Monthly Archives: July 2018

Popping the Bubble

One of the main things that makes the Left so infuriating to deal with is: they’ve built their whole lives around Sticking It to The Man, which requires constantly denying the obvious fact that they themselves have been The Man for more than half a century.  Jay Carter’s excellent “letter from the Dean” in the previous post is a nice illustration.  This is exactly the kind of thing you’d expect a college Dean to say, IF he were interested in preserving the institution of which he’s in charge.

Real Deans don’t work like that, of course, because they’re Leftists.  As Leftists, they think of themselves as the students’ allies, working to overthrow the racism, sexism, etc. imposed by…. well, by themselves, since they’re in complete control and can run things however they like.  It’s deeply schizophrenic, which is why we Normals assume there must be a scam somewhere.  A scam entails a rational (or, at least, understandable) motive; some kind of perceived benefit to the scammer.  Figure out what it is, we think, and we can send the whole system crashing down.

But there isn’t one.  It’s not a scam.  They really do believe their own bullshit, these ivory tower types.  They’ve figured out a way to split their brains, to build some kind of big beautiful wall between what they know and how they act, such that the sure knowledge they’re protesting themselves never makes it to the other side.

The main way they do it is by blaming life’s imperfection on the vaguest, gassiest thing they can slap a label on.  Thus, the endless outcry against “Capitalism.”  Insofar as “capitalism,” small C, is a thing, it’s a part of human firmware — we’ve been exchanging stuff for other stuff since we stopped swinging in trees, and we’ll be doing it long after we’ve been enslaved by superintelligent apes.  They know it, too — they’re reminded of it every time they charge another Thai/Nigerian/Eskimo fusion brunch on their MasterCards — so they make up some bullshit about “Reification,” which is the process by which “Capitalism” turns “the relations of the means of production” into actual things in the real world.  It’s not that you think Thai/Nigerian/Eskimo fusion cuisine is delicious; it’s that you’re trained to desire it by Big Restaurant, who relies on this Pavlovian conditioning to keep its eeeeevil profits up.

[In the glorious Socialist future, when Capitalism has finally been destroyed, we’ll all be blissfully happy sitting in front of our mud hovels, eating whatever critters are dumb enough to wander into our open mouths].

This is why the university ecosystem is worth studying.  The Left’s Reality-denying dilithium crystals are already overloading on campuses nationwide.  Colleges in big cities, red states, or both can still kinda sorta blame the surrounding are for Utopia’s delay, but in places like California and New England they’re out of excuses.  I once taught in a state where you couldn’t get elected dog catcher running as a Republican.  Even Democratic Presidential candidates didn’t bother campaigning there– not from Hillaryesque hubris, but simply because there was no point.  It’s the kind of place that produces those Gorillas in the Mist-style exposes on the strange and fearsome habits of those legendary beasts, Ordinary Americans.*

Those Us are in a real quandary.  They have to do something, as the higher ed bubble is well on its way to bursting.  Enrollment is down, donations are down, and — to hear them tell it — five out of every three coeds gets raped by the end of freshman orientation.  But — this is their Utopia.  Conservatives might as well be mastodons, so often are they sighted anywhere in the state.  The Leftest part of the Left has been in total control for decades.  They set the admissions policies, run the police forces, staff the kangaroo courts, control the state house.  It’s the closest thing you’ll find in America to a Worker’s Paradise… and, like every other Worker’s Paradise worldwide, the Workers are fleeing in droves.

How are they going to overcome the cognitive dissonance?  They’re shrewd as Shylock when it comes to padding their own paychecks, but the only thing that could possibly save them is acknowledging that The Customer is Always Right…. which is the one thing they’re absolutely incapable of doing.

It’ll be a hoot, but more importantly, it’ll be a lesson.  Find that pressure point, the spot where the bubble’s weakest….. and squuuueeeeeeeeeze.


*n.b. I gave you the Iowahawk parody, because I’m cool like that, though Iowahawk himself gives you a link to the original if you’re feeling masochistic.



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The Pleasures of Life in the Bubble

Unless you’re a very new reader (in which case, welcome!) you know I worked many years in academia.  Reflecting on the joys of life in a college town has helped me to understand a bit about the Leftist mind.

First, and most important, life really is pleasant in a college town — even for a deep-cover shitlord like me.  In a weird way, it might even have been more pleasant for me.  A Leftist has to be outraged by something to feel truly alive, but since the stuff they get outraged about is so cockeyed, so cattywampus to reality, wandering around town and watching the Very Concerned People be Concerned is like constantly being low-grade stoned.  I’ve never been as worked up about anything as these people pretend to be about everything, from the plight of the three-toed stink beetle to the entire planet’s daily weather.  It’s surreal, which means it’s always good for a chuckle.

Moreover, college towns cater to transient populations, so everything is on-demand.  In flyover states, college towns have the only 24-hour anything within 100 miles.  I’m naturally a night owl, and college towns always have somewhere to go at 2 in the morning.  Add to that the “diversity” — which we all know means “different kinds of ethnic restaurants” — and you have the kind of dining / drinking / hanging out options you’d normally only find in a metro five times the size.  Throw in the twitchy schizophrenic panhandlers on every corner, and you can pretend you’re in the bright lights of a big city, but without the crime.

And then there’s the rock star vibe.  College kids don’t know or care about academia’s elaborate pecking order, so even though nobody who mattered in my department knew my name, I still got pointed at on the streets.  It’s an odd fact of student-professor relations that the kid who acts like she’s doing you an enormous favor by deigning to attend your class will fawn over you to the exclusion of all other customers if she’s your waitress or barista.  (It’s extra fun to scandalize ’em by ordering something alcoholic).  You’re never anonymous in a college town, and if you’re the kind of person grew up getting ignored — if you’re a mousy little nerd, in other words, like all academics are — it’s heady stuff.

But best of all is the power.  One of the main reasons Leftists have such difficulty telling the difference between “fact” and “opinion” is that they’ve never had to practice.  This was true even back before Standardized Tests took over completely, but now that they have, your classroom pronouncements might as well be the Ten Commandments.  I could tell a class that Napoleon’s last words at Waterloo were “Led Zeppelin rules!” and they’d copy it down without a peep…

….then spit it right back at me, verbatim, on the test.  Which proves what a great professor I am — after all, everyone is acing the final exam!  They must really get it, that Patriarchy is bad and Capitalism is exploitation and &c.

In a college town, in other words, every minute of every day is an opportunity to be smugly self-righteous.  Who could resist?  And if the rest of the world isn’t like a college town, then it must be someone’s fault!

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A Public Service Announcement

Via Ace of Spades, a link to Investopedia’s breakdown of the Labor Theory of Value.

Marxism is a literally sophomoric philosophy.  As in, it makes sense when you’re 14 and have no experience of the real world.

Marx was drawn to the labor theory because he believed human labor was the only common characteristic shared by all goods and services exchanged on the market. For Marx, however, it was not enough for two goods to have an equivalent amount of labor; instead, the two goods must have the same amount of “socially necessary” labor.

Marx used the labor theory to launch a devastating critique against free market classical economists in the tradition of Adam Smith. If, he asked, all goods and services in a capitalist system are sold at prices that reflect their true value, and all values are measured in labor hours, how can capitalists ever enjoy profits unless they pay their workers less than the real value of their labor?

Thus illustrating another favorite “argument” tactic of the bright-but-clueless, petitio principii (begging the question).  Starting with the premise that capitalism is exploitative (i.e. “socially necessary labor”), Marx arrives at the conclusion that…. capitalism is exploitative.

That every single Very Smart Person with a PhD is a Marxist tells you everything you need to know about Very Smart People.


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What is to Be Done

Tying the various threads from the “legitimacy” and “imagined community” discussions together, you get the following:

To avoid genocidal civil strife, you need a new civic nationalism, one that:

  • is organic;
  • recognizes the reality of HBD without turning into a (hard) caste system;
  • has the sanction of (invented) tradition to pull disparate elements together; and
  • can be imposed top-down on an armed society without (or with minimal) armed pushback.

A tall order, to be sure.  But I think it can be done.  One way to do it is to go Counter-Reformation style.  A Church of America, that looks high-Anglican and preaches a more broadly-applicable Muscular Christianity.  (Before you start hitting the caps lock key about MUH CONSTITUTION!, puh-leaze.  The Constitution is deader than disco.  Nothing could be clearer than the 2nd Amendment, yet here we are.  It’ll be child’s play to penumbra and emanation the 1st.  They somehow got an ironclad right to abortion out of the 4th amendment (“unreasonable searches and seizures”) and gay marriage out of the 14th; rewriting the 1st is a slam dunk — it’s not a law requiring membership in the Church of America,  it’s a tax on not belonging to the Church of America).

This reverses 50 years of race and gender claptrap at a stroke.  If you actually bother to read the damn thing, the Bible’s pretty clear: All men are equal in God’s eyes, but here on earth, the poor, halt, sick, lame, etc. ye have always with you.  Paul spends a lot of time enjoining us to take care of those who can’t take care of themselves — a ringing endorsement of the fundamental inequality of men.  And as for the fundamental inequality of women, you’ve got that whole “be submissive to your husband” thing (which is, of course, an out for tankgrrrl careerists who still think they want to make partner at the law firm before settling down: No husband, no problem.  You just have to accept that you’ll be sitting in the back pews with the rest of the spinsters).  As for sermons, just dust off Dwight Moody‘s greatest hits.  Jesus’s self-control, manly fortitude, and big bulging carpenter muscles will keep ’em glued to the seats.  So long as the thing is high-church theatrical, you’re good.

You might object that the Left will never get on board… but the Left, as we all know, is a religious cult, and not one of the milder ones.  You get them on board by making them the guardians of the esoterica.  Set them up as modern-day Jesuits.  (What’s the difference between a Jesuit and an atheist?  At least the atheist is honest about it).  There’s a reason the word “jesuitical” has been an epithet almost since the founding of the Society of Jesus.  Let the ex-Left be Holier (and, of course) Smarter than thou — in their cloisters, a.k.a. the universities.

You’ll need an Inquisition, of course, and your ex-Left will shine there, too (remember, today’s SJW is tomorrow’s obergruppenfuhrer).  But with the Internet and all, heretics practically denounce themselves…

The best part of all this is that it takes modern day pieties — and the social policies that accompany them — and turn them strictly to the benefit of Americans (whoever that ends up being).  It’s the Church of America, not the Unitarians.  You want to be a utopian universalist, fine, there are plenty of denominations that will have you… outside the walls.  Otherwise, you can vent your crusading impulses here at home, with our very own CofA Crusaders — evangelizing the heathen within our borders, the way the Salvation Army used to do (plenty of opiate addicts to missionize, not to mention the ghetto bangers).  You get all the upside of Communist class warfare, with very little of the downside (though we have some very nice Arctic terrain in need of cultivation if it comes to that; the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge and Labor Reformatorium has a nice ring to it).

So long as the Church of America’s charter makes saving American souls priority number one, it’s all good.  The rest of the world will need to get a new sugar daddy, it’s true, but the PRC is more than up for the challenge (best of all, all those who griped about American imperialism will get to experience the real thing, good and long and hard).  It’ll be a police state, sure, but it’ll be fairly nice as police states go.  At least you’ll be able to walk down the streets at night — and hear English while you do it!

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Building an Imagined Community 5: “Civic Nationalism”

As we’ve seen, one of the big problems with the notion of “imagined communities” / “invented traditions” is that it these may well be just convenient descriptions of naturally-occurring processes.  All communities are, in a very real sense, imagined.  Even a tribe sees itself as a tribe, a distinct unit, different from all others, tapping into something that makes it distinctive — its tribe-ness, if you will, given to it by the Great Spirit or its Totem Animal or what have you.  Similarly, all traditions are invented — the Great Spirit may have told the First Man how to perform all the rituals of propitiation somewhere back in the mists of time, but the Great Spirit itself made them up, inside chronological time.

For example, see all those “adoption” narratives the cultural anthropologists used to rave over.  Hawkeye was born White, but he’s real Mohican nonetheless — he went through all the rituals, tapped into the tribe-ness that makes a Mohican a Mohican.  An imagined community, full of invented traditions.  (That’s why looking at Communism is so useful.  Nothing could be further from the messy world of Man than Hegel’s gassy Spirit gunk.  Marx’s whole schmear is an invention, top to bottom, so it’s easy to see what it got right, and where it went off the rails).

The problem in the real world, though, is: It’s very easy to mistake the bedrock reality of the process for the verbiage you use to describe it.  Which is where the “civic nationalists” go wrong.  When they say that America is a “proposition nation,” they’re right.  But when the Vox Day crowd say that America was always supposed to be an Anglo-Saxon ethno-state, they’re right, too.  “Our” forebears* did what Hobsbawm, Ranger, and Benedict Anderson did (what we all do): Encoded their assumptions into their language.  Jefferson didn’t have to include a long list of qualifiers when he wrote “all men are created equal,” because nobody would’ve challenged it.

Nobody, not even as a wild three-bong-hits-to-the-wind thought experiment, would’ve suggested applying the Declaration’s rhetoric to Indians (feathers or dots), Mexicans, Chinese, or Zulus.  This is because the Founders were working from 1,000 years of Christian common law tradition.  English and French may hate each other, but they’re both members of a meta-community: Christendom.  Zulus, Chinese, etc. obviously aren’t, and in 1776 the impulse to missionize the heathens was just a gleam in John Wesley’s eye.  So, “all men” definitely means “all White, free-born, property-holding men,” and it probably means “Anglo-Saxon men,” but it sure as hell doesn’t mean “any ragged specimen of homo sapiens sapiens who manages to drag his carcass onto our dirt.”

Civic nationalism only works, in other words, if you’ve already got a nation.  You can make Irishmen, Poles, Swedes, and Italians into Americans with baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet by invoking the norms of the Christian meta-nation, a.k.a. Western Civilization.  It doesn’t work because of the talismanic power of baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet; it works because you’re putting a slightly different coat of paint on the same basic chassis.  (So, too, with Hawkeye — he shares the Mohican value system and worldview long before he becomes an “official” Mohican).

None of this should be new information to anyone who’s been paying attention.  The problem, though, is that we haven’t thought through the implications.  Short of civil war — and, as a logical consequence of it, genocide — we’re going to have to come up with some kind of “civic nationalism” that can bind people of very different backgrounds together.  Baseball, Chevy etc. aren’t going to cut it, and again — unless you like your genocide with a side order of caste system — HBD isn’t going to cut it, either.

It can be done, at least short term — look at the USSR.  The question we have to answer is, how to make it hold up long term?  (Can it hold up long term?)



*Remember, Vox Day claims to be both a Mexican and a Red Indian; somehow he translated his “they have to go back” mantra into self-deportation to…. Italy.  Makes sense.

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Friday Quick Take: The News as Standardized Test

In an offline discussion today, e-migo (and should-be Rotten Chestnuts blogger, hint hint) Nate Winchester made a great observation:  Kids today — which means, effectively, anyone who is in college or wishes he were — respond to news “stories” as if they were standardized test questions.  For instance, you read some piece in which an African-American is mentioned.  The story may not even be about him, but his name isn’t immediately followed by hosannas.  Do you:

  • a) assume he’s somehow germane to the story (e.g. it’s about a fatal car crash and he’s a witness);
  • b) figure he’s there for some other news-worthy reason;
  • c) not care, because you “don’t see race;” or
  • d) start yelling “rayciss!”

The answer, of course, is D, and since your whole life, K-thru-PhD, is controlled by standardized tests, you know it unthinkingly.  Why or how is the story racist?  Doesn’t matter — there’s a Black guy, he’s not the Reverend Doctor so-and-so, ergo the coverage is racist.

The Last Psychiatrist is sadly long defunct, but it still exists, and is worth reading in full.  He spends a lot of time breaking down ad campaigns and news stories, always with one simple point: They’re not teaching you what to want, they’re teaching you how to want.  Here‘s a fantastic example.  It’s about an ad campaign in which a young boy gets his toenails painted hot pink by his Mom (who, in the ad, is the president of J. Crew).  The usual suspects got incensed in the usual way: “the ad is promoting transgenderism!”  Alone (the author’s nom de blog) breaks down just how and why this is wrong.  The ad isn’t about the kid.  It’s not even about selling nail polish, let alone “raising brand awareness” for J. Crew.  Rather, the Mom is the product.

The woman in the ad is attractive but not in a vulgar, sexual way.   Supremely comfortable with herself, her life.  It seems effortless.  And she’s the president of J Crew.   And she has her son with her.  She’s the product.  The image.  You don’t like the polish, fine, J Crew has other stuff to make you into her.  In other words, she is you, the aspirational you….

She’s the product, all those things around her are accessories.  The polish is an accessory, and its color has been enhanced to better broadcast the message.  The kid is an accessory, and he’s been enhanced to broadcast the message.  Clean, vibrant, simple, alive, happy, fun…

“But now there’s a possibility the kid may become gay, or transgendered.”  The word you focused on is transgendered, the word J Crew wants you to focus on is possibilities.  The kid with the painted nails is young, doing something out of the norm.  He embodies possibilities, so J Crew embodies possibilities.

See what I mean?  It’s an ad, but it doesn’t even bother trying to sell a product.  It sells a lifestyle, a message — it sells you a self-image.  You’re the kind of effortlessly-attractive-even-on-the-weekend woman who, if you choose to have kids, would have one who…. etc.

The news, as Nate says, does the same thing.  You’re the kind of person whose anti-racism deflector shields are always turned up to full power, because you’re the kind of person who always knows The One Right Answer.  You tested at grade level on you NAEP test, didn’t you?  Aced the SAT (or would have, if not for reasons)?  Since America is a two-parent household and the other parent is TV, you get a pat on the head and a cookie every time you get one of these questions right.

Gotta love Pavlovian conditioning.

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Building an Imagined Community 4: Paranoia

As we’ve noted, universalism works well in a revolutionary situation, but the hate it generates — no matter how well “otherized” — tends to come back and bite you.  That’s because hate is not an abstract emotion.  It has to be released every now and again onto something tangible…. but every time you let it off the chain, the harder it is to leash it back up.  The end result is paranoia — a steep “purity spiral” that ends in chaos.

There are lots of examples.  To stick with Communists for a second, you’ve got the full catalog of Stalinist and especially Maoist paranoia.  Wreckers, capitalist-roaders, Right-deviationists, Left-deviationists, trade unionists, syndicalists, anarchists, Trotskyists, Bukharin, Plekhanov, Liu Shaoqi, Tito, the Gang of Four…. in short, Emmanuel Goldstein.*  There’s no coming back once you start down this road — it took a few decades, but the USSR was toast after Khruschhev’s “secret speech” in 1956; Maoism after the Cultural Revolution (which was, in part, a direct reaction to the secret speech).

In case you haven’t taken a Communist History course lately — a history of CommunismI mean, not history taught by Communists, which is every history class, K-thru-PhD — you can just look around at the local nuthouse, a.k.a. any campus in America.  They start with this stuff in elementary school now.  Privilege.  Making up your own pronouns.  Cis-anything.  No one is so #Woke that a rival can’t get #Woker at your expense.  Remember: The first guy to stop clapping after Dear Leader gets done speaking is hauled out back and shot.

The apotheosis of this is the “rape culture” that exists on American college campuses… and absolutely nowhere else.  Rotherham? Not a rape culture.  Hollywood?  Not a rape culture.  But some drunk college guy accidentally calls his professor “Miss” instead of “your wingless golden dragonkin-ness”?  That’s practically the Red Army in Prussia.  Women are more socially attuned than men; therefore, they are more paranoid than men.  A mostly male society (like the aforementioned Red Army) might eventually reach a weary compromise over not ratting each other out to the Authorities.  A mostly female society never will.  And since we’re all required to be chicks now wherever our schoolmarms have influence — which is pretty much everywhere — you get the steepening purity spiral we’re in now.  Our Cultural Revolution started about the same time as Mao’s… and, I fear, will have to get much bloodier than Mao’s before it stops.

But it will stop.  It has to.  Ask the Chinese.  Look at their solution — that’s at least part of the way to do “imagined community” right.


*Rotten Chestnuts will award the Order of Lenin, Third Class, to anyone who identifies the joke in this sentence.
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Building an Imagined Community 3: Jargon

One thing the Commies did all the way right was to invent a language for themselves.  Socialist writing is instantly recognizable:

Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.

That’s George Orwell’s parody of Ecclesiastes 9:11 (“the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong”), and it’s dead on.  Commie prose has declined in tandem with everything else, but you can still bet your britches that anyone using the phrases “objective considerations” (today expressed as “the facts have a liberal bias”) or “innate capacity” (now spelled “racist”) is a marxoid.  Learn to write as if this is your native tongue, and you can have a PhD in the Humanity of your choice.

No, seriously.  You simply can’t express Leftist “thoughts” any other way, for three important reasons:

First, and most important in Orwell’s day, is deception — particularly self-deception.  As Orwell says, one simply can’t write “I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so.”  Liberals are all about the peace, love, and understanding, don’t you remember?  So you have to write :

While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigors which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement.

It’s obvious to everyone but the writer what this means, but as Orwell says, taping together stock phrases in this way allows you to write (almost) unthinkingly.  It’s not just that “eliminating unreliable elements” sounds so much nicer and cleaner than “shooting dissidents in the back of the neck, or sending them to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps,” even though everyone knows that’s how the Soviets eliminate their undesirable elements.  That added layer of abstraction gives you the necessary psychological distance to order up obvious barbarities, because it gives you a cutout, a way to blame the obvious consequences of your “suggestions” on the guys who actually carry them out.  “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” of course means “go stab Thomas Beckett,” but when it actually happens — when the turbulent priest lies dead in his own blood — you’re free to change your mind if the guilt really gets to you.  “No no, I just meant that someone should sit Beckett down for a good talking-to!  You awful murderer!”

The second reason you can’t express “Leftist” thoughts except in Leftist jargon is mystification.  This is the public face of self-deception, the “theory,” if you will, behind the practice of “eliminating unreliable elements.”  Marx himself was no mean mystifier, but the outcome of his theory is dreadfully clear — you don’t get to the Communist Utopia without Revolution, comrade, and you can’t have a Revolution without killing lots and lots of people (even President Muntu’s bloodless coup was all smotherings).  But your average Marxist is a 95 lb, genderfluid, soy-enfeebled twerp whose daughter outbenches him.  Even the iPod-addled, Twitter-enstupidated denizens of a modern college classroom would laugh in their professor’s tattooed, nose-ringed, dreadlock-framed face if she tried to lead them to the barricades.  Hence the mystifying jargon.  “She can’t really mean that, can she?  I mean, just look at her!  Better just copy it down in the blue book and forget it,”

Jargon’s third function — by far the most important from the imagined-community-building standpoint — is tribalization.  Since this is the Internet, I assume you’ve all played a video game before.  The easiest way to turn an occasional video game player into a Gamer is by making the game the source of esoteric, yet initially accessible, knowledge.  Guys who consider Dungeons and Dragons to be hardcore nerd stuff, who would happily shove D&D players into lockers if that wouldn’t get them a lifetime’s worth of Thought Reform, will still spend endless hours obsessing over role playing games.  The difference being, their RPGs contain “real” RPGs — rocket-propelled grenades.  THAC0 is for fags, but they can rattle off detailed technical specs for a BR85 Heavy Barrel Service Rifle.

Marxist jargon works like that.  Communism’s basics are pretty easy — see, for example, The ABCs of Communism.  That’s a real book, written by two big hitters in the Bolshevik Revolution, and it’s remarkably clear.

When we say ‘commodity production’ or ‘production for the market’, what does the phrase mean? It means that individuals work for one another, but that each produces for the market in his own enterprise, not knowing beforehand who will buy his wares. Let us suppose that there are an artisan named John and a peasant named George. John the artisan, a bootmaker, takes boots to the market and sells them to George, and with the money which George pays for them he buys bread from George. When John went to the market he did not know that he would meet George there, nor did George know that he would meet John; both men simply went to the market. When John bought the bread and George bought the boots, the result was that George had been working for John and John had been working for George, although the fact was not immediately obvious. The turmoil of the market place conceals from people that in actual fact they work for one another and cannot live without one another. In a commodity economy, people work for one another, but they do so in an unorganized manner and independently of each other, not knowing how necessary they are to one another. Consequently, in commodity production, individuals stand in definite relationships one to another, and what we are here concerned with is these mutual relationships.

John and George, the cobbler and the peasant, going to the market.  What could be easier?  But the clever comrade then asks, “but where did George get the money to buy John’s boots in the first place?”  The even cleverer comrade asks why, if John and George lived so close together that they could both walk to the market, they couldn’t just make arrangements to swap their products as soon as they were done?  Why does “the market” exist in the first place?

That’s how you sift apparatchiks out of the general population.  The answers to those questions, of course, involve the Forces of History and Dialectical Materialism and other such Capital Letter Stuff.  Master those — memorize your Engels, study your Lenin — and you can go all the way to the top of the system, justifying every abrupt 180 degree Hitler-appeasing switcheroo as the distilled essence of Marxism.

That’s how you build an imagined community, comrades.  Because, of course, just as guys compete in video games, not just over who has the higher kill count, but over mastery of esoterica, so apparatchiks compete with each other over who is the most faithful to the Scriptures.  Might makes right, of course, but justifying the might is what elevates the tinpot dictatorship of El Caudillo del Momento to a Democratic People’s Republic.  As the leader of an imagined community, if you want to die in bed (of old age, needless to say, and not by smothering), you have to do something like this.

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Building an Imagined Community, Part 2

“Universalism” — the idea that we’re all exploited proletarians together, comrade — works great for social control in a revolutionary situation.  Sure, sure, people are going to pursue their own individual vendettas, but even that has a legitimating effect for the regime — murdering someone for “counterrevolutionary crimes” acknowledges that “the revolution,” which means “the ruling junta,” is the ultimate source of authority.  Best of all, once the initial violence dies down, you’ve got a whole group of people — the apparatchiks — who owe everything to the new universalist order and thus are the most loyal drones/snitches you’ll ever have.

The problem, though, is hatred.

Not hate in itself, of course; commies love that.  No truer, nor more vicious, judgment has ever been passed on Socialism than Henry Hazlett’s one-sentence summary:

The whole gospel of Karl Marx can be summed up in a single sentence: Hate the man who is better off than you are. Never under any circumstances admit that his success may be due to his own efforts, to the productive contribution he has made to the whole community. Always attribute his success to the exploitation, the cheating, the more or less open robbery of others.

Never under any circumstances admit that your own failure may be owing to your own weakness, or that the failure of anyone else may be due to his own defects — his laziness, incompetence, improvidence or stupidity. Never believe in the honesty or disinterestedness of anyone who disagrees with you.

This basic hatred is the heart of Marxism. This is its animating force. You can throw away the dialectical materialism, the Hegelian framework, the technical jargon, the “scientific” analysis, and millions of pretentious words, and you still have the core: the implacable hatred and envy that are the raison d’etre for all the rest.

See also: Any SJW.  There’s nothing to them but hate.  The problem, from an imagined community standpoint, is that such indiscriminate hate fairly obviously contradicts the fundamental premise of utopian universalism, that we’re all brothers under the skin (Soviet propaganda used to bang constantly on the plight of the poor American Negro under Jim Crow, for instance).  You’ve got to direct the hate, to channel it; you’ve got to train people to hate on command.  It’s not something all of us can rise to.  Again, see any SJW — it took many, many years of very expensive training (called “the American educational system, K-thru-B.A.”) to make them like that.

Worse: Even if you succeed, you fail, since the kind of guy who can hate on command is also the kind of guy who ends up a minor Party functionary, i.e. an apparatchik.  Again, imagine rule by SJWs.  Not just the clowns on the Supreme Court or in Congress; i mean rule.  As in, every single person who has any authority over you, from the supermarket checkout lady on down, is a blue-haired nose-ringer who grills you ruthlessly for badthought before maybe, kinda sorta, and always grudgingly, allowing you to go about your daily business.  That’s life under New Soviet Men.  Is it any wonder that everyone in Russia was constantly drunk off his ass?

A much better method is to Otherize the hate.  “The Other,” Postcolonial Studies’ main term d’art (literary French for “question-begging crap”), is the group against which “we” define “ourselves.”  It’s the main reason WPAE (White People Are Evil) — “we” make “them” into “the Other,” which somehow justifies everything “we” do to “them.”  The Postcolonial Studies people are, of course, all Marxists, and insofar as you can decipher their gobbledygook it’s a good example of the technique.  But, really, you don’t have to go read Fanon or Spivak or Said or any of the other Froggy Incomprehensibles; all you’ve got to do is look at an SJW Twitter feed.  They clearly regard us as an alien life form, to be thought-reformed or eliminated as convenience dictates.  They’ve “Otherized” us so efficiently, Lord Curzon must be getting wood in the afterlife.

So long as you don’t think to closely about this — so long as you’re preoccupied with loyalty oaths and May Day parades and buying black market rice so you don’t have to eat your cat (or your neighbor) — it works pretty well.  It’s the reason all the folks in shithole countries curse America, even as they’re fleeing America-ward from their shitholes as fast as their feet will carry them.  It’s also why all the Workers’ Paradises had to have huge fences and border guards and gulags to keep the Workers in Paradise — it’s hard to keep hating The Other if you can see them for yourself, and if that happened, the hate upon which the whole system depended would naturally turn inwards, onto the apparat.  Keep the hatred simmering, but keep the steam wafting the other way.

This isn’t the ideal way of doing things, obviously, but it has some real short-term advantages… and who, in The Current Year, is capable of thinking past the weekend?  The hatred will land on the apparat eventually — see “Soviet Union, current nonexistence of” — but three quarters of a century is a pretty good run.  It’s about the current American life expectancy, and for a people who can’t think past the weekend, posterity — such as it is with sub-replacement-level fertility — is a meaningless abstraction.

If I were a betting man, then, I’d wager on the Democratic Party getting back to that Old Time Marxist Religion here very shortly.  They’ll have to get the American-born Blacks back onside — a tough sell after 50 years’ worth of Critical Race Theory — but, all evidence to the contrary, Maxine Waters et al ain’t stupid.  Joe Crowley was next in line for Nancy Pelosi’s seat, and he lost to a Recent-American.  Continuing loyalty to identity politics will mean the end of their identities as politicians, and they won’t be having that.  Bernie Sanders had the right idea: Dust off the Eugene V. Debs playbook and run a few sweeps Left.  Most of the Democratic Old Guard remembers the 1980s, when right-wing nativist maniac Ted Cruz would’ve been right at home in their party.  Recast themselves as the People’s Champions, decry the foreign parasites swarming over the border to take The Workers’ jobs, and there you go.

Their rank-and-file are increasingly unhinged SJW lunatics, but cf. what happened to Bernie Sanders in 2016 — the real wire-pullers are old white dudes who still have Che Guevara shirts from the 1970s hanging in their closets.  Sanders himself is too old (and too damaged goods) to run in 2020, but I’d keep an eye out for a “dynamic young labor leader” to start making headlines here pretty soon.  They’ll probably make him Black, of course, or even Hispanic — got to throw a bone to the envelope-stuffers — but he’ll be as Establishment as the best of them (Harvard, Yale Law, with some tenuous connection to a Rust Belt industry).

Or, you know, maybe they’ll go full retard.  I’ve been way more wrong than right with my predictions.  All I know is, there’s a better way than this….

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Building an Imagined Community

“Imagined communities” and “invented traditions” are everywhere — so much so, in fact, that it’s impossible to tell in most cases if they were “invented” or merely developed organically (a major criticism of the theory that didn’t get nearly enough play, because Hobsbawm and Ranger were telling eggheads what they wanted to hear).  So to see how the process works, it helps to start with one that was clearly made up out of whole cloth, and imposed top-down: Communism.

Communism has several huge advantages for a sprawling, multicultural, semi-feudal empire like Russia.  First, and most obviously, is its universalism.  Man and woman, Jew and Gentile, all are equally Workers, and all equally exploited.  How else are you going to tamp down the old antagonisms — religious, and above all racial — that divide an empire that runs from the Caucasus to the Sea of Japan?  Religion, culture, etc. is the “superstructure” erected on the “base” of the means of production, Marxist doctrine asserts, and while they tended to downplay the dogma among, say, Muslims — you know, because they get explodey — if you do it right this is a very effective technique.  Priests are parasites, comrade — they do no work, yet live fairly nicely at public expense.  Isn’t it obvious that all those religious rules are really there to keep the priests in power, and you out of power?

So, too, with any “culture.”  It just so happens that the Beautiful, which is the same thing as the Good, always and everywhere tends to prop up the ruling class at the expense of poor folks.  Opera, ballet, symphonies, art galleries, even libraries — you need money, free time, and transportation to enjoy them, and of course the hicks from the sticks lack them all.  The real culture is the People’s Culture, comrade, which is why Lenin set up the Commissary for Enlightenment right up there alongside the Red Army (giving Anatoly Lunacharsky the title I’m gunning for in the next Trump administration: Enlightenment Commissar).  Proletkult was the rap music of its day, with barely-literate Proletarians busting stilted rhymes about steel mills and tractors instead of bitches and bling.

This works great, because by the time your Everyday Ivan realizes he’d much rather drink a vodka or twelve rather than write poetry after a shift at People’s Heavy Machinery Works #202, you’ve captured the people who really matter: The “proles” with enough on the ball to serve in the Party apparat.  The ideal apparatchik doesn’t really want to write poetry, either, but he wants to want to, since that’ll show those rubes he feels guilty for hating so very, very much.  He gets to live like a satrap while still keeping his proletarian street cred, and since he can send anyone who says he’s not keeping it real to Siberia, the system works.

And it gets better, because there’s a Commie cursus honorum to climb, and it really is (mostly) meritocratic — “merit” in this case meaning “able to produce the appropriate quote from Marx or Lenin while getting your departmental rival shipped to Siberia.”  It’s almost entirely meritocratic in the sense that, after a lifetime of Fraternal Socialist service to the comrades in Krasnoyarsk, your son — who has run through his own cursus honorum in the Little Octobrists, Young Pioneers, and Komsomol — will get forwarded to the special service academies in Moscow, where the real Party men come from.

Done right, then, Communism is a very efficient — really — sifting process for finding a certain type of man.  It’s far superior to our supposedly “free market” system, because it’s directed — whereas our budding apparatchiks keep getting diverted into stuff like Gender Studies and “the Arts,” Commies don’t mess with that.  Stalin himself all but said that women need to stay in the kitchen, and as for the Arts, well, if you didn’t demonstrably have world-class potential by your early teens, it’s off to the Red Army with you.

That type of man is 100% invested in the system that made him, since he owes everything to it.  Thus he will work night and day, 24/7/365, to perpetuate it.  Compared to an Assistant Sub-Commissar’s Assistant (Junior Grade’s) commitment to the principles of Marxism-Leninism, your average SJW is wishy-washy about… well, about everything, which is why they’re forever trying to elect themselves a vohzd…. 

[Wait, you thought their Trigglypuff antics were about us?  We are to them what “the beast” was to the kids in The Lord of the Flies — a boogeyman that gives them an excuse to vent their natural urges.  Trust me, I’ve been in and around academia for a long time, and your average SJW has never met, in her entire life, anyone to the right of Bernie Sanders (the same Bernie Sanders they themselves mocked back in the 2000s, as being a sellout cartoon faux-socialist sponging votes away from the real People’s Candidate, Dennis Kucinich).  Everything they do is in the service of their own intra-SJW pecking war.  They’d happily sign off on school prayer and mandatory concealed carry if you convinced them it’d make them #Woker than their frenemies, e.g. back in the 2008 primaries when it was briefly all the rage among the uber-Progressive to be anti-Obama…. but that’s a story for another day].

The problem, of course, is that this system goes against human nature.  No, I don’t mean “Communism” itself, although that’s the most elaborate misanthropic fantasy ever devised.  I mean the practice of Communism.  That kind of guy — the apparatchik, the SJW, the mini-Hitlers that make a day at the DMV such a joy — is the kind of guy people fantasize about punching in the face.  He’s a feculent weasel, acting like the Tsar himself to anyone he has power over, but cringing like a whipped dog in front of anyone more powerful than himself.  Older folks, think of the DMV; younger readers (assuming we have any), please think of the pinched, sour faces of the Diverse ladies at the Registrar’s office.  Now, imagine that everyone — everyone — in your world with any authority at all is one of those people.

That’s Communism.  The whole shebang, top to bottom, is set up to produce exactly that type of guy, and weed out everyone with any power at all who isn’t that type of guy.  You could make the distribution side of Communism work, no problem.  You could even, in a country as fertile and as blessed with natural resources as Russia, make the production side work… provided you gave The Workers a reason to shake off their hangovers for a few hours a day before hitting the vodka again.  But why should they?  I don’t even like vodka, but I’d drink myself stuporous 24/7 just to make that guy’s life a teensy bit harder.  I’d do all the things Russian workers were famous for doing — pounding screws in with a hammer, mixing cement with sand — because why the hell not?  If I do a good, or a competent, or even a not-FUBAR job, he gets the credit, and fuck him.  No, seriously — if I and my comrades screw up bad enough, he might get sent to Siberia….

It’s the fake-universalism that gets you.  Pretending we’re all equally Workers ends, inevitably, with apparatchiks — those guys — in charge of everything.  But there’s a better way…

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