Monthly Archives: February 2020

Living in End Times

In the comments to the Bernie post, new commenter texinole writes:

I’ve really enjoyed going through your archives recently and have noticed the stark difference in commentary from the pre-Trump era. Namely the dearth of Obama and other prominent figures’ names being mentioned and a stricter focus on the philosophy and principles underlying issues of the day. It seems all contemporary discourse MUST invoke the Orange Man, regardless of where on the political spectrum the conversation is taking place.

I appreciate the compliment, but alas, the near-constant invocation of the Orange Man can and must continue, for the simple reason that we’re living in the End Times.  Should our great-great-great-grandchildren decide to give stuff like “music” and “art” and “indoor plumbing” and “living past 35” another go, they’ll need some primary sources on how we got here.

The main lesson I hope our distant descendants draw from the Orange Man Era is: The rage heads ye have always with you, so ye must find a way to channel them into something as non-destructive as possible.  The story of modern politics can be written in a sentence: The weaponization of rage heads, combined with the inability of any society to properly dispose of said WMDs.

Set the Wayback Machine to the turn of the 20th century.  Lenin’s great insight is that “the masses” will never achieve the proper revolutionary consciousness without a dedicated cadre of hardcore, professional revolutionaries to lead the way.  Lenin recognized the prevalence of incipient rage heads in his society — how could he not? — but realized that, absent some guiding hand, they’d flounder around incoherently.  At best (from the “furthering the Revolution” point of view), they’d do what his, Lenin’s, idiot brother did: Try to knock off the tsar, and get himself hung for it.  Thus, the Bolsheviks.

The problem, though, is that rage heads by definition suffer from poor impulse control.  The tiny subset of them that are pure sociopaths (like Lenin), and thus have the icy-veined self-control to hold their fire, have to maintain the very tightest discipline over the Party, or all hell breaks loose.  See, for example, the massive street battles in Weimar Germany between the KPD (German Commies) and the SD.  Hitler, like Lenin, had to get his rage heads on a tight leash, so he channeled the disciplined sociopaths from the SD into the SS, cooled out the coolable in the SD by buying them off, and shanked the incorrigible remainder.  See also the almost-exactly-contemporary Moscow Show Trials.

Note please that this is your best-case scenario for a purely ideological revolution.  From Robespierre to Kim Il Sung, the first step in consolidating the Revolution is killing off a large fraction of the original revolutionaries.

The worst-case scenario (again, from the “furthering the Revolution” standpoint) is what the American wannabe-bolshies did / are currently doing.  Knowing that you can’t shank or show-trial the dreadlocked poetry majors that make up your goon squad, you try to channel them into academia, the Media, the “arts.”  Which fails egregiously, because whatever tenuous contact with reality they once had gets completely severed by those institution’s social bubbles.  They never were very good at holding fire, and now they can’t, literally can’t, see any reason to — life is great here on campus, so why can’t it be that way everywhere?

Thus, Orange Man.  As we’ve noted, the Media could’ve led Trump by the nose.  They’re experts at churning out those “good doggy!”-type articles they use to rehabilitate dead Republicans.  It’s obvious that these work on living specimens, too, e.g. one Willard “Mitt” Romney.  That guy would cut off whatever passes for his nuts live on network tv for a few more hosannas from the Washington Post.  They could’ve done the same thing to Trump — praised all the ways he’s “growing in office,” your standard Media stuff.

But they didn’t.  Instead they freaked out, because academia and journalism are effectively the same thing now, and they’re both guild professions stocked with three generations of cushy, coddled rage heads.  (Seriously, take any reporter or professor.  It’s 10 to 1 they have at least one other professor or reporter very close on the family tree).  So instead of leading Trump by the nose, they punched him in the face.  Bad idea, and now we all have to pay for it.

Should Our Thing ever get off the Internet and into the streets, job #2 is going to have to be channeling the rage heads.  Until then, though, our #1 duty will be to chronicle the decline and fall.  The lessons are here, great-great-great-grandkids, should you choose to learn them.

 

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Thoughts on Bernie

Before we get into it, can we all just pause for a second to savor the delicious irony of the Democrats suddenly discovering, after all these many many many years, that Socialism is bad?  I almost feel sorry for poor ol’ Bernie.  For going on four decades now, the Dems have treated him like the little kid at the grown-ups’ table.  Who hasn’t been there on Thanksgiving?  “Mommy, Uncle Henry’s breath smells really bad.”  We’re all thinking it, kiddo, but you can’t say it.  They’ve been silently agreeing with him about the need to turn America into the USSA all these years, and now they’re gonna take him behind the woodshed for it?  Really?

This is point #1 in the argument, increasingly common out here in the political badlands, that Bernie Sanders is Bizarro World Donald Trump.  Back in 2016, the weirdest thing for those of us not wedded to Team Republican — for that vanishingly rare breed, that is, who regard politics as politics, not sportsball in neckties — was how normal Trump sounded.  This guy is supposed to be the ultimate anti-Establishment candidate, right?  So why is he saying stuff that has been GOP orthodoxy since the 1970s?  And why are they hammering him for it?

Take away Trump’s signature in-your-face style, in other words, and you’ve got what sounds like your typical Rotary Club Republican Boomer goober.  The only difference was: He actually meant it.  As I’ve written before, Trump wins with one simple tactic: He jukes every which way in the backfield, but always ends up running Right.  Whereas every other Republican always “grows in office” — as they say, the easiest way to elect a Democrat in a center-Right country like America is to elect a Republican and wait a few months — Trump remains consistent.*

So does Bernie.  Bernie doesn’t fake — he just heads straight for the Left sideline.  If the rest of the Party weren’t there to stop him, he’d just keep running, Forrest Gump-like, straight out of the stadium.

This is where he’s most dangerous.  Like Trump was in 2016, Bernie 2020 can be seen as a pure protest candidate, a giant “fuck you” to The System.  Hell, in my increasingly frequent black-pill moments, contemplate voting for the guy — we’re not voting our way out of what’s coming, as Z Man always says, so we might as well get started.  A few years of life under the Septuagenarian Stalin will give us some valuable prep for when things get really interesting under La Presidenta por Vida Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Moreover, there can be great power in being the only guy in the room who’s willing to state the obvious.  In this case, it has been obvious for a long time that the Democratic Party are a bunch of godless commies.  Literally commies, or at least Bolshie-curious.  Obvious, but always verboten to say… until now.  Sanders has a rabid base that, even if you assume the “official” numbers are all lies, can’t be much less than 20% of the entire Party.  Those hardcore Bernie Bros can’t possibly have any illusions about who he is and what he wants.  That’s what they want, too, and again: twenty percent.  The Media paints anyone to the Right of Rachel Maddow as a “white supremacist,” but can you imagine how different American politics would be if 20% of the GOP were open, avowed Klansmen?

Those are the “positives,” for lack of a better term, of Bernie being the Democratic nominee.  If this is what The People really, really want — and it’s crystal clear that a lot of them do — then we should at least have a good, long, hard “national conversation” about giving it to them.  Cuba, as Bernie keeps informing us, does after all have 100% literacy and free health care, and the Chinese are great at lifting people out of poverty.  Let’s talk about that, live on national television, and see where it takes us.

Add to this the fact that the same yahoos who gave Hillary Clinton a 93% chance of winning the presidency back in 2016 are all doing the Chicken Little routine at the thought of Sanders’s nomination, and it seems like the guy is a legit threat.

But just because those yahoos were and are yahoos doesn’t mean they’re wrong again.  I think they’re right.  Not in the way they think they’re right, mind you, but right for all that.  They think that having an open Socialist up there on the debate stage, wearing a Mao suit with a “¡Viva Fidel!” lapel pin next to the hammer-and-sickle, will be rejected by most Americans.  Those people are idiots, not least because they’ve forgotten that most people are idiots, and American voters are idiots even by those standards.  Remember, I taught college for many, many years.  You can take it from me: Most American “college” “graduates” can’t even spell “communism,” much less tell you anything about it.  All they hear is “gibsmedat.”

No, the real reasons I think Bernie is toast are threefold (fourfold, if you count the nonzero-and-rapidly-rising possibility that he’ll be Epsteined by the Party elite, but for decency’s sake we’ll go with three).  First, though he’s portrayed, Trump-like, as The Ultimate Outsider by people who first heard of him last week, he’s actually been in Congress since 1991.  That’s a year shy of three decades, folks.  Ace of Spades types had a lot of fun dunking on one of the Cucks — Rich Lowry, I think — who tweeted out something about how he just discovered Bernie Sanders has three houses when one of Sanders’s debate opponents brought it up.  Lowry was (is?) the editor of National Review, i.e. a professional political jock-sniffer, so he has no excuse for not knowing this… but in fact a lot of people don’t, and Bernie’s outsider appeal depends on them continuing not to know it.

How long is that ignorance going to last, do you think, after The Lil’est Tyrant Mike Bloomberg drops another $20 million in attack ads?  Will Donald Trump drop that on him in his opening monologue at the first debate, or will he wait a few minutes?

I know, I know, rank hypocrisy doesn’t bother Leftists at all, but Bernie already has them in the bag.  He has to appeal to centrists, especially young centrists.  Bernie is, in fact, counting on huge voter turnout from college kids.  Democrats always do, and they always come up short, because college kids.  Alas for him, he hasn’t “expanded the electorate” at all — voter turnout in the recent primaries barely increased at all over 2016, and was way below 2008 levels.  If college kids really are feelin’ the Bern, they aren’t feelin’ it enough to actually get off their lazy asses and go vote in primaries.

And again, I’ll remind you that I taught a lot of college for a lot of years.  I couldn’t even get a lot of these stupid brats to come to class on exam day.  They’ll fire off a text message about a sick grandma on the off chance that you’ll give them a pity C, but they won’t get off the couch for anything, and not even California allows you to vote via Instagram… yet.  If they’re not willing to put their iCrap down long enough to go vote in a primary now, how likely will they be when they find out he’s the worst kind of hypocrite, flying between his three houses on a private jet while talking about “the rich” and “climate change”?

The Ultimate Outsider is actually one of the slimier swamp creatures.  That’s knock #1.  Number two is closely related: Trump will flense him in the debates, because Trump can run on his record.  Look, I take a backseat to no man in my disdain for Orange Man’s complete sellout on the only thing that matters, the Big Beautiful Wall… but the fact remains that the economy is great, at least on paper and increasingly in reality.  The Ninth Circus is actually majority-conservative.  Gorsuch has a tendency to cuck, but though Kavanaugh might well have if they’d left him alone (see footnote 2, below), now he’s fighting mad.  And Satan’s going to have to call in his markers on Ruth Bader Ginsberg sooner or later; fetal grindings and goat-blood transfusions can only stave off death so long.

Two Supremes, and undoubtedly a third by the end of his second term, a hot economy, a draw-down in the endless wars, a summit with Lil’ Kim, the Chinese trade deal… we can debate how good, bad, or indifferent these really are all day long, but they play like real, serious accomplishments out in the sticks.  Bernie Sanders, by contrast… well, you’ve doubtless seen the memes.  Here’s an attempted debunking of the memes, by someone trying really, really, really hard to give Bernie credit for some legislation.  Are you ready?

Those three bills [sponsored by Sanders, which became law], according to Congress.gov, are:

S.893 Introduced 5/8/13. The Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2013 which became law in November 2013

S.885 Introduced 5/7/13. A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 35 Park Street in Danville, Vermont, as the “Thaddeus Stevens Post Office” became law in November 2014.

H.R.5245 Introduced 4/27/06. To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1 Marble Street in Fair Haven, Vermont, as the “Matthew Lyon Post Office Building” became law in August 2006.

Chew on that, h8rz!!!  A whopping three bills, two of which renamed post offices in Vermont.  This, in all its glory, is Bernie’s legislative record after three fucking decades in Congress.  Again, do you think Trump’s going to wallop him with that right out the gate, or wait a few minutes?  He’s not just a jet-setting, three-house-owning Swamp Thing — he’s a ludicrously ineffective jet-setting, three-house-owning Swamp Thing.

Finally, there’s the (((elephant in the room))).  Y’all know how much I hate this “special people” shit, but if Bernie’s going to have a shot in the general, he’s going to need the brown side of the Democrat electorate to come out full force… and they are not kosher, to put it mildly.  This, too, is related to his “Ultimate Outsider” routine — so many people who think they support Bernie Sanders have never seen, or, crucially, heard Bernie Sanders.  He looks and sounds straight out of a Mel Brooks caricature.  Anti-semitism is rife on the Left; it’s endemic, and often violent, on the dark side.  I can’t see Trump making significant gains with the Black vote — like most folks out here in the wilderness, I think the brothers are pretty much a lost cause by now — but I can see an awful lot of Blacks and Hispanics staying home in November if Bernie is the nominee.  He’s got to get all of them, and I just don’t see that (((happening))).

That’s not to say it’s a sure thing, of course.  A million things can, and undoubtedly will, happen between then and now.  Saying “if present trends continue” is a sucker bet, but if present trends continue, I can see Trump beating the margin of fraud in November pretty easily if Bernie is the Dems’ nominee.

Your thoughts?

 

 

 

 

*I know, I know, for certain values of “consistent.”  And “consistent” sure as hell isn’t the same as “effective.”  But I’ll take it, if only for the vanishingly-small chance it gives that we can get through the 2020s without another civil war.**
**Not really a footnote to the previous, but there’s no other place to stick this: The truly sickening irony, when you think about it, is that Trump absolutely would’ve “grown in office” if they had let him.  The man loves flattering press coverage more than anything in the world.  What they really should’ve done is let him follow his natural limousine-liberal instincts, then hit him with a barrage of those “good doggy!”-type articles they trot out to rehabilitate any recently deceased Republican (yeah, y’all were calling John McCain Literally Hitler back in 2008, but now he’s the moderate, reasonable one).  Y’all could’ve led him by the nose… but you didn’t.  Instead you punched him in the nose, which got his Irish up, and now we’re gonna get Gettysburg II: Electric Boogaloo, and This Time It’s Personal.  Thanks, motherfuckers.  Here’s hoping the new Quantrill’s Raiders get you, and get creative with it.
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The Acid Test

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a Republican presidential candidate has to win outside the margin of fraud… and said margin grows bigger every year.  But just how effective is the Dems’ vote-rigging machinery, really?

We’re about to find out.  If they don’t rig the shit out of South Carolina and much of Super Tuesday, Bernie Sanders will be their nominee… and that, they all acknowledge, will be a disaster.  So rig it they shall…. but will it work?

As we saw in Iowa, these people can’t organize a two-car parade. I don’t think they’re dumb enough to just announce that Biden won with 104% of the vote, but I sure as hell wouldn’t put it past them.  We’re about to see just how much juice they really have.  I suspect it’s a lot less than we once supposed.

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The Price of Progress

Back around the turn of the 20th century, all advanced-thinking goodpersons were worried that the human race was devolving.  The classic literary expression of this fear was H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine.  Wells, a Socialist, thought he was writing a vicious critique of the English class system.  It’s also that, but more importantly, it’s a serious meditation on the dysgenic effects of plenty.  We, as a species, simply aren’t built for permanent caloric surplus.

Wells’s Eloi are like little children… autistic children.  An early, shocking scene shows the Time Traveler saving one of them from drowning.

It happened that, as I was watching some of the little people bathing in a shallow, one of them was seized with cramp and began drifting downstream. The main current ran rather swiftly, but not too strongly for even a moderate swimmer. It will give you an idea, therefore, of the strange deficiency in these creatures, when I tell you that none made the slightest attempt to rescue the weakly crying little thing which was drowning before their eyes.

The other Eloi barely seem to realize that Weena is drowning, which is bad enough.  Worse is the fact that they’re too physically weak to save her even if they want to.  Even worse, is the fact that they can’t even be bothered to try.  They’re so completely creatures of the moment that Weena’s peril doesn’t even register.

This, Wells suggests, is what permanent plenty does to us.  Which, of course, sets up the worst revelation: That the Morlocks are actually farming the Eloi for food.  The Time Traveler understands this.  The Eloi don’t, because they can’t.

I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that modern life has a strong Eloifying effect.  I wrote “autistic children” for a reason.  So many modern behavioral symptoms simply make no sense, except as our basic monkey hardware short-circuiting.  We’re built for a high-threat, resource-scarce environment.  To function properly, we need a certain level of stress (called eustress, e.g. the constructive stress of weighlifting that causes muscle growth).  If we don’t get it, we either freak out and manufacture some (the whole litany of First World Problems)… or the whole system shorts out and shuts down (autism spectrum disorders).

Worse yet, all our institutions are built to accommodate creatures such as we were, but no longer are.  The social contract theory of government is the most obvious example, but it applies to all aspects of social organization.  The Soviet system’s main problem, for instance, wasn’t anything so highfalutin’ as “lack of freedom.”  Read up on the New Soviet Man, then look around at the large and growing American underclass.  What Lenin Stalin dreamed of giving to the slaves proletariat of Magnitogorsk, Phil Knight and Steve Jobs has given to the homeboys of Baltimore.  They’re perfectly happy to let the government run their lives for them, so long as their iPhones get an update and their Air Jordans a redesign every few years.

(As the lifestyle of the American nomenklatura is both obvious and enraging, let’s spare our blood pressure and move on).

“Freedom,” indeed, is an all-but-meaningless concept in a land of perpetual plenty.  What’s the point of doing things for yourself, when everything you could ever want is provided to you?  I’m seriously asking, because I promise you this: No one under the age of 40 has ever given it a passing thought.  I’ve taught a lot of history to a lot of undergrads, and I’ve never once seen the light go on when talking about stuff like the American Revolution.  It just doesn’t compute on some fundamental level.  The colonies were peaceful and prosperous.  They had everything they could ever materially want.  What the fuck were they so worked up about?

Worse yet, “effectively meaningless” becomes “completely meaningless” when you throw in the state’s surveillance capacity.  1984 is a great polemic that everyone should read, but as a novel it’s shit.  The whole plot revolves around… can you remember?  An old, blank notebook made of fine paper that Winston Smith finds in an antique shop when he’s out browsing in a prole part of town.  He’s only able to write in it because there’s a small corner of his room that is out of the telescreen’s range.  Both are necessary plot contrivances, but both are ludicrous — no minimally self-respecting totalitarianism would’ve tolerated either.  A totalitarianism with Big Brother’s level of tech would automatically flag an Outer Party member going into a prole area, or not being in full view at all times.

Even more ludicrous is Big Brother’s belief that he has to be oppressive at all.  To be fair to George Orwell, the actual totalitarianisms of his time shared this belief, too.  Josef Goebbels poured untold millions into the Reich Culture Chamber, which forbade and censored and cranked out all kinds of heavy-handed propaganda.  What he should’ve done, of course, was let the glitterati’s natural self-righteousness kick in.  Hollywood’s deliriously happy to propagandize for free — indeed, as box office returns for the latest batch of SJW agitprop confirms, they’re more than happy to pay for the privilege.  So, too, will the Junior Volunteer Thought Police, aka Faceberg and Twatter.  If you recruit, train, and pay an NKVD goon, you’ve just given him (what he sees as) three great reasons to gripe about you.  Let him act like he’s doing you a favor, though, and he’ll do twice the work, for more hours, for free, and never utter a bad word about you….

See what I mean?  In times of permanent surplus, there’s only fake drama and autism.  Homo economicus is a real thing, kameraden, and we are him.  We’ve “evolved,” god help us all.  Our social arrangements will evolve with us eventually.

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The Scientific Management of Populations

Browsing around the archives of my favorite defunct blog, I came across this interesting compilation of school shooter data.  Just skim it now; we’ll come back to it later.

The incorrigible ye have always with you, as somebody must’ve said.  Social science types slice it different ways, call it different things — the free rider problem, the tragedy of the commons, etc. — but they all amount to the easily-observed fact that some folks just can’t play well with others.  Not “won’t play well with others;” can’t play well with others.  Any given population of sufficient size is going to have its unmanageable knuckleheads who are always working at cross-purposes against everyone else, who seem to just get off on causing chaos.

Even purpose-built groups of highly trained specialists fall victim to it, once a certain critical mass is reached.  Sports teams call that kind of guy “the locker room cancer,” but it applies to any group.  Get a team of five aeronautical engineers together and you’ll get a cool plane.  Get a group of fifty together, and you’ll get nothing but a giant nerd slap fight.

There are three plausible explanations for this:

  1. Social
  2. Biological
  3. or some combo of the two.

The Left (by which I also mean the Right) will, of course, go all in on {1}.  It’s an article of faith for them, but it’s not necessarily wrong because of that.  See above: Every one of those aeronautical engineers engaged in the giant 50-nerd slap fight is, on his lonesome and in every other context, the definition of a solid citizen.  Certainly nobody groans “There goes the neighborhood!” when someone from Lockheed Martin buys a house down the block.  There must be something to the idea that social conditions cause knuckleheadery.

Our Thing, on the other hand, tends to go all-in on {2}.  As you’d expect from us evidence-and-reason types, there’s a pretty strong case to be made.  You have to try very hard, at great expense, for a very very long time — it’s called “the American educational system, K-thru-PhD” — not to notice that certain skin tones just don’t do civilization very well.  The last time one was allowed to notice such things in public was 1994, in fact… and notice that Henry died as the book was coming to press, sparing himself the inevitable show trial and (social) gulaging.

Now, Henry of course didn’t attribute the “can’t do civilization very well” thing to race — that was verboten even back in the blissful dawn of the Clinton Era — but he makes the simple, obvious, inarguable point that pick-any-African-culture looked almost exactly the same in 1500 AD as it did in 1500 BC.  Pick any European culture in the same time frame, and note the difference.  Those tribal masks sure are pretty — you get a lot of practice over the course of 3,000 years — but they pale in comparison to stuff like mathematics, written language, and plumbing.  Since he couldn’t say “race,” Henry blew some smoke about the need to simply acknowledge excellence… but since we’re already well beyond the social pale here in Our Thing, we can come right out and say it.

And we do.  All the time.  At coma-inducing length.

The problem, though, is that at least {1} has a viable solution.  They think so, anyway, and since the only solutions for {2} seem to be of the Final variety, they win by default.  Here, I’ll show you: NAXALT.  “Not all X are like that.”  If you want to get all Karl Popper with it, you can say that “race realism” is a scientific proposition, because it’s falsifiable…

….and it has been falsified, many times, because NAXALT and everybody knows it.  QED.

At this point, the truly great scientist, philosopher, or demagogue would jump in with a rousing defense of {3} as the great compromise solution.  The problem with that, though, is by now everyone has forgotten the question.  We’re so ready to duke it out over the exact proportions of “race” and “culture” that make up the “problem” that the actual problem — the one about managing the incorrigible — has been completely forgotten.

I for one am willing to stipulate that the problem is 99% culture, if you’ll grant me the one single fact that all human groups are made up of nothing but humans.  Querulousness is a human universal.  Any solution to {1} that doesn’t acknowledge this is no solution at all, because it requires that people be other than they are.  Lenin and Stalin went to the mattresses for that idea — the New Soviet Man was not a metaphor — but I guarantee you, no one who has ever said “____ is just a social construction” has ever even heard of the New Soviet Man, much less knows anything about the many murderous efforts to create him.

So what is to be done?  Let’s finally, at long last, circle back to that list of school shooters.  Actually they’re university shooters — a crucial distinction.  The Last Psychiatrist points out that most of them were grad students, and all of them were too damn old to still be hanging around in college.  There’s a bit of chicken-and-egg going on here*, but the point’s still valid.  Even if you claim that every single grad school outside STEM is utterly worthless — and you’ll get no argument from me, buddy — the fact remains that grad students are functionally much closer to the aeronautical engineers and their 50-nerd slap fight than they are to the homies in the inner city.  If a solution can’t be found in a very tight-knit environment, by a bunch of very concerned people who are constantly on the lookout for Oppressed People to champion, what chance do we normals have to even diagnose, let alone solve, the problems of half the fucking country?

You do acknowledge, of course, that it’s in the nature of math that 50% of the population are below average?

Our default “solution” for university shooters, as TLP points out, is psychiatry.  More access to better “mental health care,” we say, would’ve prevented this.  Maybe, maybe not, but at least it’s something.  The problem, though, is that the only diagnostic criterion you can realistically use is “So-and-So is a twitchy, weird loner,” which — trust me — exactly describes 99% of grad students and 100% of professors.  Do we force feed all of them powerful prescription psychotropics on the off-chance?

Before you jump to agree — and yes, I fully acknowledge how awesome that would be, if you put it on Pay-per-View I’d be the first to sign up — consider the wider application.  If we’re doing it to Twitch E. Freak, PhD, then surely we should be carpet bombing every ghetto, barrio, and trailer park in America with uber-Prozac.  And again, before you jump to agree, I’d ask you to consider two things:

First, it’s the government doing this.  The same stupid motherfuckers who can’t manage to rig a poll where only a handful of addled old farmers vote.  Do you really want to bet America’s future social stability on them loading the right drug into the sprayers?  Given the federal bureaucracy’s sterling reputation for basic competence, they’d probably crop-dust the ‘hood with meth.

Second: as fun as this all is to imagine, I’m kidding, but I’m not joking.  One of TLP’s big recurring themes is psychiatry as society’s pressure valve.  As he points out in excruciating detail, there’s nothing, literally nothing, to be done for so many of society’s dregs.  Whether it’s nature, nurture, or any combo of the two that causes Ghetto Affective Disorder, they’ve still got it.  Take away all access to drugs and firearms.  Sterilize them.  Pound basic literacy and numeracy into their heads by any means necessary.  Hell, turn the ‘hood and the holler into a giant Benthamite panopticon (piggyback it on their free Obamaphones).  Do all that, and you’ve still got a 75-IQ individual with poor impulse control and no skills any employer could ever want (anything they can be trained to do can be done cheaper and far more efficiently by robots).

What else can you realistically do, I ask, other than tranq ’em out and warehouse ’em?  Before you hit that caps lock key for your response, please consider that we’re basically doing this already.  Heroin and oxycontin are technically illegal, but, as TLP kept saying before the black helicopter guys got him, psychiatry isn’t.  In fact, one of the very fastest ways to get access to “social services” is to develop some kind of “personality disorder.”**

My point is: Eventually someone is going to figure this out.  Nobody’s talking about legalizing heroin, but eventually someone’s going to give the whiz kids at Pfizer the green light to develop once-a-day Fukitol.

Swallow it, smoke it, shoot it… fuck it, man, it’s all good.  And perfectly legal, and free.

 

 

 

 

*No graduate program I’m aware of is less than 4 years long, and most take longer.  So even if you go straight to grad school from undergrad, and even if you crash through the program, you’ll be in your late 20s when you graduate.
**Lest you be tempted not to worry about this, since it’s a trailer park thing: Nice upper-middle-class White kids have figured this stuff out in spades.  Before I retired, I’d have more than a few kids coming up to me on the first day of class, handing me their “disability” accommodation papers.  A few of them actually had a problem (e.g. they were blind or deaf or something), but the vast, vast majority of them clearly had nothing worse than a raging case of I-don’t-wanna-go-to-class-itis.  They got every special break under the sun, and of course all of them had Student Health wrapped around their fingers.  I have no idea where one can buy heroin, but I promise you, I could’ve had enough benzos to bliss out the Red Army just by offering a point per pill on the final exam.
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Reading the Classics: An Illustration

If I were setting up a dissident reading list for the Classics, I’d do something like this.  I’d break it down by the five W’s: Who, What, When, Where, and Why, with a total difficulty rating and a further breakdown of “what” by “necessary” vs. “nice to have,” and probably a “you probably think this is necessary, but it isn’t” section.  Here’s an illustration.

Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius.

Difficulty: Easy.  You can beneficially read Meditations even if you know next to nothing.  You’ll get more out of it the more you know, of course, but it’s the closest thing ancient philosophy had to a how-to manual.

Who: Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor in the mid-late 2nd century AD.  The last of the “Five Good Emperors,” Marcus spent much of his time dealing with barbarian incursions and plague.  There are some good biographies of the man, but Wiki covers the high points.

What: Because of the above, the Meditations were something like Marcus’s private self-help manual.  He’s reminding himself to remain literally Stoic in the face of serious, seemingly unsolvable problems.

When: Late 2nd century AD.  Greco-Roman philosophy was well-developed at this point; Stoicism was part of the classical tradition.

Where: In general, the European part of the Roman Empire.  Specifically, on campaign against the barbarians – Marcus wrote a lot of the Meditations at the front.

Why: Because this man was the richest, most powerful individual in his world… and hated it.  As a Stoic, he believed that virtue was its own — and, indeed, the only — reward, but as Roman Emperor he was forced to do un-virtuous things all day every day.  It’s good instruction for how to live with yourself — how to be a man in a world that so often forces you to act like a snake.

Essential Background: Not much beyond the above.

Nice to have: The basics of Stoic doctrine.  Specifically, their belief that “living virtuously” and “living according to nature” were basically synonymous, and that they were the only way to true happiness.  A little Stoic epistemology, too — as their way of life depends on seeing the true nature of things, their standards for knowledge (what we’d call “justified true belief”) are extremely high.  A statement like “pain is indifferent” is clear, and useful, on its own, but knowing the Stoic view of knowledge helps one appreciate just how prevalent the “indifferents” are, and how tough being truly indifferent is.  Also nice to know: The wholesale adoption of Marcus by medieval Christians.  There’s a very strong Stoic streak in Christianity’s first 1500 years; Marcus is always up there with the very best of the “virtuous pagans.”

None of these are necessary, though — you could lightly edit the Meditations (taking out the “thank you’s” at the start of Book One, explaining a few allusions) — and publish it today as a self-help manual. Also not necessary: Any real background in ancient philosophy.  Back then, “philosophy” meant “a way of living,” not “a system for investigating the world.”  Since Marcus is convinced of Stoicism’s truth, he doesn’t spend any time engaging the doctrines of other schools.

That’s an easy one.  Here’s a hard one:

Leviathan, by Thomas Hobbes.

Who: English Royalist during the Civil Wars (his side lost).

What: A defense of unlimited royal power as the only defense against violent anarchy and civil war.

When: The nastiest phase of the Period of the Wars of Religion, 1517-1648.  Specifically, right after the Thirty Years’ War (1618-48).

Where: Early Modern England.

Why: What’s government for, anyway?  Are we doomed to keep fighting forever if we can’t figure out the One True Faith?  What makes a government legitimate, and what happens if the government loses its legitimacy?

Necessary background: The Wars of Religion.  What divine right monarchy is.  The basic issues at stake in the Reformation.  The background of the Scientific Revolution, as Hobbes’s method doesn’t make sense without it.  The political background leading up to the Civil Wars.

Nice to know:  Basic Aristotelianism (Hobbes is against it).  The context of international law (e.g. Grotius).  Contemporary continental thought about legitimacy (Bodin etc.).  Machiavelli, both the Prince and the Discourses (the great-grand-daddies of all modern political thought).  The course and outcome of the Thirty Years’ War, especially the end stage (Richelieu and raison d’etat).  How and why Hobbes came home under the Protectorate.

Unnecessary: The details of contemporary science (as opposed to the method, which is essential knowledge).  In other words, you don’t need to know the specifics of Hobbes’s mechanical worldview, since they’re wrong — sight and memory don’t work like he says they do — but you absolutely have to know that he considered himself first and foremost a natural scientist.  The military details of the Civil War, or the politics of the Protectorate.

Overall difficulty: Pretty hard.  Hobbes is a clear writer; his language is a bit archaic, but you’ll get used to it fairly quickly.  As Hobbes is the pivot point for an entire worldview, though, it’s hard to grasp the background material.  You’ll need to have a lot of outside information… and, of course, the ideas themselves are quite challenging.

Feel free to add your own in the comments.  Let’s start compiling the list!

 

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How to Read “The Classics”

A while back I started putting together a college dissident reading list for the younger readers (assuming any of you are still around).  I stopped, in large part, because at some point one has to start looking at fundamentals.  What, exactly, is the point of a college education these days?  You can, and should, read something like Lifton’s Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, but there’s only so much one can really do with that information.  Either the point of a college education — by which I mean, “self-directed reading at whatever remains of your university library” — is to become acquainted with “the best that has been thought and said” (Matthew Arnold), or it isn’t.

If it isn’t — and I don’t blame you at all for this — then read Lifton, Festinger, Hoffer, etc., and be done.  Know what’s being done to you, avoid as much of it as you can, and keep your head down while you finish jumping through the job-qualifying hoops.  If it is, though…. well, where to start?

I honestly don’t know.  I can’t tell you what “a college education” should be, because I never had a real one myself.  Mine was better than yours is likely to be, of course, but that doesn’t mean it was good.  Shakespeare had “little Latin and less Greek.”  I can’t read a word of either, and because of that, the respectable-but-far-from-elite institution that gave me a PhD wouldn’t have given me a BA in 1960.

Which is why I’m not going to humbug you about “the Classics.”  Commanding you to “read the Classics!” would do you more harm than good at this point, because you have no idea how to read the Classics.  Context is key, and nobody gets it anymore.  Back when, that’s why they required Western Civ I — since all the Liberal Arts tie together, you needed to study the political and social history of Ancient Greece in order to read Plato (who in turn deepened your understanding of Greek society and politics…. and our own, it goes without saying).  I can’t even point you to a decent primer on Plato’s world, since all the textbooks since 1985 have been written by ax-grinding diversity hires.

And Plato’s actually pretty clear, as philosophers go.  You’d really get into trouble with a muddled writer…. or a much clearer one.  A thinker like Nietzsche, for example, who’s such a lapidary stylist that you get lost in his prose, not realizing that he’s often saying the exact opposite of what he seems to be saying.  To briefly mention the most famous example: “God is dead” isn’t the barbaric yawp of atheism triumphant.  The rest of the paragraph is important, too, especially the next few words: “and we have killed him.”  Nietzsche, supposedly the greatest nihilist, is raging against nihilism.

Equally important as the “how” — and equally impossible to convey to a modern student — is the “why” of reading “the Classics.”  I know why Matthew Arnold thought it was important to read Plato, but Matthew Arnold was a stuffed shirt in his own day.  When he urged “the best that has been thought and said” on the English public, he was grousing about the culture that produced Gilbert and Sullivan.  G&S are to modern “music” what Shakespeare is to soap operas — Matthew Arnold’s reasoning, we must assume, has been overtaken by events.

So here’s what I’d do, if I were designing a from-scratch college reading list.  I’d go to the “for Dummies” versions, but only after clearly articulating the why of my reading list.  I’d assign Plato, for example, as one of the earliest and best examples of one of mankind’s most pernicious traits: Utopianism.  The rest of philosophy is not, as Alfred North Whitehead would have it, a series of footnotes to Plato…. but all secular religions are.  The most famous of these being Marxism, of course, and you’d get much further into the Marxist mindset by studying The Republic than you would by actually reading all 50-odd volumes of Marx.  “What is Justice?” Plato famously asks in this work; the answer, as it turns out, is pretty much straight Stalinism.

How does he arrive at this extraordinary, counter-intuitive(-seeming) conclusion?  The Cliff’s Notes will walk you through it.  Check them out, then go back and read the real thing if the spirit moves you.

Articulating the “why” saves you all kinds of other headaches, too.  Why should you read Hegel, for example?  Because you can’t understand Marx without him…. but trust me, if you can read The Republic for Dummies, you sure as hell don’t have to wade through Das Kapital.  Marxism was a militantly proselytizing faith; they churned out umpteen thousand catechisms spelling it all out… and because they did, there are equally umpteen many anti-Marxist catechisms.  Pick one; you’ll get all the Hegel you’ll ever need just from the context.

Not that this is all fun and games, of course.  These are tough thinkers with real ideas.  The Summa Theologiae for Dummies, for example, has been sitting on my bookshelf for years; I just don’t have the gumption to wade through it.  It’s a lot easier to read without the medieval question-and-answer format and all the dense citations from the Church Fathers… but “easier” is still a far cry from “easy.”  But this, too, may well be the “why” of Thomism in our modified system — whether or not you end up agreeing with his argument about God and His nature, simply reading Thomas is a master class in a certain vital style of logical argument.  You need the Summa, not the Theologiae.  

If you actually want to do something like this, Oxford University Press puts out a whole series of Very Short Introductions.  Like all academic institutions, Oxford is SJW central these days… but their publishing arm held the line the longest.  Their very short introduction to Kant, for example, is written by the late great Roger Scruton, so you know it’s as blessedly free of social justice bullshit as Kant can possibly be (which isn’t very, actually, but you’ll be the only one on your campus who knows that.  The next hardcore campus Leftist I meet who reads anything other than Harry Potter in xzhyr spare time will be the first one I’ve ever met).

If you want a deeper dive, The Routledge Philosophers series is good within limits (those limits being, they over-emphasize 20th century knuckleheads like Adorno, Rawls, and Freud (calling Freud a philosopher is like calling Hugh Hefner a feminist).  And there are others, from academic presses and otherwise.  Get ’em off interlibrary loan and save yourself some green.

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Pete is the New Normal

I know, I know, I’m hardly the first guy to make that observation, but for any future historians who might survive the upcoming Time of Purges, let me lay out my thoughts on the Pete phenomenon:

I came out (look, you can’t avoid double entendres when writing about this subject; I’m not even gonna try) pretty early with my prediction that Elizabeth Warren would be the Donks’ nominee.  I figured Sundown Joe Biden didn’t have a chance from the get-go.  Forget the senile old fossil factor; historically, veeps have virtually no shot at winning an election to the big chair.  There have been two in the modern era: Nixon and H.W. Bush.  Which is hardly a glowing endorsement in itself, especially considering that both won when the Democratic Party was going through one of its periodic implosions — the surprise resignation of LBJ and the assassination of front-runner RFK in 1968, and the ongoing-but-incomplete Clintonificiation of the Party in 1988, both resulting in the weakest possible Democratic candidates.

Hubert Humphrey and Mike Dukakis look like the second coming of Solon compared to today’s intersectional genderfluid clown show, of course, but a rutabaga in an elephant costume could’ve beaten them back in their day (no disrespect intended to Mr. Nixon).  Veeps just don’t have a realistic shot — they get tarred with all the previous administration’s problems, but can’t claim much credit for any successes.  See e.g. Humphrey, himself a sitting veep when squaring off against Nixon (who had two entire administrations’ worth of distance friom his own vice presidency).  So Slow Joe was done from jump street.

From there, conventional wisdom kicked in.  Given the choice between a Jew, a shrew, and a fag, the darker end of the rainbow coalition can only go one way.  Antisemitism is a fringe (though unbelievably tedious) preoccupation on the Right.  It’s mainstream on the Left, though, and all-but-universal among Blacks.  Cf. the careers of such charmers as Jesse “Hymietown” Jackson, Al “Freddy’s Fashion Mart” Sharpton, et cetera ad nauseam.  Hispanics aren’t overly fond of them either.  They’re even less fond of los maricónes, though here again Blacks probably have the edge.  Whichever race is the most bigoted, though, the Dems absolutely have to have both of them 100% on side — if even 15% of the dusky electorate stays home, they’re screwed.

Hence, Warren.  Since she already has the crazy cat lady vote locked up, I figured, all she has to do is run a marginally less insane campaign than Herself did back in 2016.  A tall order, to be sure — Warren is somehow even dumber and more tin-eared than Hillary, laws of physics be damned — but I figured that at least her people had learned their lesson….

Shows you what I know.  Two words explain the drift of Warren’s natural supporters to Buttigieg: “Fag hags.”  As I try my damnedest to avoid women in general, and political women in particular, I’d forgotten the appeal fey-but-not-flaming gays have for those who buy kitty litter wholesale.  They’d probably still fall in line behind a woman who wasn’t a completely steel-clad bitch, but if the Democratic Party ever had any of those, they haven’t been in evidence for a few generations.  Gay men, of course, were until recently the most sainted of all the Left’s victim coalition — and undoubtedly still are, to all but college girls (who are required to sing hosannas to trannies).  Thus, Pete’s strong performance in the early primaries, which — as them Dems themselves point out ad nauseam when the Party bigshots don’t get the result they wanted — grossly over-represent White women.

But still, I thought, the Party’s big cheeses will come to their senses.  The only way a “married” gay guy wins is if Trump can’t control himself on the debate stage.  Every single dude on this side of the political aisle has made some joke about asking Mayor Pete “Are you pitching or catching?”  (Answer: “Either way, it’s still baseball”).  Not swinging at a softball that fat, right out over the heart of the plate, might be too much to ask of any red-blooded male, let alone an apex-alpha like Donny Two Scoops.  But unless Trump really does start razzing Mayor Pete about the Village People and Lady Gaga and HIV and whatnot right there on national television, I thought, this one’s in the bag….

But then I started seeing things on social media.  Things like this.  It’s Iowa, and it’s early, so take it with a grain of salt, but… how the fuck do you not know Pete Buttigieg is gay?!?  It has been the centerpiece, the raison d’etre, the fons et origo, the every other way you can say one-and-only thing about his campaign right from the get-go.  Even his supporters joke about it, for fuck’s sake — the nickname “Pete But-he’s-gay” didn’t come from our side of the fence….

The horrifying truth is this: Pete Buttigieg is the closest thing the modern Democratic Party has to a normal human being.  Everyone else on their roster is a slavering Marxist throwback; a bug-eyed, buck-toothed Martian; or some other kind of obvious escapee from a low-rent freakshow.  Thanks to 40+ years of nonstop propaganda, nobody under middle age has a functioning gaydar anymore, and as for the Millennials, well, as Z Man points out in some detail, Pete is, God help us, an aspirational figure.  To the box-checking, standardized-test-cramming, participation-trophy generation, he’s a winner, because he did all that to the nth degree.

Did I mention that I’m seriously considering voting for him?  See above: If that’s the generation we’re entrusting with what’s left of Western Civ, then the Chinese invasion can’t come soon enough.  Might as well vote for Pete, and give the Mongol hordes a head start.  Maybe if we’re lucky, they’ll bring back foot-binding.

 

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Adios, Bernie

The reason for Donald Trump’s success is simple: He actually does what generations of Republicans have said they’re going to do.  It weirds people out — the guy sounds like your typical New York Democrat, but he acts like uber-Reagan.  The best illustration: Every Republican since the 1970s has made noises about the Right to Life March, but none ever attended.  It was all just obvious lip service.  Trump, the umpteen-times-married pussy grabber, actually went.  Every other Republican talks Right, but goes Left.  Trump talks Left, Right, whatever, incoherently — and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks — but when he moves, he goes Right.  That’s why he wins.

Bernie Sanders, then, really is the Left’s Trump.  Democrats, too, talk Right and go Left.  America is a center-right country; the only way Leftists win is by pretending to be Centrists.  The Media has run the exact same playbook since the Sixties — Josef fucking Stalin could be running for President as a Democrat, and the New York Times, Washington Post, etc. would devote endless column inches to what a straight-shootin’ centrist nonpartisan he is.  Remember back in 2008, when the Media rushed to lecture us about how Obama was far more conservative than Nixon?*

But Bernie talks Left and goes Lefter.  His platform is straight outta 1904, but so is the entire Democratic Party.  Single payer health care?  They’ve been mooning over that since 1992.**  Free college?  Endless maternity leave?  Universal kindergarten and pre-K?  Back in the 1970s, all that was called “Sweden,” and the Democrats have been drooling over it for more than half a century now.  I know it’s  hard to believe, but cast your mind back to the dim dark days of 2012.  This “intersectional” crap would’ve gotten you laughed out of anywhere but the looniest college campus back then.  Hell, Bathhouse Barry Obama — a pillow-biter if ever I saw one — was still pretending to be against gay marriage back then.

Bernie’s just saying what they all believe, and have believed, for the better part of 100 years now.

That being the case, there’s no way in hell he makes it through to the party convention in Milwaukee.  As Z Man asked today, can you even imagine a debate between Trump and Sanders?  It’d sound like Reagan-Mondale round 2, which would be absolute death for Globohomo.  Both of them are just saying what their respective parties have been saying since at least 1984… but since they both obviously mean it, even the dumbest viewer will start to wonder just why neither party has managed to deliver anything.

I don’t think the Dems would be so gauche as to actually Epstein the guy….  but I sure as hell wouldn’t rule it out.  The Dems have had five years’ experience with what happens when a politician actually threatens to deliver on the standard Party talking points.  The Republicans are stuck with Trump, but the Donks will find some way to torpedo Bernie.  Bet the farm on it.   Keep your pill bottles on you at all times, Bernie, and don’t wear lace-up shoes.

 

*See why I sometimes feel like I’m living in an alternate universe?  That happened, I swear to Christ it did.  It was all over the place… but seemingly nobody remembers.
**Again, seriously: Does nobody remember that?  Hillary Clinton has been fucking up the Democratic Party since she was an Arkansas housewife.  The Contract with America was a direct result of the “Hillarycare” debacle.  Anyone?  Bueller?  Is this thing even on?
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Running Out of Options

Let’s assume, as a thought experiment, that I’m a cold-blooded bastard who will stoop to anything to seize political power.  That I’m an American Democrat, 2020 edition, in other words.  Right now I’m hurtin’ for certain.  A quick review:

The “Russia-gate” stuff failed, in large part because it seemingly had no object.  As we now know, “Russian hacking” was a fantasy concocted by Hillary’s people in the dead of night on November 9, 2016.  It was a desperate ego-salving move, nothing else.  “No no, your thighness, you’re not a deeply unlikeable weirdo who ran one of the all-time tin-eared campaigns.  Ok, maybe you were, but you still would’ve gotten away with it, if not for those meddling kids Russians!”  The Media ran with it, of course, because they’re somehow even dumber than Hillary’s people — I know, I know, I’m baffled too, it seems to defy several important laws of physics — but you could tell their hearts really weren’t in it.  But even they’re not stupid enough to keep pushing it too hard, knowing, as they had to, that actually investigating “Russian interference in the election” would lead right back to Hillary.

But hey, never let a crisis go to waste, as Rahm Emanuel says.  Russia-gate wouldn’t have eliminated Trump by itself, but it’s a start… so they piggybacked this Ukraine business on it.  This, too, seems to have been intended as a head fake.  They knew they weren’t going to be able to impeach Trump over it, but they could muddy the waters enough to stymie his agenda and prevent his reelection.

The problem, of course, is that the Democratic Party is full of mentally ill fools like Adam Schiff.  Guys like that can’t just recite their lines on cue; they have to believe.  Schiff was and is a true believer.  I have no doubt that Pelosi et al sat him down at some point and told him the unvarnished truth — i.e. that it’s all a bought-and-paid-for DNC op — but that’s like telling the UFO cultist the aliens haven’t arrived. He just dug in all the harder, such that Nancy et al’s bluff was called.  

And impeachment failed too, as everyone everywhere knew it would.  The political class is what it is — they take care of their own, such that I don’t think it’s actually even possible to successfully impeach a sitting president (yeah, I honestly think Nixon could’ve brazened it out.  He probably didn’t have the emotional wherewithal to endure the process, but he could’ve toughed it out on “facts”).  As I wrote the other day, if you can’t get a guy who muses on the definition of “is” in front of the nation’s highest tribunal, while the whole world’s watching, you can’t get anyone.

So what’s left?  In no particular order, I can think of a few options:

Publicly ramp up calls for political violence, especially targeted at the President.  As hard as this is for normal folks to believe, y’all ain’t seen nothin’ yet.  You might think the Democrat / Media complex long ago lost whatever was left of their tiny little minds, but trust me, we’re not even close to full-on insanity. I spent a long time in academia; I know from Leftist lunacy.  Where the Democrats / Media are now, the campus Left was with George Bush.  The first one.  Kubler-Ross-wise, the Democrats / Media are still in denial; you’ll know it when they hit “anger.”

Actually initiate political violence themselves.  This seems unlikely on its face, as politicians are all mincing little flowers.  But never forget that they’re also extremely stupid mincing little flowers.  If you can’t see Chiquita Khrushchev throwing a molotov off a barricade somewhere in the Bronx, you haven’t been paying attention.

Coronavirus.  We know that one of Diane Feinstein’s people was a ChiCom spy from way back.  Hell, the Dems have been in the People’s Liberation Army’s pockets since the Clinton years.  And I for one am not ready to dismiss the idea that coronavirus was a bioweapon out of hand.  Even if it’s not, though, I’m sure the ChiComs have lots of samples of the stuff on hand.  I bet they’d be more than willing to let some of it loose around election time, for a few small considerations….

Starting a war.  Again, a Bill Clinton specialty.  And Barack Obama used to hang out with Soleimani, fer chrissake.  You don’t think Nancy et al have a few terrorists on speed dial?

Personally, I don’t rate any of these as extremely likely.  Not because the Dems aren’t cold-blooded enough to pull them off — “human decency” hasn’t been in the same room as the American Left since Woodstock — but because they’re incompetent, corrupt, and so very, very dumb.  The likeliest scenario, in my opinion, is that they’ll let things meander on their way to Milwaukee, hoping that the Bernie Bros will be too baked on recently-legalized weed to actually start anything.  Betting on things to stay the same is a sucker bet.. but betting on suckers to take a sucker bet is a sure thing.

Still, I wouldn’t rule anything out.  Interesting times ahead.

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