Category Archives: This Post is “Racist”

The Medium is the Message

I have a naive view of art.  I think it’s made up of two things, the medium and the message.  The medium is the artist’s materials plus his skill.  The message is whatever idea he’s trying to convey with his art.  Simplistic, yes, but it lets you talk about art without resorting to what the British charmingly call “art bollocks.”*

Great art, for instance, doesn’t have to be particularly original to be great.  This

is about as conventional as they come, in both medium (paint on a ceiling) and message (that God loves us).  It’s only the artist’s great skill that makes it great art.  On the other hand, this

has an even simpler medium, but more complex message (Seurat is trying to give us the “out of the corner of your eye” view, which points out just how fuzzy, temporary, and context-dependent our perceptions really are).  It’s great art because it highlights something fundamental about the human condition.  Do all our impressions work this way?

It works in reverse, too.  Just as great art doesn’t have to be a heartbreaking work of staggering genius to be great, so bad art fails not from lack of skill, but because the artist’s skill is used in the service of something false.  That’s why you can spot “socialist realism” a mile away, though tremendous effort and real talent went into its production.

Vasily Orlov, The Nature Hunt (1950)

That’s not bad art because of bad technique, or because the subjects are unattractive.  It’s not even overtly political.  And yet, everything about that painting is wrong.  It’s just false, and you can see it everywhere — the figures’ expressions, their postures, the field, the flowers, even the sunlight seems just slightly off.  It’s like something your grandma would paint after a few courses at the Y — the old bird’s got talent, but doesn’t have anything to say other than “kids were cuter back in my day.”

Which brings us to now, when the medium IS the message, as Marshall McLuhan famously said — the stuff on TV is true, because it’s on TV.  Seriously, try it for yourself.  Have you ever made a sustained effort to not watch TV?  I don’t mean “turn off the idiot box at home” (though that’s a great idea too); I mean don’t watch a glowing screen, period.  It’s nearly impossible.  TVs are everywhere, and they’re magnetic.  Even if you yourself have Catonian self-control, go to the bar and watch others interact.  There are always TVs on at the bar, and no matter what people are doing — drowning their sorrows in whiskey, arguing sports or politics, trying to get laid — you’ll see everyone’s eyes constantly flicking up to the TV in the corner.

Then watch the TV itself.  Being in a bar actually helps here, because you want the sound to be off.  TV is a passive medium — if ever the family really did sit around and watch shows together, those days are long past.  TV is just background noise now, and the people who do the programming most certainly know  it.  You’ll get the message much better if you’re not distracted by the content (McLuhan said the content is just like a piece of raw meat a burglar brings to distract a guard dog).  Is the presenter grim-faced and serious?  Whitey did something bad. Is he chipper and upbeat?  Get ready for a fluff piece about a Magic Negro.  Are there only graphics, words, on the screen of the most visually-dependent medium of all?  The Diversity did something bad.

Which suggests a wonderful line of counterattack.  Betcha didn’t see that coming!!!

Art imitates life, remember?  (For those who remember their Aristotle, this is mimesis (I had to look it up)).  Think of SJWs — by their nose rings ye shall know them.  Whether it’s mimesis or Marshall McLuhan who’s ultimately responsible, the whole SJW “look” is ugliness-for-the-sake-of-ugliness.  The nose-ringers themselves don’t think this, of course; the message they’re trying to convey is that they’re dangerous nonconformist rebels.  But see above — Orlov’s intended message was “communism rules;” the thought that picture actually invokes is along the lines of “I wonder who the Kommissar will shoot first if their flower baskets don’t meet the targets of the Five Year Plan.”

Now, take Herr Sturmbannführer** up there.  That’s a serious, dangerous-looking man, and not just because he’s got an Iron Cross and two lightning bolts on his collar.  He’d still be a panty-dropper even if he were dressed like your typical dude-bro goober.  You see where I’m going with this….

The medium is the message.  I don’t care what Trigglypuff has to say.  She may have all the facts, data, and logic in the world — I know, I know, but let’s stipulate — and I’m still not going to listen, because she looks like Trigglypuff.  Meanwhile, Herr Sturmbannführer impresses me despite myself.  I know what he’s about — one does not rise to high rank in the Waffen-SS without committing a few war crimes — but I can’t help it, I’m curious.  How does a man like this believe something like that?

We need to use this!  Our message is right; our look should be tight.  We can’t all look like panzer commanders, but we don’t have to — SJWs are such deliberately grotesque slobs, all we have to do is dress like we respect ourselves.  Watch our language and habits — don’t get drunk in public, don’t walk around munching on a greasy hamburger, don’t cuss, and for pete’s sake never wear flip flops, tank tops, or sportsball jerseys.

Meanwhile, the standard rebuttal to any and all Leftist hyperventilating on Twitter, Facebook, whatever should be nothing more than: Posting a picture of the hyperventilator.  Your Ace of Spades types, for instance, spend lots of hours online arguing with Matt Yglesias types.  This is Matt Yglesias:

’nuff said.  The medium is the message.

 

 

*The author of that piece, David Thompson, has an excellent blog.
** Yes, I looked it up.  This is, after all, the Internet — I don’t want to get 45 comments from people who can’t see the point because I accidentally called that guy a lieutenant colonel or something.
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The Hard Truths

Since I just don’t have the time to put together a Friday Book Club — sorry — maybe we can all kick in on this: A list of the hard truths.

I don’t mean stuff like “Blacks commit way disproportionately more crime” or “the 19th Amendment was a big mistake.”  While those are true enough, they’re also common knowledge — why do you think the PTB go to such great lengths to suppress any mention of them?  For “hard truths” I mean things that we ourselves — the students of History, the “conservatives,” the saturnine — have a hard time looking at straight on, and indeed try very hard to forget.  Stuff like this:

Humans can’t handle abundance.  One of my favorite “jokes” is that I’m the only guy I know who really believes in evolution.  By which I mean: If you grant that we humans are, in fact, great apes — that we share 96% of our DNA with chimps — then 96% of our behavior follows.  Any group of humans will invariably behave like an equivalent-sized group of monkeys, because we are monkeys.

Monkeys, like all lower animals, are hardwired for life on the ragged edge of survival.  Malthus got it right, back in the 18th century – a given population will always expand to the limits of its food supply, and that explains the behavior of both the population and its individual members.  Dogs, for example, will breed any time there’s a female in heat, the males fighting it out among themselves for access.  Dogs will eat until they vomit, then go back and eat the vomit.

Humans work the same way.  But there’s one crucial difference — while every other population has hard limits on its food supply, ours is effectively limitless.  Ask any overweight person (these days, that’s pretty much all of us) who has ever seriously tried a calorie reduction diet.  It’s almost impossible, and not just because our foods are packed with high-calorie, glucose-spiking artificial crap like corn syrup.  Even if you go all natural, you find yourself overeating, because we have 24/7/365 access to all kinds of perfectly natural products that don’t suit us, and screw us up.  Yeah yeah, it’s “healthy,” “natural” food… but do you know how much sugar is in a cup of strawberries?

This isn’t some kind of Paleo diet manifesto.  I don’t care what you eat (and I myself am not the paragon of optimized nutrition).  I’m trying to point out that abundance is pathological in itself.  Because we’re just monkeys, our systems follow a kind of nutritional Say’s Law — supply creates its own demand, such that we give ourselves diabetes eating nothing but “natural” fruits from climates we’re not genetically adapted to.

And it’s not just our food.  Our environment, too, is far too secure for our firmware.  We’re wired for threat detection.  So wired, in fact, that city dwellers who go camping often freak themselves out in the quiet of the forest — did that bush just move?!?  Your threat-detection hardware can’t be shut off, so when you take away the constant barrage of stimulus in the city, you actually start to hallucinate threats.

In other words, the abundance of our environment has screwed up our eustress.  “Eustress” is beneficial stress, the kind that makes you stronger, and it applies to everything in your body.  Lifting weights is eustress on your muscles; solving math problems is eustress for your mind.  Everything about our biological life is designed around maximizing eustress — change your material conditions, and your body (and mind!) will adapt.  Humans are amazingly hard to kill — even in concentration camps, the numerical majority of those not killed outright by the guards survived to tell the tale.

That adaptability, too, is hardwired.  We can’t shut off our eustress-maximization mechanism — “life force,” “will to power,” whatever you choose to call it — any more than we can consciously, voluntarily shut off our hearts.  If there’s no stress available in our environment to eustress against, we’ll make some…

…and that’s modern life right there.  Again, look at the Kavanaugh circus.  The only thing wrong with those people is that they’re bored.  Feminism didn’t exist in the 19th century, simply — and it really is this simple — because sex often resulted in conception, and conception opened up the very real risk of painful death.  Add infant mortality to the mix — a 1 in 2 chance your child will die before the age of five concentrates the mind wonderfully — and you’ve got all the stress, eu- and the other kind, that anyone could ever need.  Only barren spinsters from rich families could afford to worry about politics back then; now we’re all barren spinsters.

The comments are open.

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Rage III: The Dying of the Light

The most important is also the shortest, because by this point you either agree or disagree.

The Cat Fanciers had an ideology.  It’s not hard to find.  They had a philosophy, too.  Nobody’s ever heard of Giovanni Gentile, and you might want to ask yourself why not, but it doesn’t matter.  The point is, there was enough intellectual heft behind Cat Fancy that even serious, heavyweight people could buy into it, in full public view.  The Black Cat Militia — the fanciest Cat Fanciers of all —  was full of professors, doctors, lawyers, industrialists; far from mindless thugs, they were better educated than average, with better degrees (up to and including PhDs in real subjects) the higher up the ranks one went.

[If it helps, think of how many serious, heavyweight people were in the Freemasons, well into the 20th century.  Did they believe all the ooga-booga stuff about Masonic ritual extending back to the time of the Pharaohs?  Of course not, but they took the ritual aspects seriously, because whatever else it was (and is), Freemasonry is a brotherhood.  Brotherhoods depend on ritual.  So did your average obersturmbannfuhrer really believe all that junk about World Ice Theory, Atlantis, the power of Norse runes, etc.?  I really doubt it.  But the “brotherhood” part?  Oh yes; to the bitter end].

What really held them together, though, was an aesthetic. A vision.  The only reason the Cat Fanciers’ techno-anarcho-retro-futurism seems weird to us is the same reason nobody’s heard of Giovanni Gentile (or Ishiwara Kanji and the kokutai): They lost the war.  It’s no weirder than Karl Marx’s techno-anarcho-retro-futurism, and the only reason “Marxist” isn’t a swear word right now is because the same professors and media figures who were so hot and bothered for Cat Fancy (esp. the Italian variant) switched sides once it became obvious how the war was going to turn out.  Stalin’s crimes dwarf Mustache Guy’s by an order of magnitude (and Mao has Uncle Joe beat by a country mile), but wild horses still couldn’t drag an admission out of most “educated” people that mass murder is a feature, not a bug, in the ideology.

For a modern techno-anarcho-retro-futuro thing, I suggest mythologizing the Fifites (already mostly done, I realize), combined with end-of-the-Empire conservationist paranoia:

The light really is dying, comrades, all over the former West.  The glories of belief, of science, of the very concepts “logic” and “reason,” are being pushed back into darkness, not just by the Marching Morons, but by smart people who owe everything in their lives to Western Civ.  These “people” — decadent and corrupt enough to make an Ottoman pasha blush — would rather see the whole world burn than endure the tedium of their sheltered, cossetted little lives one second longer.

Resist them, or die in a nuclear fire.  Why on earth do you think they’re so desperate to arm the Iranian mullahs?  It serves no geostrategic purpose.  It’s guaranteed to destabilize the region, and that, comrades, is the entire point.  If they can’t goad us into a war with Russia over Syria, then give nukes to the mullahs.  They’ll use them — you know it, I know it, Obama and Hillary and Soros and John Kerry and John McCain and every faceless bureaucrat at the EU knows it.  Bibi Netanyahu certainly knows it, which is why they’ll strike first, and the SJWs can crow about it for the 59.3 seconds it’ll take between that and the arrival of Russian / Chinese ICBMs in our skies.  They’ll die, too, but at least they’ll die smug — to the SJW, that’s ultimate victory.

Rage, comrades, rage against the dying of the light.  If you can’t fight — and not all of us can — preserve.  Be an Irish monk in the Dark Ages, hoarding up humanity’s precious inheritance against the possibility, however remote, that we might crawl out of the caves again.  But if you can, fight!  The human race depends on it.*

 

*obviously this is my thought experiment example of how such a mythology might be created.  I advocate nothing.  All of this is strictly hypothetical.
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2 Legit Part 2

Here’s the problem: Any society much bigger than a village needs an organizing myth, and ours — Blank-Slate Equalism — doesn’t work anymore.

Nobody in Current Year America can possibly still think, for one hot second, that “all men are created equal.”  We’re not physically equal — cf. all the boys calling themselves “transgender” and setting records at girls’ track meets.  We’re not mentally equal (insert your SJW IQ joke of choice here).  And as for the proposition that we should be equal, at least under the law (which was ol’ Tom’s plain meaning in the Declaration), take your pick: The judiciary (“bake the cake, bigot!”), the educational system (___ Studies), and the media (everything) are deeply, fanatically committed to the fundamental unequality of men.  And all that’s before you get to modern genetics and what it tells us about heritable group characteristics.

Tl;dr — If I can declare myself a yellow-scaled wingless dragonkin and get a guy fired for not pretending to believe me, Blank-Slate Equalism is dead, no matter what genetics says (and genetics says it’s deader than disco).

And that’s a problem, as the kids these days say, because our entire political system is based on Blank-Slate Equalism.  I’m not going to recap the history of the Social Contract Theory of government (been there, done that, feel free to trawl the archives for book suggestions).  Rather, I’m going to explore some other, failed options for organizing myths, then suggest one you may not have heard of.

First, Athenian democracy.  Whatever Cleisthenes and the gang actually practiced, it wasn’t based on a social contract as we’d understand it.  As you probably remember from your high school Social Studies class, the Greeks were world-class chauvinists.  Aristotle famously ranked women just below slaves on the rationality scale, and the word “barbarian” simply meant “not-Greek.”  You probably couldn’t play a pickup softball game with the total number of Athenian “voters.”  But it didn’t matter, because Athens was so small that Demosthenes himself could come over to your house and personally demagogue you.  Socrates, too, for that matter (he fought at Potidaea).  Athens’s organizing myth, then, was “democracy” in the football hooligan sense — you voluntarily joined up, but mostly just to have a row with the wankers.  Needless to say, this doesn’t work in anyplace bigger than a Greek polis.  (The early Roman Republic worked the same way, and yes, I’m aware that I just called Romulus and Remus the original soccer yobs).

Divine Right Monarchy solves the scale problem.  China, Rome, and Egypt had good runs with this system (the latter for thousands of years).  The problem here is communication speed.  When you’re wading the Euphrates and the Emperor is in Rome, the Cult of the Divine Augustus seems reasonable enough, especially with a few cohorts backing it up.  When communications speed up, though, it becomes too obvious, too fast, for too many people, when the King and the Gods are on the outs.  Pick your typical Early Modern monarch — if that guy is the Anointed of Christ, then Christ done screwed up good.  The English Civil War, for example, happened because Charles I tried to impose the Book of Common Prayer on Scotland, as he believed it was his Divine Right to do.  The Scots disagreed, and ten years later Charles’s anointed head was rolling in the dust.  Divine right monarchs are themselves, personally, the refutation of the theory of Divine Right Monarchy.*

The English Civil War — or, more correctly, the Continent-wide conflagration known for convenience as the Thirty Years’ War, of which it was an offshoot — is a watershed.  The key word in the phrase “Early Modern army” is modern.  Modern armies are equipped with guns.  Guns require discipline, precision, and the ability to function in the field year-round — the exact opposite of the aristocratic ethos.  Infantry is the queen of battles, and he who keeps the most infantry in the field the longest wins.  To do that, you need buy-in from the peasantry.  The Royalists in the English Civil War, for example, were fairly consistently outnumbered, but even when they weren’t, the Roundheads fought better despite a glaring lack of experienced commanders.  Cromwell’s New Model Army was history’s first politicized army, which explains both its remarkable effectiveness and its notorious brutality.

This suggests a third organizing myth: Defense-of-the-realm.  They wouldn’t put it this way, but liability to military service was one of the major underpinnings of the notion of the King-in-Parliament, from which all authority in the UK still theoretically derives.  Well into the 20th century, anyone with the ability to vote would be on the business end of a war, one way or the other (only men could vote, and those men too old to actually serve paid the taxes for those who did).  As the King’s authority ultimately rests on his ability to defend his realm, King-in-Parliament gives everyone a stake (even Hobbes agreed, at least to the first part — though he shuddered at the “-in-Parliament” part, he made his peace with the Protectorate and came home, because an actually existing sovereign power must be sovereign).

Technology makes this one obsolete, though.  America’s realm could be defended by a small navy with tactical nukes, plus a few ICBMs.  (N.b. I’m not saying this should be our national defense posture.  I’m just pointing out that some nuclear-tipped cruise missiles, combined with a steely-eyed determination to use them, would keep the Hun from our shores, and the rest of the world quiet.  Are the Mullahs really willing to risk a limited nuclear exchange over the Straits of Hormuz?  How about China, over Taiwan?  The point is that the days of mass conscription are over, which makes defense-of-the-realm useless as a modern organizing myth).

And…. that’s about it.  Pick your state, and if it qualifies as a state — if it’s not modern Somalia or equivalent, in other words — it will be organized around one of those three, or some combination of them:

Yes, even the USSR — Communism is just your basic Divine Right Monarchy, with “the forces of History” subbed in for “Divine Right” and “the vanguard of the Proletariat” swapped for the drooling idiot inbred aristocracy.

The American Revolution was a conflict between “defense-of-the-realm” and “football hooligan democracy.”  The Colonials were expected to defend the realm, e.g. in the Seven Years’ War, but without being part of the Parliament.  But they couldn’t have been — technical limitations aside (it took at least a month to cross the Atlantic), and leaving aside the fact that they’d still be outvoted on everything, Colonials practiced football hooligan democracy.  British officers in the Seven Years’ War constantly complained about Colonial soldiers.  They’d fight, and could fight well, but only if you negotiated everything beforehand — they left England specifically to get away from bluebloods just ordering them about.  George Washington was a 4th generation American, but most Colonials were recent immigrants (the Colonies’ population quadrupled before 1776).  Football hooligan democracy won — America was a rough frontier society until the Civil War, and well into the Gilded Age the only contact most people had with the Feds was at the post office.

And so on, with one exception: The ethno-state.  Japan is a prime example.  Technically Japan is a Divine Right Monarchy — the current Emperor is the 125th, going all the way back to an offspring of the Sun Goddess — but Japan’s real ruler is “Japanese-ness.”  They went from a backwards feudal empire to a modern world power in a single generation — !!!! — in an all-out effort to preserve Japanese-ness.  They saw the British in Burma, the French in Vietnam, the entire West in China, and saw their future… unless they got into the imperial game themselves.  The Charter Oath was 1868; by 1895 Japan had defeated China in the First Sino-Japanese War; and ten years later they defeated Russia — unquestionably one of the Great Powers — in the Russo-Japanese War.  Japan’s official form of government changed many times over that span, and would change many more, but always with the same goal: The preservation of Japanese-ness.

The ethno-state is the most powerful form of government known.  Ask anyone in the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere — a tiny, virtually resourceless nation, whose armies were sword-wielding samurai so recently that a man born when Perry came could still be alive, conquered pretty much the entire Pacific.  The rights and wrongs (mostly wrongs) of that conquest are irrelevant; focus on the thing itself.  You won’t find Meiji Japan in too many political science textbooks (except, of course, as “Westernization”), but its transformation is nothing short of miraculous.  How did they do it?  And can it be done in the West?

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

*I’m leaving aside, of course, the question of which god or gods sanction the monarch.  This was the Romans’ main problem with Christianity.  The Roman Empire worked on a kind of distributed sovereignty — in return for acknowledging the supreme authority of the Emperor, the Emperor’s administrators would rule you according to your own laws and customs.  But Christians are explicitly stateless.  A Jew, Egyptian, Greek, whatever is still a Jew, Egyptian, Greek, whatever in Rome, and can be tried there as such (or extradited back to his homeland for trial there).  But Christians reject all that, so where and how are they to be tried?  Julian the Apostate had a lot to say on this point — as you might expect from a Roman Emperor.

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2 Legit

You can reduce every single political problem the West is currently experiencing to one word: Legitimacy.  By what right do our rulers rule us, and who counts as “us”?  Every successful political movement has an answer.

Yes, even the Left.  They may not remember it themselves — they don’t read much that isn’t Harry Potter, and for them History begins anew each dawn — but even the “everything is a social construction” crowd once thought this through.  They concluded that, though races, nations, borders, etc. are of course “social constructions,” we’re all members of the Proletariat — or, at least, we will be, when we’ve killed all the class enemies — and so the government of the “vanguard of the Proletariat” (i.e. them) is legitimate.

It’s not the most elegant argument to have graced the pages of a political science text, but when your whole family gets shipped to Siberia for disagreeing with it, it’s remarkably persuasive.

The Human Biodiversity (HBD) crowd, on the other hand, hasn’t thought this all the way through.  If they — we, I guess, though with more asterisks than MLB home run records — want to be more than just a bunch of internet gadflies, they’ll have to resolve the fundamental contradiction between HBD and democracy.

Social contract theory — by which representative governments become “representative,” hence legitimate — presumes rough parity between the contracting parties.  It’s the basis of citizenship.  Have you ever wondered just why America opened her borders in the 19th century?  Vox Day et al like to bang on about the Naturalization Act of 1790 and its “free white” requirement, but Congress could have limited immigration in any way it chose — not just by race, but by country of origin, skills, literacy, whatever.  Instead, the naturalization acts specify “loyalty to the principles of the Constitution.”

The United States was, indeed, a “proposition nation” — the proposition in question being “the validity of the social contract.”  The 1802 act (which keeps the “free white” provision) makes this clear: Renounce your previous allegiance (including titles of nobility), be of good moral character, be loyal to the principles of the Constitution, and you’re in.  If all men are indeed created equal (= “equal enough to legitimately sign the social contract”), then it follows that anyone who renounces his previous allegiance and swears to abide by Constitutional principles is legitimately an American.  It’s the closest thing to literally signing a social contract a 19th century government could administer.

But again: A legit contract absolutely requires rough parity between the contracting parties.  We don’t let four year olds sign binding legal contracts because they don’t have the mental equipment to understand what they’re signing. Signing on to “the principles of the Constitution” was pretty basic until after the Civil War, because back then the only interaction most folks had with the Federal government was at the post office.  That’s why the 1862 Homestead Act, for instance, came with citizenship attached — declare your intention of becoming a citizen, and 160 acres in the West was yours for the taking.  Subsistence farmers on the frontier are equal, or equal enough, when communities arise organically and the only permanent government official is the town postmaster.

Modern life, needless to say, is a bit more complex than that.  As you know, we all inadvertently commit three felonies a day.  Who can say what “the principles of the Constitution” even are anymore?  Hell, can most people even pass a basic civics exam?  Is this thing graded on a curve?

So much for re-signing the social contract, eh?

And falling back on the “representative” part of “representative government” won’t do, because the hardline HBD folks have been quite clear about this: There is an absolute cutoff between “competent” and “not competent.”  IQ is destiny, remember?  Read the comments on any “alt-Right” site — Blacks, you’ll be told, are inveterate criminals because the average Black IQ is 85.  If the nice white high IQ readers of the Wall Street Journal (3rd link above) commit three felonies a day, what hope do ghetto dwellers have?  Any “representative” of the “Black community” — which has been a real, untouchable, national thing for going on a century now — will, by definition, only represent his/her group… which is below the participatory threshold.

Right there you’ve just disenfranchised 13% of the population.  But it gets worse, because the number 100 gets thrown around a lot on HBD sites.  100 is, supposedly, the average national IQ needed to maintain an advanced postindustrial society like ours.  Surely I don’t have to tell y’all what average means.  So now you’ve disenfranchised 50% of the population, and you still haven’t addressed the three felonies a day we 100+ IQ brainiacs are committing….

I think we all — Left and Right, cat people and dog people, Crips and Bloods, Team Edward and Team Jacob, Hufflepuff and Slitherin — can agree that any government that only represents at best 49% of those under its jurisdiction is not legitimate in any modern sense.  (For further examples, see the EU, the unelected unaccountable nobodies who are responsible for the European version of this mess).  By what right, then, do the rulers rule?

I’ve got an answer for you, but you’re not gonna like it.

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Rethinking Democracy

Just like video killed the radio star, HBD killed democracy.

Democracy, representative government, (classical) republicanism, whatever you want to call it (hereafter, “democracy”) is the best form of government, not because it leads to the best results — look around you! — but because it’s the most legitimate form of government.  A modern nation-state requires significant buy-in from the majority of its population in order to defend itself, because modern nation-states require mass armies.

The feudal system worked fine with a small, decentralized, agricultural population.  When sixty miles a day was the absolute max speed of a courier and knights were the effective fighting arm, you could defend “France” with a retinue of a few thousand men-at-arms.  Which was good for them, because in an without mass communication (and with illiteracy near-universal), nobody outside of Paris knew what “France” was in the first place.  One might theoretically trace his feudal dues all the way up the pyramid, but in practice, very few people knew or cared who their lord’s lord was.  Why would it matter, when the next village over had a different lord, a different system of measurement, and probably spoke a different dialect?

And then the Renaissance happened (as my students would say), and communication got much faster.  Literacy was more widespread.  Most important, effective firearms made knights useless in battle, and with that, the whole feudal system lost its justification for existing.  An Early Modern army was a mass army, an infantry army, and would need to be in the field year-round.  It would need to be paid and supplied by the State (no mean feat, and itself a driver of all kinds of other changes), and, most importantly, it would need motivation.  You can keep a small retinue of archers and pikemen in the field for a campaign season or two if you promise them lots of plunder and a discharge by harvest time.  Modern armies stay in the field full time — something has to hold them there.

Democracy fits the bill.  It’s not too much of an exaggeration to say that modern representative government came out of the Putney Debates in Cromwell’s New Model Army during the English Civil Wars.  “One man, one vote” is the bedrock principle.  Only a government that respects its people’s interests in peacetime will have their loyalty in wartime.

Fast forward a few hundred years.  It’s no slander on the New Model Army to say that just about any old peasant could be trained to use an arquebus, and it’s no slander on that peasant to say that the issues he’d be voting on weren’t much more complex than his weapon.  “One man, one vote” presumes rough equality between all men, and in the England of the 1640s this was true enough.  Modern life, though, is as complicated as modern weapons.  Very few of us have the brainpower (or the free time!) to cast an informed vote on just about anything.

That’s an argument for disenfranchising the dummies, BUT: By what right, then, do we send them off to war?  Remember, the key is legitimacy.  Why fight and die for a country in which you have no stake?  Unless you’re willing to limit military service  to +2SD IQs (or whatever the figure is), you’ve essentially turned the American military into a giant mercenary company (read Machiavelli if you want to know how that works out, if it isn’t incandescently obvious).

The tl;dr: If aristocracy is illegitimate because such a government by definition doesn’t respect the interests of the people, then any “democracy” that acknowledges the reality of HBD is likewise illegitimate.  Modern political science — the whole schmear, from Thomas Hobbes and John Locke down to now, whether absolute monarchist or absolute libertarian — presumes that all men are roughly equal.  But they just aren’t, and the more we know about HBD, the more we realize just how UNequal we all are.

Democracy or HBD.  Pick one.

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How to Fix the Universities

We got into this mess from the supply side — with “college degree or equivalent” now required for every job short of janitor, colleges had to start cranking out the graduates, standards be damned.  We can fix it from the demand side.

The cutout is “or equivalent.”  Griggs v. Duke Power said it’s rayciss to give your employees intelligence tests.  But Griggs was decided in 1971, long before collecting Diversity Pokemon became the national hobby (in 1971, the few Blacks with college degrees had them from real colleges, in real subjects, and wouldn’t be working for Duke Power).  Thus, “or equivalent.”  The courts effectively mandated a quota system, and it was up to the private sector to figure out just how to make one work (and in the process throwing a bone to the lawyers, who could endlessly sue over just what “or equivalent” was supposed to mean).  So businesses did what academia itself would be forced to do a few years later, after the Bakke decision (1978): Make “being Black” worth the equivalent of 600 SAT points (or whatever it was).

Still, a loophole is a loophole.  Colleges obviously can’t re-establish standards.  90% of the student body– and at least 75% of the professors — would fail out, and then they all go broke.  Nor is it possible to start a new college with real standards, because a) you’ll be forced to admit a bunch of substandard students to comply with “diversity” guidelines, and b) if you try to do it any other way, e.g. online, you won’t get accredited, because the accreditation scam is run by the existing colleges (this is why “for-profit” colleges immediately devolved into a scam).

So what I’m thinking is, start a new online “college” that doesn’t need to be accredited.  Call it a “basic skills training program,” and call passing the basic skills certification course the “or equivalent” the Supremes allowed under Griggs.  Our Basic Skills Cert Course would offer a test — call it the Diverse Undergraduate Matriculation Baseline Assessment (DUMBAss)– and intense online remediation for failed sections.  A pass on the DUMBAss makes you eligible for hire.  (Heck, you could lawyer-proof it further by doing a contingency hire — you’re hired pending a pass on the DUMBAss — and make contingent employees take it at company expense.  It’s cash up front, but in the end it’s far cheaper than hiring an essentially un-fire-able “employee” who can’t do basic math).

So long as everything is done with a random number ID, such that nobody at the Basic Skills Cert Course ever sees any identifying info, you can’t possibly be accused of rayciss (that certain demographic profiles fail the DUMBAss at much higher rates is not a problem until somebody sues… at which point it becomes hilarious, watching lawyers telling the Supreme Court that math itself is rayciss).

You’d probably have to set it up overseas — ideally right next to one of those Caribbean medical schools, but anywhere the Feds can’t touch you would do.  Incorporate in Bermuda (or whatever) and US diversity laws don’t apply to you anyway.  Do it all online, such that Basic Cert employees could “teach” their remedial sections from anywhere, and you’ve set up the educational equivalent of one of those online casinos… except providing a real service.  Not only would this get real companies half-educated employees, but it’d drive all but the biggest name brand colleges out of business.

You could set the whole thing up for about a buck fifty.  Why is nobody doing this?

 

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Friday Quick Take: Saving America with Old Photos

Chateau Heartiste has a brilliant suggestion.  Saving America might be as simple as showing Americans old photos.

This is the world we had:

This is the world we have:

How did we get here?  And which one would you rather live in?

I’ve written about this before, at greater length.  Aesthetics is a seriously underrated part of politics.  Fascism was appealing at the polls in no small part because it looked cool and menacing.  Consider this

versus this:

Himmler is a doofy-looking guy no matter what he’s wearing (which is why I picked him for the illustration), but a doofy-looking guy in that uniform is extra-terrifying — especially if you’re better-looking, or more popular than he was in high school.

It works the other way, too:

North Korea is a nuclear-armed state with perhaps the largest per-capita army in the world, but we simply can’t take them seriously because of stuff like this.

Aesthetics matter.  “Pepe the Frog” was effective counter-propaganda because it was instantly recognizable — and because the Left lost their shit so hyperbolically — but a real movement needs to have counter-propaganda that’s both effective and appealing.  Fortunately, the Left has made it easy for us.  Take those pictures from the Fifties, caption them “it’s OK to be white,” and plaster them all over social media, then sit back and watch the fun.  Don’t reply, don’t engage in any way… until the furor subsides a bit.  Then ask them just why everyone is freaking out.  Their responses — complete with pictures of the commenters — is all the counter-propaganda you’ll ever need.

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Haidt’s “Righteous Mind”

I see this cited frequently in cultural/political stuff.  This Jonathan Haidt* guy wrote a book arguing that politics is an expression of our morality, and our morality has several dimensions:

  • Care: cherishing and protecting others; opposite of harm
  • Fairness or proportionality: rendering justice according to shared rules; opposite of cheating
  • Loyalty or ingroup: standing with your group, family, nation; opposite of betrayal
  • Authority or respect: submitting to tradition and legitimate authority; opposite of subversion
  • Sanctity or purity: abhorrence for disgusting things, foods, actions; opposite of degradation

Liberals, according to this, mainly concern themselves with the first two, while conservatives are equally attentive to all five.

Which is horse hockey.  Well, either that, or “liberal” and “conservative” don’t mean what “common usage” suggests they mean.  In fact, in modern political debate, Haidt’s argument is almost exactly bassackward.

Start from the top.  Care?  Liberals very ostentatiously don’t give a shit if their policies actually help or not.  How’s gay marriage going, for instance?  Anyone bother to follow up on that?  Did that loving gay couple ever get those hospital visitation rights that we were told, in story after heart-wrenching story, was the whole reason for gay marriage in the first place?  As I’ve pointed out before, you’d think the Left would at least be doing some victory laps at this point — “haha silly wingnutz, you said the sky would fall if the gays got married, and look!”  But…. nope.  Obergefell might as well have happened in the 17th century, for all the Left cares about it now.  Ditto the Great Society, the War on Poverty, Head Start, and all the other great Liberal crusades of the past 50 years.  They very obviously did the opposite of what they were supposed to, but if Liberals bother to think about them at all — which they only do if you hold their feet to the fire — they just mutter “needs more funding” and change the subject.

Liberals believe, with all their hearts and souls, that they care more deeply than other men.  But they don’t.  Ditto with “fairness.”  Affirmative action is fair?  How about slavery reparations, i.e. punishing people in the here-and-now for something unrelated people did a century and a half ago.  Pick your major that ends in “Studies;” being unfair to entire classes of people is pretty much the entire point.  Here again, Liberals believe, with all their hearts and souls, that they’re all about fairness, but their actions are exactly opposite.

Loyalty.  Haidt says Liberals don’t care much about this.  In reality, it’s pretty much the only thing they care about.  “Argue” with a Liberal on the internet for five minutes, and you’ll have spent five minutes watching your interlocutor trying desperately to outgroup you.  “Point-and-shriek” is the whole of Liberal political discourse; they have no other.  Conservatives care about loyalty, yes, but only to groups in which they have a personal stake.  The Left is always going to the mattresses on behalf of some group they’ve never seen, over “injustices” that exist only in their minds.

What about authority?  This has been a Leftist chestnut since Adorno, but like I always say, you can’t spell “Liberal” without P-R-O-J-E-C-T-I-O-N.  Here are the traits of the “authoritarian personality” on Adorno’s famous F-Scale.  (F stands for “Fascist”).  Any of these sound familiar?

  • Conventionalism: Adherence to conventional values.
  • Authoritarian Submission: Towards ingroup authority figures.
  • Authoritarian Aggression: Against people who violate conventional values.
  • Anti-Intraception: Opposition to subjectivity and imagination.
  • Superstition and Stereotypy: Belief in individual fate; thinking in rigid categories.
  • Power and Toughness: Concerned with submission and domination; assertion of strength.
  • Destructiveness and Cynicism: hostility against human nature.
  • Projectivity: Perception of the world as dangerous; tendency to project unconscious impulses.
  • Sex: Overly concerned with modern sexual practices.

Admittedly I’m so reactionary I make Joseph de Maistre look like a Wymyn’s Studies professor, but that list looks like “How to be an SJW in 9 Easy Steps” to me.

Saving the best for last: Purity.  Remind me: Who is it that’s always passing new rules on what you can eat, watch, hear, say, and think?  I’m pretty sure that, weirdo status whores like Rod Dreher aside, elaborate ritual purity rules are entirely a Leftist thing.  Show of hands: When was the last time you threw, attended, or even heard about a backyard barbecue where someone had to make sure to get soy dogs and gluten-free veggieburgers?  The Left is so all-in on Brahminical purity that they take positive pride in never having read things they disagree with.  They know with metaphysical certainty, for instance, that the “Sad Puppies” are bad writers… and they know this, according to their own words, because they’ve never read the writers in question.

See what I mean?  If I had to adapt Haidt’s theory to the real world, I’d say something like “Liberal morality is based on endlessly congratulating oneself for believing one only cares about care and fairness, using the other three to prop up this entirely unwarranted self-regard.  Conservative morality, on the other hand, pays attention to all five equally.”

Either that, or I’d say “Left” and “Right” are all but meaningless these days…. but that’s a rant for another time.

 

 

*How’s this for an unintentionally revealing statement?  Wiki on Haidt: “Haidt himself acknowledges that while he has been a liberal all his life, he is now more open to other points of view.”  Well, better late than never, right?  Though one wishes it took less than earning a PhD, teaching several generations of students, and writing a big book of psychological theory to get liberals to finally open up to other points of view.

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