Monthly Archives: May 2019

Judo with Karl

Marxism fails, we know, in large part because it sees people as nothing but producers — cells on the left side of the spreadsheet.  Marxism ignores race, culture, language, art…

A thought experiment:  What if we flipped Marx on his head?  What if, instead of a bland, deracinated slurry of producer-units, technology has made the modern proletariat into a bland, deracinated slurry of consumer-units?  Flip that one term, and doesn’t everything ol’ Karl said about The Revolution seem not just plausible, but correct?

History is just the story of the relations of the means of consumption.

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The New Old Left

The hardest thing to grasp about History is the pace of change.  The academic guild, it goes without saying, doesn’t bother trying, which is why questions like “Why was there no viable Socialist movement in America?” are still on the minds of so many professors (yes, there is an entire discipline called “Labor History” and yes, it is as excruciating as it sounds). To the layman, it’s obvious — Europeans were ok with being “the Proletariat” because of their millennium-long experience being “the Peasantry” — but as History professors have never met anyone outside the 1%….

Technology, though, has managed to proletarianize America fast enough to give Karl Marx a woody down in Hell.  Our proles may not seem beaten down and oppressed — as you may have noticed, their self-esteem is excellent — but look at the way financial companies can unperson you for your politics.  Hell, Netflix, Disney, et al are trying to unperson the entire state of Georgia for passing that abortion bill.  When corporations can effectively boycott their own consumers, Global Finance Capitalism is truly triumphant.

Which is why folks in Our Thing should give Onkel Karl’s scribblings another look.  Marxism is the world’s most successful just-so story.  Not least because it rings so true to life — Global Finance Capital really does control every aspect of your existence.  We’ve replaced the noblesse d’épée with the noblesse d’blue checkmark, but the Twitterati have more power than a medieval monarch could dream of.  When some blue-haired, nose-ringed persyn who can’t even figure out what pronoun to call xzhyrself today can ruin your life on a whim because xzhey stumbled across your Facebook page, the phrase Fiat justitia ruat caelum — roughly translated, “burn this entire motherfucker down!” — becomes wonderfully current.

The problem with Marxism — besides contingent falsity, of course — is that it doesn’t account for differences in culture.  Marxist “culture” (the wonderfully named proletkult, which describes every single thing you see and hear these days) is a slurry of several kinds of lowest common denominator.  We’d have to find a way to modify Marx’s teachings to accommodate social and cultural factors… a kind of national Marxism, if you will… but I’m sure someone somewhere has thought of all that.

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Misunderstanding the Civil War

There’s no such thing as a “popular” revolution.

Indeed, since the Opposite Rule of Liberalism never fails, you can be sure that the louder the Revolutionaries talk about The People, the higher up the food chain they, the Revolutionaries, actually are.  Pick any “people’s” movement you like.  Just off the top of my head, you’ve got Mao, Kim, and Lenin (sons of the minor nobility or equivalent); Castro and Che (failed law student and failed medical student, respectively); Abimael Guzman (philosophy professor; of course his movement was psychopathically violent even by Communist standards); all the way back to Marx and Engels themselves (a failed philosophy professor from a long line of rabbis and the son of a factory owner, respectively).  Hell, take it all the way back to the first true Revolutionary, Oliver Cromwell — he talked a good game about the rights of Englishmen, did that descendant of Henry VIII’s chief minister, but he ended up as England’s first military dictator since the Romans ran the place….

But that’s boring, because we’ve seen the same show far too many times.  The interesting ones are the so-called “conservative” revolutions — the ones by the Elite, for the Elite, against another segment of the Elite, in the name of the Elite.  So far as I know, there have been only three of them: The two American Revolutions (1775-1783 and 1861-5), and the Meiji Restoration.  Let’s focus on the Second American Revolution, as it’s the most relevant to our times.

They don’t teach it this way in college (for obvious reasons), but the Civil War was a revolt of the Elites.  Put polemically, but not unfairly, The American People were offered four choices for President in 1860:

  1. tacitly pro-slavery;
  2. pro-slavery;
  3. fanatically pro-slavery; or
  4. fuck you.

These were embodied by John Bell, Stephen A. Douglas, John C. Breckinridge, and Abraham Lincoln, respectively, but the names on the tickets really didn’t matter, because it all boiled down to two options: Some flavor of politics as usual, or fuck you.  And here’s the important part:  The vast, vast majority of the country voted for politics as usual.  “Fuck you” got 39.82% of the vote, which by my math means that 60% of a country that would soon be conducting the largest military mobilization yet seen in the history of warfare wanted things to keep going as they were.

In fact, it’s worse than that.  As much as I hate to credit him with anything, Barack Obama was right — He truly was a Lincolnesque figure, in that Lincoln was vague to the point of incoherence about his origins, aims, and platform, too.  A vote for Lincoln wasn’t a vote for disunion; it was a thumb in Dixie’s eye, no more.  In other words, it was a vote to put the ball in the South’s court — an electoral-college version of the double dog dare.  We voted for “none of the above,” pro-slavery people, now whatcha gonna do about it?

We know the answer — they haven’t yet forbidden us from teaching the fact that secession happened sorta-kinda-quasi democratically — but for obvious reasons they don’t teach that the secession conventions were all rigged in favor of the fire-eaters, and even then the motions barely passed.  Which, again, means that “politics as usual” was nearly the default position of guys specifically summoned to discuss ending politics as usual.  If you want to say that the Civil War was started by about twenty guys nobody’s ever heard of, with names like “Louis T. Wigfall” and “Laurence M. Keitt,” you won’t hear much argument from me.

Since this is the Internet, and therefore the merest mention of the Unpleasantness of the Mid-19th Century makes everyone lose their shit, I’ll spell out my point: Though the Great National Divorce was already well advanced by 1860, and most Americans, North and South, were spoiling for a nasty custody fight, it took lots of detailed, coordinated action by a group of fanatically dedicated Elites to actually get it started. Guys like Maxcy Gregg, who wanted secession specifically so he could go kill him some Yankees, and Edmund Ruffin, who actually fired the first shot at Ft. Sumter.

And since ditto, I’ll further elaborate: This isn’t some alt-history, neo-Confederate fantasy about the CSA peacefully coexisting with the Yankee Empire.  The fight was gonna happen, and it was gonna be nasty no matter what (the phrase “nasty custody fight” is redundant; there’s no other kind).  But the specific form the fight took, its precise timing, was almost entirely due to the conscious, deeply cogitated decisions of specific men….

…..the very men who had the most to lose if their decisions turned out to be wrong.  Sound like anyone we know?

History’s second rep is always a farce, remember?  Just like in 1860, it won’t be the Republicans who start the shooting.  It won’t be The People, and it sure as hell won’t be the “Alt-Right,” or whatever we’re calling it now, who when it comes to action are far less real and effective than the Ineffectual Dork Web crowd they so love to mock.  It’s the other guys who will do it — the entrenched Elite, the people with everything to lose, who will for some unfathomable reason stake everything they have on the outside chance of getting a little more.  Slap a big fire-eater beard on Peter Strzok — there’s your modern Wigfall, Keitt, Ruffin, whatever.  The Opposite Rule of Liberalism, remember?  I’m not at all worried that Trump will launch a bloody coup if he loses the 2020 election; I’m terrified that Joe Biden will.

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The Man of the Hour

It’s fun to noodle over “theories” of History.

Academics, of course, are all in on “social” explanations of historical phenomena.  Being weak, ineffective people themselves, with no experience of life, the very idea of a Caesar frightens and repels them… so they construct theories of History in which it is impossible for a Caesar to exist.  On this view, “social forces” (what they used to call “the relations of the means of production”) tore the Roman Republic apart; the Empire was its inevitable next stage.  Assign whatever name you like to the Imperator — whether Caesar, Marius, Sulla, or Miles Gloriosus, he’s just the temporary face of the vast, impersonal social forces that control our fate.  None of this “History is just the biographies of great men” for them!

The eggheads have a point, though, albeit not the one they think they’re making.  The Roman elite’s social system was designed to produce a certain type of man.  Whether Gaius Julius Caesar was personally the embodiment of that system, or a perversion of it, is irrelevant — the system was designed to produce men like Caesar, fellows with a very particular set of skills.  Eggheads have never seen one, but anyone who has kicked around the world outside the ivory tower for a bit has met that type of guy.  The skills themselves are fairly common, at least in embryo.  Whether a potential Caesar becomes actual might well be merely a question of opportunity and scale.

A terrifying notion, that, when you look around the modern West.  The one characteristic all effective elites have in common is the self-knowledge that they are the elite.  The British, for instance, thought nothing of sending some 19 year old kid, whose slim formal education was mostly Latin and Greek, off to govern the Punjab.  It worked, largely because that kid, whatever his defects of intellect and ability, had character, of the kind you just don’t get without a pedigree stretching back to Hastings.

Again, if you’ve ever met one of the horsey set you know what I’m talking about.  If you haven’t, the most accessible American equivalents are the sons and grandsons of career army officers.  Think of Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump, as played by Gary Sinise in the movie.  That kind of guy always completes the mission, or dies trying, because it’s simply unthinkable that he won’t.  After five generations, West Point is in his DNA…

… but that’s the thing: West Point isn’t West Point, and hasn’t been for at least thirty years now.  This kid went to Ranger school, did a tour in Afghanistan, and was commissioned in the 10th Mountain division after graduating from West Point.  In case you don’t feel like clicking, he’s the kid who took selfies with a Che Guevara shirt under his cadet grays and “communism will win” scribbled on the inside of his hat.  Note the timeline:  The kid was commissioned after those selfies made the Internet rounds.  He still graduated, and for a time was an active-duty officer in the United States Army.

Bad as that is, there’s much worse.  Notice the passivity of it all.  What were any of the parties involved trying to accomplish?  If Cadet Che had wanted to get kicked out of the service (as it seems finally happened, according to the linked article), there are a million easier ways.  In fact, cadets at West Point are volunteers.  The Army makes a big production out of this: If you can’t hack it at the Point, you’re simply not officer material.  All it takes is a letter to the commandant, and you’re out — Cadet Che could’ve been drinking beer with his fraternal socialist comrades at Big State 24 hours after turning in his resignation.

Even the kid’s form of “protest” was passive.  There’d be a certain utility, I suppose, for the Revolution if the kid had written “I’m a Communist sleeper agent” on the inside of his hat — evidently our standards are so lax that we don’t do basic background checks on our potential military officers.  But he didn’t write that.  Instead, he wrote “Communism will win,” a passive, bloodless statement … and that’s it.

The passivity is the truly terrifying part.  A West Point graduate is among the elite if anyone is — he has command of at least a platoon of heavily armed trained killers, and the radio one of them carries has the power to call in armor, air strikes, cruise missiles… and yet, not “I’m a communist,” not “¡Viva la Revolución!,” not even “Lenin lives!”  Just… “communism will win.”  How, comrade?

The Rotten Chestnuts archives, like the archives of our parent site, are filled with mentions of modern Americans’ weird fixation with the passive voice.  It’s Liberalism’s go-to tactic — it’s never “I propose a code of conduct;” it’s always “there should be a code of conduct.”  Always “Such-and-such might be perceived as offensive;” never “Jane might be offended.”  It’s always someone else, somewhere out there, who is doing and saying — or, crucially, should do or should say.  Even on the rare occasions where they propose specific actions by named individuals, they always make sure it can’t actually happen.  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal” springs to mind — because she’s so very, very stupid, she actually put in in a bill, so everyone in the Democratic Party had to make the rounds of the Sunday shout shows to denounce actually voting on proposed legislation, also known as Congress’s sole legitimate function, as dirty pool.

What we have, in short, is an elite that has convinced itself it loathes the very concept of elitism.  They’ll lecture you endlessly on what superior people they are, but will never actually show you, even when it’s the easiest thing in the world.  I know I keep banging on about college towns, but they’re the perfect example of the phenomenon.  The hard Left controls everything in a college town.  See, for instance, Berkeley, California.  Any college town in America could do all that, plus some, with little more than a vote in the faculty senate.  Yet they never do, and it’s not just hypocrisy — yes, yes, Big State doesn’t offer to take in “refugees,” but I guarantee you they more than tolerated that “Occupy ___” nonsense back in the days.  Remember that?  Whatever happened to all those people camping out in city parks, anyway?  Am I the only guy in America who remembers shit that happened less than a decade ago?  Is this thing even on?

The point is, a culture can survive an incompetent elite for quite a while; it can’t survive a self-loathing one.  This is because the Great Man theory of History, like everything in history, always comes back around.  History is full of men whose society doesn’t acknowledge them as elite, but who know themselves to be such.  Napoleon, for instance, and isn’t it odd that as much as both sides, Left and Right, seem to be convinced that some kind of Revolution is coming, you can scour all their writings in vain for one single mention of Bonaparte?

That’s because Napoleon was a Great Man, possibly the Great Man — a singularly talented genius, preternaturally lucky, whose very particular set of skills so perfectly matched the needs of the moment.  There’s no “social” explanation for Napoleon, and that’s why nobody mentions him — the French Revolution ends with the Concert of Europe, and in between was mumble mumble something War and Peace.  The hour really did call forth the man, in large part, I argue, because the Directory was full of men who were philosophically opposed to the very idea of elitism, and couldn’t bear to face the fact that they themselves were the elite.

Since our elite can’t produce able leaders of itself, it will be replaced by one that can.  When our hour comes — and it is coming, far faster than we realize — what kind of man will it call forth?

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Join the Democrats

It occurs to me that we’ve got a great opportunity for in-person meetups right under our noses: The Democratic Party.

Those of us who remember the 1980s had a good laugh at the campaign of alleged right-wing nativist extremist maniac uber-Republican Ted Cruz, who would’ve been a fairly conventional centrist Democrat as late as 1988.  Commie rags like Mother Jones and The Nation have surely purged their paper archives in true Stalinist style, but the internet is forever — it wouldn’t be hard, I imagine, to find all sorts of articles from big-name Lefties arguing for things near and dear to our hearts: Closed borders, protective tariffs, the breakup of Big Tech monopolies….

In short, since “the Working Man” is now code for “White people,” recasting ourselves as Friends of the Working Man — as all good Democrats once pretended to be — is a no-brainer, organization-wise.  Hell, even Hillary Clinton — as out and proud an oligarch as you’ll find this side of Cosimo de Medici — made a few token gestures about the Plight of the Working Class in between jetting off to $10,000 a plate fundraisers.  The Left dropped Socialism the minute they realized stuff like lower drug prices would benefit Badwhites, but they left a paper trail nearly a century long.  All we have to do is pick it up.

Please note: This isn’t some hypothetical gas about DR3*.  It’s purely a tactical move.  Most party organizations in most places, I imagine, run skeleton crews outside of election years.  The Democratic Party Booster Club of [town name] would be a perfect way for us to get together.  All you have to do is pass the hat once a month, to raise a modest “speaker’s fee” for some flunky in the city government, or some Poli-Sci dweeb from the local junior college, to come in and give a speech, “with reception to follow.”  Once the speaker hightails it out — which should be soon, as blue-haired nose-ringers tend to di di mau when faced with a room of White guys — we’re free to discuss all sorts of interesting things that would benefit our fellows… as are written in the Scriptures, circa 1987.  Surely no one can object to a “study circle” focusing on the work of, say, David Corn….

 

*”Democrats R tha Real Racists,” for you older folks who don’t speak Internet.
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The Pre-Crime Department

As it seems I’m auditioning for the role of Our Thing’s E.M. Cioran, let’s talk about things to come.

We all broadly agree that “race is real,” by which is meant — again, broadly — that 1) certain mental and behavioral tendencies are strongly heritable.  We also broadly agree that 2) society’s current trajectory is unsustainable, because it takes a certain suite of strongly heritable tendencies, IQ and high future time orientation being the most prominent, to keep an advanced technological society going — tendencies which, obviously, the Replacement Population currently flooding over our borders doesn’t have.  Finally, we broadly agree on 3) what they called “degeneration” back at the turn of the 20th century (the last time we were allowed to speak on such topics): That this advanced technological society is, itself, destroying the tendencies necessary for its maintenance, by easing or eliminating the evolutionary pressures that produced them.

So: What to do about it?

Let’s leave the nightmare scenarios of apocalyptic collapse aside for the moment (see below).  Let’s also set aside Ray Kurzweil-ish speculations about widespread genetic engineering and the robot future.  Let’s treat the givens as given — we have such-and-such a population now; they are what they are right now; and thanks to all the stuff we broadly agreed on above, technological innovation is pretty much dead in the water (what, you think Jose, Prajneet, and Kunta Kinte are going to invent the gene editing kiosks?).  Let’s stipulate that we’re working with what we have on hand.

Starting from the top: Technological progress has flatlined, or will shortly, as thanks to 2 and 3, above, the necessary tendencies aren’t being inherited in sufficient numbers.  Since that’s the case, whatever’s left of “free enterprise” will quickly be co-opted by the state.  If you’ve only got five engineers where you used to have fifty, those five guys will need to keep every brain cell firing just to maintain what we have — any “innovation” will involve streamlining existing processes for an ever-dumber workforce.

Therefore: Do we have reliable, widely-available genetic tests for IQ and high future time orientation?  If we do, we can go ahead and implement the caste system now.  But if we don’t, and I don’t think we do, then the educational system will need a complete redesign to help ferret them out.  I know, I know, but you’re not gonna like this one: Instead of endless self-esteem and sex ed classes, you’ll need a Prussian-looking system that’s all-STEM, all the time.  Note carefully our stipulations: Since the suite of necessary tendencies is rare, and getting rarer, we’re doing all this to discover (let’s say) 25% of the population.

What happens to the other 75%?

Since we’ve already stipulated that the only issue that matters is maintaining the technological infrastructure we have, and so we’re willing to do what it takes to find future techies in the cradle, the other 75% are, at best, support staff.  But since we’re running on the assumption that society requires certain heritable traits to keep going — and that we can test for them — the only logical thing to do is to ruthlessly select against the other traits, while we find something useful for the current crop of Marching Morons to do.  We already have industrial-scale applications for Marching Morons — fruit pickers, meat packers, and the like.  How scalable are those, and how early do we need to start?

(Note that the process could be streamlined still further if we cut out the middleman — that is, if instead of the State taking over the Big Tech companies, the Big Tech companies take over the State.  If you dig the thought of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez setting your kids’ curriculum, you’re gonna love Mark Zuckerberg’s syllabus.  The other industrial-scale app for Marching Morons is, of course, the infantry, and while I’m sure the Jack Dorsey Division could settle Al Qaeda’s hash over in The Sandbox, I imagine Jack himself might insist on deploying them a little closer to home).

The culture will need a complete overhaul, too, since it’s obvious to all but the die-hard HBD True Believers (alas, something like 90% of Our Thing at last count) that biology and culture have a dialectical relationship.  Biology is prior, I’ll grant you — the best-designed culture in the world isn’t going to turn a bunch of Congolese into a nation of rocket scientists — but culture is a major influence nonetheless.  See, for example, the African-American population.

When Daniel Patrick Moynihan was writing The Negro Family: The Case for National Action all the way back in 1965, it was obvious that huge programs designed to help the Black community had had the opposite result.  Welfare encourages bastardy single parenthood, and single parenthood is closely correlated with just about every social pathology negative life outcome there is.*  Black Americans were indisputably better off, on just about any metric that makes sense, before programs like The Great Society….

…that is, in the era of Jim Crow.

It seems, then, that a monolithic culture, imposed from the top and ruthlessly enforced, can ameliorate, if not outright eliminate, a lot of bad heritable tendencies.  Not a lot of rocket scientists came from the Jim Crow South, I’ll grant you, but Clarence Thomas did, as did Thomas Sowell. If you’re looking for role models for the non-techie 75%, you could do a lot worse… and does anyone really believe that Thomas and Sowell would be who they are if they’d been born in the Great Society?

Lest we be tempted to the sin of race essentialism, note that it works just as well on White people.  The Soviets actually did a lot of the stuff I’m suggesting our future HBD-compliant state will do, and it worked — the USSR had way more engineers in 1957 than in 1917.  That it turned Ivan Sixpack into a low-IQ, low future time orientation, vodka-swilling oaf was a feature, not a bug, of the Soviet system, but it’s proof enough of the dialectical relationship between biology and culture.   Between the tackles, humanity is pretty plastic.  You might not be able to turn the Congolese into rocket scientists, but you can definitely turn Russians into modern-day cavemen.

Time being what it is, and demographics being what they are, ruthless imposition of “culture” at bayonet point is the only hope.

A final word: Some will no doubt say that I’m cheerleading for Fascism.  I’m not.  It’s abhorrent.  But History doesn’t care about our morality, let alone our preferences.  It is what it is, and no individual can stop it.  There may have been a “Dissident Rightist” in Rome in 410, who saw everything perfectly and had the perfect plan to fix it.  I make no such claims for myself, of course, but it wouldn’t matter if i did see everything perfectly and did have a foolproof plan — the barbarians were already at the gates.  What I’m talking about — “Bio-Fascism,” I guess you could call it — is repugnant, but in my “black pill” moments I’m convinced it’s actually the best-case scenario.  It’ll be an ugly couple of generations getting the DNA back up to snuff, but considering the alternatives….

 

 

*N.b. that’s from The Brookings Institution, the most wretched hive of Goodwhite virtue-signalling there is.  If they say single parenthood is “problematic,” it must really be the fucking apocalypse.

 

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Home is Where You Hang Your Enemy’s Head

My own life has been the globalist dream.  I grew up in the New South in the Reagan Years, in one of the zillions of prefab “communities” that sprang up during the local tech boom.  Change was constant.  My parents’ work-friends were throwing around the term “starter home” long before it hit national circulation.  If you stayed in the same house for five years, you’d get three different sets of neighbors — Susie’s house became Prajneet’s house became Quantavious’s house, and then it was time to move yourself.  You could ride around with your buddies on lazy afternoons after school, pointing out all the houses we used to live in (this was back before the Internet, you understand).

But a funny thing happened: Even though nobody was from there, and nobody expected to stay there — I bet half my graduating class transferred in, to replace the other half that transferred out  — everyone was fanatically loyal to the football team.  It was the South, yeah, but that Friday Night Lights bullshit is the OLD South, the rural South.  In the New South, the South of Prajneet and Achmed and Kung Pao, all the White kids have just moved in from Massachusetts, where high school football is nonexistent.  And they sure as hell weren’t getting their die-hard Puma Pride from Prajneet and Achmed and Kung Pao…

Even funnier: Military recruiters had the run of the place.  Every fall we were “encouraged” to take the ASVAB; every spring there’d be a big assembly where Uncle Sam’s spit-shined hucksters gave you their best pitch.  And lots of kids signed up.  Again, I can’t stress enough that this place was middle class to the core — upper middle class, actually, in lots of cases, since tech booms involve stock options.  These days, one whiff of Brasso would send that kind of parent to the fainting couch, but back then it was no big deal.  Nor was it any big deal to sign up.  Several of my friends did, and again, these were middle-to-upper-middle class guys — the son of our family dentist went on to a long and classified career in the Special Forces; a few other guys with uber-white collar parents joined the Marines.

Those who weren’t called to the colors shipped off to college (or didn’t bother, since “computer science” wasn’t really something one majored in back then.  A guy I knew in high school was the CTO of a giant company, probably pulling seven figures, and well into middle age before he finally bothered to pick up a college degree).  And again, a funny thing happened: Though Prajneet’s and Achmed’s and Kung Pao’s parents were obsessed with getting them into the Ivy League, the other kids’ parents didn’t really care.  The kids who applied to the pricey engineering schools did so because they really wanted to be engineers.  Prajneet wanted to go to Berkeley because it’s Berkeley, but as a White kid you’d get laughed out of the room if you said you wanted to go to Cal Tech because it’s Cal Tech — unless you really want to design missiles for the DoD, what’s the point?

Even funnier: Though schools were chosen pretty much on a whim, once there, the same fanatic loyalty to the football team kicked in.  I knew a guy who literally made the choice between Big State and its hated rival Directional Tech by doing eeny-meeny-miny-moe with the acceptance letters, but by Christmas Break this dude’s loyalty to Big State was nearing Heaven’s Gate levels.  He’s still that way decades later, and he went several mortgages’ worth into hock to make sure all his kids could be Big State Fightin’ Farmers too.

The point of this little trip down memory lane is that for all of us — the rootless cosmopolitans of the globalist dream — whatever success we may have had in life has come through the process of identity-construction.  Lacking anything on which to build a truly personal identity, we jumped at the biggest, most all-consuming prefab identity we could find.  Those guys that joined the army out of high school are almost to a man still in the army, or involuntarily separated (they used to have an “up-or-out” promotion system; if you didn’t make the next rank in a certain time, they’d retire you).  Even if they’re out, they’re still as rah-rah-sis-boom-bah in their way as the guy who still flies back to Big State every year to tailgate at the homecoming game.  Look at all those “US Army Retired” bumper stickers that proliferated in the past few years; note how many of the drivers of those cars are middle-aged.

If Our Thing ever hopes to turn things around, it has to start with a sense of place.  It doesn’t have to be a physical place — those Army guys are loyal to the Army as a whole, not Fort Bragg or whatever —  but it has to give a sense of rootedness.  Otherwise, people will take whatever prefab identity is most all-encompassing… and that, of course, is “Liberal.”  Everyone needs a home, and home has to mean something.

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Biological Reality

The Z Man writes

What comes next is going to be a moral philosophy rooted in biological reality.

It’s interesting to think about what that would look like, because it sounds like a contradiction in terms to me.  What do y’all think?

Here’s my case: The “moral sentiments,” or whatever 19th century phrase you choose to use, have been a thorn in Darwinism’s side from the beginning.  It’s easy to get lost in the weeds of “sociobiology” and the like (and some Internet neckbeard will always accuse you of not understanding Teh Science(TM)), but the fact remains that if we humans are animals like any other — bound by the same evolutionary laws, subject to the same evolutionary pressure — then LOTS of human behavior doesn’t make sense.

Any educated person can easily think of a hundred characteristics, commonly occurring in our species, which are not only ‘in the least degree’ injurious to their possessors, but seriously or even extremely injurious to them, which have not been ‘rigidly destroyed’, and concerning which there is not the smallest evidence that they are in the process of being destroyed.

Here are ten such characteristics, without even going past the first letter of the alphabet. Abortion; adoption; fondness for alcohol; altruism; anal intercourse; respect for ancestors; susceptibility to aneurism; the love of animals; the importance attached to art; asceticism, whether sexual, dietary, or whatever.

Each of these characteristics tends, more or less strongly, to shorten our lives, or to lessen the number of children we have, or both. All of them are of extreme antiquity. Some of them are probably older than our species itself.

Adoption, for example is practised by some species of chimpanzees: another adult female taking over the care of a baby whose mother has died. Why has not this ancient and gross ‘biological error’ been rigidly destroyed?

Even if we grant Darwinists their convoluted explanations for this kind of thing — the “kind gay uncle” hypothesis and whatnot — it doesn’t address the central question:

Isn’t the very idea of evolutionary adaptation itself an evolutionary adaptation?

We evolve traits that help us survive.  Science itself is obviously the #1 item in Humanity’s survival toolkit.  Therefore, science itself is an evolutionary adaptation, and the whole thing is a question-beg.  (If you’re tempted to write this off as the rambling of a lone Internet weirdo, it’s not my argument — it’s Ernst Mach’s.  Maybe I don’t understand Teh Science, but Ernst Mach sure the hell did).  Because if that’s true for science, then it’s most certainly true for every other field of human intellectual endeavor, including moral philosophy.  (Again, not my argument; it’s Arthur Balfour’s).

So it seems were left with two options, moral philosophy-wise.  One is pure, shit-flinging nihilism, Nietzsche’s Will to Power writ large: Might makes right (Balfour may have gotten this from Nietzsche, who wrote a big bombastic book about it).  The other is that humans are simply different — we solve Darwinism’s many paradoxes when it comes to human behavior by simply writing humans out of the equation.  Humans are an act of special creation, a union of body and soul.  Our bodies are subject to the same evolutionary forces as everything else, but our souls are eternal… and eternally apart.

I hold the second view, obviously, but as I said over at Z Man’s, that’s an awful tough sell in a secular age like ours.  But since we’ve brought the Manly Mustache Man into it, let’s end with him.  The subtitle to Beyond Good and Evil is “Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future.”  Nietzsche admitted he didn’t know what comes next; that he couldn’t know, in fact, being a man of his time like everyone is.  Just because I can’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.  I’m a Historian; I always look backward.  Maybe the Z Man is, like the Manly Mustache Man, just a prophet.

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FAQs

Someone else also suggested a “FAQ” page.  Never let it be said that we don’t give the people what they want.  So if we were to do a “Frequently Asked Questions,” what kind of stuff would y’all want on it?

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How Did the Romans Do It?

Our Thing likes to compare late-stage America to the collapsing Roman Empire.  It’s all there — the overproduction of decadent, parasitic elites; a huge, costly, but laughably ineffective military; the proliferation of weird cults and suicidal ideologies.  Our Thing also agrees that the old way of doing things has comprehensively failed, and that Western Civ — should we decide to give stuff like “indoor plumbing” and “living past 35” another go somewhere down the line — will need to be rebuilt from the ground up.

Which suggests we should take a look at the early Roman Empire.

Let’s be wildly optimistic and assume we can get through the collapse without widespread ethnic cleansing.  Thanks to a half-century’s frantic effort by Our Betters, the Liberals, no matter how many polities the ex-USA splits into, none of them will be ethnically homogeneous.  Which means that every state will have a significant minority population it will need to manage at worst, integrate at best.

The Romans were in the same boat in the early imperial days.  The Greeks, the socii, even the North Africans were Roman enough not to require much special handling.*  The Gauls, though…

We know the surface-level details.  Proconsuls or client kings, each with a legion or two to play around with, “administered” each region.  But: What, exactly, did they do?  Aside from obvious stuff like “helping out army recruiters” and “protecting tax farmers,” what, other than policing up potential malcontents, occupied their days?  How did they see themselves in the grand scheme of Roman government?  Did they consider themselves part of the grand scheme, and was there a grand scheme in the first place?  What about the local elites that served under them (or, perhaps, controlled them)?  How Roman were they?  How Roman did they want to be?

We’ve actually got a few documents on how it worked that are available to everyone.  Even at this late date, most everyone knows who Pontius Pilate was.  That seems to be close to the worst-case scenario — the best the governor can do is keep a lid on an intractably hostile population.  Leaving teleology aside, it’s hard to see how he could’ve done other than he did, Jesus-wise.  Jesus had broken no Roman law, which were the only laws Pilate could (theoretically) enforce.  So he turned Jesus over to the local religious elite, but — crucially — facilitated their decision.  The Sanhedrin passed the sentence, but local auxiliaries (there were no legions in Judea in Christ’s time) actually did the killing.

How did the best-case scenario work?  Spain, say, was Romanized pretty early — the Emperor Hadrian (r. 117-138) was half-Spanish by blood, but obviously all the way Roman by culture.  How Roman were the Romans in Spain?  Were all of them Roman, or just the elite?  After Caesar’s time, no up-and-comers got posted to Spain — it was fat, but secure, with no plausible threats within 1000 miles.  The perfect lab to perfect “Romanization.”

So how did they do it?  I have no idea.  I’m not a field specialist.  My Latin begins with “Gallia divisa est in partes tres” and ends with “illigitimi non carborundum,” with a brief stopover at the Special Forces motto “de oppresso liber” (“free oppressed books!”).  I doubt the field specialists themselves know too much, as this is one of those “mentalities” issues that all historians hate — “how they thought in the past” is the thing we’d most like to know, and it’s the least accessible.  Maybe the best we can do is to determine when a province became “institutionally” Roman — that is, functioned economically and governmentally the way Italy did.

Perhaps we’ll never know.  But it’s a place to start thinking these issues through.

 

*Yes, I know, the Social War.  Big picture, people.
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