Monthly Archives: August 2018

Expanding the Canon

People who know I used to work there often ask me, how did academia get so screwed up?

The short answer is: I dunno.  By the time I got to undergrad, all the professors with real, PhD-worthy educations — the kind where fluency in Latin is required — were starting to get “emeritus” after their names.  By the time I got to grad school (after a few tours of duty in the real world), the lunatics were fully in control of the asylum.  There must’ve been big fights in faculty meetings between the Educated and the Insane — within my lifetime, History was a conservative discipline, at all but the wackiest California schools (and you could still find a few even there) — but I wasn’t around to see them.  When I started, it was simply understood that we’re all post-structuralist Marxist feminists.

The long answer has something to do with the Educated actually following through on the premises of their educations.  In History, for example, the Educated were quite willing to concede that Marxist “history from below” had real and important things to teach us.  Guys like Christopher Hill were real scholars, with rigorous educations, and so, the Educated concluded, the discipline was safe from him despite his politics — Hill was a card-carrying Communist well past Stalin’s death, but his academic work conformed to all the canons of scholarship.

So, too, with all the scholars who focused on “popular beliefs.”  Heresy, Renaissance magic, folk belief, etc. went from being dismissed as primitive ooga-booga stuff to real and important contributions to our understanding of their epochs.  These folks were all on the weird end, and — predictably — Leftists, but some of them did truly landmark work.  Eugene Genovese, for instance, was specifically searching for a group of downtrodden, oppressed Workers to wax communistically rhapsodic over.  He found them, and almost singlehandedly founded the modern study of Slavery and the Antebellum South.

Genovese is, in fact, a great example of the last generation of the Educated.  Born in 1930, he was a Communist until 1950, and was still a radical Leftist until the 1990s.  He then became “a traditionalist conservative,” Wikipedia informs us, which is Wiki-speak for “slightly to the right of Saul Alinsky.”  Genovese was intellectually honest enough to realize the Southern Agrarians had a point, and said so, which to us is just “a historian doing his job,” but to the Left is unforgivable betrayal.  I was in grad school when  he died; the most common reaction was “good riddance, apostate!”

The Educated, like Genovese, were believers in what was once quaintly called “the Western canon.”  To get their foot in the door, the Left of the 1960s pushed to “expand the canon,” which, they said, meant paying attention to women, minorities, etc. while still acknowledging and celebrating the centrality of Socrates et al.  The Educated, even the conservative ones, could hardly object.  The Left did, after all, have a point — you can only understand that “the best that has been thought and said” is the best if you’re familiar with the second-rate and also-ran.

It was a lie, of course, because lying is just what the Left does.  N’Gungo the  Ubangi shaman was first an interesting footnote on, then equal to, then better than Socrates, to the point where nobody’s ever even heard of Socrates anymore.  Because why would they?  Nobody’s better than anyone and everyone’s the best at everything… except White people, who are all uniquely awful, whoever they were.  Now, for our final HIST 401 exam, let’s all get out our crayons and color in this picture of the Reverend Martin Luther King Junior….

 

PS Harold Bloom, the self-appointed Guardian of the Canonhas made a list of what he considers canonical works.  Maybe we should read a few and discuss them — the Friday Book Club.  Whaddaya say?

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Things Dead White Guys Said: Thomas Hobbes

Another discussion at Z Man’s has devolved into a debate about, and with, Libertarians.  Which suggests a new topic series here at Rotten Chestnuts: Things Dead White Guys Said.  It shouldn’t be necessary, but given how public schools are now….

Anyway: Thomas Hobbes covered all this 500 years ago.

Libertarianism, I’m told, is based on the “non-aggression principle,” which an organization whose mission statement is “To attract and persuade people to embrace libertarian principles and to empower libertarians to be highly successful at presenting the ideas of liberty to the world” defines as follows:

Libertarians oppose the initiation of force to achieve social or political goals. They reject “first-strike” force, fraud or theft against others; they only use force in self-defense. Those who violate this “non-aggression principle” are expected to make their victims whole as much as possible… Simply put, libertarians take the non-aggression principle that most people implicitly follow in their interactions with other individuals, and apply it to group actions, including government actions, as well.

And so you don’t think I’m cherry-picking a simplistic explanation, here it is all scholarly, with footnotes and everything.  Here we’re told that the non-aggression principle (NAP) derives from property rights, specifically the right of each man to his own body:

The mistake lies in thinking property rights in one’s body are acquired in the same way and for the same reasons as property rights in external resources. Though they are linked, and though self-ownership is in a sense more fundamental, they are not the same. But it is a confusion to think of the basis of self-ownership as the same as the basis for ownership of external objects. We are used to thinking of Lockean homesteading–original appropriation, or initial use–as the basis for ownership of the latter. Thinking that all ownership must be of the same character and even origin, the assumption is also made that we own our bodies because we were the first users of our bodies. We try to fit self-ownership into the same framework we use to justify rights to inanimate, external objects.

Ah yes, Locke.  Keep him in mind; we’ll be coming back.  But let’s continue:

ownership of one’s body, and ownership of external objects, do have something in common, but it is not “first use.” It is rather that in each case, the resource in question is assigned to the person with the best link to the resource so as to avoid conflict and permit peaceful, productive use of the resource in question….For those living in society who prefer peace, prosperity, and productive use of resources instead of violent conflict, it is obvious that it is desirable to assign an owner to each such contestable resource. These resources include our bodies, and other means we use in action to causally bring about our ends. Such rules, to suffice as social rules, must be objective and fair to ever be accepted by individuals and as an improvement over a world of might makes right. Thus, the search among civilized people in society is always for objective…property assignment rules. Human bodies and other resources share in common that they are both scarce resources, and property rules are needed for each.

Which is lovely, no doubt, but it’s a big ol’ question-beg.  The bold bits are the key, as Dickensian pickup artists no doubt said.

— in each case, the resource in question is assigned to the person with the best link to the resource so as to avoid conflict and permit peaceful, productive use of the resource in question.  Sez who, kemosabe?  I think the best, most productive use of this hunk of iron is to make it into a plowshare.  Attila the Hun thinks the best use is as a sword.  And since Attila has the sword and all I’ve got is a plowshare, resource usage will be both peaceful and productive — I’ll produce what Attila says, doubletime, and peacefully, because I don’t want to die.  Which is why I also agree that Atilla has the best link to the resource — he’s linked to the sword at the hilt, while I’m linked to it on the business end.

— For those living in society who prefer peace, prosperity, and productive use of resources instead of violent conflict, it is obvious that it is desirable to assign an owner to each such contestable resource.  Attila and I both agree on that, too.  Problem is, Attila wants to assign ownership of all contestable resources to himself, and since he’s got the sword and I don’t, he wins.  And he wins peacefully, too, since my only persuasion technique involves impaling myself.

Such rules, to suffice as social rules, must be objective and fair to ever be accepted by individuals and as an improvement over a world of might makes right.  And now it’s getting truly sad.  Because, obviously, the only people who regard “objective and fair” rules as an improvement over “might makes right” are the ones without the might.  Moreover, Attila would tell you our arrangement — the one where I do everything he says — is objective and fair, and it’s hard to argue with him.  I objectively don’t want to die, and if I do what he says, he very fairly won’t kill me.

This is why, as the Z Man is fond of pointing out, Libertarianism only appeals to nerdy White spergs.  Strand a group of world-class Magic: The Gathering players on a deserted island, and maybe they’ll sit down and assign ownership to contestable resources… but only because, knowing themselves to be noodle-armed choirboys, none of them has the guts to try might makes right.  For any other group, it’s Welcome to the Jungle….

…which is why these pussycats only ever refer to Locke, never Hobbes.  Like everyone else who has read Hobbes, Locke was terrified of Hobbes’s “state of nature.”  Hobbes starts with a simple, brutal, undeniable truth about human beings:

[I]n the first place I put for a general inclination of all mankind a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death. And the cause of this is not always that a man hopes for a more intensive delight than he has already attained to, or that he cannot be content with a moderate power; but because he cannot assure the power and means to live well which he hath present, without the acquisition of more.

Unchecked, this desire for power after power results in the famous State of Nature, the perpetual war of all against all, in which life is “nasty, poor, solitary, brutish, and short.”  Even if you are content with what power you have, Hobbes says, you can never rest secure without having more.  You may not presently need the “contestable resources” of our Libertarian friends.  Hell, you may never need them.  But you still need to control them, lest Attila get his hands on them and use them against you.

This is why Hobbes declares the first Law of Nature — note the capital letters — to be: “Seek peace.”

The problem, of course, is that any contract you make with another person invokes the dilemma of the first performer.  Let’s say we both agree to put down our swords.  I have no incentive to perform first, and every incentive to perform second — if you lay down your sword first, I can still stab you with mine.  If I put mine down first, I’m completely defenseless; I have no way to compel you to uphold your end of the bargain.

Hence, government.  We both need to trust a third party with enforcing the contracts.  But that brings up the Libertarian’s dilemma: Any third party strong enough to compel both contracting parties to perform their obligations is, by definition, more powerful than either of them, or even both of them together.  What if the third party decides to keep all the goodies for himself?  What are the other two gonna do, rebel?

Remember, the “Advocates for Self-Government” say “[Libertarians] only use force in self-defense.”  Which is, in this case, by definition suicide.

Hobbes had an answer for this, and if you grant his premises, his logic is irrefutable:  The Leviathan is bound by self-interest, and his own sense of fair play.  That’s it.

That’s where the “non-aggression principle” leads.  To get out of the State of Nature and into a state where we can allocate resources based on “objective and fair” social rules, we must obey the First Law of Nature: “Seek peace.”  To do that, we must surrender our liberties to the most absolute monarch that could ever be.

Locke knew it, which is why he spent so much time writing his Treatises of Government.  He knew that governments arise from some kind of “social contract,” but the only example of one he could find was in Leviathan… and that just can’t be right!!!  So he came up with some stuff about “first use,” and since that “homesteading” business lets us pretend life isn’t nasty, poor, solitary, brutish, and short, we went with it.  Fast forward a few hundred years, and you’ve got guys who’d be hors d’oeuvres after five minutes in the State of Nature going on about “non-aggression principles.”

Hobbes’s language takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s not really that hard.  At least read the SparkNotes, for pete’s sake.  If it helps, Hobbes was a fairly earthy guy; I don’t think he’d mind you smoking a bowl.

 

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The Delusional Animal

The late, great David Stove once suggested that if you want to construct a truly human philosophy — one that best describes how we actually are, as opposed to how we want to be — you’d end up with a kind of Gnostic sect that worships delusion and error.

[T]here is simply no avoiding the conclusion that the human race is mad. There are scarcely any human beings who do not have some lunatic beliefs or other to which they attach great importance. People are mostly sane enough, of course, in the affairs of common life: the getting of food, shelter, and so on. But the moment they attempt any depth or generality of thought, they go mad almost infallibly. The vast majority, of course, adopt the local religious madness, as naturally as they adopt the local dress. But the more powerful minds will, equally infallibly, fall into the worship of some intelligent and dangerous lunatic, such as Plato, or Augustine, or Comte, or Hegel, or Marx.

He’s not wrong.  Leaving religion aside (for convenience), look at war.  Chesterton has a pretty passage about courage:

Take the case of courage. No quality has ever so much addled the brains and tangled the definitions of merely rational sages. Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. ‘He that will lose his life, the same shall save it,’ is not a piece of mysticism for saints and heroes. It is a piece of everyday advice for sailors or mountaineers. It might be printed in an Alpine guide or a drill book. This paradox is the whole principle of courage; even of quite earthly or brutal courage. A man cut off by the sea may save his life if we will risk it on the precipice.

He can only get away from death by continually stepping within an inch of it. A soldier surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying. He must not merely cling to life, for then he will be a coward, and will not escape. He must not merely wait for death, for then he will be a suicide, and will not escape. He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine.

Stove — a rational sage par excellence — would call that madness, and again, he’s not wrong.  “Cowardice” is really the most rational behavior, if, as our neo-Darwinian overlords teach, Man’s only natural goal is to propagate his genes.*

It’s actually worse than that, because “the worship of some intelligent and dangerous lunatic” inevitably entails spreading that lunatic’s gospel.  All of Stove’s examples — Plato, Augustine, Comte, Hegel, Marx — were the founders of political movements, too, and they collectively racked up quite a body count….

I’m not willing to go as far as Stove, but I will sign off on the idea that there’s something like Freud’s “death drive” deep in the human soul.  Far from being the rational animal, man is the delusional animal — we can’t bear very much Reality, and we try to escape it by submerging our consciousness in something greater than ourselves.  It doesn’t particularly matter what — as any good indoctrinator knows, the easiest converts to your movement are your movement’s most passionate enemies.  Josef Goebbels knew a few tricks, and he bragged that he could turn a Red [Communist] into a Brown [Nazi] in two weeks.  See also Eric Hoffer’s The True Believer, which is The Prince‘s only rival for “most cynical thing ever written.”

Worst, the “death drive” is — to me, literally — Devilish.  It seems to increase as our material security increases.  The consciousness-abnegating lunatics of antiquity were guys like Parmenides, who merely argued that motion is impossible.  He didn’t undermine his own argument by going out and killing people to prove it. Our death-worshiping lunatics have “kill the unbelievers” as a first principle.  What else is Cultural Marxism but the annihilation of all culture, all art, of the very idea of facts and reason?  A culture-less, reason-less, deracinated consumer unit has very little reason not to kill himself, and Cult Marxists will happily help them along on the off-chance that continued existence might eventually lead to wrongthink.

It’s everywhere in our political class.  The neocons would rather start a nuclear exchange with Russia than endure the tedium of their pampered, coddled little lives.  The Media-Academic complex — the fattest, safest, healthiest, most prosperous human beings in Earth’s entire history — are out rioting in the streets because Donald Trump’s twitter feed makes them feel bad.  And — best of all, Screwtape be praised — these are the people who insist loudest and longest that they fucking love science.

Stove was right.  Error, stupidity, outright insanity — these are the strongest parts of our game.  Humans are the delusional animal, and the better we get at improving our lot, the madder — in both senses — we get.

 

 

*Stove, incidentally, committed suicide, having concluded that death by his own hand was preferable to death by cancer.  Whether that’s courage, cowardice, or mere rationality is beyond my pay grade.

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The Obvious

I’m not ex-military.  I’m not a Tough Guy, even on the Internet — unlike so, so many folks out there, I’m not eager for political violence to start, because I didn’t get kicked out of SEAL Team 6 for being too badass [eye roll].  I’m just a guy who reads History.  So if these things are obvious to me, they have certainly occurred to people with actual power.

Let’s start with the…. Patriots, I guess we’ll call them.

If the rebels really want to take it to The Man, there are a zillion soft targets out there that would cause way disproportionate damage.  The first step in any successful insurrection is delegitimizing the ruling power, and while our ruling power is doing a fantastic job of that on its own from the perspective of people who read this kind of blog, it takes a lot more to delegitimize them in the eyes of The Masses.  Our government is the country’s #1 service provider — I read somewhere that the actual numerical majority of families with kids now receive some kind of government “assistance.”  The obvious thing for a rebel movement to do is disrupt that.  Cut off the EBT cards… or, better yet, supercharge them — it’d be a lot more lulzy, and would no doubt start a riot even faster than zeroing them out.

Hell, the rebels probably don’t even have to do that.  Public schools are giant daycares now.  With both parents working — or, you know, “working” — something as simple as slashing the bus fleet’s tires, thus setting school back even an hour, has screwed up everyone’s day beyond recovery out in the ‘burbs.  Throw in some well-directed sabotage at the public bus lines — the entire inner city is dependent on public transport — and a rebel movement would damage the The Man’s legitimacy almost beyond recovery.

They could print up flyers announcing that there’s a cure for the common cold available at the local free clinic… for the first 100 patients who show up.  They could start a rumor that the Post Office is being secretly run by ICE agents.  Stuff like that is PsyOps 101.  Look at how much damage the Soviets did with “civil rights” agitation in the 1960s.  They were 5,000 miles away, and all their agents in America were — and looked like — nerdy college professors and bureaucrats at the State Department.  One redneck with a pocket knife and a cheap printer could do way more damage, because he’s on the spot.

However….. to do any of that you’ve got to organize, and that’s how you know nothing’s going to happen.  If the Powers That Be felt themselves in any real danger, this post would disappear the minute I hit publish, and ten minutes later I’d be getting a knock on the door (even though all this is totally hypothetical and I don’t advocate violence in any form).  As Winston Churchill supposedly said, jaw-jaw is better than war-war.  From the PTB’s perspective, sites like Stormfront and guys like Alex Jones are great, and not just because they give the PTB a ready-made enemies list in the form of posters, subscribers, retweeters, etc. — endlessly talking, talking, talking about what they’re gonna do when the bullets finally start flying guarantees that nobody will actually start shooting.

Trust me: If the SJWs ever really do succeed in getting Jones, Anglin et al permabanned from social media, Zuckerberg and Co. will be getting a visit from some DoD widebodies in sunglasses.  As it stands, we get to feel like super techno-sleuths for getting around Twitter’s “shadow bans.”  Strange how thumbless these social media types are when it comes to stealth suppression, isn’t it?  I’m not a computer programmer, but it seems odd to me that the algorithm that “shadow bans” “conservatives” on Twitter has such an easy “tell” — hey, did you know that none of my followers see my Tweets anymore?  You’d think it’d be child’s play for them to program something that mimics traffic –you know, kinda like a RUSSIAN BOT.

But let’s suppose for the sake of argument that the PTB really are that stupid.  Hey, they’re Millennials; it’s not that farfetched.  Let’s suppose, then, that the Patriots really did manage to organize armed resistance groups.  From what the Internet Tough Guys tell me, it’s all over but the crying at that point, because our Kinder Gentler Military is full of gays and trannies and girls cosplaying as panzer commanderettes.  Which may be true, but even the 4077th Fabulous Hairdresser Battalion still has tanks, artillery, air support….

….and before anyone brings up the Viet Cong or the Mujahideen or the Taliban, I trust y’all know the difference between fighting an alien, demoralized, utterly confused and directionless force 10,000 miles from home, and fighting one in your own backyard?  Remember, the Patriots have been blowing up communication infrastructure and hacking the EBT systems and assassinating tech company officials and minor government functionaries for a while at this point in our thought experiment — it doesn’t make any sense if we haven’t gone from jaw-jaw to war-war in a big way.

You, my Patriot tough guy friend, probably went to college with that cosplaying tank comanderette.  You probably laughed at her when she said she was gonna join the Army and prove that anything Patton can do, a 5’1″, 250 lb. lesbian can do better.  Ya think she’s slightly more motivated than our guys in Afghanistan?  Not to mention, she’s got all the homegrown intel that makes civil wars such fun.  One Afghani goatherd looks like every other Afghani goatherd, nobody rats on the VC, but half the country will happily sell you out for a guest appearance on The View.

Red Dawn was a movie.  You’re not Wolverines.

If any meaningful change is going to happen, it has to come from convincing the PTB that war-war is a dicey proposition.  (It worked for the Nazis — Hitler got made Chancellor, in large part, because the Reichswehr told Hindenburg that they didn’t have the numbers to put down a domestic insurrection).  Right now the PTB hold all the high cards; the Patriots would get drone-striked into oblivion while the tanks were still gassing up.  For them, there’s no downside to violently squashing a potential domestic insurrection; the only reason the PTB haven’t gotten violent yet is: they don’t feel the need to.  Watch what happens the minute the anti-Antifa start getting proactive.

The great advantage the Patriots presently have is that most of our military firepower is overseas, getting pissed away in neocolonial wars.  That means the first responders to any domestic crisis will be the National Guard.*  How are they doing, morale-wise?  Are they politicized?  Can they be politicized?  If you want to avoid war-war, get to jaw-jawing with the domestic security forces.  If the PTB judge them politically unreliable, maybe we’ll see some change.

 

 

*and there’s an intel freebie: If the PTB start actually getting worried, you’ll see an impossible-to-disguise realignment in our foreign policy.  If the Pentagon suddenly declares victory and walks away, the shit’s about to hit the fan.
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Adios, McCain

I have nothing good to say about the man, but I will say: It’s going to be a hoot, watching the Left pretending that McCain was one of the “reasonable” ones, not like those extremist ideologues today.  It’s fascinating how fast wannabe-Hitlers — as McCain was, according to every liberal in existence, in 2008 — become cherished voices of moderation the minute they shuffle off this mortal coil.  Hell, I knew some college types who even had some not-terrible things to say about Ronald Reagan, the Twelfth Invisible Hitler himself, once he was safely in the ground.

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Politics for Fugly People

If politics is showbiz for ugly people, then Leftism is politics for fugly people.  “Game” bloggers like Chateau Heartiste have been banging (heh) this drum for years, and they’re right — physiognomy is real.  But as I pointed out yesterday, this is one of the Left’s greatest advantages.

This man looks confident, competent, potentially dangerous:

Even if he’s smiling and waving, you’d have your guard up just a little if you saw him coming down the street towards you — he’s not violent now, but he looks like he easily could be.

This “man,” on the other hand….

is impossible to take seriously as a threat.  It’s not just the threads — the panzer commander in his pajamas would still look like a (potentially) vicious SOB; Pajamaboy in a panzer commander’s uniform would look like a power bottom at one of the weirder sex dungeons.  So nobody’s expecting it when he brains you with a bike lock.

That’s the hardest thing for Normals to realize: The utter, brutal ugliness of the Left.  Forget their rhetoric for a second; focus on their material lives.  It’s the key to understanding them.*

If you haven’t been on campus lately, visit your local citadel of learning.  Don’t just drive through; spend some time there.  On the surface, things look lovely — ivy covered walls, dorms like 5 star hotels, trendy boutiques selling stuff you can’t afford to undergraduates wearing more than your week’s take-home pay.  Light poles and store walls are covered with flyers for causes only the very wealthy and very idle could possibly care about.  In short, it’s heaven…

…but pretty soon you’ll notice that it’s a very battered, grimy sort of heaven.  Nobody’s from there, nobody stays there, everyone’s just passing through on the way to something better.  Certainly including the faculty: Every single professor not currently at Harvard thinks knows xzhe deserves to be at Harvard, and will get there someday.  Everything’s on-demand in a college town, because everything’s rented.  That “distressed” look hipsters love so much isn’t an affectation on campus; it’s a logical outcome of the transient lifestyle.  Why fix a pothole, paint a building, trim a tree, teach a class anyone could ever actually use?  Anyone who complains will be gone next semester anyway.

Get yours before it’s gone, and if that means skipping town one day ahead of the bill collectors, remember: Capitalism is evil.

It’s not just campus, either.  The rest of the lifestyle is just as evanescent, just as ugly.  Think of the food.  Whatever you do, you can’t eat what the Normals eat, drink what the Normals drink.  Here again, foodie culture isn’t a hipster affectation on campus.  It’s deadly serious status-jockeying with your temporary — always temporary — peers.  You’ve got to win now, because next semester they’ll be gone, probably to Harvard, those cheating, ass-kissing bastards.  Sure, it looks, smells, and tastes like cold dog puke, but at least you’re the first to eat it!

As food, so romance.  I’ve tried “dating” in graduate school, and trust me, nothing kills the vibe faster than answering the inevitable “So, what do you do?” with “I’m an adjunct in the Department of Gay Disabled Inuit Studies; my most recent publication is ‘A Neo-Marxist Deconstruction of Kim Kardashian.'”**  Which means that your dating pool has been reduced to the kind of spastic freakazoid who not only knows what that means, but is actually envious that you got published in the Journal of Polysyllabic Flimflammery.  These are, needless to say, not HB10s.

The point of all this isn’t just more academia-bashing (fun as that is, and thank you Jesus for early retirement).  The point is: Life deals people bad hands.  Many, perhaps most, of the people I know in academia are there because they really can’t do anything else — a combination of (as they feel it) genes and circumstance has landed them there, and while it looks like a really cushy upper-middle-class life materially, spiritually it’s the pits, because it’s aesthetically awful.  The Classical Greek adage that the Good is the True is the Beautiful might not be factually accurate, but it sure feels right…

…and never more than to people who know themselves un-beautiful, therefore not good, therefore false, and locked in it.  Forever.

These people hate us, not because we’re better looking, more socially skilled, or whatever — this is, after all, the Internet — but because we’ve got options.  We’re not all fighting over who gets to be Big Fish in an ever-shrinking pond.  We’re different things to different people; we haven’t collapsed our social context down to faculty mixers and the one or two non-hamplanet grad students who are silly enough to apply each semester.  We can go days, maybe even weeks, without obsessively comparing ourselves to our peers.  We don’t care that we’re not “Chad” or “Stacy,” because we’ve got other settings on the emotional dial than “smugness” and “jealousy.”

But we need to start caring.  I don’t mean getting obsessive over our appearance.  I mean that, since this is in many ways an aesthetic battle, aesthetics will help us win.  I half-jokingly suggested a “Normal Guy Uniform” a while back –an all-white ball cap with the New England Patriots’ logo on it.  I’m not really kidding now.  The Left wins, in large part, because they’re fugly losers that no normal person could possibly consider a threat….until they bash your skull in, or get you fired, or send a SWAT team to your house.

We don’t need to be overtly threatening — it’s just a ball cap! — but we do need to advertise a bit.  There are more of us than you think.  A lot more.  And we’re not Pajamaboys.

 

 

*Insofar as they can be understood.  I’ve been intimately among them for decades and they still baffle me 95% of the time.
**I think that one’s fake, but give it time.
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Big Brass Balls

The reason few people took Hitler seriously, Orwell observed, was that he was straight out of Gilbert and Sullivan.  Pretty much the entire top Nazi leadership was.  Goering, by far the “best” of them, had been an impressive man in his youth, but by the time of the takeover he was a fat old morphine addict. Goebbels was a plug-ugly clubfoot who had never held a real job, and Himmler looked like the failed chemical salesman he was.   There were some impressive specimens in the second tier — Heydrich, for example, was a world-class fencer — but the top brass were, and more importantly looked like, goofy losers.

That was half their success.  Nobody expects a guy who looks like this

to be a ruthless, highly skilled political operator, but he was.  He may have looked like the uncle you don’t want near the kids’ table after a few drinks on Thanksgiving, but for a while there this man ruled half of Europe.

The other half of their success flowed directly from the first.  The Nazi’s actions were brass-balled by anyone’s standards, but coming from these guys they simply beggared belief.  By the time the rest of the world got the hint that Hitler meant exactly what he said, his panzers were on the outskirts of Moscow.

This is the modern Left’s greatest advantage, too — we simply can’t take them seriously, and the more you know about them personally, the harder it is to regard them as a threat.  It’s simply unpossible that we’re in danger from this guy.

The mind rebels at the thought.  And yet, the Left mean exactly what they say.  If they were even slightly less ridiculous, we’d see their brass-balled power grabs for what they are, and shove them back into the lockers from which they somehow escaped back in high school.

But we don’t, because they aren’t… and now, I’m afraid, it’s too late.

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Revenge of the Nerds

Jay Carter suggests a post on the Left’s suggestion to call the vagina the “front hole,” lest we offend the trannies.  Never say I don’t give the people what they want!

The tl;dr is: Something like this was inevitable.  The Left are who they are, and the professors, who are the Stakhanovites in the Left’s battle for the production of mental North Korea, can always be counted on to Poe’s Law the shit out of any social phenomenon.

The longer version is: Behold the revenge of the nerds.

I’ve tried to describe the kind of spastic weirdo who goes into academia.  Since this is the Internet, I assume everyone knows at least one guy who is waaaaaay too into Dungeons and Dragons, anime, or something like that.  Now, give that person a very nice upper middle class salary, tons of free time in which to feed his obsessions, an entire socioeconomic ecosystem designed to feed his sense of smug superiority, and actual power over the lives and careers of attractive, popular young people.  In short, imagine this goober* with the ability to ruin, or at least significantly screw up, your entire life.  That’s every professor in America.

I don’t think I’m shocking anyone, then, when I say that the Left don’t care about trannies, any more than it cared about gays, Blacks, prisoners, the insane, the Workers, the colonized, or any of their other victims du jour.**  They’re just convenient cudgels with which to beat the Normals.  As O’Brien said in 1984, the point of power is power; the point of torture is torture.  If you’ve never been shoved in a locker, you can’t know the sadistic delight these people take in forcing Chad and Stacy to parrot this nonsense.

Once you feel that, all else follows.  Just as no Leftist has ever admitted ignorance of anything of consequence, so no Leftist can declare victory and walk away while there’s still an ounce of virtue juice to be squeezed out of a situation.  It won’t be long, then, before “front hole” is deemed too exclusionary of trans-women who, despite having “front holes,” prefer backdoor action exclusively.  And that will be too exclusive of the “head hole” afficionados, and that will be too exclusive of….

 

 

 

*Thanks, Nate Winchester, for bringing this fellow to my attention, since now I can give y’all a sense of what working in the ivory tower was like.  Imagine working with nothing but this kind of dork, all day, every day.
**As gay agitators are finding out to their great dismay (and our schadenfreudily delicious amusement).  Turns out that in just this one special case, gender isn’t a social construction and the sexually deviant aren’t born that way (and somehow, those two propositions don’t contradict each other…. or maybe they do in this case?  It takes a lot more free time than I have to keep it all “straight,” heh heh).  Whatever, point is, gays aren’t fashionable victims anymore, so nobody on the Left gives a shit that their former besties have to live with the lifelong consequences of their virtue signaling.
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Predicting the Future

I always kick myself when I use the phrase “if present trends continue.”  Because they never do.  Damn it, Jim, I’m a Historian, not Raymond Kurzweil! I should know better! (Maybe that works better in Dr. McCoy’s voice).

Something unforeseen always breaks the present trends, whatever they are.  The feudal system, for example, was going great until the Black Death hit.  Induce a massive labor shortage by wiping out 30-75% of the laborers, and your society reorganizes in all sorts of interesting ways.  Gunpowder, double-entry bookkeeping, and the rise of literacy all played their part, but all second fiddle to skyrocketing labor costs brought on by the Plague.

But sometimes the catastrophe is technological.  George Orwell saw something like the Internet’s universal surveillance — those mandatory two-way TVs in 1984 — but he got the result backwards.  Good Classical Liberals, as he was (and most of us were until recently), assume that humans want freedom.  Big Brother and the Thought Police were supposed to be horrifying.  But they don’t have half the power Zuckerberg et al do, and we can’t wait to put more and more of our lives online.  O’Brien had to torture Winston Smith almost to death to get Smith to love Big Brother; we feel like we’ve been put on the rack if our Internet access is briefly interrupted.

Other times, the change is benign, even beneficial.  Ever wonder why Gilded Age Progressives, who thought there was nothing a properly-run government couldn’t do, never proposed “socialized medicine”?  These were people who thought the State should run our sex lives; they wouldn’t’ve spared a thought for your privacy.  Rather, it never occurred to them because it was pointless — “medicine” couldn’t cure anything until the invention of penicillin in 1928, and even then going to the doctor probably did more harm than good (Historians of Medicine have a version of a drunken sports bar debate: When’s the earliest safe time to go to the doctor?  The consensus among the HistMed people I know is “around 1930.”  Turns out History-minded doctors have the same debate; their consensus answer is “around 1960”).

But whatever causes it, history’s trend lines look like a cokehead’s EKG.  Maybe my gloom ‘n’ doom is misplaced.  Maybe they’ll finally figure out cold fusion here in the next 10 years, or we’ll be contacted by aliens, or we’ll be hit with that big plague we’re loooong overdue for.  Maybe someone will push The Button, or geneticists will unlock the immortality gene.  Things have been going the way they’ve been going for quite some time; only a fool would bet on present trends continuing forever.

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The Problem of Assimilation

The last Assyrian I’ve ever heard of was Yossarian, the protagonist of Catch-22, and while I’ve met plenty of “Anglo-Saxons,” I’ve never met any Angles or Saxons (or Jutes for that matter).  Ditto Etruscans, Babylonians, Mound Builders, Harappans, Minoans…. they didn’t get wiped out, they just assimilated.

The trend in the modern West is to embrace ever more bizarre boutique “identities.”  But it doesn’t really work, and we all, boutique “nationalists” most certainly included, know it.  That’s why referendums on Scottish etc. independence always fail — True Scotsmen may be so proud of their heritage that they’ve got an informal fallacy named after them, but they’re not proud enough to consign their country to shivering unimportance on the ragged edge of nowhere by voting “leave.”  Ditto Croats, Serbs, etc. — if the Austro-Hungarian Empire were still a going concern, they’d all make big noises about leaving it, while hanging Franz Joseph’s picture in every living room.  The days of “national self-determination” are long over; the Black Hand would be a chat room for keyboard warriors.

That being the case, we’d do well to craft ourselves a “culture” into which many disparate groups can merge.  The alternative isn’t tiny minority states getting along in wary but ultimately benign coexistence; it’s merger into a global super-empire, either

  • Chinese,
  • Facebook,
  • or the Brotherhood of the Irradited, Mutated Survivors.

Humans sprawl.  It’s in our firmware.  Hobbes said that our only imperative is “a desire for power after power, that ceaseth only in death,” and he’s right.  That’s why human organizations always expand until checked by a hard limit.  In the past, the hardest limit was communication speed — you simply couldn’t control an empire past a certain size when outpost commanders had a six months’ lag time in which to contemplate the pros and cons of continued allegiance.

The Internet nixed that, though, which makes the current hard limit nuclear.

We’re getting a police state anyway, y’all.  Let’s get to work on making it the most congenial police state we can.

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