bomb of rebuttals:

Parent: Don’t do drugs!

Kid: You did when you were my age!

Back in the days, the parent would say “yeah, and that’s why I’m telling you it’s a bad idea!” and that would be the end of it.

Some of Roberts’ slum-dwellers had kids out of wedlock.  Some of them were alcoholics.  Some were homosexuals.  Some of them had all the modern social pathologies (adjusted for time and place).  And yet, nobody questioned that monogamy, sobriety, heterosexuality, etc. were good things.  If we can’t all practice them as much as we’d like, well, see that “we’re no angels” stuff, above.  It was important to try — you know, for the kids — such that even if you fell short, the kids would see that trying to rise above one’s circumstances is another good-in-itself.

Dalrymple’s slum dwellers have concluded that, since nobody can live up to his standards all the time, it’s stupid to even try…. and they’ll bust a beer bottle over your head if you do.

American blacks believed this once, too… or, if you must be a “race realist” about it, were forced to act as if they believed it by Jim Crow.  Either way, though, culture kept a LOT of pathological misbehavior in check.  It’s a necessary, but not sufficient, cause of social regeneration.

My So-Called Ideology*

A million years ago, a dead white guy said that the greatest threat to civilization was “huge organized forms of self-righteousness.”  He was referring to stuff like Communism and Fascism but — harebrained nihilistic death cults though they were — at least they had a coherent body of thought behind them (yes, Fascism too, if anyone would ever bother to read it).  Today’s huge organized forms of self-righteousness lack even that.

Example: The other day I was driving to work and saw that the town must have an election coming up — there were signs everywhere reading “So-and-So for Mayor.”  The name sounded vaguely familiar, which is odd, because I don’t follow local politics in cities I don’t live in.  So when I had a free moment I googled up So-and-So… and hey, whaddaya know, he’s a failed Congressional candidate from a few years ago, from another district.

Who says politics is just showbiz for ugly people?  This clown is a character actor from central casting, indistinguishable from every other central casting clown Our Rulers see fit to bestow upon our “elections” every few years.  Should he not get elected mayor, So-and-So will no doubt be parachuted into some other town to run for alderman or something.  His resume and biography don’t matter — he once got elected to something, somewhere, so he’s “electable.”  He’ll die in office, and his obituary will gush about “a lifetime of public service”… though it won’t mention all the publics he’s served, since someone might notice that he’s not from any of those places and none of his so-called constituents could pick his mug out of a police lineup.  See also native New Yorker Hillary Clinton, or stalwart Chicagoan Alan Keyes, whose totally Constitutional qualification to run in those districts was “once changed planes at La Guardia and O’Hare,” respectively.

Hillary Clinton is, in fact, far from the worst violator, though since she’s the most prominent lately let’s roll with that.  Does anyone here think Hillary Clinton has any personal convictions at all?  Ideological convictions, I mean, since we all know that she’s deserving of a whole bunch of the other kind — securities fraud, insider trading, espionage, murder one….

To ask is to answer.  Hillary Clinton is out for Hillary Clinton, full stop.  As president, she’d have executive ordered up mandatory school prayer, concealed carry, and NASCAR attendance if someone paid her enough.  She’s more brazen than most — other hags who make noise about Feminism would at least be a little embarrassed to stay married to an out-n-proud philanderer credibly accused of multiple sexual assaults — but it’s a difference of degree, not kind.  “Liberalism” pays better than “Conservatism,” so she’s a Democrat not a Republican.

Actual ideology requires deep reading, sustained thought, and a backbone, three things which very few of our fellow citizens possess — certainly none of the casting-couched mercenaries we call “politicians” do.  Whether that’s a byproduct, or the point, of the modern educational system can and should be debated, but the end result’s the same either way.  What’s the State for, anyway?  Why should the people get to vote on stuff?  Come to think of it, just who are The People, and how did they get here?

Nobody currently occupying, or running for, any political office in the land has any clue.  Which is, as the Smart people say, problematic.

*I was going to shoehorn in some conceit about that old 90s tv show My So-Called Life, but that’s too cute and nobody cares.  But since I haven’t posted any pictures of attractive people recently, here’s Jordan Catalano.

jordancatalano

SNUL: The Eternal Mystery of Liberalism

I got nothin’ much these days, so here’s this:

When you can satisfactorily explain the appeal of Hillary Clinton, you will fathom the liberal mind.

I’m not being sarcastic here.  I understand the following reasons for supporting her candidacy:

  • She’s got dirt on you (this explains half the DNC).
  • She’s going to keep the graft gravy train rolling (this explains the other half).
  • She’s not Donald Trump (remember, MPAI – for lots of folks, politics is sportsball and the Dems are “our team”).
  • You’re a single-issue voter (feminist, abortion zealot).

But those are all tactical choices (for values of “tactical” that include the knee-jerk partisanship of the numbnuts low-info voters that are the majority of both parties’ bases).  But lots of folks sure seemed to be truly, madly, deeply in love with the concept of Hillary Clinton, specifically, as president of the United States.

If you can explain how this reptilian criminal got herself a personality cult without actually having a personality, you have explained modern Leftism.

SNUL: Marxy Marx and the Funky Bunch

Sorry no update lately.  A few quick thoughts on The Z Man’s foray into the Nazi briar patch:

Just as “Nazi” used to mean something real and obvious, so too did “Marxist.”  But just as the Left throws “Nazi” around to mean “anything I don’t like,” so the Right does with “Marxist.”  Of course, this is partly the Left’s own fault, as they themselves throw St. Karl’s name around a lot — your required Intro to Studies class at any college in America is nothing but Marxy Marx and the Funky Bunch, for instance.

But there’s never been a viable Marxist movement in America.  You’d be forgiven for thinking there was if you only read “Progressive” history — which is to say, all academic history written since about 1950 — but it’s wrong.  There are many groaning shelves’ worth of books about labor organizing in the Gilded Age, for example, but

  • a) that’s about as far as it ever got, and
  • b) it wasn’t that far, and
  • c) when you actually look at their evidence, it’s all Judean People’s Front vs. People’s Front of Judea-type tempests in teapots.

In fact, that’s still the burning question for Labor History, lo these many decades later — why was there no viable Marxist movement in America?  (And yes, “Labor History” is a thing, and yes, it’s as insufferable as it sounds).  The answer, of course, is “because Americans, lacking 1500 years of feudal tradition, don’t think of themselves in class categories,” but that must be wrong, because Marx.  So round and round it goes, the only practical effects being: C. Wright Mills‘ books still get on required reading lists in college history classes, and there are some grumpy old men named “Melsor” out there.  The guys who originally pushed this stuff were the “Old Left,” and they’re deader than disco.

The “New Left,” as everyone knows, were the Sixties radicals.  They talked a lot about Marx, too, but their real inspiration was Herbert Marcuse, who said you could screw your way to Enlightenment (and liberate the proles in the process).  Since that required a lot of force — human biology being what it is, and Leftists being the losers they are — the New Left was also all-in on Mao’s style.  They were, if anything, even more economically illiterate than the Old Left (if such a thing be possible), but they didn’t care; they just knew they had to say “Marx” every now and again to keep up their street cred.

Which brings us to the PoMo Left, a.k.a. the Social Justice Warriors.  Their avatar is Barack Obama, who, as the Z Man points out, probably can’t even spell “Marx.”  They’re just old-school Calvinists cosplaying as Bolsheviks — somewhere, somehow, Wrongfans are having Wrongfun, and that must not be tolerated.  And if they get to live like Ottoman pashas in the process, well, vanguard of the proletariat and all that.  There’s no such thing as a Fact, everything’s a Social Construction, nobody’s different from anybody and everyone’s the best at everything, and if you say different, we’ll ruin your life.

Karl Marx has the blood of millions on his hands, but he never said anything that stupid.  Blaming him for SJWs is like blaming the first ape to bash another ape with a rock for ICBMs.

Deep Cover

Yet another “Alt-Right” retard may once have been “Mainstream Left.”  Via Vox Day, the tale of Garon Archer, who, like Jason Kessler, was Occupying Wall Street just a few years ago:

But just a few years ago, Archer appeared in a 2012 YouTube video of an Occupy movement demonstration in Florida, protesting for the arrest of George Zimmerman, who fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida. In the video, Archer – who was himself 17 at the time   – chants slogans against racism and burns a Confederate flag bandanna.

Vox and his gang, of course, assume this is a (((Soros))) astroturf operation.  I dunno.  One of the big problems intelligence services had in the Cold War was finding deep cover operatives.  Anyone good enough at aping the other guy’s lifestyle to pass as an enemy national for long periods of time was at high risk of developing Stockholm Syndrome.  Your average Leftist obviously doesn’t suffer from cognitive dissonance, since without CD Leftism cannot be, but the kind of personality that would Occupy Wall Street just isn’t capable of faking it on the other side.

I suggest another alternative: Today’s SJW is tomorrow’s obergruppenfuhrer.  I could swear I read some dork going off about this just the other day….

Beyond Left and Right

At Z Man’s, an interesting post and discussion about how the old Left/Right paradigm doesn’t work anymore (and what happens to the poor bastards who make their livings off it when it finally dies).  I’ve been interested in this for some time, and we’ve had in-depth discussions about it over at House of Eratosthenes.  Back then, I suggested replacing Left/Right with a series of “buckets,” for lack of a better term (hey, I’m not in Marketing):

Imagine that we set a whole bunch of famous leaders down and gave them a pop quiz: “What is the purpose of government? What is the State for?” Then we sort them into buckets.

One common answer would be “the State exists to create Utopia here on earth,” and guys like Lenin, Hitler, Mao, and Obama would be in that bucket. Their Utopias would all look different, and they’d employ different means to get there, but all those guys would agree that their governments are trying to create a perfect world.

Another bucket contains guys like Oliver Cromwell, Suleiman the Magnificent, Charlemagne, and Ferdinand and Isabella. Their answer is something like “government exists to give greater glory to God, and/or punish His enemies.”

A third bucket is full of guys who answered “the purpose of the State is to give me and my entourage the highest possible standard of living” — Genghis Khan, Louis XVI, pick your ancient empire-builder.

A fourth bucket reads “the State exists to keep the natural world in balance.” Egyptian pharaohs and Confucian emperors fit here — they have to do their daily rituals or the world falls out of whack.

A fifth — very small — bucket reads “Government exists to protect its people’s life, liberty, and property.” Here you find George Washington, Jefferson Davis, William Pitt, and (arguably) guys like Pericles and the consuls of the Roman Republic.

I’d argue that the guys in the “state as utopia” bucket are the Left, and the “protect the people’s rights” bucket are the Right. That leaves the vast majority of all governments that have ever existed in the middle three buckets. Doing it this way, I think, helps clear up some of the confusion about behavior and attitudes — Obama, as you note, behaves as if he believes His presidency has kept the seas from rising, but I don’t think He actually does. Nor do His followers.

It works ok, I think, if you look at governments which have actually existed.  But there’s an even simpler theoretical divide, one that doesn’t assume the existence of The State like my “buckets” theory does: Do men have Natural Rights or not?

If you’re not sure you have an answer, there’s an easy litmus test: Can you give the full Jefferson quote?  The one about Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.  Here’s the complete sentence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The bold part is the key.  Whatever kind of half-assed Theists the more advanced thinkers among the Founders were, it’s clear that they all believed in the traditional conception of Natural Rights — Man is a unique being, which by a kind of special creation alone has Reason, from which flows his Natural Rights (whatever they turn out to be; the history of political philosophy is the attempt to figure that out).  Moreover, it’s obvious that we are this way, and thus have these rights.  Whatever Justice in the abstract turns out to be, whatever the optimum form of the State is, whatever subsidiary rights might flow from the unalienable ones, any answer that conflicts with with the God-given Big Three must be wrong.

That’s Jefferson, mind you.  I disagree with him on lots of things, especially that “pursuit of Happiness” bit — we could’ve been spared a lot of trouble if, when biting John Locke’s philosophy, he’d kept the original wording: Life, Liberty, and Property.  But whatever, the point is: Without a Creator, Natural Rights are meaningless.  No God, no Rights, which is why the Left always mangles the quote.

To their credit (if that’s really the word), the Original Left — those guys in the Estates General that certain spergs are still going on about 200 years later — recognized this.  The Cult of the Supreme Being was a grotesque farce, but Robespierre was smart enough to realize that without some kind of Deity, the Rights of Man and Citizen lost their capital letters and became “whatever we decide not to guillotine you for today.”  Karl Marx saw it, too, and though he was officially a militant atheist, his Capital Letter Stuff — Dialectical Materialism, History, and whatnot — is obviously just God-Lite.  It had to be; otherwise, what’s the point?  If History isn’t really some kind of vengeful god to be propitiated, why wouldn’t you just sit back and wait for the Revolution that St. Karl proclaims inevitable?  As a Russian critic of Lenin’s put it, Marxists are like astronomers, who are mathematically certain an eclipse is coming… and then form a Party and start killing people to make sure it does.

But then Darwin happened, and the Left, with their fucking love of science, finally cottoned to the obvious implications a century and a half later.  If there’s no God, then there’s no History either.  All is atoms and void; life itself is accident and error; and only the strongest survive to mindlessly, pointlessly propagate.  There is, therefore, nothing but Power.  Stripped of all its god-bothering illusions, human life — all actions, from the “noblest” to the “basest” — are just power transactions: Domination, Subordination, and Resistance.  From this, it follows that all human culture, from calculus to concertos, is really just talk — Discourses about Power, which is why everything is, in the PoMo Left’s favorite phrase, a “social construction.”

Which, when you combine it with the special kind of stupidity only a Liberal Arts degree can provide, explains the modern Left’s whole thing.  Because they believe the universe is nothing but Words and Power, your “rights” are whatever we say they are today.  Because they’re stupid, they think “we” and “the government” are the same thing, and the relationship is unidirectional — the government will never decide that “our” “rights” are anything other than what “we” say they are.

That’s your modern political divide, right there.  Are there Natural Rights or not?  The “Right,” to stick with the old-n-busted terminology for a second, for convenience, says “yes,” and wants to be left alone to exercise them.  The “Left” says “no,” and will be happy to have you shot to prove it.

Whatever terms we (see what I did there?) ultimately decide on to name these two sides, that will remain the basic split.  If that results in a theocracy, well, so be it.  The Inquisition will kill you in order to save your soul; the Cheka will kill you because you’re inconvenient, or because you had a rich ancestor, or because they feel like it.  How can you possibly object, comrade?

 

SNUL: Re-Medievalizing

I’ve written before how the Left longs for a static, legible world, like the one the feudal system theoretically  produced — everyone is exactly what he looks like and nothing else, forever, world without end amen.  Conservative blacks, say, or non-feminist women fry their circuits, which is why they hate them with an especially venomous hate.  Having spent long years in and around the ivory tower, I’ve seen the process firsthand — they’re getting damn close to achieving their goal, in the following ways:

Fuzzy Numbers:  As any book about the Middle Ages will tell you straight off, medieval numbers are Rachel Maddow-level accurate.  “We were opposed by fifty thousand Saracens” means anything from “there were enemies as far as the eye could see” to “we were probably slightly outnumbered” to “it wasn’t our day, so we ran.”  Ditto every other unit of measurement, and as for prices, the best economic historians can do is along the lines of “a livre tournois would get you three chickens and a duck, maybe, in most parts of rural France between 1100-1300.”  So, too, with our modern medievals — nonsense like “women are paid 75 cents on the dollar” and “one in four college girls is raped” means “we’re peeved about our poor performance, but it can’t be our fault, because there were Saracens, like, everywhere.”

No Causality:  “Folk beliefs in the Middle Ages” have gotten yards of heavy scholarly treatments, but they’re still frustratingly vague for most readers.  We want to know how things work — “you’re telling me that if I piss in a bottle, mumble some mumbo-jumbo, and throw it in a river, I’ll be de-hexed?  Please for to explain this.”  But they can’t, because medieval brains didn’t work like that.  It’s doubly frustrating, because medieval logic is a wonder to behold.  They can tease out consequences, conditions, and entailments we’d need a Cray to process, but they never applied those skills to the real world.  The modern analogue is, of course, “privilege” — your average college kid can find “privilege” in, and feel guilty about, the fact that some people are smarter than others, but he can’t use those finely-honed powers of thought to realize how bum-fucking stupid that is.

Heraldry: Historians generally leave to antiquarians the question of who had to do homage to whom at a given time, because it’s nightmarishly complicated and, frankly, not all that important.  When it mattered, it was obvious — the King of England has to do homage to the King of France for England’s possessions in France, and boom, there’s your Hundred Years’ War.  Your low-rent minor noble, though must’ve had a rough time of it, as he might be called to do service for two or more lords who were currently fighting each other, despite both being vassals of the same king (this is “bastard feudalism,” as pretentious Game of Thrones fans (BIRM) probably know).  The obvious modern analogue: The Victim Pyramid.  Like feudalism, there’s theoretically a nice clear, clean org chart — gays outrank blacks outrank women, the way a duke outranks an earl outranks a baron.  The reality, though, is very messy — does a lesbian outrank a heterosexual black male?  What about Muslims?  And then there’s the trannies… There’s no Burke’s Peerage for our Sob Sisters, alas.

Heresy: Ever read any medieval philosophy?  The stuff is recondite to say the least.  They thought so, too, which is why some of their greatest minds — including the Angelic Doctor himself — had certain propositions condemned as heretical.  Even getting a handle on the drift of the points in question is enough to make your eyes bleed, but if you fuck it up, you get burnt at the stake.  The obvious modern analogue: Do I even need to say it?  Fortunately, just as the really bad stuff re: heresy fell mainly on the church’s academic elite — no, really, most peasants got off if they did penance and pinkie swore not to do it again — so, too, is blue-on-blue fire the most common today.

I’m sure there’s more… feel free to add in the comments.