Monthly Archives: June 2019

Free Association is the Only Right that Matters

The Enlightenment’s great mistake — from which the whole catalog of Revolutionary horrors flowed — was portraying Man as a free agent.  A person without ties of family, country, or creed, the Enlightened said, was the only truly free man, which is the same thing as the only real man.  Only he who has cast off the shackles of “tradition” can ever be “self-actualized,” as the modern witch-doctors of psychotherapy would say.

Like all the Enlightened’s pronouncements, this was old wine in new wineskins.  Jesus (just to stick with a metaphor) said the same thing.  So did the Buddha.  The only difference is, those guys knew that when you strip away all that “tradition” stuff — that is, the illusion of this so-called “real world” — you’re left with… nothing.

Both of them gave specific, detailed instructions about leaving behind everyone and everything that stood between one’s Self and the Truth.  And both were quite clear that, in the process of removing everything between one’s Self and the Truth, one will come to realize that the “self” itself is just one more barrier to the Truth.  Call it the “Unmoved Mover,” or “Nirvana,” or what have you, you — this temporary nexus of causes and conditions, as Buddhists would say — are literally nothing.  Only the Truth truly IS.

That insight — that “you” are nothing but your self, and your “self” is nothing — is the key to Leftist psychology.  It’s a hard thing for anyone to grasp — and even we believers see only through a glass darkly — but for the Left it’s an unbearable, crushing contradiction, because of course there’s no Magic Sky Fairy holding the world in existence through a continuous act of divine will.  Which means that whatever you are today, you can’t be tomorrow, because time moves on and nothing in this world — which is the only world — ever stands still.  Thus everything a Leftist does — every word, every action, every silence, every inaction — is frantic displacement activity against the inexorable decay of her “self.”*

Which is why such people — by no means all of them on the political Left — are cancers who destroy every group to which they’re admitted.  I don’t know if they can be fixed — personally, I very much doubt it — but unless and until they are, they must be avoided at all costs.

Fortunately, there’s a way to do it.

Most “conservatives” (using the term strictly for convenience) were blown away by the Enlightenment, for the same reason we Normals are blown away by transgenderism etc. — it’s just so cockeyed, so cattywampus to the real world, that we’re utterly stumped for arguments.  Actually arguing for the proposition “boys have a penis; girls have a vagina” seems, to us, like trying to “argue” for the “proposition” that humans need air to breathe.  By the time you’ve looked up “axiom” in the dictionary and pulled the Biology 101 textbook off the shelf, they’ve already granted several PhDs in “gender studies.”  To modify Orwell just a bit, in insane times it takes a special kind of man just to state the obvious.

A man like Joseph de Maistre.  The original “reactionary,” de Maistre argued that there’s no such thing as a “rational” polity, because any attempt to frame one will always devolve into arguments about ends, means, and above all, legitimacy.  This is because people are people and not cells on a spreadsheet.  In other words, there are lots of individual men, and many different types of men, but no such thing as Man.

The Founding Fathers understood this.  That’s why, even as they let Thomas Jefferson gas on about “all Men are created equal,” they designed a system specifically to safeguard man’s inequality.  No, I don’t mean the 3/5 Compromise or any of that hooey.  I mean federalism itself.  Whether or not slavery was an integral part of being a “Virginian” in 1789 (it wasn’t), it was clear to everyone that Virginians and Massachussans were different — irreconciliably different — and that any political system which required them to be on the same page for any but the biggest of national questions would rapidly devolve into anarchy.

Words mean what they mean.  “Unequal” doesn’t mean “inferior;” it means “not the same.”  A man like Light Horse Harry Lee would cheerfully agree that Virginians and Massachussans are “unequal,” but suggesting that Massachussans are therefore superior to Virginians would be met with an invitation to debate the issue with pistols at dawn.  Everyone at the Constitutional Convention understood this, because they’d just fought a big nasty war together, and everyone there had seen the color of everyone else’s blood.

Just as every sin in the Bible, then, can be reduced to Envy, so can every right in the Constitution be reduced to the right of free association.  If I’m not free to associate with whomever I wish — and equally free to exclude whomever I wish from my society — then whatever other “freedoms” I have are meaningless, because there’s no such thing as Man, only men.  If I can be compelled to violate my conscience because some lesbians can’t bake their own damn cake, them what does it matter that I’m “free” to complain about it afterwards?

The linked article suggests a pushback tactic.  If you didn’t read it, it says that the Supreme Court dodged another gay wedding cake case — they sent it back down to the lower court, to “reconsider” in the light of the recent Colorado decision.  But that decision, you’ll recall, was deliberately written in such a way as to establish no precedent.  It didn’t say that bakers can’t be compelled to violate their consciences; it only held that, in this particular case, the Colorado authorities showed “animus” in going after the bakers.  Presumably, then, a sufficiently “neutral” group of bureaucrats could compel folks to violate their consciences….

I wonder what they’d say about that, though, if someone decided to force a different group to violate its conscience.  I’m sure there are out-and-proud gay bakeries out there.  What if, say, a group decided that this bakery, and this bakery alone, must bake a cake for their “Straight Pride” parade?  After all, nobody, from the Supreme Court on down, has ever made the point that there are a zillion other bakeries out there — everyone involved takes it as read that this bakery, and this one alone, is the only one that can do it.  What about halal meat shops?  Kosher delis?  Do they get a pass too?  Even if Trump appoints Ray Guy to the federal bench, our black-robed overlords can only punt so many times.  Either we have free association, or we don’t….

… which means we either have our freedom, or we don’t.  It’ll be enlightening to find out.

 

 

*This is a more highfalutin’ way of saying what I was trying to say in all those NPC guides (I, II, III, IV) back when.

 

 

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Get Woke, Go Broke – College Edition

As a former toiler in the groves of academe, I suppose I should have a comment on the whole Oberlin thing.  So here goes:

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Or, as the kids these days say on the Internetz,

lol get fucked.

Still, since it’s good for a chuckle, join me for a trip down memory lane.  This was quite a few years ago, but one of the departments in one of the places I worked (part of the composite I call “Flyover State”) was briefly threatened with legal trouble.  A recent interviewee for an open faculty position asserted that he’d been blackballed because of his politics.  As I had no dog in the fight, my only thought when I first heard about it was that it’s a stupid threat — how could you possibly prove such a thing?

My second thought, which got jammed into my head via email about five minutes after the first, was: You fucking idiots.  For, you see, all the very very intelligent people in the department decided that this would be a great time to virtue-signal — and really, when isn’t a great time? — so they got on the campus listservs to insist that we “have a conversation” about “perceptions of bias,” in which, in the course of patting themselves on the back about how completely open-minded and unbiased and tolerant they all are, they unanimously agreed that of course they’d blackballed the guy because of his politics, and damn right, too — nobody to the right of Mao Zedong is welcome here.

They really ARE that dumb, y’all.  Of all the dozens and dozens of hours of “training” they make you take at a modern U — sexual harassment training, “unconscious bias” training, etc. — not once did they bring in someone from HR to explain the cardinal rule of corporate communication: Never put anything on the company email that you’re not willing to see published on the front page of the New York Times.  The rejected candidate didn’t end up pursuing her lawsuit, but I’m confident that this is only because no lawyer would take the case — being slightly smarter than professors, lawyers assume that nobody would ever be so stupid as to take written notes on a criminal conspiracy using the company email.

One wonders how many other schools, how many other times, dodged similar bullets?

Again, please note that this was many years ago.  Several “generations” of professors and administrators have come and gone since then, so naturally the dumb have gotten oh so much dumber… to the point where you’ve got the fucking Dean of Students handing out, on campus, this flyer:

Sorry for all the italics, y’all, but I can’t think of a better way to emphasize the truly flabbergasting idiocy on display here.  There’s just no way to spin this as a private individual acting as a consumer, or an academic pursuing scholarly inquiry.  This looks like the official corporate position of Oberlin College because — given the circumstances — that’s effectively what it is.

And now Oberlin is $33 million poorer.

The fallout will be interesting, to say the least.  As we’ve all noted many times, “Get Woke, Go Broke” is such a common phenomenon, we’ve got a catchy rhyming slogan for it.  As we’ve all noted equally many times, the #Woke ostentatiously don’t give a shit.  Universities are the #Wokest places in America… and they’ve all got serious cash-flow issues.  What, you think the $100K salaries of the Diversity ladies and the five cafeterias for the football team come out of the company checking account?  They use so much smoke-and-mirrors accounting, the Enron guys are getting a prison stiffie just thinking about it.  Oberlin is now claiming that a $33 million hit will effectively close the college doors… and they’re probably right.

Will the university system as a whole wise up?  I wouldn’t bet on it — like the man said, SJWs always double down.  Fascinating times ahead.  Fascinating, stupid times.

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Judo with Karl, Part II

Marx said that culture is the “superstructure” which rests on the “base” of economics.

Given that

  • society always organizes itself around the relations of the means of production;

therefore

  • change in the relations of the means of production drives social change.

Which left the Left in a real pickle when it came to the reality of daily life behind the Iron Curtain.  One can hardly imagine a more comprehensive change in the relations of the means of production than that effected by the Bolsheviks… but “soviet power plus electrification,” as Lenin described the ideal communist society, seemed to entail a whole lot of people getting reformed to death in labor camps.

Fellow travelers took their best shot at squaring that murderous circle.  Whether or not “Daniel Norman” is a Scottish name, that article is Caledonia on crack.  True communism has never been tried, comrade!  Still, it’s worth looking at, as he quotes Marx himself describing “true communism:”

Communism as the positive abolition of private property as human self-alienation, means the real appropriation of human entity by and for man; thus the complete, conscious return – accomplished inside all the riches of the past development – of man for himself qua social, that is, as a human being. This Communism is, as perfect Naturalism, identical with Humanism, and as perfect Humanism identical with Naturalism; it is the real solution of the antagonism between man and nature, between man and man; the genuine solution of the conflict between existence and essence, between objectivisation and self-affirmation, between freedom and necessity, between the individual and the species. It is history’s solved riddle and is conscious of being the solution. (Ibid).*

Everybody got that?  “The real appropriation of human entity by and for man.”  Though Onkel Karl could obfuscate with the best of ’em — he was, after all, a German philosophy PhD — he doesn’t get enough credit for his prose.  Marx, like Lenin, could be a brutally effective polemicist when he wanted.  If that definition of “true communism” reads like puffy, verbose bullshit, proclaiming everything and nothing simultaneously, then that’s the way he wanted it to read…

…which is further supported by this gem, describing daily life in the Socialist Utopia:

[each man has] the possibility to do this today and that tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, to go fishing in the afternoon, to do cattle breeding in the evening, to criticize after dinner.

He doesn’t say who will clean the toilets or dig the ditches, but let’s be charitable and assume that our huntin’ fishin’ stock breedin’ opera critic will fit them in somewhere between naptime and the afternoon chess match.  The source of this remarkable job description, The German Ideology, would be called “juvenilia” if The Master had ever been anything less than an omniscient oracle; it’s no surprise he never got specific about life after The Revolution again.

Fun as it is, I’m not just making fun of Karl Marx and his goofy egghead fantasies.  There’s a point to this: Marx may have been right after all, if — as with everything Leftists say — you flip it 180 degrees.  What if culture is the base, and economics the superstructure?

Section break!

Since otherwise the guys in Our Thing will be fighting about this until the sun’s a cinder, let’s stipulate that

  1. biology (“race”) and culture have a dialectical relationship; and
  2. biology is prior.

Thus the oft-repeated dictum that Africa, for instance, is the way it is because it’s full of Africans.  Insofar as it’s possible to measure such things (and I’d love to see the methodology they used), the average Equatorial Guinean IQ is 56.  The “best” culture in the history of the human race isn’t going to produce too many rocket scientists from that raw material.

HOWEVER: That’s not to say that Equatorial Guinea can’t have a functioning society with a thriving economy.  Malabo isn’t going to replace San Jose in the Silicon Valley of the new millennium, but it doesn’t have to be your standard schizophrenic sub-Saharan shithole, either.  There’s a reason modern African history isn’t a requirement of any school curriculum, K-thru-PhD, and it’s this: Monstrosities like Belgian Congo aside, life was indisputably better for the majority of Africans — safer, healthier, more prosperous, far more stable, and, crucially, even more “socially just” — under colonial rule.

The Germans, for instance, were no one’s idea of enlightened colonizers, but when they ran the place Tanzania was a net food exporter.  The Tanzanians did even better under the British, but it only took a few years of Julius Nyerere‘s pan-African Marxist dumbfuckery to crater the economy and render the country one of the poorest and most malnourished in the world.

Same people, diametrically opposite cultures.

Speaking of the Germans, we actually have a historical example of an economy entirely subordinated to a culture.  I’m going to tread carefully here, since we seem to have picked up a few casual readers of late (we might even be up to 14 or 15 regular readers now!).  So if you haven’t been here a while, this is for you: Since the merest mention of the group in question brings out the lunatics, around here we refer to their animating philosophy as Cat Fancy.  This is not intended to be cute.  Most importantly, it is the furthest fucking thing in the entire goddamn universe from an endorsement.  When it comes to this particular group, I’m with Indiana Jones:

I can’t make it any clearer.

But they are important, and they do seem to have some things to teach us about our current situation, as they wrestled — evilly, I can’t stress that enough — with the same underlying issues.  “Cat Fancy,” then, is a way to talk about the ideas without reference to the — again, utterly reprehensible — details.

Everybody got that?  All right then:

As everyone in Our Thing knows, and as everyone on the Left who knows frantically instructs us to forget, the “S” in the Cat Fanciers’ official acronym stands for “Socialist.”  That’s because they were Socialists.  Cat Fancy agreed 100% with Marx’s analysis of class conflict.  They were all-in on the idea that the relations of the means of production Marx called “capitalism” caused that “self-alienation” stuff from the first quote.  Marx said that capitalism turns everyone into an interchangeable, deracinated producer-unit to be fed directly into the maw of industry.  The Cat Fanciers completely agreed.

But whereas Marx saw the end of explicitly national identities as a good and necessary step on the path to utopia — “workers of the world, unite!” — the Cat Fanciers viewed it with horror.  The “N” part of the Cat Fancy acronym, after all, stands for “National.”  They wanted to be German workers, and they structured their entire economic program around the uplift of the German worker.

We have ample historical evidence of how that worked out.  Setting aside for the moment the question of whether something like Cat Fancy could exist without war,** the history of the nation in question, 1933 to 1938, gives us a pretty good look at what the judo-flipped, cultural-base-economic-superstructure version of Marxism looks like.  Bringing the war back into it gives you a glimpse at what it was intended to become, given the massive resources of the East.  The Nerd wasn’t as pithy as Lenin, but “feudalism plus autobahns” is a pretty good summary of Cat Fancy’s wildest fantasies.  The East was supposed to be a network of medieval market towns, linked by huge freeways and populated by wehrbauern, who really were supposed to be something like Teutonic knights with tanks and air support.

Again, and crucially: All of this was intended to support the culture.  It was taken as given that this, and ONLY this, could save the culture in question from utter destruction.  Where Marxism is just envy dressed up like an economic system, Cat Fancy is paranoia masquerading as an economic system.

In The Current Year, everyone agrees that Western Civ is in mortal danger.  See above: The Left doesn’t even bother anymore to disguise its glee at the prospect of destroying whatever remains of European culture.

We also all agree that the Left’s main weapon is economic.  These days, Lenin’s Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism reads like a GloboHomo how-to manual.  So triumphant is global finance capital that minor things like “making a profit” are blithely tossed aside in the pursuit of social justice — “get woke, go broke” is so common a phenomenon that we’ve made a pithy rhyming slogan about it, but note that none of the #Woke give a shit.  Our Thing loves to bang on about comic books and Star Wars (which doesn’t at all make us look like a bunch of whiny manchildren), so let’s go with that.  Thanks to Hollywood accounting and the fact that there are about three media companies left in the world, Disney et al can keep releasing “flops” that only make a billion dollars per.  They’ve bet that they can all but release three hours’ footage of Mickey Mouse taking a dump on the Constitution while getting a hummer from a gay transgendered dragonkin Of Color, and so long as it has light saber sounds the public will watch it.

Guess what?  They’re right.  Hell, Disney and Netflix are gearing up to boycott the entire state of Georgia.  Think about that — instead of consumers boycotting companies because of their predatory business practices, companies are boycotting their own customers for wrongthink.  And guess further what?  It’s working.  So long as the dollars keep flowing — and the Chinese, now among the biggest movie consumers worldwide, surely don’t care about overt propaganda in their space operas — the cultural assault will continue apace.

So: What is to be done?  Can economic arguments be used as a springboard for cultural ones? With what success?  How?  History has a lot of lessons out there, if we choose to look.

 

 

 

*the “ibid,” if you’re interested, is MEGA 1/3
**The Cat Fanciers themselves were uniquivocal: No, it can’t.  War was as essential a part of their thing as…you know… that other thing.  But once again, nobody’s suggesting that Cat Fancy is the way to go.

 

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Journalism

I recently stopped by Ace of Spades, to see if the same guy who spent all of 2015-16 sucking off Ted Cruz while turning his blog into the #1 Trump-hate vanity site on the Internet has gotten tired of whining about “cucks” and “the Establishment” yet.  Evidently not, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still some lulz, as the kids these days say.

That link, if you don’t feel like clicking, is about a “non-profit” called “The Save Journalism Project.”  Ace rightly notes that it’s a bill-paying scam for laid off “journalists” like the ones at HuffPost and Buzzfeed.  Which is schadenfreudily delicious, I’ll admit, but a few dozen generations from now, if our descendants ever feel like giving representative government another shot, “journalism” will be a case study in how not to do it.

Y’all remember that great old show Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe?  I can’t say I watched it much, but I loved the concept.  It illustrated the concept of “supply and demand” in about the only way the Millennial generation could grasp.  What, you mean municipal sewer workers are paid $75 an hour?!?  Oh, the social injustice!!!…. until you see that they earn every (literally) stinking penny, and then some.

Meanwhile, the demand for yet another snotty barista with a Gender Studies degree hovers near zero.

Journalism is the ur-case of backassward incentives.  There are two ways to report “the news.”  One is glorified stenography.  Actually, it’s worse than stenography, as you’ve got to boil down some elected airhead’s rambling 15 minute nothingburger of a statement into a few sentences that can be read even by the near-illiterate.  No one in his right mind would ever want to do that, absent some serious green.

Newspapers, by contrast, all depend on unpaid interns.

The second method of news reportage is “investigative journalism,” which — amazingly — I won’t sneeze at.  Archival work is hard, y’all, damn hard, and again, no sane person would do it without serious compensation.

What you get, in other words, is the same incentive structure as academia.  Tenured professors lead pretty cushy lives, as I’ve pointed out on numerous occasions, but those on the tenure track live like crap, and grad students, adjuncts, etc. are the pen-pushing equivalent of galley slaves.  You’d only get someone to do it if a) he really thought that brass ring at the end was worth it, or b) he had absolutely no other options.

Since folks in bucket b) are obnoxious to literally everyone, academia and journalism went all-in on a).  In other words, they made the whole thing about saving the world, taking action, influencing opinion, etc.

Thus, grossly biased idiots are a feature, not a bug, of the system.

This seems obvious, I know, but once again, sometimes in trying times it’s one’s duty to point out the obvious.  Plus, I got nothin’ these days.

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