The Eloi

Another way to phrase this would be: Men who like men don’t like men who don’t act like men.

I think I’ve settled on my designation for Our Betters, the Liberals — they’re Eloi.

Having solved all problems that required strength, intelligence, or virtue, the Eloi have slowly become dissolute and naive: they are described as smaller than modern humans, with shoulder-length curly hair, pointed chins, large eyes, small ears, small mouths with bright red thin lips, and sub-human intelligence. They do not perform much work, except to feed, play, and mate; and when Weena falls into a river, none of the other Eloi helps her (she is rescued instead by the Time Traveler).

That seems to be what the Left’s shooting for, doesn’t it?  Especially the “except to feed, play, and mate” part.   Oh, and the part about not caring if one of their own falls into the river to drown.  It takes a literal deus ex machina to save them.

(Mr. Thompson’s fans, should any wander over here, will note that I’m heroically refraining from linking a picture of Laurie Penny to that physical description of the Eloi).

Dive Bombers

When Germany went to war in 1939, the Luftwaffe had one mission: Close air support.  Quick-strike fighters like the Me-109 would knock out enemy planes on the ground, while heavy fighters like the Me-110 would eliminate any that managed to take off.  Ultra-fast light bombers like the Do-17 would conduct tactical airstrikes against reinforcements and ammo dumps, while the fearsome Ju-87 Stuka took out troop concentrations and armor.

It worked spectacularly.  Poland, France, Holland, Norway — nobody stood a chance.  What the German army failed to achieve in four  years of trench warfare, 1914-1918, it achieved in six months of blitzkrieg.  But then the war changed.  In order to invade Britain, the Luftwaffe first had to clear the skies.  It was forced into a role for which it was not designed, and, despite a huge edge in weapons, training, and numbers, the results were not good.  The Me-109 was a good dogfighting aircraft, but lacked the range to stay more than 20 minutes over southern England.  The Me-110, which was supposed to be the air-superiority fighter, was useless in that role — too slow, too clunky, too lightly armed.  The quick-strike tactical bombers lacked the bomb load and defensive armament to be strategic bombers, and by now enemy fighters were fast enough to catch up with them — they got shot down by the score, the 109 didn’t have the range to escort them, and the ones that got through didn’t have the punch to complete their assigned missions.

Worse, the Luftwaffe never seemed to realize its core mission had changed.  Even when it became clear that Britain and Russia couldn’t be blitzed, they still kept cranking out ground-attack planes.  Even as the skies over Germany were filling with British and American heavy bombers, and the ground on the Eastern Front with Russian divisions, the Luftwaffe was strapping bombs onto the world’s first operational jet fighter and trying to make its one kinda-sorta long-range strategic bomber into a dive bomber.

Which is a decent metaphor for modern government.

The Founders designed a pretty good government for its core mission — defending The People’s lives, liberty, and property, as those things stood around 1787.  It was a distributed system; it assumed the assumption that the Big Three are best defended at the lowest practical level.  So, most citizens would be governed by local laws.  Only those things that required a bigger government would be handled at the county level, then the state level, until finally you got to the federal level, which handled very big stuff like foreign policy.

Alas, the centralizing tendency that has been man’s lot since we first came down from the trees doomed it.  Toad Suck, Delaware, had a town council that was on the ball; their streets were great.  Their neighbors in Frog Wallow didn’t, so their streets weren’t… which negatively impacted the commerce of Bugger County.  Which, of course, affected the whole state, whose ongoing trade dispute with New Hampshire necessitated an appeal to the Feds… and whaddaya know, a few penumbras and emanations of the Commerce Clause later, and now you’ve got to clear it with seventeen different DC bureaucracies, plus nine lobbies and twenty four pressure groups, to fix a pothole on Toad Suck’s Main Street.

Mission creep, see?  FedGov has the technical capacity to fix potholes in Toad Suck, Delaware, just as the Luftwaffe’s engineers had the technical capacity to make a jet fighter or a strategic bomber.  But technical capacity is useless without an understanding of the core mission to which it is to be applied.  Why was the world’s fastest aircraft — an air-superiority platform if ever there were one — blasting off to drop tiny little pinprick bombs on the Eastern Front?  Did Goering really envision huge fleets of strategic bombers diving from 20,000 feet to drop heavy payloads on British and Soviet industries?  The minute you ask “so what’s all this spiffy tech actually for, anyway?” nobody has an answer… and that’s why they lost the war.

These days, nobody has any idea what our FedGov is supposed to do.  The Constitution may or may not be a “living document,” as Our Betters always say — it may well have been overtaken by events.  But how would we even know?  It assumed that government exists to do certain things.  Does our government still do those things?  Is it supposed to?  Can it?  (It is entirely possible that “protection of life” is not compatible with “preservation of liberty,” as any number of knife-, truck-, rifle-, and bomb-wielding Swedish Lutheran lone wolves are doing their damnedest to illustrate).

If we have any hope of winning this thing, we need to figure it out.  You don’t win a total war with dive bombers, and you don’t win a total cultural war with internet memes.  What’s the mission here?

I Guess I’m English

Here is the Z Man passing some thoughts about John Derbyshire’s speech at the Mencken Club, in which he makes some comments about science.  This riled up Vox Day and his people (here is a 200+ comment post that boils down to, “they’re Smarter Than You, because they (claim to) have read Karl Popper”).  And here’s the original speech that set the whole thing off.

Turns out I’m English, I guess, since this is the way I feel about pretty much all philosophy, not just ideology and “science:”

The rest is Englishness. We English don’t do ideology. We leave that stuff to our more erudite continental neighbors. In matters social and political, we default to compromise and muddle. The nearest thing I have to an ideological hero is George Orwell, whose ideological position could fairly be described as reactionary-Tory-patriotic-socialist.

There’s some overlap between the last two paragraphs. I have utmost difficulty following any kind of ideological script. Sooner or later I always bang my shins against the boundary fences of ideological orthodoxy.

Science, like any other abstract system of thought, quickly runs aground on the rocks of Reality.  You can play endless language games with it, enough to where most people will simply throw their hands up and say “whatever.”  I get to that point sooner than most people, because I’ve read my Marxists.

The whole point of Dialectical Materialism is to find “contradictions” in nature, so as to destabilize all the old certainties.  Guys like Plekhanov were great at it.  For instance, they liked to point out that, at some point and by some mysterious process, “quantity” becomes “quality.”  Like so:

don-johnson-stubble-600

Does Sonny Crockett here have a beard?  It’s very hard to say that yes, he definitely does, because it’s mostly stubble.  But you can’t definitely say that he doesn’t, because look, there’s all that stubble.  At what point does stubble become a beard?  Follicle length?  A certain number of hairs?  Visibility?

Moreover, IMDB.com says Don Johnson is 5’11”.  Is he tall, would you say?  Says here the average height for a white American male is 5’10”.  Don Johnson is an inch taller than that, but I doubt most people would consider that “tall,” hands down.  Yet most everyone would say Shaquille O’Neal — 7’1″ — is tall.  How many inches would Don Johnson have to grow before we say yep, he’s tall all right?  And what about Yao Ming (7’6″), or Gheorghe Muresan (7’7″)?  Put Don Johnson, Shaq, Yao, and Gheorghe in a room, and Shaq isn’t tall at all, right?  Or is he?  How do you know?  It’s all, like, relative, man.

You can even do this for things like math, for pete’s sake.  1+1=2 isn’t a scientific propositon, in Popper’s sense, because it’s not “falsifiable” — it’s an axiom, true by definition.  Put two identical things together and you have two of that thing.  Or maybe not… first, there are no two identical pencils in the world, and if there were, wouldn’t that be two parts of the same pencil?  One meta-pencil, as it were?  Plus, when you break it down, a pencil is a collection of atoms, an atom is a collection of quarks, quarks are…. something, who knows, they seem to blink in and out of existence, and….

You see where this is going?  (By the way, for those keeping score at home, the Indian Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna wrestled with all this 2,000 years ago.  He said that because there’s no such thing as pencil-ness — a “pencil” is just a collection of stuff that individually has no inherent existence — therefore there is nothing real at all).  There’s a reason you don’t find too many working scientists doing Philosophy of Science.  (It’s the same reason that the folks who do do Philosophy of Science generally have humanities degrees and failed Calc I).  You can Plekhanov that shit until everyone throws up their hands, says “whatever,” and kicks you out of the lab… or you can just keep the lab door locked in the first place.

I know, I know, I’m ignorant of some basic stuff, and Stupid, and have no business even linking to astonishing superintelligences and their astonishingly superintelligent jock sniffers.  But whaddaya gonna do?  Me, I’m off for some fish’n’chips down at the pub, mate, wot wat?  Cheerio, and Bob’s yer uncle.

Organizing Myths

Just finished skimming Ernst Cassirer‘s The Myth of the State.  The thesis isn’t (as I originally thought) “the state itself is a mythical construction;” rather, it’s “each state has its organizing myth.”  This is a truth we seem to have forgotten, that’s worth revisiting.

Any human organization larger than the immediate family develops its organizing myth.  Clans worship ancestors, tribes (two or more clans) have their totems, two or more tribes together end up with some version of a divine-right monarch.  It wasn’t until the 17th century AD that a competing myth arose and had enough power to challenge divine right: The idea of natural rights, and from it, the social contract theory of government.

Since we’re stewed in it from birth (and because our educational system sucks), we forget just how much of a myth the social contract really is.  Read Hobbes, for instance.  As much as I love him (I consider Hobbes pretty much the only political philosopher worth reading), he’s just wrong about some fundamental ideas.  There never was a State of Nature.  Life in mankind’s dawn was nasty, poor, brutish, and short, all right, but it sure as hell wasn’t solitary — people are evolved monkeys; we have monkey firmware; monkeys have the most elaborate social structure in the animal kingdom.  If ever there were a “social contract,” it was between meta-monkey troops living in nearby caves.

Which raises another obvious question: If there are such things as “natural rights,” where along the evolutionary chain do they kick in?  Could Australopithecus consent to be governed, in either the Hobbesian or Lockean sense?  What about Homo erectus?  “Natural rights,” it’s clear, really mean “God-given rights,” minus the messy theological baggage.  It’s a way to talk about organizing a government without having to re-fight the Wars of Religion (which is where all this Locke vs. Hobbes stuff comes from).

This myth has been with us right down to the present day.  To contract, in either the Hobbesian or Lockean sense, one must be able to know what one is agreeing to.  Thus, humans are presumed to be always and everywhere rational, and in full possession of their faculties.  That’s simply wrong — we’ve always known it, but after Freud there’s no possible way around it.  And yet, all the great social systems, from Capitalism to Communism, assume that rationality is the baseline (forget Freud; if you want to know how wrong the idea of basic human rationality is, look at Communism.  Why is it that the self-proclaimed most rational, logical, scientific system in human history is the one with the biggest body count?  You’ll  never find a more elaborate fantasy than Communism; they’ve never been within 12 parsecs of reality).

The problem now is, replacing this myth with a better one.  As Cassirer says, Nazism’s weird techno-feudalism was one fairly successful attempt to do this (Nazism was, obviously, a victim of its own success).  It only works in Germany, though, or in a world completely dominated by Germany.  The myth of HBD — yes, y’all, it IS a myth, in the “social contract” sense of myth — isn’t going to cut it, either.  There’s no buy-in from most social groups, so unless you’re going to go out in a blaze of Thousand Year Reich, we’re going to have to find something else.

It’s not about what people really are.  It’s about what you can convince them they are.  The Left, bless their moronic little hearts, have conclusively disproven the social contract / Enlightenment myth.  It’s up to us to find a new one… or else.

It’s Made of People!

In the science fiction classic Dune, the action takes place on a desert world.  The protagonist, Paul, kills a man in a ritualized knife fight… after which, he’s presented with the water distilled out of his opponent’s flesh, to replace what he sweated out in the fight.

If sci-fi’s not your thing, one of the Walking Dead seasons featured a group of survivors who turned cannibal.  In the zombie apocalypse, humans are food; you’re either predator or prey, the leader explains.

This is a deliberately extreme example of what I mean when I say that, between the tackles, human beings are pretty plastic.  We can be enculturated even to cannibalism.  BUT: We can’t be enculturated to the point where the word “cannibalism” is meaningless.  Even in societies where cannibalism was / is routine, nobody comes home from a day at the office, looks in the fridge, and thinks “well, I can either finish off this leftover Chinese, or fry up a missionary fillet.”  There’s something sacred about the human body.  This seems to be a universal, hard limit.

If it weren’t, someone — the Soviets, say — would’ve tried it.  Even cremating our dead is, when you think about it, a spectacular waste of resources.  All those calories up the smokestack.  You’d think one of the hardcore materialists — Plekhanov, say — would’ve argued for human flesh as the People’s Protein.*  Surely those VHEMT guys have realized that we should eat ourselves on the way out — why do any more damage to the Earth?

Genes aren’t culture.  Culture isn’t genetic.  Right now, the alt-right, or whatever we’re calling it today, sounds like our fictional Communist arguing for universal cannibalism.  A lot of their — our? — rhetoric sounds like a (self-proclaimed) 101 IQ guy telling a 99 IQ guy that gosh, sorry, 100 is the cutoff.  Maybe you can’t enculturate the 99 IQ guy to be a nuclear physicist, but surely there’s something valuable he can contribute?  A culture that doesn’t at least say it values folks on the other side of the line isn’t going to get very far; a culture that says the line proves there’s no such thing as culture is never going to get outside the internet’s lunatic fringe.

 

*Which really highlights the stupidity of Materialism, especially the Communist version.  What’s the point of all that “Revolution” business, if all you’re doing is temporarily altering the material conditions of a bunch of naked apes?  Life has no inherent meaning, there’s no afterlife, and man’s social being determines his consciousness, so… what’s the point?  Why not snack on shank of missionary?  In fact, why do, or don’t do, anything at all?  Shafarevich was right — Marxism is a suicide cult.  It’s no surprise the VHEMT guys are all hardcore Leftists; that’s Materialism’s logical endpoint.

The Jokes Just Write Themselves

Breitbart, via Vox Day:

Mother Jones’ David Corn Is Sixth Member of Elite Media Accused of Misconduct Towards Female Staffers

I know I’m hardly the first guy to say this, but it bears repeating: Turns out all those feminists were right about a pervasive rape culture!  After all, they only hang out with Liberal men.

 

SNUL: Culture Matters

At Z Man’s, another HBD discussion.  I’m not going to jump into it again, because I don’t feel like re-typing the same few things over and over and over and over…*  So, for the record, my take on genes vs. environment vs. culture.

Culture obviously matters quite a bit, as any breeze through a history book should tell you.  Heck, if you’ve made it past your own personal Wonder Years you should know this.  It’s not just nostalgia’s rosy glow; life really was different back then.  Watch episodes of old prime-time TV on Youtube; they look like they were made on Mars, for Martians.

I’m not just talking about ephemera, either, like Cosby sweaters.  They thought differently back then.  If the 1980s are too recent for you to see it clearly, go read some stuff from the Middle Ages.  You don’t really think, do you, that you could be the best doctor in Medieval France if you went back there armed with the germ theory of disease?

They weren’t ignorant; their brains were different.  “Scientific” thinking is VERY recent — Thomas Aquinas was better at logic than all of us put together, but he wasn’t a scientist; he’d find our mechanical conception of the universe soulless and repugnant.  His reasoning is deductive, our is inductive — it’s a huge difference, it’s important, and it’s entirely cultural.  The scientific/mathematical mode of thought is deeply unnatural to the human brain, and takes enormous social effort to maintain. For all his logic, Aquinas couldn’t understand our world; he was wired differently.

The questions are: how much does culture affect behavior, and what’s the mechanism?

Humans have hard limits — you’re not going to take a 70 IQ kid and make him a software engineer, no matter how great your cultural training program.  But within those hard limits, people are quite plastic.  Read up on the New Soviet Man to see it.  The NSM wasn’t what the Bolsheviks expected he’d be — Bolsheviks have a perfect track record when it comes to getting things wrong — but he’s a real thing nonetheless (you can find him in every faculty lounge in America).  Theodore Dalrymple was fond of quoting a dissident who estimated it’d take five generations for the Romanian psyche to recover from life under communism.

Did the New Soviet Man really believe in Bolshevism?  Do martyrs endure martyrdom because they really believe?  We’ll never know; the extremes of behavior are, and always will be, academic questions.  But culture can put hard limits on everything but the extremes.  It is simply NOT the case that, had modern movies been around in Ye Olden Tymes, Shakespeare and Marlowe would’ve been out of business.  Marlowe died in a gay knife fight — people of his times were plenty well versed in the seedier side of life.  They just didn’t want to see it on stage.  Culture, yo.

What kind of culture shall we have?  What are the limits it should impose?  Denying these questions is a biologism as crude, in its way, as the “social constructivism” of the SJWs.

 

*Yeah, I know, that could be an spot-on description of most of my output here.  The difference, Smart Guy, is that you’re free to not read here, whereas I’m clogging up everyone’s discussion over there.