Monthly Archives: December 2018

Comments

Dear Readers (all 14 of you),

As we were getting inundated with comment spam, I turned the “discussion” section to “users must be registered and logged in to comment.”

As this was how we’d decided to roll in the first place — and I am the doofus who changed the setting when performing one of WordPress’s patented “blow everything up and start over from scratch” “updates — I take full responsibility for any inconvenience.  Sorry about that.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas.

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What Would a “Dissident Right” Government Look Like?

A thought experiment.

First, some assumptions.  A reevaluation of the social contract is required.  Hobbes’s version, upon which all modern political theory is based, sounds right: We form governments to protect our physical security; we exchange some of our rights, whether in perpetuity (to the Leviathan) or conditionally (Locke’s version), in order to secure to ourselves and our posterity etc.  But Hobbes’s theory is fatally flawed: The famous State of Nature, the “war of all against all” which we form governments to escape, assumes that all men are equal.  Hobbes doesn’t say that every man is the same — that’s a position so absurd I doubt anyone has seriously held it — but he does say that a rough equality prevails in nature, such that men are functionally equal — the dumb-but-strong guy can’t lord it over the small-but-clever guy, or vice versa, indefinitely, because one will always find a way to kill the other.

That’s just false.  Hobbes knew it, too, which is why, when pressed to describe a people that might actually be in the State of Nature, the best he could come up with was the North American Indians surrounding Plymouth Colony…. which he, and every other educated man in England, knew were hardly rugged individualists.  His conclusion was right — States exist to provide collective physical security — but his premises were wrong.  We can’t make the same mistake.

What, then, is the modern definition of “security”?  

Let’s take Communist China as our “enemy.”  Let’s further stipulate that even if we pared down our defenses to the bare minimum — hardened ICBM launch sites; some missile boats with “dead man switches” that fire automatically if they’re out of contact for a few hours — a Red Dawn-style conventional invasion would be too costly provided the US stays together as a coherent political entity.*  Still, these days “diplomacy by other means” covers a lot more territory than military action.  Defending against cyber threats, currency manipulation, etc. will require a lot more State than the libertarian fantasy would have it — cybersecurity alone has lots of layers that require some active direction from the top.

So: What should the State be doing?

Start with first principles:  It’s obvious that Hobbes was wrong, and that people aren’t roughly equal, in the State of Nature or anywhere else.  See “ICBMs, necessity of,” above.  In Hobbes’s day, you could almost forgive a philosopher for thinking that everyone is roughly equal, because in Hobbes’s day armies still had cavalry staffed by guys with titles like “Sir This” and “Earl That” and “the Duke of The Other Thing.”  Prince Rupert is pretty much your best case scenario there, and he was beaten by a bunch of commoners with muskets, any one of whom could take down the best equipped, most highly trained, bluest-blooded knight just by crooking his finger.  That’s what Hobbes had in mind when he postulated functional equality in the State of Nature.

Modern life. though, is what your Robert Putnam types call “cognitively stratified.”  Our hypothetical war vs. the ChiComs is almost entirely a brainpower war — our geeks vs. theirs.  Prince Rupert with a musket has a 50/50 shot against Joe Schmoe with a musket, but neither of them stands a chance against a stealth drone.  So: a modern State that is serious about its security must do, at minimum, the following:

  • Acknowledge that IQ is real; that it is heritable; and that “society” has next to nothing to do with it
  • Actively channel living people with high IQs into defense fields
  • Encourage high IQ people to breed.

All of that is, of course — sigh — “Social Darwinism,” and we’re all terrible horrible no good very bad people for even reading that phrase.  You’ll also notice that we’re a lot closer to the Leviathan than we’d like, particularly those of us who fancy “freedom” and “individual rights” (whatever those phrases could possibly mean in a world where Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez is obviously being groomed to be President of the United States).  But such is life, at least under the Social Contract, which is the only legitimating philosophy that even slightly, kinda sorta, hypothetically limits the State’s power.  Swim, fish!… or die.

You’ll also notice that the Constitution is null and void under this dispensation.  De jure, I mean, and not just de facto — as one cannot be a part-time missile engineer, or an amateur research chemist, the State will need to compel lifetime service from the most talented fraction of its population.  Whether that’s consistent with the “republican form of government” we’re promised under Article IV, Section 4 can’t be left to the ruminations of Hawaiian Judges, especially since that same sentence also requires the Feds to protect us from foreign invasion, and we know how Hawaiian Judges tend to rule on that.  Either Article IV will need to be amended in such a way that it absolutely cannot be penumbra’d or emanationed into saying its exact opposite, or we’ll need to scrap the whole thing.  The entire history of US jurisprudence from Marbury v. Madison —  in which Mr. Chief Justice Marshall found the notion of “judicial review” buried somewhere in all the stuff the Founders didn’t say but surely must’ve meant to, even though lots of them are still around to ask — suggests the latter as the only prudent course.

Part II later.

 

 

*If there really is a Civil War 2.0, of course, the ChiComs will be more than happy to assist their fraternal socialist allies in the People’s Republic of California in fighting off Flyover Country, the New Confederacy, etc.  Which is why I assume the keyboard warriors that populate the “Alt-Right” are all boning up on their Mandarin.  Should Chinese boots ever touch American soil, y’all, they’re going to make the Spetsnaz look like the Vienna Boys Choir.  Trust me, Internet Tough Guys: You do NOT want the shooting to start, no matter how great you think you’d look with Patrick Swayze’s 1980s mullet.
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Power

As the Left has no principles, only power, we need to put aside our principles, too, and start seeking power for power’s sake.  So we should start thinking about what power is.

Imperial Romans derided Christianity as a religion for women and slaves.  Christians would claim that their religion’s rapid spread under extreme persecution is proof of its truth.  But a naturalistic explanation faces the same problem: How did “a religion for women and slaves” turn into “a religion for manly legionaries” in the space of (at most) 150 years?  That’s pretty impressive now; in a low-tech, low-fi world like the later Roman Empire, it really does seem miraculous.

The answer, I’d argue, has to do with the Romans’ understanding of power.

Roman legions didn’t triumph because Italians were impressive physical specimens.  Ancient accounts go on and on about how huge and strong the barbarians are, and while we can dismiss some of that as propaganda, archaeology seems to confirm that, mano-a-mano, Germans were tougher hombres than their opponents in the legions.  But legionaries were disciplined — a legion whose commander wasn’t a complete fool could triumph over forces much larger than itself, provided the line held.  Iron self-mastery, not brawn, won the day for the Romans, and that’s how they understood power — a true Roman reveals himself by holding the line, no matter what.

In other words: Who has more power than a man utterly willing to die?

The pagan Romans had their “martyrs,” I suppose — men and women who endured awful conditions with unflinching fortitude — but always in the remote past; “Catonian” was more of an epithet than a compliment to people who had known the living Cato.  But the Christians had dozens, hundreds, maybe thousands of people willing to die right now — who seemed fanatically eager for death, in fact.  They actually worshiped their founder’s shameful death — the most shameful of all deaths, and an excruciatingly painful one, too.  No torture could make those people recant.  They died with a prayer on their lips.  What is that, if not ultimate power?

That understanding of power died with Friedrich Nietzsche.  Here’s G.K. Chesterton, ironically arguing against Nietzsche, on courage:

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….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.*

Courage is self-mastery to the point of death.  Only someone who has faced death — real, immediate, personal death — can truly know if he’s courageous, or a coward.  No matter how much power he has over everyone and everything else, he still doesn’t know if he has power over himself, because he can’t know.

Lacking opportunities to test ourselves — I should say “thankfully lacking opportunities,” as a world war now is the end of the human race — we’ve lost sight of what courage really means.  Instead, we’ve elevated cruelty to its place.  Just as Marxism turns envy from the worst vice (it’s what caused the angels to fall) into the best virtue, so Leninism turns ruthlessness and brutality into sham courage.  It was the Black Cat Milita, not the Bolsheviks, who said “my honor is my loyalty,” but that’s what Lenin meant when he wrote of a “vanguard party” willing to do whatever it takes to further the Revolution.  Leftists think they’re brave when they inflict barbarities on us.

The one ray of hope is: They’re not willing to die for it.  Totalitarian regimes always collapse eventually, because the increase of power after power is, as Nietzsche recognized, ultimately futile.  Only mastery over the self is real power; it’s the only thing that gives life meaning, even to atheistic power-worshipers like Nietzsche.  Mistaking cruelty for courage, our Leftists will eventually rip themselves apart… or someone with nothing left to lose will do it for them.

 

 

*I think Chesterton badly misunderstood Nietzsche, but there was a lot of that going around in the early 20th century.  Nietzsche’s works were “edited” beyond recognition by his Nazi shrew of a sister, and poorly translated to boot.

 

 

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Why Study History?

I used to ask that question to every incoming class, and always got the same answer: “To avoid making the mistakes of the past.”  But that’s not true, and everyone knows it.  You don’t need to know how Napoleon turned out to know starting a land war in Asia’s a bad idea, because you’ll never be in a position to start a land war in Asia in the first place.  Similarly, you don’t need Napoleon to tell you to stand up straight and clean up your room — it’s good advice, no doubt, but following it isn’t going to make you Napoleon.

It’s not about outcome, then. Studying history is about process.

That’s what that “creating an informed citizenry” stuff was supposed to be about, back when college was supposed to do that.  Consider any one of the Big Questions — say, “why did the Roman Empire fall?”  No matter which way you answer it, the process of coming up with an answer — evaluating evidence, considering alternatives — teaches you something important that you can apply to your adult life:

If you agree with Gibbon that it’s basically Christianity’s fault, then you learn about the importance of ideology to social order and national identity (funny, isn’t it, that they stopped teaching Gibbon just as Socialism really got going?  Turns out a love-the-world utopian fantasy really does rot your society from the inside out).

Maybe you hold that monetary policy was largely responsible.  Tax farmers, routinely debased coinage, the constant drain of “donatives” to pay off the army, bread and circuses for the masses… seems plausible, which is why they don’t teach that one much anymore, either.  Other than clippable edges, the difference between a mostly copper denarius and a fiat dollar is… what. exactly?  They both rest on the full faith and credit of the government, and we all know what that’s worth.

Speaking of tax farmers, you could subscribe to the thesis that the Empire was grossly understaffed.  You need a certain amount of bureaucracy to make any large enterprise go, but it has to be the right amount, and especially the right kind.  Without a real “civil service,” the Empire relied too much on local elites, any one of whom could suborn a legion commander or two and cause all kinds of problems (if the local elite in question wasn’t himself the legion commander already).  Here again, it’s obvious why you won’t hear that one in a college classroom — these days we call them “Hawaiian judges,” but the effect is the same.

Heck, you won’t even hear an old-school Marxist “class conflict” explanation anymore, though it’s certainly plausible.  Not because the Romans didn’t have brutal class divisions, of course, but because academics, despite being Marxists, aren’t entirely stupid — “bread and circuses” only works until you run out of other people’s money, which is not a lesson the Education-Industrial Complex wants anyone learning.

Nor do you hear much about the latifundia, the Multinational Corporations of their day, hollowing out the Empire’s military manpower base while simultaneously destroying the currency.  Which is funny, what with every professor in America being a drooling “anti-capitalist,” but there you have it…. ha ha, of course I’m kidding.  It’s obvious why they don’t teach that one — latifundia were staffed entirely by slaves.  Non-Roman slaves, and immigration is great, ergo it can’t have been those hardworking Gauls and Celts and Picts, who were just trying to make a better life for themselves and their families.  Plus, latifundia also caused massive overproduction of elites, and free college is a Constitutional right, so.,…

Finally, maybe the collapse of the Roman Empire was just bad luck.  These things happen.  The crisis of the third century was only partly of human manufacture.  Plagues and natural disasters played a significant role, and since inertia is the default state of all human organizations, only exceptionally skillful leadership could’ve mitigated some of the damage… and the potential for an exceptionally skillful leader to arise varies inversely with the amount of social inertia.  We’ve had a good innings, as our cousins across the pond say, but maybe it’s time to hang up our jocks and hit the showers.  But here again, that thesis has some obvious consequences that nobody in academia wants to talk about, starting with the fact that the stuff after the Empire is called the Dark Ages.  That’s a little too on the nose — while eggheads are always trying to outdo each other in displays of anti-White piety, normal folks have other ideas.

See what I mean?  So what’s left, other than saying that the Roman Empire fell because they were too mean to gays, girls, blacks, and trannies… and that only after an entire semester proclaiming, Mary Beard-style, that gays, girls, blacks, and trannies were the only thing keeping the Empire running in the first place?

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Demotic Decadence

Decadent art is easy to spot, but hard to define:

That’s an illustration by Aubrey Beardsley, the most Decadent artist of them all, for The Yellow Book, the publication most associated in the contemporary public mind with Decadence.  Beardsley’s aesthetic is as strange and arresting now as it was then, but it’s impossible to say just why it strikes us that way.

The medical term d’art for this kind of thing is ideopathic, which snarky modern residents have reduced to the acronym SBI: Something Bad Inside.  I can’t tell you now what’s wrong with Beardsley, any more than a Matthew Arnold type could’ve told you then, but a culture that produces and promotes a Beardsley has Something Bad Inside (I write as someone with a soft spot for the Decadents in general, and Beardsley in particular).

Decadence (or Aestheticism, or whatever “technical” label you want to slap on it) was a minor art movement, but the whole Fin de siècle thing was very, very real.  The bourgeoisie were just as sick in their way.  David Stove coined the term horror victorianorum for that oppressive feeling we get when confronted with High Victorian pop culture, especially interior design.  If the Decadents over-focused on the seamy side of life — you just know the lady in that Beardsley illustration has a social disease — then High Victorian burghers went too far the other way, over-focusing on gloopy mawkish sentimentality and “coziness.”  Browse through this and especially this, and pretty soon you too will long to drown in a pool of absinthe and prostitutes.  Both are desperate attempts to shut out the dirty, clanging, hustling, machine-driven world that was just about to crush them.

I get a very Fin de siècle vibe in America these days.  Ours is a demotic decadence — whereas back then you needed to be independently wealthy to be an aesthete, now all you need is an internet connection and Tumblr.  Other than prose style, what’s the difference between Oscar Wilde and a Furry?  I’ll give you a few minutes to think it over.

So, too, with our “middle class.”  Thanks to cheap credit and free wifi, everyone’s “middle class” in America now.  Forget the stuff on the New York Times bestseller list; look at what’s for sale in airports.  “Magic realism,” of either the Dan Brown or the Laurell K. Hamilton variety.  Pure escapism, but following the same pattern:  There’s a whole different world out there, just beneath the surface, full of wonders and terrors… but it’s safe, because Law and Order always prevail in the end.  Sound familiar?

Even the explosion in “horror” these past twenty years looks familiar.  Leftists dismissed the Twilight series as “the abstinence vampires,” and I’ll admit that’s pretty funny, but absolutely no one remarked on how that’s a straight-up inversion of Dracula (1897).  Stoker’s novel was the Victorian equivalent of Cinemax After Dark — the closest thing to porn you could legally purchase — but the theme of both books is exactly the same: Fear of unleashed sexuality, which in 1897 seemed an obvious consequence of the machine age.  So, too, with The Walking Dead.  Pretentious fans of that show (are there any other kind?) like to point out that it’s the survivors of the zombie apocalypse who are the real walking dead — with society gone, everyone reverts back to their most horrible animal instincts.  Paging Dr. Jekyll….  Here too, the theme is the precariousness of Law and Order — any minute now, Science might unleash something that will destroy us all (see also The War of the Worlds (also 1897), in which a vastly technologically superior civilization is brought down by a mere virus).

As much fun as this would be in a Comparative Lit class (if they still had one where you were allowed to read White guys), there’s a point here, and it’s this:  The Fin de siècle — the “vertigo years” of Philipp Blom’s wonderful cultural history — ended with the biggest possible bang.  The “statesmen,” as I suppose we must call them, of 1914 were middle-aged dilettantes — Nicholas II was 46, Wilhelm II was 55, George V was 49 (and Lloyd George 51).  These men’s salad days were the 1880s, when the coming machine age was visible to everyone, but still on the horizon.  By the time they were called upon to lead the machine age, the machine age had passed them by.  They fundamentally misunderstood the world they led into war, and so the war they led was orders of magnitude more terrible than any other.

We’re at the dawn of a new machine age.  One of things I keep banging on about here is how new “Social Media” really is.  Most people who read blogs like this don’t really get it, even if we’re on Twitter and Facebook and whatnot.  For us it’s a tool, nothing more, in the same way BBS and email were back in the dial-up days —  handy and fun, but they don’t fundamentally change our human relationships.  None of us, I’d venture to guess, trust anything important to text messages — we might text the wife to please grab a loaf of bread while you’re out at the store, but we wouldn’t try to solve a serious relationship problem that way.

The upcoming generation would.  They’re different, the way Beardsley was different — easy to spot, nearly impossible to describe.  They live online, in a way that we don’t — that we can’t, even if we were early and vigorous adopters of technology.  There’s a fundamental disconnect, which is why our cultural world is simultaneously so cozy and paranoid, just like the 1890s.

What’s going to happen when our crisis comes?

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The Decline of History Majors

Some folks have brought this to my attention:

Since 2008, the number of students majoring in history in U.S. universities has dropped 30 percent, and history now accounts for a smaller share of all U.S. bachelor’s degrees than at any time since 1950.

As Reynolds notes, History is a paradigm case of “get woke, go broke.”  History, more than any other Liberal Art, is now nothing more than a SocJus mad lib: “___ oppressed ____ through ___, ____. and ____.”  The rest is just details, and ten minutes Wiki-surfing with the syllabus in hand will give you those.

I’d been planning to retire for a long time anyway, but the final straw came a few years ago when an engineer buddy of mine asked to take my midterm, just to see if things were as bad as I claimed.  I said sure, and gave him the exact same rules as the students: Open note (meaning, access to the class website), 60 minutes.  Now, keep in mind that this is a guy who’s so left-brained he can’t spell a word the same way twice.  The last history class he took was the one we took together back in high school, decades ago, when the Soviet Union was still very much a going concern.

He got a B-.  “I probably could’ve done better,” he admitted, “but Monday Night Football was on.”

It’s no use to say “give harder exams” — universities are businesses and the customer is always right.  A professor with a rep as a hard grader won’t be a professor for too long, because students will simply avoid him…. and if you assign him to teach the required Intro classes (because he’s got tenure, so he has to teach something), students will simply switch majors.  Thus everyone gets As, and since this is true in every other Liberal Art (for the same reasons), the choice of major for most students comes down to a mix of “what are you going to do with that?” and “the classroom experience.”

History is the easiest imaginable A — I’m really not kidding when I say any one of you, right now, could graduate summa from any History department in the land without breaking a sweat — but it never shows up in job requirements.  Plus the classroom experience is the pits.  “Business” isn’t the most popular major in America because it’s practical (though it’s more practical than History).  It’s popular because the profs in the business school kinda sorta look like normal humans.  Even now students still have to spend a little bit of time in the classroom.  Who would you rather be locked in with, a guy who looks like he might know how a clothes iron works, or a blue-haired, face-shrapneled, sleeve-tattooed, unshaven androgynous blob that changes xzhyr pronouns every few weeks?

And all that is before you get to the subject matter itself.  Reynolds notes that History majors are down most in the elite schools.  This is because profs at elite schools get to teach what they want to teach, and what they want to teach is their current research in their micro-calibrated sub-sub-sub specialty.  In case you’re not familiar with academia’s arcana, one doesn’t get a doctorate in “History.”  That’s what it says on the sheepskin, but to get the sheepskin you have to write a dissertation, which is a substantial piece of original research.  Since we’re pretty clear on the big questions — your “what caused the Civil War?”-type stuff — that only leaves the little ones.  So you get dissertations on sheep-shearing techniques in the reign of Henry VII or something…. but, of course, this is academia, where everything’s uber-politicized, so you get dissertations on the Marxist interpretation of sheep-shearing techniques in the reign of Henry VII.  And because that shit gets grant money (don’t ask me how; God alone knows) and because grant money is the department’s lifeblood, said professor is going to teach HIST 302: Sheep-shearing Techniques in the Reign of Henry VII: A Marxist Approach.

Why on earth would anyone major in that?

Alas, that’s not a rhetorical question.  There’s a bipartite answer: Either you really love sheep-shearing, or you really love Marxism.  There are always some few dorks who are really into History’s obscurities (and they’re actually the worst kids to have in class, I’d take fifty hopelessly bored sorority girls over one enthusiast, but that’s a rant for another day).  But there are always several more dorks who are really into protesting stuff, and that’s where the History major really shines.  These snowflakes, it’s safe to say, are Liberal Arts majors, because only Liberal Arts majors would be dumb enough to go to Georgia Tech, where they really do mean tech, and demand an end to quizzes, homework, studying, and class attendance.  The History major is perfect for these people… or it would be, if there weren’t a dozen other majors — Psych, Soash, Anthro, Elementary Ed, American Studies (a real thing, God help us), etc. — that actually give you class credit for protesting shit.  So History’s screwed there, too.

And good riddance, as far as I’m concerned.  Academia is broken beyond all hope of repair.  Keeping traditional-sounding majors around only helps maintain the fiction that a college “education” is anything more than a six-year SJW sleepaway camp.  The faster Angry Studies becomes a real, honest-to-God major, the faster we can start tearing the whole place down and salting the earth where it stood.  College is the biggest scam ever pulled on the American public — if a Bernie Madoff type did 1/1000th the damage to Wall Street that your average college dean does to Main Street, they’d draw and quarter him in Times Square and broadcast the carnage instead of the Super Bowl.  For God’s sake, do not go to college, do not let your kids go to college, don’t let your friends, or friends’ kids, or friends’ kids’ pets go to college.

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Freedumb

The Archaic Greeks believed that only the best men can handle liberty.  That’s why only free men of property could serve in the phalanx, or crew a fighting trireme.  Only such a man had the iron self-control a hoplite needs.  Freedom without discipline backed by centuries of tradition is what barbarians have (“barbarian” means simply “not Greek”) — that’s not liberty, it’s license.  

That’s why the citizens of Athens put Socrates to death, and why Nietzsche said they were right to do it.  Socrates’s command to “know thyself” leads not to freedom, as he claimed, but to license.  To keep his freedom — to literally keep the barbarians from the gates — a free man must be bold, even ruthless, in defense of his values.  Socrates’s injunction calls those very values into question.  What if our “values” are really just social conventions?  How can I — who know myself so thoroughly — continue strutting around as if I weren’t always in danger of succumbing to lust, laziness, gluttony, cowardice?  It’s no good to say “because it’s socially useful for you to act this way,” because if it’s just an act, then what’s the point of those “values” in the first place?  Do the Spartans seem happy to you?  The barbarians sure do….

Well into modern times, the contrast between civilization and barbarism was right there.  Europe was in danger of being overrun well into the 17th century; the Barbary slave trade went on into the 19th.  Europeans weren’t the unquestioned top dogs on their own continent until the Industrial Revolution.  Only fanatic commitment to our values kept the barbarians away, but they were always there, just over the horizon… is it a coincidence, do you think, that the Enlightenment only really got rolling after the Battle of Vienna?

Flash forward into the 20th century.  Nobody’s village is going to get burned by marauding Mongols; no cruise ship passengers in the Mediterranean are going to end up in an Ottoman hareem.  The ages-old answer to the question “What is freedom for?” doesn’t make sense anymore.  Hell, the very question itself doesn’t.  I defy anyone, anywhere, in the modern world to find a commonly accepted definition of “freedom” that doesn’t boil down to “do your own thing, man” — in other words, what the Greeks would call license.

Do you have one?

Folks in Our Thing rail against the SJW police state, but I ask you to seriously consider: What, exactly, is wrong with a police state?  That it takes away our freedom?  See above.  We’ve so thoroughly conflated freedom with license that most college kids I know — and I have met thousands — don’t even know what the word “license” means, outside of a laminated card that lets you buy beer.  Our kinder, gentler police state is just lousy with license, and most people will go along with that, because they like it — and because they think they ARE free.  Start handing out a government ration of porn, fentanyl, Big Macs, and free wifi, and I promise you not one “American” in 10,000 will care that freedom of thought, of conscience, are gone… whatever the fuck that means.  All I know, dude, is that I can pierce anything, watch anything, stick anything up any orifice, and get retweeted and upvoted for it.  So what if you can’t read some dead white guy any more?  The new season of Stranger Things is out!

Freedom — ordered liberty; the ability to choose not what one wants, but what one must — is a meaningless concept in a postindustrial society.  Our fraternal socialist comrades in the USSR didn’t rebel because they wanted freedom; they rebelled because the kommissars promised them more stuff, and didn’t deliver.  We will be perfectly free, fellow citizens, in the SJW’s New World Order, under any definition of “freedom” that still makes sense in a world where the “poor” die of heart disease and diabetes.

Unless you can tell me exactly why anyone should start shooting at the black helicopters, Our Thing is just a few dudes grumbling on the Internet.  I’m sure we’ll have some high old times together in the reeducation camp, but all this?  It’s for nothing.

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No Gandhi Option

I had a Leftist friend.  He was one of my best friends, actually.  Even though he was a Leftist, and an academic to boot, he was of a type — not uncommon in those balmy days of relative sanity — whose piety was basically Medieval.  Anyone who wanted to do brainwork in the Middle Ages had to go into holy orders, mumbling the Mass a few times a week in order to get on with their real vocation.

So it went with a lot of professors.  I’m not saying he was a secret shitlord; his Leftism was sincere.  But he was one of those Leftists — again, so common in those not-entirely-insane days — who confused “Capitalism” with “Daddy.”  Which meant that when the chips were down, he could face facts.  He’d never admit it to Daddy himself — what teenager could? — but he’d cop to it with his friends, off the record and with a few drinks under his belt.  Thus when his neighborhood got redistricted, he straight up told me they were moving so that his kids didn’t have to go to a vibrant school.

Thus, we could be friends.

Or so I thought.

W’s election knocked him off-kilter, and the Chimperor’s re-election really shook him.  Still, though, relative sanity prevailed, to the point where I even heard him mercilessly mocking a colleague for the colleague’s trust-fund Trotskyism.  You’ll have to take my word for it that it was briefly chic in the ivory tower to be anti-Obama — as it was obvious even then that He was just a slightly-darker-skinned version of W. Bush, all the eggheads got a delicious frisson of rebelliousness from supporting the real People’s Candidate, Dennis Kucinich.  My buddy, of course, was all-in on UFO boy in public but, being at bottom still sane, he could dog out our colleague for his posturing (which was insufferable even by academic standards, and again, I’m going to ask you to take my word for it that such a thing is possible without collapsing up one’s own butthole into a supermassive singularity of stupid).  “Get off it,” he told the guy.  “You’re going to go out there and vote for Obama just like the rest of us.”

I can’t pinpoint exactly when in the Obama years my buddy lost it, but it wasn’t too far in.  As entirely befits that feckless dimwit, Obama’s failures turned far more people into true believers than His successes — He did everything He said He was going to do, but as that was basically just a hip-hop version of W’s agenda it really blueballed the Left.  They really did think the aliens were going to come pick them up and carry them off to the Next Level, and when it didn’t happen, they really dug in.  Their brains were broken well before 2016; Trump’s election just jazzed them up.

Leftism really is a mind virus.  I don’t trust the guy anymore, which is why we’re no longer friends.  As late as maybe 2013, he’d have been in my corner if need be — even if I were outed as a shitlord; even at significant personal cost to himself.  These days, though?  He’d make a few sympathetic noises — on the phone, no paper trail — but in a few days he’d be right outside my office door with the rest of the pussyhatters.

This is why there can be no Gandhi option when it comes to resisting the Left.  Gandhi did what he did because the officials of the Raj — though absolutely no angels — held to a few fundamental principles.  The Left, of course, has no principles.  They’ll make a token effort to convert you, but if it fails, they’ll kill you without a second thought.  It wasn’t lack of courage that kept Gandhis from arising in Nazi Germany or the USSR; it was the fact that the security services killed off any potential Gandhis on general principles.  The longer you live under the Left, the easier such things become — report the badthinker on the off chance, lest you be reported yourself on the off chance.  If that means the reportee is surely in for a bullet in the back of the head, well, he knew the risks, didn’t he?

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Monday Quick Take: Loopy Bints

A post linked by Ace of Spades asks: Should we take this Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez person seriously?

Do not underestimate this woman, and do not think your savage mockery of her stupidity will be an effective tool to stop her. It won’t. It will instead be personalized by her supporters, creating an army that will lay down and die for her (or at least vote for her), just like the army Trump has. You should be afraid of Ocasio-Cortez. Be much more afraid than you are.

There it is.  I, personally, am terrified of Ocasio-Cortez, because I used to teach college.  I taught college for many years, in fact, and I’m exaggerating only a very, very little when I say that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is every single college girl I have ever met.

I’ve met thousands, y’all, and they’re all like this.  It’s not stupidity, really — though she sounds dumber than a box of rocks, I doubt this woman lacks for IQ points.  What she is is solipsistic.  Her narcissism is so vast, so all-encompassing, that the so-called “real world” only exists insofar as it impinges on her Twitter feed.  She has the college girl’s invincible, sneering ignorance — if she doesn’t already know it, it’s by definition not worth knowing, and moreover, if what she knows ain’t so, well, that’s the so-called “real world’s” fault for not getting with the program.

I have no doubt that when legislation she sponsors fails to pass, she’ll be in the Speaker’s office in tears, crying that she worked “sooo…. haaaaaard!!!!” on this bill and it’s so, like, totally unfair that the big meanies didn’t vote for it.

I want to make this perfectly clear: College girls cannot be mocked for their stupidity, because to a college girl, mocking her makes you a “h8r,” which is all the proof she needs that whatever she’s doing, saying, thinking, attaching to her face, or taking up an orifice is cosmically right and just.

And yes, before you ask — I taught for decades; they were like that back then, too, and I have no doubt they’re like that now.  Encroaching middle age doesn’t even dent a girl’s delusion bubble — ask any of the “Game” gurus.

So, yeah: Ocasio-Cortez is our future.  Start palming your cyanide pills now.

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On Pain

Ernst Junger’s essay On Pain is a bit too of its time for us to read easily, but his theses are worth summarizing.  Junger says that pain is a crucible — how one meets pain, and particularly how one meets the inevitability of pain, determines one’s values.  Pain is absolute — though there are of course degrees of pain, only pain and death are certain in human life.

[It’s worth pausing here to note just how well Junger knew the subject.  A “storm trooper” officer who served all four years of World War I, he was wounded 14 times, all of them fairly serious.  This man was once shot in the head and walked back to the aid station.  If anyone’s an authority on the subject of pain, it’s Ernst Junger].

Junger also says that the person who is best able to overcome pain is the one who is best able to regard it objectively — not just the pain itself, but the body experiencing the pain.

There are apparently attitudes that enable man to become detached from the realms of life where pain reigns as absolute master. This detachment emerges wherever man is able to treat the space through which he experiences pan, i.e., the body, as an object. Of course, this presupposes a command center, which regards the body as a distant outpost that can be deployed and sacrificed in battle.

Continuing the metaphor, he states

To link another idea to the human projectile, it is obvious that with such a stance man is superior to every imaginable multitude of individuals. His superiority, of course, is still given even when not armed with explosives, for we are not dealing here with superiority over human beings but over the space in which the law of pain rules. This superiority is the highest; it bears within itself all other forms of superiority.

Spoken like the youngest man to win the Blue Max, right?  It also sounds a lot like Nietzsche, a philosopher dear to Junger’s heart.  Both of them are so alien to our modern mentality that, though those words make enough sense for an educated person to say “sounds like Nietzsche,” the comparison utterly fails to register.  We Postmoderns regard pain as the worst evil, such that we’re required to rejigger human nature to make sure that hypothetical someones somewhere might not be exposed to the mere chance of it.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I think Our Thing is ultimately doomed.

Very few of us have experienced real pain, Junger-style pain — pain with no prospect of amelioration.  Unless you’ve been shot and left for dead, Junger-style — or a modern equivalent like a severe car crash — your pain is always in some sense voluntary.  You could be a He-Man and not take the anesthetics they give you when they pull your wisdom teeth, but that’s objectively (in Junger’s sense) different from the pain of “the human projectile” — you can tap out at any time; the morphine syringe is always there.

And so we’ve never been trained to deal with pain.  Boys with skinned knees used to be told to “rub some dirt on it.”  These days that phrase is a joke — you’ll hear lunkheads at the sports bar yell “rub some dirt on it!” as the quarterback is being carried off the field on a back board (a very revealing thing in itself).  Pain, for us, is something that requires immediate intervention.  Ever call in sick to work with a hangover?

This is not to say we should all start cutting ourselves, or not taking our prescribed medications.  What I mean is, Postmodern life is such that we don’t have to experience pain — not real pain, the values-clarifying, meaning-of-life-affirming absolute Junger wrote about — and because of that, our values never get clarified, our lives remain meaningless.   When our time comes, we Postmoderns will roll over and wait for the executioner, Shoah-style.  Pain is the only motivator that matters, when it comes right down to it, and when it comes, we won’t hardly be able to recognize it, much less sacrifice our bodies to it, like distant outposts being overrun before the counterattack.

Pass the oxycontin.

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