Was Pharaoh Left Wing?

Mulling over Morgan’s piece of the same title, which recaps a conversation several of us were having about the terms “Left” and “Right.”  Morgan offers up three criteria for telling the difference between them:

Cultural Drive: The Right Wing seeks to drive our culture in one direction, where the Left Wing seeks to drive our culture in the opposite direction. We could pose to each side, or to an opinionated-person of unknown orientation, the following question: Is work just for suckers?

Relationship Between People and Government: Is there such a thing as Natural Law? This leads up to a question that has been asked, for ages, by Americans who couldn’t be bothered to read the Declaration of Independence: Do our rights come from government? And that leads to: What is a “right,” anyway? Is a right a right, if someone else has to pay for you to have it?

Foreign Policy: Liberals don’t define “peace” the way normal people define it. They seem to understand that for a peace to endure, someone has to do some compromising; but they don’t want to be the ones doing it. So if there is peace, but they’re not getting everything they want, then there can’t be any peace. Somehow, this means every military conflict that comes along is the fault of their opposition.

Good stuff, and I agree with all of it.  But there’s a fourth dimension, and that’s where the heart of our friendly disagreement lies.

The more we look into it, the more we return to that pivot-point, like a homing pigeon, which is the difference in consequence. The Right Wing has to work with it, the Left Wing does not. It’s almost as if…I would say, exactly as if…the Left Wing formed its relationship to reality, when it got busted by its mom for taking cookies out of the jar, and pulled a fast one on her with a bit of nonsense about “Actually, I was putting it back.” And that worked, either because the small-em mom wasn’t into confronting them about the obvious falsehood, or she wasn’t the sharpest tool in the drawer.

Whereas the right-winger, in the same situation, ended up having to carve his own switch.

Truth, therefore, to a left-winger is whatever successfully sells the pitch. Belief is a dedication to whatever that “truth” is. It is only the right-winger — and, true, genuine centrists — who see truth as truth, something that is inextricably fastened to consequences. This brings us back to the analogy of “Did I put the lug nuts on the wheel the right way?” It inspires a whole different way of thinking, a whole different direction of thinking.

Again, I agree with this.  But: I think this emphasis on consequences invalidates the idea that Pharaoh — or any but a tiny handful of governments — could be called “Left Wing.”

As Morgan says, folks who don’t adequately address the relationship of facts to consequences is doomed to fail.  Which explains the brief, and usually spectacularly bloody, lifetimes of left-wing regimes.  Consider the Soviet Union.  Life expectancy wasn’t as long in the USSR for obvious reasons, but still, there must have been very many people who saw the red flag go up over St. Petersburg in 1917, and lived to see it come down in 1991.  It wasn’t lack of political will that doomed the Soviet Union — guys like Lenin and Stalin were willing, indeed eager, to inflict every kind of barbarity upon their subjects.  And it wasn’t lack of resources, since Russia was the other superpower.  It failed because facts and consequences didn’t match up.

And that’s the best-case scenario for a fully left wing regime.  With the most indomitable will, and all the resources of a space-faring superpower, you can keep buggering on in the face of reality for…. 74 years.  Three generations (two of them, let us note, fully Sovietized, in case anyone wants to make the argument that “saboteurs” and “wreckers” from the old world caused the USSR’s downfall).  A lifetime’s worth of hell for those poor souls caught in it, but a single human lifespan nonetheless.  The lifespans of other communist regimes were even shorter — without massive subsidies from the USSR, pretty much every communist government worldwide collapsed within a decade (and the ones that didn’t either found a new sugar daddy, as North Korea did with the Chinese, or exist in enforced geographical isolation*).

But that’s not the case with Pharaoh, or any of the other old-timey “dictatorships” under Morgan’s rules.  Egypt, for instance, was conquered a few times before succumbing for good to Alexander the Great, and our records of the very earliest times are pretty spotty, but that still gives us three thousand years or so of Pharaoh’s rule.  The Western Roman Empire hung on for half a millennium, and the Eastern for a thousand years after that.  If you consider the style of rule, as opposed to the names of the rulers, you could make a pretty good argument that the Chinese emperors ruled for about 99% of recorded human history.

Which is not to say that all Roman emperors or Egyptian pharaohs were even competent rulers, let alone good ones.  But such history as we know of those regimes seems to indicate that the reality-averse ones were removed fairly quickly.  Claudius might’ve been every inch the dictator that Caligula was, but he wasn’t crazy.  Reality, in other words, made an impression on him, in a way it simply didn’t on his nephew.  If you want to call Caligula a left-winger, be my guest (he and President Obama certainly seem to have similar opinions of themselves).  But it’s hard to shove the shrewd, practical Claudius into the same boat.

Morgan’s rules do apply to the 20th century, though, and to the French Revolution, i.e. the one previous attempt to put Utopian daydreams into practice.

In brief, I’d say the distinction is more like what Thomas Sowell says in The Vision of the Anointed.  Left-wingers believe there is nothing but this life.  Therefore, all is possible in the here-and-now, and because there’s no supernatural constraints on behavior there are no Natural ones either.  Right-wingers, by contrast, believe in the “Constrained Vision” — we’re bound by Natural Law or, failing that, at least by the laws of basic math.


*That’s why I’m ok with Obama’s decision to normalize relations with Cuba, by the way.  Oh, I know he did it for all the wrong reasons — as with everything He does, it was just another chance to stick his finger in America’s eye.  But the US Navy’s enforced isolation of  Cuba is the only thing that kept Castro in power.  After 1991, he have needed to move to Miami to find Cubans to rule, or doing his best pinata impersonation from the nearest lamppost.

Why I Write about Bad Ideas from the Victorian Era

Ace of Spades, on our Glorious Leader’s refusal to bomb jihadis:

Terrorists, he’s told us so many times, are merely misled and misinformed creatures who just need some good economic opportunities and maybe some #HashtagUplift from the State Department and then they’ll stop being terrorists…. It’s only the Exalted People who actually count in this world, and who are actually capable of making moral decisions. The Exalted People — the ones on TV, largely — are a sort of breed apart. They are the only people capable of making free choices. This is of course hysterically condescending and elitist, but worse than that, this attitude that ISIS terrorist soldiers are just like the “bitter clingers” of Pennsylvania, clinging to their xenophobia, guns, and religion, and thus are to be pitied and led into enlightenment, is what permits ISIS’ reign of terror.*

* I’ve seen this belief described as “Vulgar Marxism” — the dumbest, crudest distillation of Marxism, the assertion that practically all human choices are actually dictated by economic circumstances.

This isn’t “Vulgar Marxism.”  If anything, it’s more sophisticated than plain ol’ Marxism, because in Karl Marx’s world, there are no free choices whatsoever.  Everyone’s “social being” is determined by his relation to the means of production, and — all together now — “a man’s social being determines his consciousness.”

That would seem to be a problem for Marx’s beloved Revolution, though.  If nobody can overcome the limitations of their class situation, then how is revolution even possible?  But this is only a problem if you haven’t read Marx, or you aren’t a Hegelian philosopher, or if you just subscribe to what we around here like to call “Earth-logic.”  Because, you see, Marx claims that Revolution is inevitable, because History.

Yes, he really says that.  History is a huge, anthropomorphous Force — indeed, it is the only Force — making the world go.  History talks to itself — this process is called “dialectic” — and the result is what happens in the real world.  Hence, “dialectical materialism.”

What Ace is describing is Leninism.  That’s where the whole “Vanguard of the Proletariat” thing comes from.  Marx’s theory was so obviously bonkers that it needed serious modification if it were ever to be put into practice.  For one thing, you’ll notice that being a revolutionary is pointless under Marx’s original theory, since the Revolution will happen regardless.  For another, it’s also impossible, since no one — including all potential revolutionaries, and  Uncle Karl himself — can transcend the cognitive limits of his class situation.  (Hey, it almost sounds like Marxism is the kind of self-contradictory airy-fairy bullshit that only intellectuals could possibly believe!).  So Lenin retconned himself and his merry band of murderous psychopaths into Marx’s original theory by giving them, and only them, the ability to transcend their class situation sufficiently to send the rest of us to the gulag.

It’s important to call it what it is, because that way, you can evaluate the historical record and predict what our latter-day Leninists will do if given the chance.  The New Economic Policy, for example, bears studying… as does its end.

The Jackboot Corollary

This right here is why I keep saying Fascism — capital F, armbands, cattle cars, the works — is inevitable in America:

It’s tempting to assume that whites are too timid and lost to fight back. Some are, for sure, but action in the streets has a funny way of bringing out the revolutionary in even old men. A big part of what plagues the West is there’s no place for men in modern societies. Rioting Muslim hoards in the streets suddenly will spike the demand for white males willing to crack skulls. The supply will soon follow.

The Z Man has discovered what I’m dubbing the Jackboot Corollary to Say’s Law.  Say’s Law is often misquoted as “supply creates its own demand.”  That’s not actually what it says, and it seems to be more false than not in any case when it comes to economics…. but as a social phenomenon, “supply creates its own demand” works quite well.

There is an oversupply of frustrated manhood in the West — read Roosh V, the guru of “neomasculinity.” His gospel is basically Ward Cleaver-, straight-from-the-1950s-style “be a man” updated for a feminist-dominated world.  He, and a few other clear-eyed ex-Pickup Artists like Heartise and Matt Forney and Vox Day, have realized that most of their readership has no interest in picking up girls — all the convoluted jargon and “sex at dawn” sub-Darwin theorizing of “PUA” is basically fantasy sports.  But unlike fantasy sports, their stuff has real world applications, and there are legions of guys who are willing to do whatever it takes to “be a man” out in the world… if only someone would show them how.

So these guys got into politics, and the minute they start holding Promise Keeper-type rallies, there are your stormtroopers.  The minute the Social Justice Warriors feel threatened by this, they’ll do what they always do — knuckle under, flip sides, and dial their new allegiance up to eleven.  And there are your einsatzkommando.

Winners Write the Dictionaries, Too

We all know that the winners write the history books.  I suspect that they also write the dictionaries, and because they do, our modern discourse is short a few useful words.  Like “fascism,” for instance.  As Orwell said way back when, these days it just means “something not desirable.”  But that’s only because the Axis were Fascists and they lost the war.  Military defeat invalidates Fascism as a politico-cultural system, we think, so we’ve all agreed to scrap a useful word… and because we lack the words to talk about it, we’re caught completely flat-footed when it comes back around.*

“Barbarism” is another.  The Greeks, Romans, and Chinese knew what a fragile thing civilzation is, so they had a special word for the uncivilized: “Barbarians.”  It didn’t just mean “uncivilized,” though; I don’t think they’d call the basically Stone Age hill tribes that dotted the edges of their world “barbarians,” though they held them in complete contempt.

Rather, a barbarian is one who is actively against civilization.  Barbarians live to pillage and destroy, and if they get inside the gates, they’ll go out of their way to wreck everything beautiful inside your city, even if — it seems, especially if — there’s no portable weath in it.  They love squalor and revel in fillth, and when it comes to religion, the more bloodthirsty the god, the better.  Torture for torture’s sake is a barbarian pastime — maybe their only pastime.

But then Varus got his stupid ass massacred, and Rome fell, and we lost a useful word that’s tailor-made to describe our enemies.  What are ISIS but blue-assed savages capering beyond civilization’s borders?

I got to thinking about this reading the Z Man’s latest:

Islam is a fine religion that brings peace to millions of people around the world. It’s simply incompatible with western civilization. The people who practice Islam want things that are antithetical to western liberalism. Therefore, there can be no mixing of the two. The Mohammedan has to stay in one of the 50 countries that practice Islam and the western liberals must stay in the West. It is why we have separate countries.

And so it was with the Celts and Germans.  Barbarism is anti-civilization, but it is so by choice.  When you read Caesar’s Gallic Wars, you see a very simple, effective, and indeed humane way of dealing with barbarians.  You’re welcome to as much Roman culture as you can stand, Caesar told his defeated adversaries, but in the meantime, you will keep the peace.  Kill and eat each other to your hearts’ content in your own territories, but cross that river and I’ll slaughter you to the last man.  And… when you finally tire of shivering your naked asses off in mud huts, we’ll be here to show you a better way.

I know, I know — this is cultural imperialism.  But you know what?  Just plain old “imperialism” is another useful word that’s long gone.  Consider the British Raj — now those guys knew how to manage a Muslim population!  But they were even better with Hinduism, and that’s another reason “imperialism” needs a second look.

Traveling in South Asia is kinda schizophrenic.  India’s major cities have areas that look quite Western, and the better-off folks who live there have an interesting blend of traditional and Western culture.  Many middle-class and up Indians are vehemently Hindu — for instance, the BJP, the largest in the country and currently the head of state,  is a Hindu nationalist party — but they’re also quite Western in outlook.  Out in the sticks, though, you hear horror stories about the kind of primitivism that led to Napier’s famous remark about suttee:

Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.

And that, indeed, was one of the primary missions of the Indian Civil Service — to maintain the proper balance of national customs.

The ICS is also the major reason that, among decolonized states, India is among the very few that didn’t devolve into dictatorship.  In Africa, especially, the European powers simply handed over the keys to the first bunch of natives in neckties when they abandoned their colonial possessions; the lunatic rule of educated-past-their-hat-size marxoids like Julius Nyerere and Macias Nguema were the result.  However bad imperialism screwed over the natives, then — and for all the bluster coming from academia, the jury is still out — it was a lot better than post-colonialism.  Think about it:  Would you rather live in Cecil Rhodes’s Rhodesia, or Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe?  Frederick Lugard’s Kenya, or Raila Odinga’s?  The “babus” of the ICS were able to drag the subcontinent into the 20th century.

This is not to say imperialism is the only way to manage barbarians, of course — the Chinese built a wall.  But when Western Civilization’s corpse finishes twitching, and if our descendants ever want to give representative government another go, they’ll need to resuscitate a few of the good old words.


*Forget US politics for a sec.  Find as objective a definition of Fascism as you can.  Then, look at the political and economic structure of the People’s Republic of China.  It’s Mussolini’s wet dream over there, but because we have no other word, we’re forced to use theirs: “Communist.”  Which is useless, both as an aid to understanding Communism and — vastly more important — as a predictor of the PRC’s future behavior.

Blogging: Just Footnotes to Orwell

Alfred North Whitehead said that all Western philosophy is just a series of footnotes to Plato.  I often feel like blogging is just a series of footnotes to George Orwell.

Via Ace’s overnight thread, Bookworm:

As a writer, I hate passive voice and I hate euphemisms. Any sentence that hides the actor either by removing him entirely from the sentence or by throwing him in at the end as an after thought, and that uses euphemism to turn a heinous act into an anodyne one is a cop-out and a white wash. Examples of these cop outs and white washes include variations of all of these statements:  “French people were killed” or “French people die in attack,”or “Paris hit by terrorist attack,” or simply “Poor France,” or “What a terrible tragedy,” or “Our thoughts are with France.”  Each is a cowardly effort to avoid saying that “Islamic jihadists slaughtered more than 129 people in cold blood and wounded more than double that number.

Leftism lives on euphemism.  As we know, ignorance of history is liberalism’s flux capacitor:

It's what makes faith in socialism possible.

It’s what makes faith in socialism possible.

And in many ways, as Orwell notes and Bookworm reiterates, euphemism is ignorance’s flux capacitor.

Expressed in plain English, Karl Marx’s “ideas” are the kind of gassy pothead nonsense that’d get you kicked out of a community college philosophy club.  But Marx knew what he was doing; he knew exactly what a certain kind of bloodthirsty lunatic would make of his prose, and built it specifically for them.  The abuse of language is pivotal to socialism.  Orwell:

As I have tried to show, modern writing at its worst does not consist in picking out words for the sake of their meaning and inventing images in order to make the meaning clearer. It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug….

…People who write in this manner usually have a general emotional meaning — they dislike one thing and want to express solidarity with another — but they are not interested in the detail of what they are saying. A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: 1. What am I trying to say? 2. What words will express it? 3. What image or idiom will make it clearer? 4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect? And he will probably ask himself two more: 1. Could I put it more shortly? 2. Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly? But you are not obliged to go to all this trouble. You can shirk it by simply throwing your mind open and letting the ready-made phrases come crowding in. They will construct your sentences for you — even think your thoughts for you, to a certain extent — and at need they will perform the important service of partially concealing your meaning even from yourself. It is at this point that the special connection between politics and the debasement of language becomes clear.

Marx said “man’s social being determines his consciousness.”  In plain English, this means “you can only know what society allows you to know,” which is, as Orwell would say, sheer humbug.  Logically, it’s a tautology — A = A.  As a metaphor, it’s meaningless, since if we could only know what “society” allows us to know, society could never change.  As epistemology, it’s self-contradictory — Karl Marx, as a part of society, can only know what it allows him to know, so how does he know that?

But because Marx phrased it that way, and surrounded it with a whole bunch more similarly obfuscatory verbiage, guys like Lenin took it to mean that people are infinitely malleable, because “society” can be changed by force — shoot everyone who isn’t part of Utopia, and whatever’s left is, by definition, Utopia.

Orwell also nailed modern intellectuals’ power-worship.  We tend to write our Islamophile intellectuals off as merely cowards (or, in the case of feminists who don’t say a peep about Islam’s barbarities, horny cowards) , but Orwell argues that’s wrong.  Writing about his fellow English intellectuals’ bizarre predictions for the course of World War II, Orwell says

If one went simply by these instances, one might assume that high intelligence and bad military judgement always go together. However, it is not so simple as that. The English intelligentsia, on the whole, were more defeatist than the mass of the people — and some of them went on being defeatist at a time when the war was quite plainly won — partly because they were better able to visualise the dreary years of warfare that lay ahead. Their morale was worse because their imaginations were stronger. The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it, and if one finds the prospect of a long war intolerable, it is natural to disbelieve in the possibility of victory. But there was more to it than that. There was also the disaffection of large numbers of intellectuals, which made it difficult for them not to side with any country hostile to Britain. And deepest of all, there was admiration — though only in a very few cases conscious admiration — for the power, energy, and cruelty of the Nazi régime. It would be a useful though tedious labour to go through the left-wing press and enumerate all the hostile references to Nazism during the years 1935-45. One would find, I have little doubt, that they reached their high-water mark in 1937-8 and 1944-5, and dropped off noticeably in the years 1939-42 — that is, during the period when Germany seemed to be winning. One would find, also, the same people advocating a compromise peace in 1940 and approving the dismemberment of Germany in 1945. And if one studied the reactions of the English intelligentsia towards the USSR, there, too, one would find genuinely progressive impulses mixed up with admiration for power and cruelty. It would be grossly unfair to suggest that power worship is the only motive for russophile feeling, but it is one motive, and among intellectuals it is probably the strongest one.

Power worship, he notes, makes present trends seem irreversible.  Radical Islam (Nazism, Communism, the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere) goes from triumph to triumph, wiping the floor with so-called democracies; our turn is right around the corner, so best to get on board now.

Note, too, that this explains the smart set’s universal allegiance to Social Justice.  Social Justice, Political Correctness, what-have-you hasn’t suffered a meaningful defeat in 30 years.  One is free to shout the worst imaginable abuse at conservatives while on the company clock, but wear a tacky shirt to work and you’ll get fired, even if you’re one of a few dozen people on the whole planet who can do that particular job.  The SJWs appear invincible.  So, too, with political parties — the Dems lose their share of elections, true, but when they gain power they immediately push through huge, high-visibility programs that affect everyone.  The ideal conservative government, by contrast, would be so small and remote that, as with antebellum America, most citizens’ only contact with it would be at the local post office.  Conservatism is designed to reduce government power, so it’s no wonder that wannabe-intellectuals — power worshipers to a man — vote Democrat.

In that same essay, Orwell nails the quintessentially American parochialism that makes us so baffling to enemies and allies as we blunder about on the world stage.

Whatever happens [in World War II], the United States will survive as a great power, and from the American point of view it does not make much difference whether Europe is dominated by Russia or by Germany. Most Americans who think of the matter at all would prefer to see the world divided between two or three monster states which had reached their natural boundaries and could bargain with one another on economic issues without being troubled by ideological differences. Such a world-picture fits in with the American tendency to admire size for its own sake and to feel that success constitutes justification… It is a ‘tough’ or ‘realistic’ worldview which fits in with the American form of wish-thinking. The almost open admiration for Nazi methods which Burnham shows in the earlier of his two books, and which would seem shocking to almost any English reader, depends ultimately on the fact that the Atlantic is wider than the Channel.

Guys like Steve Sailer argue that the so-called “deep state” (by which he almost certainly means “Teh Jooooos!”) is responsible for the fact that Barack W. Obama’s foreign policy looks remarkably like George Hussein Bush’s.  But it’s simpler than that — Bush and Obama, like Hillary and Romney and just about every other politician of both parties, has no problem with Vlad Putin re-annexing the Ukraine.  They don’t really have a problem with Iran as the Middle East’s nuclear-armed hegemon, either (though, as Sailer types will tell you at migraine-inducing length, Republicans have slightly more of a problem with it because Israel).  They just wish Vlad and the Mullahs wouldn’t be so farshtinkener gauche about it.  Cut a few deals, dial up a few air strikes, send in some special forces, and present it as a fait accompli in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.  That’s how we do it, and everybody makes a few bucks with minimal fuss.  They simply can’t grok that “make a few bucks” isn’t at the top of everyone’s priority list.

Finally, Orwell’s essay “Inside the Whale” nails the infantilization of our politics.  I’ve discussed this before, and a key passage of the essay is worth re-quoting:

Almost certainly we are moving into an age of totalitarian dictatorships—an age in which freedom of thought will be at first a deadly sin and later on a meaningless abstraction. The autonomous individual is going to be stamped out of existence….It seems likely, therefore, that in the remaining years of free speech any novel worth reading will follow more or less along the lines that [Henry] Miller has followed…in implied outlook. The passive attitude will come back, and it will be more consciously passive than before. Progress and reaction have both turned out to be swindles. Seemingly there is nothing left but quietism—robbing reality of its terrors by simply submitting to it. Get inside the whale—or rather, admit you are inside the whale (for you are, of course). Give yourself over to the world-process, stop fighting against it or pretending that you control it; simply accept it, endure it, record it.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the campaign of one Bernard Sanders.

A Bernie Sanders type has been running for president every four years for the last six decades.  Sixties flower children had Gene McCarthy; George McGovern was the kumbayah kid of the 1970s; Ralph Nader captured the moonbat imagination in the 80s and 90s; Dennis Kucinich and his “Department of Peace” hung around in the Bush years… but those guys were all third- or -fourth-party jokes (except McGovern, I guess, though he should have been; the dude carried one state against Tricky Dick Nixon.  In 1972).  It’s only now that a Sanders type — and honest-to-god Socialist, running on out-and-proud Socialism — is finally viable.

Now, before you rush in to tell me that’s because Hillary Clinton is the lousiest, most corrupt candidate this side of Robert Mugabe, please note that she still leads most Republicans in most nationwide polls.  And before you rush in to tell me that’s because the GOP’s candidates are also historically awful, please note that the leader of that pathetic pack may well be Ben Carson…. and if it’s not, it’s Donald Trump.

The American electorate, in other words, is living in fantasyland.  Nobody even pretends to be voting for a competent elected official.  How could they?  The only candidate with significant electoral experience is Sanders, and a Chicago city alderman makes bigger budget decisions, affecting way more people, than a Vermont senator.  Hillary Clinton spends most of her free time dodging subpoenas from her limited government service, and Carson and Trump have never been elected to anything, anywhere.  As late as 1992, the American public would’ve laughed itself into an aneurysm at the proposition that any of these clowns, or all of them combined Voltron-like into one uber-clown, could possibly be qualified for the Presidency of the United States.

As with Europe in the 1930s, America in the 2010s is a place where only national security matters… and these jokers’ main selling point is their utter inexperience in foreign affairs.  Now, y’all know I’m not one to fetishize a resume, but think about it — would you like to sit down at Versailles with Vlad Putin, knowing the tanks are gassed up and ready to roll?  Well, you have exactly as much international relations experience as Carson, Trump, or Sanders, and as we’ve noted, Hillary’s experience is such that it takes the entire MSM working round the clock to keep her out of jail over it.  Meanwhile, on the domestic front, Hillary’s doing her best Evita routine, Trump and Carson are as clueless as they are on foreign policy, and Sanders is promising us an entitlement state that was laughably unaffordable back in 1919, when America made basically all the things in the world and taking charity made you a social pariah.

George Orwell, I’ll remind you, died in 1949.  We are well and truly fucked, amigos.

The Top Three Signs You Might be a Secret Leftist

Over at House of Eratosthenes, we’re having a discussion about the nature and history of Our Betters, the Liberals.  While I think Morgan and I have reached broad agreement, there are a few things that still need clarification.  And since I’ve always wanted to write one of those Gawker-style clickbait lists, I hereby present

The Top Three Signs You Might be a Secret Leftist:

  1. You think the world is perfectible.

At some point in that discussion thread, we got to talking about Mighty Pharaoh.  Was he a leftist?  Certainly a guy like Ramses exercized total power, but was he a totalitarian?  I say no, because the totalitarian credo — “all within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state” — claims that “the State” can be completely self-sufficient.

That’s not true, and even Ramses, who was raised to believe he was literally a god, knew it.  His main job as Pharaoh was to perform the rituals that kept the Nile flooding regularly.  It didn’t always work, and when the Nile failed to flood, Ramses didn’t send out the propaganda corps to proclaim that the Nile did flood, damn it.  Nor did he send out the secret police to arrest anyone who contradicted the propaganda.  God or not, he accepted some basic limitations on his power.

Leftists don’t do that.  They think there’s nothing their dogma can’t fix.  Take Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein.  Widely regarded as an allegory of the French Revolution, Frankenstein captures the boundless hubris of the Enlightenment — our understanding of Nature is so vast that soon we shall conquer death itself.  Rousseau, Robespierre, and especially their ape, Karl Marx — born just 3 years after Waterloo — promised utopia through political action.

Our modern Leftists are even more extravagant.  Marx only promised paradise to humans.  Just seven years ago, Leftists told us that the Earth itself would heal if only we voted for a half-term junior senator from flyover country.  And as for natures’s remaining imperfections, well, they can simply be legislated out of existence.  George W. Bush isn’t widely regarded as a Leftist, but he overturned one of the fundamental truths of mathematics by decreeing that, with No Child Left Behind, all students shall now be above average.  In much the same way, Our Betters have abolished biology — women have dicks now, and only skin color is heritable…. sorta.donezal

2. You never trust your own lying eyes.

Because if you do, you risk breaking one of the newly minted laws of nature.  Imagine you’re a woman in the restroom with the “Ladies” sign on it.  In walks a 6’2″, well-built former Olympic track star, who whips out his cock in front of the nearest toilet.  Are you going to shriek, then call the cops?  You’d better not, if you’re a Leftist!  Gender is just a social construction, my friend, and dicks and/or balls can be constructed female, too.

So, too, with math.  If George W. Bush could mandate that all children are better than average, it’s child’s play for Barack Obama to add a gazillion-dollar socialized medicine program that will lower taxes and reduce costs.

And above all, you must never, ever follow up on anything, ever.  If you looked at the initiatives of LBJ’s “Great Society,” for example — the War on Poverty and whatnot — it’d sure look like they not only didn’t solve the problems they were supposed to, but they actually made them much, much, much worse.  If you actually interacted with some immigrants, it would appear that Magic Dirt Theory is false, and that a change of latitude doesn’t automatically transform a 70-IQ socialism-worshiping Mestizo subsistence farmer into a Jeffersonian yeoman computer programmer.  You’d notice that, contrary to all your end of the world models, the globe hasn’t warmed at all, the polar ice caps are thicker, and polar bears are thriving.  Not that those things are true, of course — only the words of humanities professors and Democrat politicians are true — but they sure look true, and that causes feelbad.  Never, ever trust your lying eyes.

3. You claim unlimited dictatorial powers for yourself, because you’re the victim of everything.

This last is the hardest for normals to grasp, and getting it is the surest sign you’re a secret Leftist.  Leftists believe that oppression confers moral authority, and moral authority, political authority.  By the transitive property of equality, then, the guy who suffers most at the hands of others wields the most political power.  This is why that Melissa Click idiot at at the University of Missouri can whine about how oppressed she is even as she’s demanding — and receiving! — the services of “muscle” to remove onerous persons from her royal presence.  It’s why feminists who — according to their own theory — should be barefoot, pregnant, and silent in a kitchen somewhere have arrogated to themselves the unlimited right to tell you what to say, hear, do, and think.  It’s why the lily-white Rachel Dolezals of the world are so anxious to pass themselves off as black, even as they scream about how oppressively, unrelentingly awful it is to be black in AmeriKKKa.  It’s why Hillary Clinton is still the odds-on favorite to ride her doddering nincompoop act into the White House in 2016.  Not a day goes by without some awful meanie saying something hurtful about her; that means she deserves the nuclear launch codes.

If any of these three apply to you, please seek help immediately.

Pauline Kael and Me

Pauline Kael didn’t know anyone who voted for Nixon.  I don’t understand the appeal of Ben Carson.  Are we kindred spirits?

Point for: I see this, and my first instinct is to think it helps Trump.  America reached peak Magic Negro fatigue in 2013, and only fear of being called rayciss has kept people from pointing out that Ben Carson is fucking ludicrously unqualified to be President of the United States.  He’s Barack Obama without the accomplishments.  There’s great power in saying the obvious, and it’s obvious that Ben Carson shouldn’t be running for any office higher than city alderman.

Point against: The same piece says that Carson has tied Trump in a South Carolina poll.  Maybe it’s just I and my homies who have reached peak Magic Negro fatigue… because we were immune to the Magic Negro phenomenon in the first place.  There are up to four viable non-Establishment candidates out there (for selected values of “viable,”) and the Magic Negro is thumping the Chick and the Latino by double digits.  Maybe Carson has some logical source of appeal outside of his me-too cult of personality.

What do y’all think?

Things I Wish Conservatives Understood: WE Are the Bad Guys

Vox Day, commenting on some sobering recent war games:

Whatever happens [in Germany with their self-imposed “refugee” “crisis”], there can be little doubt that the rising European nationalist forces will have the backing of Russia, and probably China as well, as both of those countries clearly recognize the threat the globalist U.S. now poses to world order.

I’m trying to think of a single coherent reason the United States still has any troops anywhere overseas.  The best I can come up with is some high school pep rally shit — “the Delta house has a long tradition of existence to its members and to the community at large.”  What are we protecting Western Europe from?  Communism?

Communism only still exists in places like North Korea, and if the South Koreans don’t want to join them (in South Korea, the commies are to their deep thinkers what jihadis are to ours), they can get their own damn army.  Seems like a pretty simple choice to me — internet cafes vs. intermittent cannibalism — but it’s their choice to make.

German militarism?  Right now, the Kaiser seems like a pretty reasonable, civilized guy, and more and more Europeans are taking a long hard second look at Hitler.  It’s ugly, but that’s my point: Are we really going to use our armed forces as Europe’s attitude police?  No European state can field an army larger than a Boy Scout troop, and they have no transport capacity at all — we have to airlift all our “coalition partners” into the theater in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

There won’t be another general European war, unless you count soccer hooligans going at it over World Cup matches.  The only credible non-American military force in Europe is Russia’s, and here’s point #2: The Russians have no fucking idea what we’re going to do.  We overthrew Ukraine’s government for reasons that still elude me, unless Victoria Nuland’s pwecious widdle feewings are now a national security priority.  We saber-rattle constantly via NATO, but it’s not clear what, if anything, all that bluster is supposed to accomplish.

Worse, Obama loathes the military, and foreign policy is just a distraction from his golf game…. and everybody knows it.  He’s a feckless retard, but more than that, he’s a malignant narcissist.  He sees everything through MSNBC’s camera lenses — put the army at DEFCON One, and the rubes out in flyover country think he’s really getting tough…. but then he goes on NPR and assures the people who matter that Vladimir Putin is our partner in peace, and that all the Army Rangers in their red high heels are too busy attending diversity seminars to even think about fighting.

To real armies, this shit screams "please invade us!"

To real armies, this shit screams “please invade us!”

Nor is the situation likely to get better, no matter who wins in 2016.  Let’s be generous and say that Trump, Carson, Rubio, Sanders, and Clinton are all viable candidates.  Sadly, if “preventing World War III” is your top priority, your best options are the Kumbayah Kids, Carson and Sanders… and they might inadvertently provoke it by unilaterally disarming (Carson is a gun-grabber from way back, and Sanders, bless his senile old soul, really does think you can trade in an aircraft carrier for some inner city midnight basketball programs).  Trump and Rubio might let the missiles fly because they think that’s what they’re supposed to do, and Clinton might do it to show she’s got a bigger dick than any of them.  (Admittedly, Vlad and the Chinese can do whatever they want in the world provided they send a big enough check to her “charitable foundation,” but the danger there is that she might think the US Army is her own personal collection agency).

A coherent policy, forcefully stated by a credible spokesman, prevents all of this.  There’s a reason the whole world went apeshit when Jimmy Carter was president, only to calm down overnight when we elected Reagan.  Reagan was a serious man, with clear views, vigorously expressed.  Jimmy Carter got attacked by a giant swimming rabbit and nearly shit himself.  Pick any of those names up there.  Are they closer to Reagan, or Carter?

A major military power blundering about in blind ignorance is a recipe for disaster.  A military power that’s not nearly as strong as it thinks it is doing that is far worse.  An ignorant, weaker-than-it-thinks power “led” by someone who (at best) can’t be bothered with foreign policy or (at worst) actively loathes the military almost guarantees that something extremely nasty is going to happen sometime soon.

And that’s how the rest of the world views us.

Everything Old is New Again: “Human Biodiversity,” Part II

Part I here.

He's more machine than man now, twisted and evil.

He’s more machine than man now, twisted and evil.

World War I left Western Civilization emotionally adrift.  What was all that horror for?  Nobody seemed to know, and the few explanations offered — stopping German militarism; the self-determination of peoples — were sick jokes in the face of 17 million dead.  Any answer to Man’s eternal question — what’s the meaning of life? — had to account for the Somme, too.

For a lot of people, only Marxism fit the bill.  You’ll recall that Marxism is the most anthropocentric doctrine ever preached.  Its goal is literally heaven on earth.  Marx’s writings are light on descriptions of the stateless communist world, but everyone who read him agreed that whatever it was, it would be utopia.  Better yet, the means to achieve this seemed to be in our grasp.  Lenin made a simple, seemingly irrefutable point: If the tools of industrial capitalism could produce everything needed to slaughter 17 million men over four years, it should be child’s play to produce all the material goods needed to free everyone, everywhere, from want.  This is such a seductive idea that even George Orwell fell for it — the “defense of socialism” section in The Road to Wigan Pier is some of the barmiest, though best-written, moonbattery you’ll ever see.

Moreover, Marxism promised a return to our “natural,” healthy emotional state.  The Frankfurt School used Freud’s insights to argue that capitalism is responsible for all of mankind’s mental problems.  Just as the slaughter in the trenches was the necessary outcome of imperialism, so the blind, mute, paralyzed shell shock case was the ultimate alienation.  Eliminate social classes, they argued, and you’ll eliminate all the unnatural stresses of capitalism.  And just as the World War showed this was materially possible, the experience of Woodrow Wilson’s “war socialism,” like American Progressivism in general, showed it was politically possible.

Advanced industrial technique to produce a free, happy, and whole Man: That’s Marxism-Leninism in a nutshell.  Given unlimited power to fine-tune the social machine, guys like V.I. Lenin could produce utopia in the near future.  Tweak the little machines that people are, and you’ll tweak the big machine that society is; adjust society, and you’ll adjust people.  They act reciprocally — dialectically, says the ghost of Karl Marx — to make heaven on earth.

And, of course, this works.  Lenin was a huge admirer of Ivan Pavlov (unreciprocated, to Pavlov’s eternal credit), but you don’t need salivating dogs to know that man-as-machine works pretty darn well — we capitalists have decisively proven it, with this zillion-dollar industry called advertising.  We all agree that indoctrination in schools is a smashing success.  Everyone in America thinks that media bias is pervasive, egregious, and totally effective.  People, it seems, are almost infinitely manipulable.

None of this excuses Marx, Lenin, et al.  But it’s important to understand why they thought the way they did.  It’s the same reason lots of people today still think this way: It works, very effectively, quite often.  It’s not perfect, but… who’s to say it never will be?  Machines aren’t perfect, either, but they can be improved quite a bit before you hit absolute physical constraints like the Laws of Thermodynamics.  We’ve only got 100 years of data, and the Soviet Union was hardly an ideal laboratory.

six-million-dollar-manBut notice what we’ve done here.  We’ve been proceeding as if Man is nothing but a machine, in the same way Darwin’s apes (if not necessarily Darwin himself) proceeded as if Man is nothing but an animal.  And that has horrific consequences.

The goal of Marxism-Leninism, as we’ve said, is to produce utopia by scientific adjustments to the social machine.  But machines don’t have feelings, or goals, or desires, or free will, or souls.  Society isn’t composed of little machines; like Soylent Green, it’s made of people.  In its pursuit of utopia, Socialism utterly discounts the needs of real, living people for the benefits of possible future people.  You can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs, as the sickeningly facile phrase goes…. but breaking eggs by no means guarantees that the omelet is going to get made.

Socialism, in other words, sees people (except Socialists, of course) as means to an end.  And that view depends, utterly depends, on seeing people in the abstract — just animals, just machines, just producer-units or consumer-units on a giant spreadsheet. If you make a mistake on a spreadsheet, you don’t feel bad about deleting the cell, do you?  And if a machine breaks, you either repair it or you throw it away.  Do you worry about the morality of taking a hammer to a loose nail?  Of course not!  And if your goldfish dies, it’s down the toilet, no?

And that’s the problem with HBD.

Human biodiversity is obviously true to the extent that evolution is true.  It has to be, unless you believe, as Science’s deep-thinking BFFs on the Left claim to, that evolution applies to all living organisms but humans.  Organisms that evolve in radically different environments develop dramatically different traits; it’s why platypuses aren’t elephants.

But evolution isn’t morality.  Evolution is utterly amoral.  Claiming that one group is, on average, smarter than another — though it’s indisputably true — says nothing about how individuals should interact.

How trite, I’m sure you’re saying.  Everybody knows that!

Except they don’t.  The biggest proponents of HBD on the Alt-Right are the Pick-Up Artists, and PUA’s whole deal is using the universally applicable tricks of advertising to get laid.  In getting laid, they’re spreading the gospel that it’s ok to use people as means to an end, and they’re citing science to do it.  After all, nobody would say that a lesser chimpanzee mimicking the behavior of an alpha male in order to mate is acting immorally, would they?  That chimp is just doing what chimps do, because there is no morality in nature….

cuttlefish-gary-hughes…In fact, if you insist on putting morality in nature where it doesn’t belong, the PUA is in fact more moral than others.  Consider that sneaky mating strategies like the faux-alpha chimp are common — indeed, necessary — in the animal kingdom.  Take Squirty up there.  Anonymous Conservative cites the Giant Australian Cuttlefish as one example of how r-strategists are made.  Only the biggest and toughest cuttlefish can mate in the normal way, so some non-dominant males have evolved a very sneaky strategy: They change their color patterns so that they look like females.  They sneak into a group of females waiting to mate, then pounce.  The result is that some weak-but-sneaky cuttlefish genes propagate, while some strong-but-dumb cuttlefish genes don’t.

When this strategy works correctly — as it does, all across the animal kingdom — you get a nice balance.  The strong-but-dumb and the weak-but-clever complement each other, and the whole group thrives.  If only the strong-but-dumb ever bred, the group would be strong, all right… for a while.  But its members would be too stupid to live, and they’d die out just as surely as they would if all group members were weak-but-clever.  Using HBD scripts to pick up chicks, then, raises the aggregate IQ in the urban jungle, contributing far more to the success of the human species in a high-tech environment than strong-but-dumb jocks ever could.

In America, 2015, we can ignore the deeply dis-civic implications of this attitude, because we still have enough accumulated cultural capital — plus actual capital capital — to avoid widespread scarcity.  But that won’t last long, and when it does, the temptation to use people as means to an end is going to be overwhelming.  And it’ll be the so-called Alt-Right putting people in camps, Lenin-style.


Everything Old is New Again: “Human Biodiversity,” Part I

After reading the Z Man’s ruminations on Bill Maher,* I recommended Anonymous Conservative’s The Evolutionary Psychology Behind Politics to him, as Z Man seems to have come to some similar conclusions.  I’ve mentioned this book here before, and y’all know I think AC’s theory — r/K selection theory, from the world of zoology — has a lot of explanatory power.  Y’all also know that I occasionally drop by “pick-up artist” sites like Chateau Heartiste.**  These guys are leading lights on the “Alternative Right,” and a lot of what they say is good, useful, and necessary.  But one of the pillars of the Heartiste / Anonymous Conservative / “biomechanics is god” worldview is one of the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad ideas of the Old Left.  Let’s take a trip back in time….

Starting (rather arbitrarily) with Charles Darwin, we have the notion that Man is an animal like any other.  A brilliantly specialized, extremely successful animal, no doubt, but an animal nonetheless.  Scads of research in fields from Advertising to Zoology confirm that anything that can be said about animals can also be said about us.  Indeed, the basic conclusion of all that stuff seems to be that the majority of our behavior — almost all of it, in fact — is basic chimpanzee behavior, if not basic vertebrate behavior.  For an easy-reading, though horribly depressing, summary of all this, check out Robert Cialdini’s Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.  Cialdini uses the metaphor of the tape recorder (Influence was written in the 1980s): Press the button and the music plays, every single time.  Most animal behavior, including ours, works the same way — stimulus, response, as predictable as sunrise.

There are two big problems with this idea, though, as applied to humans.  The first is that humans are such exceptionally successful animals that it’s easy to feel like the rules don’t apply to us, even though science says they clearly do.  The second is the psychological cost of admitting that the rules do apply to us. One could argue — and, in fact, I’m about to argue — that the history of Leftism since Darwin is the history of a group grappling with these two powerful emotions.

One response is called “Marxism.”  For those of you who know me as the “it all comes back to Marx” guy over at House of Eratosthenes, here’s a twist: Marxism, as a response to Darwin’s de-pedestalizing mankind, doesn’t come back to Karl Marx.  Origin of Species was published in 1859, and Descent of Man, which applied Darwin’s theory to humans, in 1871.  Karl Marx was born in 1818.  His worldview is entirely pre-Darwinian.

Now, Marx throws the word “scientific” around a lot, but he uses it in exactly the same way our modern marxoids do — as a mystical incantation to ward off bad juju.  Marx’s theory is all about “Spirit,” grandiose Hegelian nonsense that would have two Gnostics arguing about the Hypostasis of the Archons nodding happily along.  Marx’s “dialectical materialism” doesn’t interact with the material world very often, and when it does, it’s completely wrong — cf. every prediction the man ever made.  Far from regarding Man as just another animal, open to scientific study, Marxism elevates Man to the highest possible position.  Insofar as this “Spirit” stuff can be deciphered, it seems to exist solely to produce Humanity.  Trees, rocks, birds, fish, chimpanzees — I’m sure Marx and Hegel would say their Geist accounts for them all, but nobody seems to know how.  Marxism is the most anthropocentric doctrine ever preached.

Another way of dealing with the emotional shock of Darwinism is to, in effect, de-humanize Man.  What we loosely call “Modernity” (the artistic and philosophical movement) starts with the assumption that Man and all his works aren’t really “natural,” in the way rocks and fish and trees are natural.  Instead, man is basically a machine, and the conglomeration of individual machines called “people” is one big factory called “society.”  Though he was no philosopher, the prophet of this worldview was Frederick Winslow Taylor — The Principles of Scientific Management (1911) optimizes human performance in the factory, in just the same way one optimizes the performance of the factory itself.  Apply this theory to politics, and you’ve got “Progressivism” (Gilded Age version):  Change the inputs of the little machines — i.e. people– with laws and (especially) education, and the vast machine that is society will output utopia.

The downside of this is obvious — people aren’t machines, and “Modern” art expresses deep unease at the thought.  In fact, this “people are machines” attitude is so stressful that the whole discipline of psychology came into being, in large part, to treat it.  This is the third way of dealing with the emotional shock of Darwinism: Embracing it.  Man is just an animal, said Sigmund Freud, but a highly specialized one, and just as taking a specialized animal out of its environment stresses it to (or past) the breaking point, urban industrial life is so unnatural to the human animal that our natural equilibrium is warped, producing all kinds of weird behavior.  The clearest exposition of this view actually dates from the 1960s, in the work of Desmond Morris — The Naked Ape (1967) and The Human Zoo (1969).  Freud was going out of fashion by then, but Morris’s work reads like something that scandalized the Left Bank in 1919.

Most people, being sensible, thought these theories were nonsense.  But then World War I happened.

worldwar1somme-tlThe slaughter in the trenches seemed to confirm everything that Marx, Freud, and Taylor were saying.  People are machines, mechanically going over the top to get butchered in their millions.  But they’re also not, in that the stresses of industrial warfare produce shell shock, an extreme distortion of the neuroses of industrial urban life.  And, as Lenin said, all this horror was born of a few plutocrats’ desire to make ever-more-obscene profits. It’s hard to be flip about the horrors of the Somme, but it’s even harder not to, so…. if you want a conception of mankind, post-1914, I give you Darth Vader:

He's more machine than man now, twisted and evil.

He’s more machine than man now, twisted and evil.

None of the older accounts of man could hold up in the trenches.  No God would allow this, so there is no God.  Any idea that humans are intrinsically noble can be seen rotting with the corpses in no man’s land.  Marching into the muzzles of machine guns isn’t heroic, it’s stupid, and honor is a joke.  There is no beauty, no justice, no art, no love… there is only Industry, and the war will stop when one side or the other runs out of men to throw into the assembly-line slaughter.

Part II soon.






* “He smelled like feet and looked like he had not slept in a week. I think his companion was a hooker, but maybe he just has a thing for skanks.”  Classic.  Didn’t Ann Coulter date him at one point?

** For sociological purposes only, I hasten to add.  I’ve been out of the dating game a long time, and these days I’d have an easier time swimming the English Channel than “picking up” a Millennial chick.  That whole generation might as well be Martians.