Author Archives: Severian

Roman Law

The ancient world took it for granted that different peoples organized themselves in the ways that were best for them.  Guys like Herodotus might’ve admired the Egyptians, by and large, but he’d never suggest that Egyptian society had anything to teach the Greeks.  Or vice versa, which is why Greeks could actually rule Egypt for centuries without being “Egyptianized” for any but the grossest propaganda purposes.  Even the one pharaonic custom they did adopt, royal incest, was largely to keep the dynasty Greek.

Ruling the different peoples according to their customs was the cornerstone of Roman imperial law, too, which is why the pax romana was so successful for so long.  The Jews are a good example.  The Romans ruled them through client kings for as long as it was politically feasible.  Pontius Pilate wasn’t being cowardly when he washed his hands of Jesus; he was playing imperial politics.  He clearly had the power to execute Jesus on his own authority, but doing so would’ve put him at odds with traditional imperial legal practice.

Indeed, the Christians screwed up Roman imperial jurisprudence in two major ways.  The first was their refusal to sacrifice to the Cult of the Divine Augustus.  That alone probably wouldn’t have been so bad — it could’ve been worked out, or quietly dropped, by governors on the spot — if it weren’t for the second thing: Their refusal to be subject to the laws of their ethnic group.

The Romans didn’t care if you were an Isis-worshiping Gaul, any more than they’d care if you were an Egyptian who worshiped Cernunnos.  They’d try the Gaul as a Gaul, and the Egyptian as an Egyptian.  And, of course, they’d try a Roman as a Roman, which is the only reason Paul lived long enough to write all those epistles — though ethnically a Jew, he was a Roman citizen, entitled to a hearing in front of a Roman magistrate (in this case, Seneca’s brother).  But as a Christian, Paul emphatically renounced his Roman citizenship, which threw their entire system of justice out of whack.  To them, “renouncing” your Roman citizenship would be like an African “renouncing” his black skin — impossible, bizarre, unthinkable.

The important thing to realize is that the Roman system, for all its flaws, worked in practice.  It took a revolution in human relations to undermine it.  There is, in short, nothing special about our current belief in universal legal principles.  In fact, it’s just that — a belief, subject to modification at any time, for any reason.  “Judging each man by his group’s standards” is one of only two ways to achieve lasting piece in a multi-ethnic society.  You know what the other one is….

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Churchianity in Our Thing

Back in the days, I’m told, those who studied the “Dark Ages” wondered just how “Christian” Europe really was.  There was no “unity of theory and practice,” as the Marxists would put it, because there couldn’t have been.  Scholastic Theology was weird and wonderful, but so heavy that even the scholarly elite struggled with it.  The peasantry, of course, were ragged illiterates on the edge of survival.  In a world where everyone knows someone who knows someone who starved to death, you just do what the priest tells you.

There was a similar debate about “individuality” in the Dark Ages, I hear.  There was lots of art in the Middle Ages, but no artists.  (Seriously, here’s a list.  A mere handful of names, most very late, all pretty much indistinguishable from each other in terms of style).  Ditto the rulers.  We know their names, but — a few florid psychotics aside — they’re pretty much indistinguishable by their acts.

Part of this is the blurring effect of time and distance, no doubt — 1,000 years from now, the Chinese robot historians digging through the rubble will have a hard time distinguishing Eisenhower from Obama — but the fact remains that for all we can tell, you could drop the average peasant from 850 AD into his home village in 1350 AD and he’d be done the wiser… if there was even a “he” in the first place.

These debates (if they happened) were interrelated.  The most striking fact about the Middle Ages from a modern perspective is their love of lists, categories, forms.  This is partly practical — Church art all looks the same because it has to communicate a consistent message to the aforesaid illiterate peasantry — but lots of it isn’t.  They were simply obsessed with forms, with outward order, to the point that even the few true individuals were hard to tell apart — William of Ockham and Thomas Aquinas were as different as two thinkers could possibly be, but unless you’re a subject matter expert, their writings look identical.

“Individuality,” on the other hand, comes from inward experience.  What, if anything, did the medieval peasant believe when he went to Mass?  Impossible to say, but one of the reasons that’s so is because the form of his “piety” was so all-encompassing.  Some years back, a Jew wrote a funny book about trying to live his life by the letter of the Mosaic law.  One could do the same thing with medieval Catholicism.  Take a gander at the liturgical year — hardly a day goes by without a feast, a commemoration, a celebration.  Do all of that, and you’ll hardly have time for anything else.  They were so focused on the outward show, at least in part, because there was so much showing to do.

When the Reformation shitcanned all that, piety turned inward.  There are zillions of sources for what the Reformed believed (or, at least, said they believed), because the Reformation was a middle-class pursuit and the middle classes were literate… and, crucially, had the free time to be literate.  I’m guessing here, but since people are people and always have been, I’m pretty sure that your medieval peasant loved the show of his religion, because it gave him a little much-needed time off from his hourly grind of back-breaking, ragged-edge-of-survival physical labor.

Your middle-class incipient Calvinist, on the other hand, was bored to tears with stuff like “creeping to the cross” — all those billable hours lost (surely no one is surprised that Calvin, Knox, et al were all lawyers or merchants).  In their vanity, they insisted it wasn’t enough to seem pious; you actually had to be pious, which meant putting the time you would’ve spent doing public penance into contemplating the state of your soul.  Check out The New England Mind — once you fight through prose, you’ll see that the vaunted Puritan piety was little more than Special Snowflakism with a New Testament twist.  They’re “individuals,” all right, but only because they’re as obsessed as Tumblrinas with their very own pwecious widdle selves.

The point of this isn’t just to bash Puritans, fun as that is (and as richly as they deserve it).  The point is that, as Current Year America is a thoroughly Puritan nation, we have to realize just how historically contingent Puritanism really is in order to beat them.

Puritans desperately wanted to be individuals in a world that couldn’t support very many individuals.  You need a lot of free time to be a Puritan, and in the 16th century free time was almost inconceivably expensive.  Whatever else it was, Puritanism was gross conspicuous consumption — Puritans announced to the world that they alone had the free time to indulge in expensive educations, books, Bible study, and the endless hours worrying about whether or not it’s Biblically justified to paint the altar.  In a world where most everyone still knows someone who knows someone who starved to death, that’s one hell of a statement.

In the modern world, by contrast, nothing is cheaper than free time, and we’re terrified of individuality.  Spend five minutes among Social Justice Warriors.  If you manage to hang on to your sanity, you’ll see that they’re frightened above all of stepping out of the herd… and because they are, since they control the culture, the worst thing a young person can be these days is original.  They’d rather do anything than think.

This is exploitable.  Churchians could be our staunchest allies, if we could turn their piety away from save-the-worldism (hereafter “dinduism” or “negrolatry”) and towards social benefit.  I’m pretty sure Jesus said some stuff about getting your own backyard in order before going out to clean up the rest of the world.  Pitch it as anti-poverty, anti-addiction, anti-whatever-it-is that doesn’t involve sending money to distant places to “help” brown people.  Focus on the here-and-now.

Puritanism makes you think, but our neo-Puritans desperately want to avoid thinking.  They currently do this by sending some money to Save-the-Africans, then boasting about it on social media.  Make them do the modern equivalent of “creeping to the cross” — you can still post on social media, but it has to be selfies of you helping a guy, yourself, personally, down at the Homeless Shelter on 24th Street.  Let the inner-city churches worry about what’s happening in the inner cities, and African churches about Africa.  You worry about your community — I guarantee you there’s something wrong that a good dose of Jesus can fix.  You just have to go out there and do it, you yourself, personally… and if a White guy gets off fentanyl, and that opens your eyes to what’s going on around you, well, that’s a feature not a bug.

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Africa: The Video Game

Today’s more-than-typically excellent Z Man column says Our Thing is going to go nowhere until we start convincing Normals that the old assumptions are wrong.  People aren’t all the same, they sure as hell aren’t infinitely malleable, and there’s no one ideal form of human organization.  The question then becomes, how do we convince Normals of this?  Here’s my stab at an answer:

Africa has always been “problematic,” as the kids say, for save-the-worlders.  The place seems impervious to modernity, and has been since “modernity” was “three malarial Portuguese dudes in a rickety sailboat.”  Even so cucky a cuck as Jonah Goldberg once wrote a column — sorry bud, the Internet’s forever — arguing in effect that because Africans are so congenitally hopeless, we should re-colonize the place for their own good (i.e. before the Chinese, who use King Leopold’s Ghost as a how-to manual, beat us to it).  Faced with the utterly inexplicable primitive weirdness one sees every day on the Dark Continent, Old Africa Hands simply shrug and say: “Africa wins again.”

This is why, of course, the “race is just a social construction” crowd never venture much past 1800 when instructing us that, as one of the most hilarious of recent tomes puts it, “race does not exist, and the very factors that we think of as determining it a person’s heritage or skin color are mere pretexts for the brutalization of powerless people by the powerful.”  The authoress — who is, natch, as dusky-hued as Elizabeth Warren — is the recipient of such prestigious scientific awards as the “Taft Prize in Labor History” and the “Spruill Prize in Southern Women’s History.”  If those don’t qualify one to unravel the mysteries of the human genome, I ask you, what would?

And furthermore: See what I mean when I say I’m the only guy I know who really believes in evolution?  I’m quite comfortable with the idea that Somalians became Swedes over the course of 500,000 years or so, because evolution is so obviously copious, local, and recent.  The race-is-just-a-social-construction crowd, on the other hand, would have a hell of a time explaining just what part of “society” turns your skin pale, your eyes blue, and your intestines lactose-intolerant… which is why they never bother trying.  Ditto with inherited behavioral traits — if those are “social constructions,” too, then “society” must’ve turned wolves into dogs somehow… but hey, what do I know?  I never even made it past the quarterfinals for the “Brown Publication Prize in Black Women’s History.”

Anyway, all that is just logic, which as we know won’t do squat to convince the ideologically inconvincible.  We’ll have to go at it another way.*

Since this is the Internet, I assume you all have played some variant of the classic strategy game Civilization.  Let’s suppose a version of that game set in 1,000,000 BC.  You win by achieving world domination, via culture, technology, or the space race.  You load it up, and the computer assigns you to Sub-Saharan Africa.  What do you do?

If you’re scientifically literate a so-called “race realist,” of course, you just reboot the damn thing, because you know you’re screwed.  But let’s stipulate that you’re a cuck.  Let’s further stipulate that you’re in God mode, so you can do whatever you want to the physical environment.  You can re-route rivers, alter coastlines, cut down malarial jungles, assign yourself natural resources, whatever.  You can, in short, re-create Sweden down to the individual salted herring, so long as you retain the original human genetic group.  Now what do you do?

The answer, of course, is the one Goldberg suggested in that long-ago column, the one he’ll be forced to read from at his show trial early in the Warren administration: Impose Sweden on it by force.  If “race” really is meaningless — if the only reason Somalis aren’t Swedes is because Somalis act like Somalis, not Swedes — then the only way to prevent your computer civilization from becoming Somalia is to force them to act like Swedes.  Which is, after all, the fundamental premise of games like Civilization — whether you’re Queen Victoria or Mohandas Gandhi, Isabella or Montezuma, Peter the Great or Shaka Zulu, the different outcomes are solely dependent on the efficient use of culture.

To really drive the point home, let’s stipulate a mod of Civilization called White Man’s Burden or something, set during the Scramble for Africa.  Your goal isn’t world domination this time; instead, you’ve got to get your African civilization ready to achieve independence as a functioning member of the modern society of nations.  Again, you’re in God mode, so you can do whatever you want to the physical environment.  You can edit your cities, too, so that you can give, say, Kinshasa a modern seaport and an industrial base.  What do you do?

To ask is to answer, and hopefully by now even the Normals are starting to get it.  Even if we grant the ludicrous premise that “Race is just a social construction,” any attempts to solve the problems “racism” left behind involve the kind of cultural hegemony even a guy like Macaulay never dreamed of.  If it’s NOT a social construction, though, the answer is….?

 

 

 

*And yeah, I’m aware of the emerging consensus of multiple parallel human evolutions, as opposed to the “we all migrated out of Africa” hypothesis.  But since that’s infinitely worse for the “race is just a social construction” crowd — implying, as it must, that Blacks are an entirely different species — we’ll just leave it be.
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Overturning Locke: Liberty

Last time, we looked at the first of Locke’s three desiderata of consensual government: The preservation of the people’s lives.  Next is liberty.

This is the hardest part to get across to students, because we Americans still love the word “liberty” — and, crucially, we think we know what it means.  But we don’t.  Try it sometime.  Ask your friends and acquaintances what “liberty” means.  I asked thousands of college kids in my career, and the answer always came back the same: “Doing your own thing,” variously elaborated.

That’s not liberty, it’s license, but as I pointed out in that piece, even to “educated” people, “license” is a laminated plastic thing you use to buy beer.  Even if they did know the definition, it’d be meaningless to them.  A century of Progressive “education” has produced a binary mental world in which, somehow, both terms are empty.  If you don’t believe me about the “liberty” thing, try that — ask your Left-leaning friends and neighbors to describe this “fascism” that they’re against.  Let’s say we give Donald Trump unlimited dictatorial power.  What’s the first thing he’d do with it?  The second?  The third?

They don’t know.  They have never known.  The main reason they’re so shrill in shrieking “Orange Man Bad!” is that the fervor of their hatred is the only thing keeping them from that realization.  See what I mean?  It’s a testimony to the genius of our indoctrinators that “wow just wow I can’t even” is accepted as a cogent, even devastating, political argument, but here we are.  They are against “fascism,” but don’t know what it is, even in the gassy incoherent sense they themselves use it.  But as they’re equally incapable of defining what “social justice” could possibly be, the only thing they’re for, when it comes right down to it, is….

….the world exactly as it is right now.

That sounds wrong, I know.  But see “liberty,” above.  Ask any Leftist: What specific thing do you want to do that you can’t do, right here and now?

Hold their feet to the fire — “yes yes, it’s just awful that gentle giants like Michael Brown can’t rob a liquor store and grab a cop’s gun without getting  shot, but what is it that you, personally, can’t do in the fascist hell of Donald Trump’s America, that you’ll be able to do in the socialist paradise of Elizabeth Warren’s?”  They’ll no doubt try some dodge like “Wake up in a world where we aren’t doomed to extinction by climate change,” but the rebuttal to that should be obvious: As we have it from zillions of unimpeachable authorities, from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Greta Thunberg on down, that at this point we’re screwed no matter what we do, the answer, once again, is “Nothing.”

Ditto “abortions for trans-women” and the whole dog’s breakfast of liberal fantasias.  You may not be able to afford such things, but “inability to pay for X” doesn’t mean you don’t have the freedom to do X.  You’d like an addadicktomy; I’d like a new high-end BMW; nobody’s going to say I’m not free to buy one if I hit the lottery, right?  So once again, the answer is: Nothing.  There’s nothing you can’t do right now, that you’ll be able to do once Orange Man Bad is in jail.  Unless you’re really going to put it all on the line for incest or cannibalism or something, our society right now — the pluperfect fascist hell that is Orange Man’s America — is a land of almost perfect license…

…. which, see above, y’all equate with liberty.  QED.

Locke, of course, meant something much different.  For Locke, “liberty” meant something like “freedom of conscience.”  Locke’s world, you’ll recall, was that of the English Civil War and its aftermath.  Locke was born just as the crisis was heating up.  His father was an officer in Parliament’s army; he was no doubt deeply affected by the war.  In a very real sense, the war was about nothing but “freedom of conscience,” which the victors cherished to such a degree that they executed their king to preserve it.  And this in a realm that was unbelievably “free” by our standards — 17th century infrastructure being what it was, a man could easily pass his whole life without ever laying eyes on an agent of the State.  They had very little license, did Locke’s countrymen — again, the last witch was burnt just 20 years before he was born — but they’d hazard their lives for freedom.

If Our Thing ever wants to get out of the blog comments ghetto, we’ve got to find a way to restore a notion of liberty that means, if not “freedom of conscience,” then at least “freedom to take the consequences of our actions.”  We Current Year Americans actually cherish our license, I say, because we’re free from the repercussions.  You were quite free to be an unwed mother in Locke’s day, too, but very few did it, because a society that cherished actual freedom wouldn’t enable the State to subsidize such behavior.  The State exists to promote liberty, not license.

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If the UFO Actually Comes, Part II

Yesterday we looked at what happens when a cult becomes a movement.  I said there are two fundamental, structural problems that arise.  The first is that the leadership’s goals start diverging from, and eventually run counter to, the cult’s dogma.  That’s where the eco-scam finds itself these days.  It doesn’t bother the Green True Believers that their leadership flies around in private jets — see yesterday’s discussion of disconfirmation — but it does put a damper on recruiting.  We’re a stupid, spoiled, star-struck generation, but even we expect our leaders to walk the walk for a mile or two every now and again.

The second problem, though, is: What to do with the True Believers?

Let’s return to the metaphor of the gym fitness club.  As we noted yesterday, the real money isn’t in the hardcore people who actually do the exercising.  It’s in all the lardasses who sign up, and keep paying the membership fee, but never actually go.  This leads to the perverse-seeming conclusion that the best gym, from the gym-owner’s perspective, is one that stands empty — gleaming, never-used equipment that just sits there, one mute inglorious depreciation tax writeoff, un-maintained by no paid staff.  See what I mean?  The whole point of owning a gym — the cult dogma, as it were — is to get people in shape, but the optimal gym from the cult leader’s perspective is a group of perpetual fatasses, buying themselves workout indulgences at $75 a month.

I trust that the analogues in the eco-scam are obvious, so let’s move on.  Even the most optimal-for-the-owner gym, though, is going to have a few True Believers who are in there day after day, grinding out sets and jogging on treadmills and doing whatever those CrossFit freaks do.*  If you let them, they’ll take over everything.  Ever been in a gym and seen a piece of equipment designed to isolate one muscle that you’d never think could be worked out in the first place?  Congrats, your gym’s got a True Believer.  Just stake out the Urethra-cizer for a few hours; you’ll see her; she’s unmistakable.  She’s pushing 50 but has the body of a 20-year old, except made out of beef jerky…

…anyway, the point is, savvy gym owners know how to handle True Believers.  You don’t buy ’em off with new equipment; you buy ’em off with new exercises.  P90X is for pussies.  Do Ultra-Kegels, and in just 60 days you’ll be able to lift an entire can of paint with your….

…ok, fully back on track now, I promise.  The point is, any cult that wants to become a movement has to figure out a way to channel the True Believers, so they don’t damage the organization.  The Catholic Church (to return to another of yesterday’s metaphors) is just aces at this.**  That goddamn Marxist who calls himself the Pope is happy to let the True Believers kill themselves trying to minister to the homeless in the inner city; it doesn’t cost him anything, and he’s got the institutional authority to slap them down if they get uppity.  Allowing the True Believers to isolate themselves as a self-proclaimed elite, with the power to forgive sins, works great….

…until it doesn’t.  E.g. the Unpleasantness of 1517 et seq.  At that point, the “almost entirely empty gym” problem became too obvious for even the dullest of the laity to bear.  The leadership’s goals were too obviously at odds with the movement’s putative function.  The peasants wouldn’t have revolted on their own — or if they did, it’d be a Bundschuh, quickly quashed — but the True Believers would, and did.

That probably seems badly wrong, considering how much time we spent yesterday establishing that for the True Believer, group membership is all.  But we’re talking about the Reformation, not the “Christianity is the Pits, Let’s Give Hinduism a Shot.” Martin Luther and the boys didn’t leave the cult — they kicked out the cult’s leadership, which is an entirely different story, and entirely consistent with True Believer psychology.

Both Martin Luther and Pope Leo X agreed that the Bible was true, infallible… and closed.  Unlike the Seekers of When Prophecy Fails, neither Leo nor Luther could resort to a new revelation to explain the previous revelation’s failure.  They both had to work off the same text, and the text (by and large) supported Luther.  Kicking out the cult’s leadership, then, was viewed as being truer to the original revelation — the linchpin of True Believer psychology.

So you end up NOT with a new church, but with the old church, the oldest church — the one closest to the Scriptures, the one God was really talking about when He said all that stuff about “when two or three gather together in my name.”  In other words, you get a purity spiral — cf. the Period of the Wars of Religion.

That’s where the American Left is right now, but with a twist.

Old-school Commies were consummate players of the long game.  They knew they’d have to completely undermine bourgeois society before they could carry off The Revolution, so they did.  Antonio Gramsci laid it all out theoretically, if you feel like slogging through that gunk, but the Commies had been doing it in practice for decades before that.  Starting with the educational “reformers” surrounding John Dewey at the turn of the 20th century, they took over our grade schools.  Then they took over the universities, working their way up from the community colleges (often Commie fronts from the get-go; there’s a reason the number of jucos nationwide went from 20  to 170 in just ten years, from 1909 to 1919).

Once they were in, they of course credentialized everything, such that the cultural-transmission professions — journalism, education, even art and music — suddenly required college training… and all the trainers were Reds.  Ever wonder why you seemingly have to have a fucking Master’s Degree to get your lit-wank novel published?  Seriously: read the author bio of any of the flavor-of-the-minute wunderkinder that get their painfully quirky dreck blurbed in the New York Times Review of Books — every blessed one of them has some kind of advanced degree in “creative writing.”  All those graduate-level “creative writing” programs aren’t just make-work for otherwise unemployable Eng-Lit PhDs, in other words.  They’re what the Union of Soviet Writers was in the USSR: The guarantors of politically-reliable content.

That’s the setup.  Ready for the twist?

They won, but they don’t know it.  Not only was the Revolution televised, it’s still being televised, 24 hours a day, on 587+ satellite cable channels and umpteen digital streaming services.  Eugene V. Debs’s wettest wet dream couldn’t compare to Current Year America.  The SJWs are like the Seekers, out there desperately trying to prepare the world for the UFOs… but the UFO already landed in their backyard, and they were too busy trying to save the world to see it.

That’s why widespread political violence is inevitable, and damn soon.  Nancy Pelosi may be the nastiest evil old bitch to ever slime through the halls of Congress, but she’s not stupid.  She’s just in an impossible situation.  She’s the leader of an organization that didn’t manage its True Believers, and now she’s fucked either way.  If they go ahead and try to impeach Trump, the organization blows itself up at the polls.  But if they don’t impeach Trump, the True Believers are going to blow it up from the inside.

That’s what the old-school Commies didn’t see coming.  Those poor deluded fools really thought that “intellectual” was an adjective.  The Russian word for the noun version is intelligentsia, and they gave the Soviet Union no end of trouble — Stalin had to send boxcars of them to Siberia fairly regularly to keep them in line.  In the West, though, they really thought that you can have an “intellectual” steelworker, or dockhand, or farmer, and the like.  They were counting on it, in fact — see “community colleges were all Red fronts,” above.

Instead, “intellectual” is the True Believer’s self-chosen job description.  You can meet some fearsomely learned people in your day-to-day, but the only people you’ll ever meet who use the word “intellectual” without sneering are Media types and their panty-sniffers in the ivory tower.  They’re extremely useful idiots, which is why none of Palsy Pelosi’s predecessors sent them to Siberia like they should’ve.  And now it’s too late.

If the impeachment nonsense is too high-drama for you, let’s close with an example much closer to home: That poor bastard in Iowa with the beer fund.  That’s an Ace of Spades link, so it’s safe if you want to read up.  The tl;dr is that this kid held up a joke sign at a college football game, asking people to send him beer money vai online payment.  People thought it was funny, so not only did they throw him some shekels, but they started talking it up on social media.  The kid raised umpteen thousand dollars, which he then pledged to donate in its entirety to a children’s hospital.  Both Anheuser-Busch and Venmo, the two corporations name-checked in the kid’s sign, offered to match the donation, meaning that the children’s hospital would get a several million dollars….

…until, that is, some SJW journalist at the Des Moines Register got a hold of the story.  Because “SJW journalist” is redundant, of course, the reporter started digging into the kid’s social media accounts.  Turns out that when the kid was 16, he re-posted some off-color jokes from a tv comedian, and now Anheuser-Busch is pulling its million-dollar donation.  To a children’s hospital.  And the best part?  The douchebag SJW reporter (twice redundant, I know) got his own social media “investigated” by the citizenry, and of course it contains similar stuff, not copied from a tv comedian, but in his own words.

See what I mean?  This is the True Believer; he can’t help himself.  Lots of people on the Internet want to believe that this reporter, and his editors, decided to ruin the kid for clicks.  They didn’t.  They ruined him because, quite simply, he was there — at a football game, drinking beer, acting like you sincerely hope a decent human being would when blessed with a sudden windfall.  SJWs hate all those things, and therefore, the kid had to be destroyed.  They can do no other….

….and they’re all over Congress.  Pelosi can keep the wolves from the door for a few weeks longer, maybe, but eventually she’ll have to commit one way or the other.  Short of starting a war — and God help us, I absolutely would not put that past them — she has no choice.  And then they’ll do to her what they did to that poor kid in Iowa, and then the shooting starts.

 

 

 

 

*Obviously I can’t write about gyms and cults without taking a cheap shot at CrossFit.  They’re probably chock full of lessons on how to business-optimize your cult without letting it go mainstream, but I’m too terrified to look.  Honest to God, there are some days where the only exercise I get is dodging and weaving away from the CrossFit cultists at the office.
**And once again, per yesterday, before anyone gets their undies in a bunch: I’m Catholic.  Or, technically, I’m a Schismatic, as I simply can’t accept Bergoglio on the Throne of St. Peter.  However he got there, Jesus had nothing to do with it.
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What Happens if the UFO Actually Comes?

When Prophecy Fails is essential reading in Our Thing, because it nails a crucial part of Leftist psychology.  Briefly: A cult claimed that a flood would destroy the Earth on December 21, 1954.  Only the faithful would be saved, because they’d be evacuated by a flying saucer.  12/21/54 passed without incident, of course, but what you’d expect to happen to the cult, didn’t — instead of everyone dropping out and moving on with their lives, most stayed, and their commitment to the cult’s leader actually increased.

Why?  From the Wiki summary, believers will persist in the face of overwhelming disconfirmation if:

  • A belief must be held with deep conviction and it must have some relevance to action, that is, to what the believer does or how he or she behaves.
  • The person holding the belief must have committed himself to it; that is, for the sake of his belief, he must have taken some important action that is difficult to undo. In general, the more important such actions are, and the more difficult they are to undo, the greater is the individual’s commitment to the belief.
  • The belief must be sufficiently specific and sufficiently concerned with the real world so that events may unequivocally refute the belief.
  • Such undeniable disconfirmatory evidence must occur and must be recognized by the individual holding the belief.
  • The individual believer must have social support. It is unlikely that one isolated believer could withstand the kind of disconfirming evidence that has been specified. If, however, the believer is a member of a group of convinced persons who can support one another, the belief may be maintained and the believers may attempt to proselytize or persuade nonmembers that the belief is correct.

This is Leftism in a nutshell, and it explains why SJWs are impervious to factual, rational argument.  Boiled down as far as it will go: Group identity is so important to the Leftist that, faced with the choice between continued group membership and the evidence of xzhyr own lying eyes, xzhey will pick group membership, every time.  This sets up its own feedback mechanism, such that disconfirmations of their dogmas actually increase their commitment — only the truest, holiest believers would keep believing in the face of the facts.

There are a million examples, but since climate hysteria is briefly back in the news let’s go with that.  That Greta Thunberg freak might not know it — she is, after all, a product of modern “education” — but anyone old enough to remember the early 2000s has heard her spiel before.  Al Gore kept telling us that the world would end by 2012 or something; he made a movie about it and everything.  Hell, several generations of Americans have heard this nonsense before, going all the way back to the original Earth Day in 1970.

Of course, back then it was global cooling that was going to kill us all, and do you see what I mean about True Believers?  The very same people who were convinced that we were all gonna die in a new Ice Age in 1970 were certain we’d die of melted polar ice caps in 2006, just as they’re now positive we’re going to get killed by…. whatever it is Thunberg is hectoring the UN about.  Normal folks’ skulls would’ve exploded from cognitive dissonance, but the eco-freaks don’t suffer from cognitive dissonance.  Because, for them, it never rises to the level of cognition in the first place.  If “pulling a U-turn on your deepest convictions” is what it takes to stay in the group, well, start peeling rubber.  The cult’s leadership will come up with a retcon in due time.

Two interesting effects flow from this.  The first is the growing disconnect between the cult’s leadership and the True Believers.  A cult with a big enough membership roster stops being a cult and becomes a movement.  Movements beget organizations, which by universal law attract grifters, with predictable-as-sunrise consequences.  E.g. Christianity.  Back in the mid-first century, Christians were sure that Christ would return in their lifetimes — after all, He said so Himself.  His comeback tour kept getting postponed, though, and these days you can be the leader of a major Christian denomination without ever bothering with that “Jesus” guy, much less any of the stuff He said.*

This is why “global cooling” became “global warming,” which is now “global climate change.”  We cognitively-normal folks assume that the eco-freaks keep changing the name to avoid cognitive dissonance.  After all, the climate “changes” every day — we call it “weather,” but if you’re looking for evidence that your crackpot eco-doom theories are correct, well, just look at how much the temperature varies from noon to midnight!!  But see above: Cognitive dissonance is actually a boon to the eco-freaks, because in cult psychology, disconfirmations prove that you were right all along.  The eco-freaks would still trot goofy Greta Thunberg out there no matter what it’s called, and she, poor deluded little sod, would keep on doing her thing, because she’s in the cult.  So: They, the eco-freaks, didn’t come up with “climate change;” the grifters in charge of Climate Shakedown Inc. did.

It’s a crucial distinction.  As any good cult leader knows, the real money in running a cult doesn’t come from the cultists themselves.  It comes from the hangers-on who buy your products and vote for you.  Think of it like the gym.  Notice how all the gyms these days are called “fitness clubs?”  It’s a brilliant marketing move, straight out of the UFO cult playbook.  Gyms fitness clubs don’t make their money off the small hard core of people who work out every day.  Rather, it’s the people who sign up — who join the club — but never actually go.

Here’s how you talk yourself into a gym fitness club membership: “I need to get in shape.  So I’ll buy a club membership.  That way, I can go whenever I want.”  In Festinger’s taxonomy (the bullet points above), you’re at step 2: You’ve taken a significant action in line with your belief.  Gyms fitness clubs add a further refinement of late-20th century marketing, in that they offer you a yuuuuge “discount” off the outrageously-high signup fee, but the underlying psychological process is the same.

And now you’re set up for the disconfirmations — that is, all those times you think about going to the gym, but don’t actually go.  Objectively you’re wasting your money, but psychologically you’re committed to the idea of yourself as someone who does “fitness” — you’re in a fitness club, after all!**  And since everyone you know is doing the same thing — fully 75% of conversations one overhears at Starbucks are soccer moms griping about how they need to work out, but just can’t find the time — you’re in, all the way, bullets 3-5.

The “climate change” scam works the same way.  When she’s on the campaign trail pimping the “Green New Deal,” Fauxcahontas Warren knows she doesn’t have to pitch it to the eco-freaks; they’d vote for her no matter what.  She has to pitch it to the normies, fitness club-style.  That’s where the “climate change” nomenclature really pays off.  It’s shockingly easy to get people convinced of a lunatic belief.  All you have to do is a) get ’em early, and b) overload them with “evidence.”  You know the drill:  These days, we’re lectured practically from birth that we must Do Something! for The Environment!… and the “evidence” for this, of course, is the ceaseless, dramatic variation in daily temperature the un-indoctrinated call “weather,” plus all the other dramatic variations in climate that didn’t happen. So long as you pitch it with complete self-righteousness, people with the critical thinking skills of five year olds will fall in line every time.

Then all you have to do is get people to take action… which the government, in all its wonderful helpfulness, has already done: Low-flow toilets, those stupid twisty “light” bulbs, toilet paper that either shreds on contact with skin or sandpapers your asshole off, plastic straw bans, mandatory recycling, you name it.  And I’m sure y’all realize by now that the fact that none of this stuff actually works is a feature, not a bug. since it’s the disconfirmations that get you.  That’s the pitch to the normies — you obviously care about “the environment,” in the same way you care about “fitness.”  Just as the “fitness club” owners will happily keep cashing your checks while you remain a diabetic lardass, so Fauxcahontas will keep cashing your checks while the weather stubbornly remains the weather….

 

Part II coming soon.

 

 

 

*Before anyone gets their panties in a wad: I’m a Christian myself.  But a doctrine’s truth has nothing to do with the organization that propagates it.  Jesus’s cultists went through the very same psychological processes as Festinger’s UFO cultists.  That Jesus was right, and “Marian Keech” was wrong, is incidental.
**See the work of Robert Cialdini for oh so much more — there’s a reason Influence is the only book most PUA knuckleheads have ever bought.

 

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Organizational Behaviour in the Human Male

As usual when I’ve got nothin’, I turn to the work of brighter thinkers and better writers.  Hence, the Z Man’s thoughts on the “free market” in NFL coaches, as exemplified by Bill Belichick.  He asks a very reasonable question: Given that the NFL is an all-but-libertarian free market, why aren’t there more Belichicks?

Belichick isn’t some kind of super-genius.  Nor does he have some unique insight into the game.  He’ll never write a book on “The Bill Belichick System,” because unlike every other celebrity coach, he doesn’t have a “system.”  He simply does what he needs to do to win, one game at a time, with the pieces he has.  That’s just leadership, in the traditional sense of the term, but so few people in our modern Media-driven culture have seen it that it totally fries our circuits.  Surely he must have some double-secret grimoire of football excellence that he consults on the sidelines…?

Nope.  Belichick’s secret is what he doesn’t have: A huge ego, a “system,” the my-way-or-the-highway mentality that infects nearly everyone given the tiniest smidgen of real power.  An example: He once countered (and, of course, defeated) a ferocious defense on crappy field conditions by lining up a sixth offensive lineman as a tight end.  Perfectly legal, but nobody else would’ve ever dreamed of doing it.

The Patriots are famous for using their (perennially excellent) tight ends more than any other team in the league, so naturally the opponent spent all week scheming to take away the TE.  When Belichick kept his tight ends off the field, the opponent had no idea what to do; their quick cover linebackers got plastered by the extra linemen, and the Patriots’ running backs ran wild.

The lesson from this is twofold:  First, that he would think to do it in the first place.  Again, it’s perfectly legal.  Teams do it all the time, actually, except they do it in goal line situations — instead of cramming the ball up the middle, they send a soft-handed lineman over into the corner of the end zone.  He’s too big for anyone back there to cover, so if the QB can get it to him it’s an easy score.  All Belichick did was run the same personnel out in the middle of the field.  Simple, but football is the most conservative sport in existence — nobody does anything that hasn’t been done a million times before.

The second takeaway is that Belichick had enough control to pull it off.  Nobody likes getting his playing time reduced, and tight ends in the modern game are highly-paid gentlemen accustomed to frequent success.  Even if they wanted to, most coaches would’t be able to take their glory boys off the field for an extended period — the players would riot, the Media would crucify him, and the fans would go nuts.  Belichick’s guys bought in enough to follow the gameplan without complaint.  He gave them the credit when the team won, but he would’ve taken the heat if they’d lost.  Again, that’s not some special football coaching technique; it’s just leadership.

Which answers the question of why there are so few Bill Belichicks around, I guess.  Born leaders are rare; made leaders are even rarer.*  But it doesn’t answer the Z Man’s larger question, which is: Why aren’t there more bright, ambitious young men going into coaching?

I say the answer is: Institutional incentives.  I’m not a football coach, but I was an academic — there’s a surprising amount of overlap in their institutional structures.  Let me explain:  In both cases, working conditions for everyone except those at the very tippy-top are brutal.  We’d all willingly endure them, I think, for the kind of money and bennies big league coaches / tenured professors get, but below that tiny handful of folks everyone works even worse hours for far less compensation.  Even coaches at dinky little high schools in the middle of Flyover Country spend countless hours breaking down film — he might only have fifteen kids on the team, but he’s expected to win with those fifteen kids, damn it, and win now.

Consider, then, what type of person would willingly sign up for such a life.  Leave aside the question of whether or not what academics do has any intrinsic value.**  The fact remains that simply writing one’s dissertation takes, at minimum, a year or two of grinding toil.  I’m the laziest sumbitch in captivity, and nobody’s better than me at gaming the system (especially a droolingly stupid system like academia), but even I pulled more 80+ hour weeks in grad school than I care to remember.  It’s simple economics: You’ve got X dollars in grant money to hit the archives.  Archives are always located in expensive cities in distant states, if not on different continents.  Your X dollars run out pretty goddamn fast in a place like London, even when you’re staying at the cheapest hostel, living on ramen noodles and water, walking everywhere.  Given that, you work, for as long as they’ll let you in the building, for as long as your eyesight holds.

And all that is to complete the bare minimum requirement for the possibility — by no means anywhere near the certainty — of securing an entry-level job.  I’d ask “Who in his right mind would ever do that?”, but the answer is obvious: Nobody in his right mind would.  You have to either really, really want to be an academic (coach), or have absolutely no other choice.  Most academics, of course, are the latter — they’re twitchy closet cases with the social skills of autistic badgers.  But wannabe-coaches, I hypothesize, face a similar dilemma:  You’re an athlete who has made his living off his body.  And a nice living it was, too, while it lasted… but now you’re 35 and your body just can’t do it anymore.  You have no other skills.  What else is there to do, but try coaching?

Since this is a political site I suppose I must close with something related to politics, so: We need to figure out a way to pick up these folks.  Anyone who can endure that kind of grind — and for every made guy in coaching / academia, there are ten who said “fuck it” and picked up a job stocking shelves at WalMart — is someone we need on our side.  Give them a sense of purpose, a clear cut goal, and turn them loose.

 

 

 

 

*Belichick seems to be a paradigm case.  His first pro head coaching gig, with the Cleveland Browns, was a disaster.  He went 36-44 and cut local legend Bernie Kosar, who went on to be part of a Super Bowl-winning club in Dallas.
**It doesn’t, of course, but that’s a rant for another day.

 

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The Basic College Girl, Redux

Behold, the most important voter demographic in America:

Parlaying a popular Instagram feed (and maybe also a YouTube channel) into a lucrative income is a matter of “branding,” and one of the most popular “brands” of recent years is a young woman named Caroline Calloway. She comes from money. Her parents sent her to an elite boarding school in New Hampshire, and she attended New York University ($69,984 a year, including room and board). In 2013, at age 21, she spent the summer traveling in Europe, meeting good-looking Italian guys, and posting what she hashtagged #adventuregram photos with long storytelling captions. and then in the fall, she went to Cambridge University in England, studying art history and — ZOOM! — she soared to Instagram superstardom.

That’s Stacy McCain, and RTWT — he gives her both barrels.  But then come back here, because I have lots of experience with this type of girl.  Not because I went to NYU, or Cambridge, or am involved in New York publishing or, God help us, am on Instagram (I’d rather have my fingernails ripped out by the Kempeitai’s most sadistic torturer than spend a second on Instagram).  I know this kind of girl well, quite simply, because she’s every single college girl in America.  I’m retired now, praise Buddha, but in my career I must’ve had ten thousand Caroline Calloways pass through my classroom.  It’s important that we get to know them, because they are, quite literally, our future.

And yeah, before you ask — they’re ALL like that.  Why do you think I took early retirement?

Before we begin, a disclaimer:  I might sound at times like I’m talking down to you, the Reader — over-explaining the obvious etc.  After all, I’m pretty sure that of our 14 readers, at least 13 of you are on the back nine of your lives.  Some of you are combat veterans; all of you are fairly successful.  Your experience of women is extensive, like your experience of life in general.  Heck, some of you are women, though how you can stand such an awful reactionary old fossil as myself is one of life’s enduring mysteries.  You probably feel you don’t need any lectures from the likes of me…

… but y’all, they’re DIFFERENT, these college girls, in ways that you can’t really fathom unless you’re around them a lot.

The nearest analogue I can come up with is that old movie Wall Street.  We all remember Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko.  But Douglas actually didn’t get the bulk of the screen time.  Charlie Sheen did.  Wall Street was supposed to be an archetypal Corruption of the Innocent.  It didn’t work, partly because Sheen was miscast — he just doesn’t do earnest very well, which is also why Platoon was such a stinker — and partly because Douglas absolutely crushed his role.  But mostly it was the nature of the characters.  Every guy in the audience knows someone like Charlie Sheen’s character (it’s telling that I can’t even remember his name).  Crucially, we all think that kind of guy is a weasel.

Even guys who’ve made their pile — even other stockbrokers — feel that Sheen’s a weasel in that movie.  Guys admire ball-busting risk-takers.  Michael Douglas is an SJW in real life, and he’s been railing against Gordon Gekko for years.  So much toxic masculinity!  But that’s what men admire about Gekko — we like his style, even if we don’t condone his methods.  He wants what he wants, and he goes after it — ruthlessly, all the way, whatever it takes.

Sheen, on the other hand, is just a suck-up.  He doesn’t know what he wants, because he doesn’t know himself.  He thinks he wants what Gekko has, but he really wants what Gekko is.  Gekko rides around in limos and bangs Daryl Hannah because he’s Gordon Gekko — he’s himself, and the limo-riding and Hannah-banging are natural outgrowths of his fundamental nature.  Sheen also rides around in limos and bangs Daryl Hannah, but the Hannah-banging is only made possible by the limo-riding.  Gekko knows this about Sheen, but Sheen doesn’t know it about himself — which is why Gekko can use Sheen with such brutal efficiency.  The audience sees this, even if everyone who actually made the film doesn’t.

Everyone with me?  Wall Street works because it’s a Classical tragedy.  Sheen’s character is brought low through lack of self-knowledge.  He’s a cut-rate Reagan-era Oedipus.

Now: Have you ever wondered why, in this age of remakes and reboots and hell-for-leather 80s nostalgia, they’ve never remade Wall Street?  You’d think it’d be first on Hollywood’s list, no?  Gordon Gekko isn’t all Donald Trump, but there’s a very large, very obvious resemblance, so much so that when they made a direct-to-video sequel back in 2010, they actually tried to cast Trump in it.  Every over-the-hill Trump-hating actor in Hollywood — which, in 2019, means anyone over 25 who occasionally identifies as male — would be chomping at the bit to reprise Gordon Gekko…

And therein lies the rub.  It’s 2019.  Everything has to be gender-swapped, at minimum, to satisfy the SJWs.  Wall Street simply doesn’t work with a female protagonist.  Not because some girl can’t be found to say Michael Douglas’s lines, but because girls simply aren’t interested in the Charlie Sheen role.  It doesn’t make sense to them, on a fundamental level.  Charlie Sheen’s character thinks he wants status, which he will achieve by accumulating stuff.  What he really wants is a center — an identity — and neither status nor stuff will ever give it to him.  Basic College girls can’t grasp that, because umpteen years of very expensive “education” have beaten even the possibility of understanding it out of xhyzem.

Caroline Calloway (remember her? from up top?) is Charlie Sheen’s Character for Basic College Girls.  I’ve sent you to Stacy McCain; now I’m going to send you to Vox (the SJW snakepit, not Vox Day).  Yeah, I know, but even stopped clocks are right twice a day, and this one’s a wowzer.

In case you can’t be bothered to click, the upshot is: Caroline Calloway is a cute, rich girl who wasn’t satisfied with being cute and rich.  She wanted to be famous, too, and so she set about constructing an online identity for herself.

[Calloway] took a series of meetings with literary professionals who informed her that no one would buy a memoir from a girl with no claim to fame and no fan base. And so Caroline made one online, taking out ads designed to look like posts to promote her account and buying tens of thousands of followers.

At the time, she was something like 23 years old, fresh out of NYU and attending grad school (art history, natch) in Cambridge.  Twenty three years old, with no accomplishments to her name other than “going to college” and “using Twitter,” and she thinks that she’s got the goods to publish a memoir.  But that’s not the truly crazy part.  The truly crazy part is: She got into the conference room with publishing people.  Several times.  Not “a meeting” — something lots of truly accomplished people would kill for — but a series of meetings.

I never thought I’d say this, but I have real sympathy for those Manhattan publishing types.  I’ve sat through many a series of meetings with girls like this, where you rack your brain and torture the English language to find new ways of saying “No, you don’t get full credit because you’ve been trying sooo harrrrrrd!  In fact, you don’t get any credit, because you haven’t actually done anything but come into my office hours and whine.  In fact, if you’d spent the twelve hours you’ve spent bugging me actually working on the paper, it’d be done by now.”

Undeterred, our Basic College Girl turned to the Internet.  Lacking the talent to actually be a writer herself, she did what any BCG would do: Hired a ghostwriter, in this case another BCG with self-esteem issues who agreed to front “Caroline’s” Instagram-only “writing” in return for being allowed to bask in her “friend’s” reflected glory.  The friend, Natalie Beach, is a piece of BCG work in her own right:

“I believed Caroline and I were busting open the form of nonfiction,” she writes. “Instagram is memoir in real timeIt’s memoir without the act of rememberingIt’s collapsing the distance between writer and reader and critic, which is why it’s true feminist storytelling, I’d argue to Caroline, trying to convince her that a white girl learning to believe in herself could be the height of radicalism (convenient, as I too was a white girl learning to believe in herself).”

What’s that meme that goes around the Internet every time some intrepid Millennial takes to the pages of a news magazine?  Ah yes, “Millennial Discovers.”  In this case, it’s “Millennial discovers the postcard.”  Here’s a “memoir in real time” for you:

And the “busting open the form of nonfiction” version:

Which means that by the transitive property of equality, “smelling so funky that a flight attendant is compelled to say something to you” is “true feminist storytelling,” but out of basic human decency let’s avert our eyes.

The takeaway from all this is: “Self-knowledge” is a meaningless concept for the Basic College Girl, because there is no “self” to know.  It’s all just drama.  I’m sure you’re fairly nauseated by now, so I’ll just leave two other facts for you to peruse after a drink or six:

First, the sheer amount of money involved.  Calloway graduated from NYU — $70K per year all in — and went to grad school at Cambridge, which I hear costs a few shekels.  And then there’s the book deal: She lied about the publisher’s advance for her (never completed) “memoir,” but the numbers are still shocking: only $375,000, of which she actually received $100,000.  One hundred grand.  For a “memoir” by a nobody barely over the legal drinking age.

Now, publishers aren’t stupid.  They have a pretty good idea of what sells, and have a million ways to make things sell.  If they thought this goof was worth dropping more than a quarter-mil on, they were probably right.  But that’s not the worst, which is: Even after all this, Homegirl was still able to get people to pony up $165 a shot to attend her four-hour “creativity” seminar… at which she herself would only appear for three hours, except that she didn’t, because she did no legwork and had to cancel almost everything, except for the one time she had a roomful of dorky girls sitting around on the floor eating lettuce.  For $165 apiece.

The second, even more depressing fact: Not only is Caroline Calloway herself an industry, but she’s got another large, parasitic industry devoted to her.  I quote from Vox:

It’s as though, for the past nine months, all of New York media has been unable to look away from the sheer spectacle of Caroline Calloway, transfixed half in loathing and half in admiration. And it’s been unable to make up its collective mind about a single, fundamental question: Is Caroline Calloway a well-meaning but messed-up young person who just wanted to support herself through social media and got in way over her head? Or is she a malicious scammer who willfully exploited her fans’ good faith for some easy cash?

As incredible as this is, chicks care about this bullshit.  “Educated” women, with fancy degrees from big-league schools, writing for posh media outlets in the cultural capital of the world.  The rights and wrongs of it don’t matter, because the answer is: “Who cares?”  Whether she’s a lunatic scammer, or merely a lunatic, doesn’t matter at all.  She’s toxic, and any sane person would change zip codes to avoid her.

And yet, she’s “inescapable” on social media, because she’s a Basic College Girl, and for Basic College Girls — i.e. the persyns of gendertude who will be running our country in less than a decade — social media simply IS the real world.  They’re drama addicts, and Basic College Girls like Caroline Calloway make a very nice living supplying them with chick crack.

 

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Overturning Locke: Life

John Locke said that we form governments to secure our “life, liberty, and property.”  John Locke has been overtaken by events.

Let’s start where Locke did, with “life.”  We Postmoderns tend to think of this first, and so, we assume, did Locke — he listed it first, after all.  But back in the days writers built up to their conclusions, so the most important item was listed last.  E.g. the Founders, pledging their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to the cause in the Declaration of Independence. Men like George Washington routinely hazarded their lives for the sake of their fortunes.  Not because they were greedy, but because they took the long view.  George might die in the attempt, but if he succeeded, his sons and grandsons would have much better chances in their lives.  George didn’t actually have sons, but he was unquestionably a Patriarch, which was the fortune for which he risked his life.

Locke held the same assumptions about life, because life was almost inconceivably cheap in his day.  Locke was born in 1632.  A person born then would have a decent shot at making it to age 50 if he survived until age 5… but only about half did.  And “a decent shot” needs to be understood blackjack-style.  Conventional wisdom says to hit if the dealer shows 16 and you’re holding 16 yourself — even though you’ve got a 62% chance of going bust, you’re all but certain to lose money if you stand.  Living to what we Postmoderns call “middle age” was, in Locke’s world, hitting on a 16.  We Postmoderns hear of a guy who dies at 50 and we assume he did it to himself — he was a grossly obese smoker with a drug problem or a race car driver or something.  In Locke’s world, they’d wonder what his secret was to have made it so long.

Locke’s Treatise, then, is in many ways a retcon — a retrospective justification for the observed fact that late 17th century Englishmen were quite prepared to risk their lives for liberty and property.  They’d done it once in Locke’s youth (the Civil War, 1642-51, in which Locke’s father fought briefly for Parliament), and were gearing up to do it again (the Treatise was published in 1689, one year after the Glorious Revolution, but was written 10 years earlier, during the Exclusion Crisis).  He wasn’t trying to establish some theoretical “right to revolution.”  The revolution had already happened, and was about to happen again.  Locke was justifying it.

This is important, because Our Thing is almost exclusively backward-looking.  We’re looking for a (hypothetical, FBI goons, hypothetical) right to revolution, and Locke’s social contract seems to be the answer, just as it (seemed to be) for the Founders.  All the stuff George III did to the colonists, FedGov does to us, in spades.*  Our problem, though, is that to us, “liberty” and “property” are what “life” was to John Locke — a necessary precondition, sure, but nothing to get too worked up over.  They’d just stopped burning heretics in England twenty years before Locke’s birth, after all, and every day, in every port of the realm, sailors signed on for very likely death sentences on international voyages.  In a world where starving to death was still a very real possibility, in other words, convincing people to roll the dice with their lives was pretty easy.  It was the other two that were the toughies.

We Postmoderns, though, carry on like we’re in Auschwitz if Twitter goes down for a few hours.  We have no idea what “sacred honor” could possibly mean, but we’ll riot in the streets if our sportsball team wins a championship.  The Revolution (again, FBI goons, hypothetically) won’t come when they take away one more liberty.  It’ll come when the Obamaphone doesn’t have the latest version of Angry Birds.

We need to think long and hard about why that is, and what to do about it, because our John Locke is going to be a hard man indeed.

 

 

*Well, except that whole “refusing to encourage migrations hither” bit — FedGov is fucking aces at that.  But no historical analogy is perfect, alas.
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Form > Process > Outcome

If you want a three-word explanation of why American life is so messed up, there it is.

Academia’s a good example.  Whether completely divorcing form from outcome is a bug, or a feature, of academia’s Cultural Marxism infection is a chicken-or-egg?-type question at this point.  However we got here, we’re wedded to both of them, and they’re opposites — hence all the brain-bending contortions of “intersectionality.”

The outcome is a given: No Child Left Behind in grade school; Don’t Fail the Diversity in college.  Which would be child’s play to achieve, if we weren’t constrained by the form of a “traditional liberal arts education.”  So ed biz wonks are forced to endlessly tweak the “standards,” without ever appearing to tweak the standards.  This is why font choice and margin size end up being worth 75% of your term paper.  They’re completely objective, yet totally meaningless, and best of all plausibly deniable — the kid would’ve used 12-point Times New Roman, but alas, he sent it in an incompatible file format.  Full marks!

The problem, of course, is that in Senile America everything works this way.

If it’s to work at all, representative government has to be representative.  That is, it must be consented to by the governed.  But not only did we not consent to be ruled this way, we couldn’t.  Just to take the most obvious problem: We have no idea who our rulers actually are.

Hawaiian judges are our kakistocracy‘s public face, but all the decisions that matter are made long before the hacks in black get involved.  As we know, we Americans commit, on average, three felonies a day.  If, when, and how these come to the State’s attention are almost completely random.  This is true for any law, actually, and because it is, it’s not really an exaggeration to say that your livelihood, and often your actual freedom, depends on what side of the bed the cop got up on this morning.

If The Authorities notice you when they’re in a good mood, you skate.  If The Authorities are in a bad mood, though — tired, hung over, had a fight with the spouse, whatever — you’re screwed.  What actually happens to you depends on the lawyers, a.k.a the most incestuous little fraternity on the planet.  Whether they choose to prosecute or not, and for what, and what deals they make over a drink or seven determine what happens to you once you get in front of hizzoner… who, of course, is also butt-buddies with all the lawyers who appear in his chambers, since he was one of them not too long ago and they remain his entire social circle.

Who in his right mind could possibly agree to this?  No, forget “right mind” — it’s simply not possible for anyone, not even someone as far out on reality’s fringes as the SJWs, to consent to this.  Those “people” (in the strict biological sense) think houseplants have human rights, but not even they would agree to have their life’s course determined by two dimbulbs with great hair and ugly neckties cutting deals with each other in a dive bar.

But so long as we fetishize the form of “representative government,” it can’t be otherwise.  As folks in Our Thing never tire of pointing out, had The People ever been consulted about our preferences, at any time after 1963, we’d still be living in a White Christian nation with a solid manufacturing base and a minuscule military footprint.  If it were possible to throw the bums out, we would’ve thrown out every bum on every ballot since at least Calvin Coolidge.  But we can’t throw the bums out, because the process is rigged.

Our Side is really missing a trick here.  As Our Betters, the Liberals, constantly inform us, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in 2016 — 62,523,126 to 61,201,031.

  • She won California 7,362,490 to 3,916,209, and
  • she won Los Angeles county 1,893,770 to 620,285.

I’m no mathematician, but it sure looks to me like Los Angeles alone all but gave Hillary Clinton her popular vote “victory” — she beat Trump overall by 1,322,095, with 1,273,485 of them coming just from LA.

So when Our Betters start going on about abolishing the Electoral College, we should agree with them!  Really rub the American public’s face in it.  Yes, it’s a damn shame that homeless winos and Hollywood bimbos of both sexes and all 37+ genders don’t get to set the agenda for the entire nation.  That’s not Democracy!!! Or, as Our Betters love to put it, That’s Not Who We Are (TM).  Why cling to the old, outdated form of the Electoral College, when the straight democratic voting process gets us everything we want?

Give the governed an opportunity to truly consent to their government.  I for one can’t wait to put Barbara Streisand and Leonardo DiCaprio and three shit-stained homeless heroin addicts in charge of our nuclear arsenal, not to mention our health care.  How about you?

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