It’s Inevitable, Part III

Karl Marx was wrong about a lot of things — economics, human nature — but he was right about alienation:

The theoretic basis of alienation, within the capitalist mode of production, is that the worker invariably loses the ability to determine life and destiny, when deprived of the right to think (conceive) of themselves as the director of their own actions; to determine the character of said actions; to define relationships with other people; and to own those items of value from goods and services, produced by their own labour. Although the worker is an autonomous, self-realized human being, as an economic entity, this worker is directed to goals and diverted to activities that are dictated by the bourgeoisie, who own the means of production, in order to extract from the worker the maximum amount of surplus value, in the course of business competition among industrialists.

Ignore the pseudo-economic jargon; the bolded phrase is the key.  Doesn’t that perfectly describe cultural life in 21st century America?

The entire cultural apparatus — all media, all education, K-thru-PhD — is dedicated to the Postmodern proposition that everything is a social construction.  And yet, nobody can ever point to a “society” that’s doing the “construction.”  That probably seems wrong, as the edutainment media complex blames everything on White Males.  But ask yourself: Do you personally know any white males — or anybody else for that matter — who has any of the powers ascribed to these fearsome creatures?   Sure, sure, Soros, the Koch Brothers, pick your devil, but again: do you personally know them?  Unless you’re in the “private jet for a ski weekend in the Swiss Alps” set, I bet you don’t (and if you are, what are you doing here?).  The richest, most powerful guy you know, I’m willing to wager, is effectively as powerless as you yourself are.  The Patriarch, for lack of a better term, is a myth — and everybody knows it.

Hence, alienation.  Which is more psychologically damaging, being told that you are a powerless pawn in the hands of an omnipotent elite… or being told that you are that elite, even as you see your supposed slaves voting you out of your job, your house, your country?  Either way, it’s no good.  Especially combined with that last part: deprived of the right to determine the character of their actions, and define their relationships with other people.  From Kindergarten, white kids are told that the character of all their actions is negative, and they relate to all others as exploiters.  Non-white kids are told that the character of their actions is “noble savage,” and they relate to whites as exploited.  That’s effectively the only thing you need to know to go all the way through a PhD; instilling that one lesson is the entire point of the American educational system, and they’re really good at it (h/t House of Eratosthenes).

It’s not psychologically sustainable.  Everyone needs something to believe in, as a wise man once said.  Hence the proliferation of weird sexual fetishes that become entire lifestyles: BDSM, furries, etc.  Or minor lifestyle fluff, that in normal times would hardly rise to the level of hobbies, becoming central parts of someone’s identity.  Fantasy football was a $70 billion dollar industry back in 2013… which, if I recall correctly, was Obama’s fifth straight “recovery summer,” i.e. the depths of the most serious depression since WWII.  Any guesses how much money grown men spend on anime, comic books, online gaming…?  And that doesn’t count porn, a $97 billion industry in its own right.  That’s just money, mind you — how many hours do you think all of that takes?  I’m not knocking anime, fantasy football, or porn.  I’m just asking you to consider how many hours of your life are taken up by those things — watching them, thinking about them, planning for them, discussing them.  There’s a large and growing segment of White America, I’m pretty sure, for which, if watching porn or online gaming were a job, their employers would be required to provide them an Obamacare plan.  That’s not good, but what other choice is there?  They’re not allowed to know anything about their culture, except that whatever it is, it’s evil.  So they have to make up their own…. and fight constant rearguard actions even then, as there’s no activity so obscure and pointless that the Left can’t politicize it.

Speaking of the Left, they suffer from this, too.  Worse, in fact — Wrongfans having Wrongfun isn’t a conservative preoccupation, after all.  DC people and Marvel people have strong opinions, I’m sure, but I don’t think they set out to ruin each others’ lives and families for holding the heretical opinion that Thor is better than Batman or whatever.  Lefties feel more alienated than anyone, which is why they’re so hysterical about everything — it’s nearly impossible to get the virtue signal through the noise.

Under those conditions, “all inside the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State” sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

It’s Inevitable, Part II

As we noted yesterday, the United States is organized under the Enlightenment myth, and the Enlightenment’s assumptions — blank slate equalism, Reason — are false.*  Man is not the Rational Animal; Man is the Occasionally Reasoning Monkey.

So: Human society doesn’t result from a “social contract” between autonomous individuals.  Thomas Hobbes gave us that idea, and as much as I love him, he’s wrong — there’s a social contract, all right, but it’s both broader and simpler than he suggests.  The Hobbesian state of nature is a war of all groups against all groups, and the terms of the contract, when you get down to it, are: Submit, or be wiped out to the last man.  Since most groups don’t choose Masada, they get absorbed into the conqueror’s group.

Which sets the stage for inter-societal conflict.  In pretty much every way that matters, human culture is inter-social conflict — the tensions between groups battling it out for dominance over limited resources produces all art, all philosophy, all politics, all religion.  (Yes, even religion.  Marx was right about that, too, may he roast in hell — religious conflicts, too, are power struggles among contending elites, as proven by their results.  No Torquemada, Luther, Cromwell, etc. ever retires quietly to the monastery after imposing his vision on society, does he?)  “Contending classes,” as Gumplowicz called them, organize around a myth that lets them challenge the current elite and their organizing myth.**

The American and French Revolutions are a good example.  Both are children of the Puritan Revolution in England, in which the dominant class’s organizing myth of “divine right” was successfully challenged by the contending class’s myth of “universal rights.”***  Now codified as “The Enlightenment,” universal rights theory worked better to organize and motivate larger numbers of people to rebel against their sovereign…. and to consolidate the Revolutionaries’ power once they’d won.  This is the pattern in all revolutions, most certainly including our own.****  Problem is, all organizing myths are, you know, myths — eventually they’re exposed as fakes.  The Enlightenment’s blank-slate equalism is as obviously, farcically false as the old Divine Right of Kings.  Not too many folks are ready to die for it these days.

These days, of course, the reality of inter-social conflict is obvious.  We call our contending classes “races,” and it’s obvious they’re engaged in a war of all against all.  It’s equally obvious that our political system, based as it is upon the old-and-busted Enlightenment myth, can’t handle naked racial conflict.

So it won’t.

A new organizing myth will arise, because it has to.  One that sanctions naked racial self-aggrandizement, based on a different — more realistic, because more true to the science we all fucking love — conception of man.  And it just so happens that we have an old myth that fits the bill exactly… but nobody knows that it’s old, because what “everybody knows” about Fascism is wrong.

Part III soon.

 

 

 

*Nothing here is original to me, by the way.  Most of it comes, as I recently found out, from an obscure Austrian thinker named Ludwig Gumplowicz.  Not much of his stuff is available in English, but A. James Gregor lays it all out in detail in The Ideology of Fascism.  It’s also pretty much standard-issue Social Darwinism (which, like every other good idea from the 19th century, pretty much means the opposite of what “everybody knows” it means.  Thanks, American educational system!).

**You can call an organizing myth an “ideology” if that makes you feel better, but it’s still a myth.

*** Social contract theory comes from the English Civil War.  Hobbes and Locke needed to explain the disorder.  Hobbes, who lived through the Civil War, wanted to craft a political system which would prevent another round of horror.  Locke, who kinda liked the horrors of the Civil War, wanted to justify what he saw as a precursor to the new dawn of liberty in the Glorious Revolution.

****Which is why it’s so fun hearing Lefties cite the Founding Fathers as an example of “resistance” to “tyranny” these days.  Among professional historians, “everybody knows” that the American Revolution was fundamentally a conservative revolution, wherein the Founders — you know, those white male slave owning patriarchal gun nuts — rebelled to preserve their privileges that were being threatened by George III and his mercantile system.

It’s Inevitable, Part I

I believe some kind of Fascism is inevitable here, in America, in pretty short order.  Simply put, the United States was founded on Enlightenment assumptions, and every single one of those is wrong.  As nations can’t exist without an organizing myth, we’re going to have to find, or create, a new one.  Fascism has an organizing myth, too — all political systems do — but Fascism’s is closer to the truth than the Enlightenment.

Here are the Enlightenment’s basic assumptions, all of which can be shown false with a minimal exposure to real life and few seconds’ reflection:

The Blank Slate.  Originally nothing more than John Locke’s epistemology — which is whacked in itself — the Blank Slate has come to mean that humans are infinitely plastic.  Anyone who has ever had children, or even been around children, or is capable of comparing his behavior to his parents’, knows this is bizarrely wrong.  Most of our behavior is inherited.  Not all of it — you could write entire abnormal psych textbooks on the distortions of the New Soviet Man — but much more than half.  Which in itself is enough to doom the Enlightenment project — if Man is more Nature than Nurture, it doesn’t matter how perfect our social arrangements are.  We’ll still act like monkeys most of the time — that is to say, patriarchally, hierarchically, violently — because we are monkeys.

Reason.  See above.  We’re monkeys.  Man is not the Rational Animal; Man is, at best, the Animal Capable of Intermittent Rationality.  Reason is a great tool for getting us what we want… but what we want is almost never itself rational, or even reasonable.  Marvel at the exquisite reason behind Moneyball, wherein brilliant minds spend millions of dollars figuring out the best way to hit a ball with a stick.  And yet millions of our fellow men don’t have clean drinking water.  Or, if that’s too hippy-dippy for you, consider the course of the French Revolution — the very first thing they did after declaring themselves Reason’s BFFs was to start chopping off the heads of anyone who disagreed with them.

Religion.  Whether Man is innately religious because God created the world, or we just evolved that way, doesn’t matter in the slightest.  The Enlightened used to debate whether a society of atheists could endure… which proves that the Enlightened were every bit as self-aware as their descendants: Our Betters, the Liberals.  The Enlightened considered themselves atheists, of course, since that was Rational, and see above for their pose as Reason’s BFFs.  See also its consequences.  As David Stove put it, the Enlightened were considerably worse than the Inquisition, because the Grand Inquisitor at least thought he was putting you to death for your own good — that is, he was trying to actually benefit an existing individual.  The Enlightened, by contrast, guillotined actually existing people for the theoretical benefit of possible future people.  Enlightenment is a religion, in other words — in fact, the bloodthirstiest religion of them all.  Man can exist without a God, Eric Hoffer said, but never without a Devil.

Equality.  The Blank Slate + Reason + Atheism = Equality.  This is the core Enlightenment belief.  Note, however, that it’s not a logical deduction.  The Blank Slate says that all men start equal; it doesn’t follow that they all end that way.  It’d be easy to come up with a justification for a caste of slaves on Enlightenment grounds — somebody has to toil in the salt mines, and with no religion to back up its “ethics,” we, The Enlightened, are free to make another group take one for the team.  So long as it’s all Rational, with a fully worked out cost-benefit spreadsheet, who could possibly object?

Part II soon.

War is Not a Dialogue

I recently finished reading Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam, by Trump’s newly appointed National Security Adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, and all I could think is “SJWs… SJWs everywhere.”

McMaster’s thesis is simple: The “leadership” styles of Presidents Kennedy and (especially) Johnson allowed Robert McNamara and his self-proclaimed “Whiz Kids” to run the war as if it were an exercise in systems analysis at Harvard Business School.  (Indeed, throughout the war, McNamara would insist, Mitt Romney-like, that we were winning in Vietnam because all the metrics pointed that way).

The key event of the Vietnam War, McMaster shows, didn’t happen in Vietnam at all.  Rather, the Cuban Missile Crisis convinced Kennedy and especially McNamara that the generals had it all wrong.  Instead of launching an invasion of Cuba, as the Pentagon wanted, Kennedy and McNamara thought their blockade of the island “communicated resolve” to Moscow.  Khrushchev backing down convinced the band of “happy little hotdogs” (as the brass sarcastically called them) running the White House that they knew war better than the professionals — “Just because a man is a general doesn’t mean his opinion on military strategy is worth a damn,” Kennedy proclaimed.

McNamara, whose only military experience was as an Air Force logistics officer in World War II, concurred.  He thought wars were about signaling.  His theory of “graduated pressure” relied on tightly controlled military actions, mostly air strikes, to “communicate” with the North Vietnamese.  His overall objective — if, indeed, he had one after Johnson took over — was to convince Ho Chi Minh that continued support for the Viet Cong insurgency in the south wasn’t worth the pain of having some (or all!) of a list of 94 specific targets flattened by American air strikes.

McNamara really did believe that “pressure” could be dialed in — he and Johnson would sit in the Oval Office, poring over a map of North Vietnam and deciding exactly how many sorties should be flown at each individual target, and the precise value of each target as a signal to Ho Chi Minh.  Thus, NVA barracks below a certain line of latitude could be hit, but not the fighter base whose MiGs protected it (and shot down several American and South Vietnamese air force jets).  Throw in LBJ’s oft-stated objective to not “lose in Vietnam” before he got his Great Society passed — he regarded the war as an annoying distraction from his domestic political objectives — and the military never had a chance.  For their part, the generals couldn’t get past inter-service rivalries, and so never came up with a coherent strategy either.  They agreed that a massive conventional campaign was necessary, but couldn’t figure out how to wage one, and so they meekly went along with “graduated pressure,” forever hoping that McNamara would step it up to the point where they could fight a real war.

Which is why I’m cautiously optimistic in our current culture war.

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Section break!

Big historical changes are rarely obvious as they happen.  Often victory often looks like defeat, for example, and vice versa.  For instance, it’s increasingly clear that Leftism as a coherent political platform died in the Sixties, and Bill Clinton’s 1992 election — seen at the time as the final triumph of the New Left — was actually the last twitch of the corpse.  As the Z Man points out, and a brief glance at Horowitz and Collier will confirm, the so-called “New Left” wasn’t about politics at all.  Sure, they had some barmy ideas they called “communism,” “socialism,” whatever, but in reality they just “wanted to smash things, flip over tables and freak out the squares.”  They were bored little rich kids, afflicted with equal parts white guilt and suburban ennui.  At bottom, most of them were probably just in it for the free love (see the Starr Report for details).

In other words, they’ve always been about virtue signaling, and nothing but virtue signaling.  The problem with that, of course, is that sometimes the enemy doesn’t get the message… and even when he does, it’s rarely the message that’s intended.  Look at Ho Chi Minh.  McNamara was sure he knew exactly what Ho would do, because every time he ran the numbers Ho surrendered.  Meanwhile, the Army ran a different set of numbers — the SIGMA war games — and said Ho would keep fighting.  By the end of SIGMA II, the blue team had 500,000 combat troops in Southeast Asia and was gearing up for a full-scale invasion of North Vietnam.  Turns out that pinprick airstrikes only pissed Ho off and increased the commies’ devotion to the cause.  SIGMA II was played in 1964, by the way — almost a year before the first American boots officially hit the ground at Da Nang.

What is modern Leftism’s objective?  We have no idea, and that’s because they have no idea, either.  Back in the 1960s, they could fight real injustices, and their tactical triumphs looked like long-term strategic victories.  Because Jim Crow was a real evil, and because the Great Society was so huge, the Left’s efforts in the Sixties could be mistaken for dramatic progress towards a coherent goal.  In reality, they were the New Left’s version of American “victories” in Vietnam — air strikes and napalm and artillery and choppers skimming low over the beaches blasting “March of the Valkyries” really look impressive, but when the smoke clears you’re left holding a few square miles of muck in the middle of nowhere that you’ll abandon tomorrow, to do the same thing on another patch of muck somewhere else.

In reality, the Great Society crippled the black family, dooming a majority of African-Americans to generations of poverty — as uber-liberal Daniel Patrick Moynihan recognized as early as 1965.  “Women’s lib,” as it was then called, has been making everyone’s life hell for three generations now, and they still can’t manage to get the gals a lousy 25 cent raise.  And now they’re reduced to cheerleading for mentally ill men in dresses to go wee-wee in the little girls’ room.

Nothing loses a war faster than losing sight of your strategic objective… except never having a strategic objective in the first place.  Social media makes it look like hitting George Soros’s list of 94 targets is really putting the pressure on the Flyover Country Cong, but….to what end?  What’s the objective?

We have one.  They don’t.  Will their firepower beat our clear-headedness?  I dunno, but history suggests the way to bet.

Nazis, Weathermen, Millennials

We all know how Our Betters, the Liberals, like to throw the word “Nazi” around.

  • The Nazis were racists and nationalists;
  • racism is bad;
  • nationalism is “right wing;”
  • therefore “nationalist” means “racist” means “right winger;”
  • therefore anyone who disagrees with a Liberal is bad
  • because Nazi
  • QED.

That doesn’t mean the Nazis aren’t worth studying, though.

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In reality, Nazism was a utopian revolutionary movement like any other.  The only difference was the details, which cynics on both sides acknowledged — Goebbels bragged he could turn a Red into a Nazi in two weeks; the German Communist Party recruited heavily among Nazi Brownshirts.  Let’s leave the details aside, then, and focus on the process.

The names everyone recognizes — Hitler, Goebbels, Goering — were anomalies.  Great War veterans(1), they were middle-aged when the Nazis seized power in 1933.  Their time on the Western Front defined their lives — Hitler’s military decisions, for example, don’t make sense outside the context  of trench warfare.  But the men who actually carried out the prototypically Nazi stuff — the SS, the Einsatzkommandos, the Gestapo — were younger.  Their defining life experience wasn’t the War, though they were fully aware of it.  The “War Youth” generation was defined by defeat, the stab in the back, the missed opportunity to prove themselves worthy of their Fatherland.

This is important: They spent their entire adolescence preparing for war, physically, mentally, and emotionally.  They longed to test their mettle in the crucible of combat like their fathers, brothers, and older schoolmates did…. but they didn’t get the chance to.

So they turned to radical politics.

As “everyone knows,” the guys who joined the SS(2) were mindless thugs, sadists, failures like Heinrich Himmler and Adolf Eichmann, wannabe-farmers who (in Eichmann’s case) actually scratched out a living raising chickens for a while after the war.   As with pretty much everything “everyone knows,” this is false.  SS officers were largely college-educated; many had real degrees in real subjects; quite a few of them considered themselves intellectuals and, of those, quite a few actually were.  They preached, and practiced, a radical ideology they learned in college — a distinctive, instantly recognizable weltanschaaung that guided their actions.

Again, this is important: They learned this stuff in college.  They were Nazis long before the war, and their actions during the war were logical, though horrifying, consequences of their ideology.  The war didn’t turn them into fanatical killers, their ideology did.  The war, especially the brutality of the Eastern Front — which they all regarded as an existential struggle against Bolshevism — provided them with the means and opportunity to put their motives into practice.  Had Germany not gone to war, or had the war gone differently, these guys still would’ve been fanatical, murderous Nazis… except instead of leading “special actions” in Russia, they’d be teaching college seminars.(3)

I’m pretty sure the Six Regular Readers see where I’m going with this but for everyone else, let’s talk about the Sixties.

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That’s Bernardine Dohrn, the driving force behind Weatherman, the most violent radical group in the 1970s.(4)  For those who haven’t heard of Dohrn, Barack Obama’s best bud Bill Ayers, and the rest, Weatherman, like every other white radical outfit in the Sixties and Seventies, was a movement by, for, and about the frustrations of over-privileged college kids.  Their membership was invariably middle- to upper-middle class: Dohrn grew up in an upper-middle-class suburb of Milwaukee and was a law student; Ayers’s father was the CEO of ConEd energy in Chicago; Mark Rudd and John “J.J.” Jacobs were undergrads at Columbia.  And they all wanted to be black — “I think in our hearts what all of us wanted to be was a Black Panther,” a former (female, natch) leader proclaimed, and none of the black groups who terrified California in the early 70s would’v gotten anywhere without the white, female attorneys who helped them… and, of course, slept with them.

Reading about Weatherman and the rest, then — Bryan Burrough’s Days of Rage is a good start — one gets the overwhelming impression of solipsistic kids overdosing on white guilt and boredom.

The parallels are obvious if you choose to see them.  Where the German “War Youth” were radicalized by defeat, the Americans were done in by victory.  Their fathers defeated Hitler, then and now the evilest human being that could ever be.  What could possibly compete with that?  They’d never be tested in battle.  They’d never endure the hardships of the Great Depression.  The only foreign evil on offer was Communism, whose JV squad was slapping their generational cohorts around and whose Varsity was armed with ICBMs.  A hot war with Ivan would be over in twenty minutes.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.  Like the SS intellectuals, the Radical intellectuals of the 1960s were convinced that utopia was within reach, if only we had the steel to reach out and take it.  Their idols — Che Guevara, Regis Debray, Carlos Marighella, Lenin, Mao — taught that a dedicated cadre of professional revolutionaries could lead the masses to victory.  The only requirements were iron will, utter ruthlessness, and total rejection of conventional morality.  The American version played out like a caricature of modern SJW hyperventilating — in their total rejection of “the System,” Weatherman leaders decided to “smash monogamy” by ordering all revolutionary couples to break up; when that wasn’t enough they moved on to mandatory orgies, and when that proved insufficient, to compulsory homosexuality (somehow Dohrn herself always seemed to miss out on the action).  It would almost be funny if not for the bombs, but these people were serious:

We have the moral right, we had the duty to our people to do it, to kill this people who would kill us. We however do not have the right to enrich ourselves with even one fur, with one Mark, with one cigarette, with one watch, with anything. That we do not have. Because we don’t want, at the end of all this, to get sick and die from the same bacillus that we have exterminated. I will never see it happen that even one bit of putrefaction comes in contact with us, or takes root in us. On the contrary, where it might try to take root, we will burn it out together. But altogether we can say: We have carried out this most difficult task for the love of our people. And we have suffered no defect within us, in our soul, or in our character.

That’s Heinrich Himmler addressing a group of SS officers, not Bill Ayers addressing the Weathermen, but change the “bacillus” from “Jews” to “capitalism” and he’d agree with every word.

Which brings us to the Millennials.

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Once again, we see an entire generation of over-educated youngsters who feel they’ve missed an opportunity — really, the opportunity — to test their mettle.  The wandervogel who were radicalized into the SS in college missed the First World War, the Weathermen missed the Second, and the Millennials missed everything.(5)  And unlike the Sixties, money can’t paper this over — when The Simpsons joked about Homer’s hippy-dippy mom “marketing Jerry Rubin’s line of diet shakes, proofreading Bobby Seale’s cookbook, and running credit checks at Tom Hayden’s Porsche dealership,” it wasn’t really a joke.  Hayden never owned a Porsche dealership (Wiki prissily informs us), but the rest of the Sixties bomb-throwing crew did just fine — ask Bill Ayers, emeritus professor of education at Northwestern, or Bernardine Dohrn, law professor at same. Mark Rudd was a college prof, too, and so is Tom Hayden, who was also married to Jane Fonda back when she was still hot.

The rest of the Sixties flower children became hedge fund managers.  Their grandkids can barely get jobs at Starbucks.  And — this is the important part — radical politics are dead, too, at least as we’re used to understanding them.  The Weathermen were stupid, grandiose, murderous clowns, but at least the racism they decried (in between the mandatory homosexual orgies, anyway) was a real evil.  Millennials are stuck picketing department stores so that 6-2 dudes in dresses can make wee-wee in the little girls’ room.

So what’s left for them?  As Matt Forney (a Millennial himself) points out, they’re turning en masse to a new kind of radical politics — the shitlord kind.

Millennials came of age in a world where the entire establishment, from the politicians down to the flesh-puppets of Hollywood, were complete and total jokes. No shock that we want to crash it with no survivors. Donald Trump is the avatar of our rage: while not a millennial himself, his ideas and attitude make the overly comfortable chattering classes collectively brown their pantaloons. Because we have no memory of the leftist upheavals of the sixties and seventies, we’re not bound by the taboos that have held back Boomers and GenXers. Our parents fear the taint of “racism” because of their memories of Hair, Martin Luther King, Jr. and industrial-strength LSD: we see four Chicago savages kidnapping an autistic boy for an anti-white snuff film and we call a spade a spade.

If you’ve followed along with me this far (I’m sure all but the Six Readers stopped about a paragraph in — “oh god, he’s on about the Nazis again!”), you’ll see where this is going.  The only important difference between the SS and the Weathermen was opportunity.  Because America was a lovely place, even in the coked-out patchouli-reeking early 1970s, only a few truly deluded weirdos went underground and became Weathermen.  The Ostfront in a total war was a whole different ballgame, and while Ayers, Dohrn, et al were willing to kill cops and soldiers — and Weatherman did bomb police headquarters in L.A., and the bomb that blew many of their stupid asses up was intended for an army dance at Ft. Dix — the Einsatzkommandos could shoot all the Jews and Commissars they had bullets for.  Bernardine Dohrn praised the Manson Family for killing a pregnant Sharon Tate and sticking a fork in her stomach; Himmler praised his men for remaining “decent” while herding women and children into mobile gas vans.  Other than scale, the difference is…. what, exactly?

The opportunity for serious political violence — on an SS scale, not a Weatherman scale — is potentially right around the corner.  An entire generation is angry, hopeless, and backed into a corner. They’ve been stewed in radical politics their whole lives — remember, Ayers is a professor of education; former flower children have been in charge of almost every primary school, and certainly every college, in America for decades.  The Nazis spared no expense conducting “research” to prop up their bizarre racial views, and the flower children could at least quote Marx Marcuse and Mao to back up their weird notions of collective guilt.  Millennials can’t grasp — literally can’t grasp, and for once I’m using their signature slang unironically — the notion that different groups don’t have different rights.  They can micro-calibrate racial, gender, and sexual identities with a sickening ease that’s beyond us older folks.  They’ve been trained to do so for literally their entire lives.

What happens when the student loan bubble pops?

What happens when China’s economy crashes?

What happens when the shitlords in the crowd start punching first?

It’s not going to end well.

 

 

(1) except Goebbels, who was rejected for service due to a club foot.

(2) As any World War 2-related discussion invariably brings out the internet’s spergiest spergs, let’s get this down for the record: I’m grossly oversimplifying.  I’m talking about the type of guy who ended up in one (or several) of the organizations under the umbrella of the RHSA, the Reich Main Security Office.   The SS was a separate organization, and because of the distinctive Nazi leadership style, there was serious, vicious competition between them and the RHSA, and within the various departments of the RHSA.  But because the Nazi-est Nazis were in the SS, and because everyone who was anyone in the Gestapo, SD, etc. also held SS rank, I’m using “SS” as a catchall term to describe this type of guy.  I’m also aware that the SS itself was far from a homogeneous organization, and that there’s a difference between an Einsatzkommando and a private in the Waffen-SS.  I’m really not interested in who did what during the war, who should’ve been sentenced to what at Nuremberg, et cetera ad nauseam.  There are plenty of cheeto-stained gentlemen on the internet who’d be happy to discuss all that with you; don’t bring it up here.

(3) N.b. to spergs part II: Whether the Nazi regime could’ve existed without going to war, or if it were capable of winning any of the wars it could have chosen to fight, are open questions that we won’t be getting into here.  Save it for your Man in the High Castle fan fic.

(4) not a typo; their official name was WeathermAn, singular.

(5) I know, I know, I’m excluding Gen X.  For one thing, that’s my generation, so it’s hard to be objective about it.  My quick take, though, is that Gen X was largely against youthful rebellion because “being against youthful rebellion” WAS youthful rebellion.  Remember: our parents, the Boomers, made Sticking it to The Man a lifestyle, and they just Would. Not. Shut. UP. about it.  When you’re 18, everything your parents tell you to do is lame; therefore, Sticking it to The Man is lame.  We still did it, of course — “it” being sex drugs and rock’n’roll — since that’s what modern kids do, but we had to be all, like, you know, whatever about it.  Which is one of the main reasons our kids are so fucked up.  And now, back to the rant….

Time Doesn’t Exist – and other Sophist nonsense

So I sawtime this on Facebook.

It’s very deep, of course.

The argument goes like this:  Time doesn’t exist because the units we use to measure it can’t be found in nature. (They can, actually, we may get to that later).

But of course, this is absurd.  The same logic could be used to argue that distance doesn’t exist because centimeters are a social construct, or that mass doesn’t exist because grams are a social construct.

The fact that 3:02 PM on a Tuesday is just a social construct doesn’t mean that time doesn’t exist.  This is an important distinction.  Failing to make the distinction leads to all sorts of logical folly.

In a conversation with Severian a while back, we noted that sophists started this whole deal (or more accurately, perhaps, popularized and formalized it) where we confuse the words we use for things for the things themselves.

I commented on the photo, basically saying what I just wrote above, adding “trust me, time exists.”

To which my friend replied, “we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one.”

Now I know he’s intelligent enough to understand what I’m saying and just wasn’t following at the time and was not interested in trying, so I just dropped it.  But it was clear he was stuck on the language of the photo posted and saw what the truth in it is — and went with the conclusion.  I wasn’t arguing the facts stated in the post.  I was arguing with the two conclusions, that 1) Time doesn’t exist, and 2) that time as a social construct makes us slaves to it.  Time, that is.  The thing that doesn’t exist.

My immediate thought was “we’ll have to agree to disagree”.  By “we’ll” I assume he means “we will”, which means starting at some point in time and going forward.  In time.  Which doesn’t exist.

If time doesn’t exist, then not only is there no future, there is no now.  And if there is no “now”, there is no “is”.  So I, who apparently do not exist in the first place, just “proved” that nothing exists.  Which is a tall order if you parse that sentence at all.

I recall a story from Zen Buddhism that basically went like so:

The master asks the student some koan (I forget what it was), and days later the student comes back and proudly answers that nothing exists.  The master then slaps him across the face and asks, “then what was that?”

Confusing language for reality gets us in a lot of trouble, quickly, especially when we start substituting reality for language — which is the direct opposite of what language does.  Reality is reality, language is the abstract.  It doesn’t mean reality is abstract.

It gets us into lots of trouble in all sorts of subject areas.  And politicians, the main consumers of sophistry, use this to great advantage, every day.

As far as the “slave” thing goes … the social construct of 3:02 PM on a Tuesday was created so we, who are by nature social beasts, can better cooperate with each other. If anything, we are slaves to our nature.  But that should come as no surprise.  Everything is.

More specifically, we are really slaves to agreements – but agreements are necessary for social behavior whether it’s “you must do this by such and such time or I will have you flogged” or “if you do this by such and such time I will pay you … something.”  The nature of the first “agreement”, of course, is coercive and immoral.

But if time doesn’t exist, then morality certainly doesn’t exist.  We can find no physical evidence of it in nature, right?  So who cares?  I digress.

The same thing is being done with gender right now.  In nature, humans are male or female (there are a few biological aberrations, but everyone by and large is one or the other).  Now, there are certain personality traits we associate more with one gender or another, and we have taken to some standardized ways of expressing ourselves accordingly.

But what have our modern sophists done?  They have taken these expressions, this “language”, and substituted them back into the reality of gender, claiming that gender is just a social construct.  But no, it is the expressions that are social constructs.  Gender remains what it always has been.  But the sophists insist that it is not.

What this boils down to is a war on society.  The assumption is that social constructs are arbitrary and therefore worthless.

But “worth” is also a social construct.

So I guess I can officially opt out of this conversation.

*note: 3:02 PM on a Tuesday does, in fact, exist.  It just had no name.  The name is an abstract.  The point in time is a reality.

Political Philosophy in 5 Minutes

Y’all know I love Thomas Hobbes, though more for his method than his conclusions — like Confucius, he thought that all misunderstandings boiled down to bad definitions.  He wanted all arguments to proceed like geometry proofs.  Whether that’s workable or not is above my pay grade (and note that Hobbes wasn’t a very good mathematician), but there’s no question that bad definitions are at the heart of most, if not all, political misunderstandings these days.  To wit:

Machiavelli said that nobles long to oppress the people, while the people only want to avoid being oppressed.  Which is true of any hominid hierarchy.  If you really believe in evolution, you know that humans are advanced software running on kludgy monkey hardware.  What’s true for the baboon troop is true for us, and that’s what we see in human societies — alphas at the top, with his lieutenants, ruling over the great mass of ordinary monkeys, with a few despised omegas lingering at the group’s edges.

Society, then, is a conglomeration of baboon troops, and government is the conglomerate’s internal organization.  The classical social contract theorists had it wrong.  It’s not individuals, each as sovereign as his physical power can make him, doing the contracting.  Rather, the “contract” preexists, in the form of monkey troops – we’re born into a troop, and like all monkeys we’re able to break off and form our own troops if we’re strong enough, but there’s no such thing as a pure individual in the State of Nature (which also doesn’t exist in the way Hobbes et al implied).  Society, then, is a fractal pyramid, and government likewise: all the little monkey troops banded together into one big troop.

BBookSTriangleMonkey troops have one purpose, and one purpose only: the flourishing of the troop.  And that’s where the problems start — as humans are mega-monkeys, we’re able to assign all kinds of different meanings and shades of nuance to “flourishing.”  How far does that extend?  Who gets to decide if the troop is flourishing or not, and what happens when the majority decides the troop isn’t flourishing?

That was Machiavelli’s simple, irrefutable point — the nobility must assure the peasantry that their interests move in tandem.  Nobles want to fight wars and sponsor art and live high on the hog because they’re alpha chimps, and that’s what alpha chimps do.  But nobles can’t do all that stuff without the active participation of the peasants, as they’re the ones who staff the armies, make the art, grow the food, etc.

In return, though, the nobles have to provide some basic returns — a share of the spoils of war if you’re on offense, and physical protection if you’re on defense.  That’s the real social contract, and if it’s broken, the macro-troop that is Government collapses back into micro-troops at the local level.  As humans, we have some limited degree of choice in what micro-troop we want to join when the macro-troop breaks down– this is the “State of Nature” — but joining one isn’t optional.

So here’s the homework that every aspiring noble used to do as a matter of course:

  1. define “flourish;”
  2. define “protection;” and
  3. define how you’ll provide for both.

Pretty simple, no? Problem is, none of our supposed “leaders” have any inkling that they’re supposed to be doing this.  Cf. Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush — get them drunk (from what I’ve heard, that shouldn’t be tough) and make them answer a simple question: “Why do you want to be President?”  And we all know the answer: “Because it’s my turn!!!!”

Which means that this particular iteration of the macro-troop is kaput.  Most of us who reside here in the USA in this, the Current Year, have a decent instinctive idea of what “flourish” and “protection” mean, and though we may not be able to articulate it like 17th century Oxford dons, we know that our so-called “leaders” aren’t providing either.  Back when, this used to be called a “crisis of legitimacy,” and pretty much everyone — yep, Hobbes included — thought that an illegitimate government is no government at all, and nobody is obliged to obey its decrees.

And it’s illegitimate all the way down the line.  The closer you get to an answer to the Three Questions, from an ideologue of any side, the more you realize that they not only haven’t thought this stuff through, they have no idea they were even supposed to. Government is just kind of a thing that sorta happens, dude…. but it’s super-important that it happens my way, or else ur a h8r.

Which is, as the kids these days say, problematic.  I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you what happens to an alpha chimp when he can’t protect the troop.  It’s the same thing that happens to failed leaders in all times and places: lamppost, rope, some assembly required.

It doesn’t have to end that way, but it’s increasingly likely that it’s going to…. because it’s our turn, I guess.

 

In Defense of Fascism

Before we begin (1): This is one of those long, MEGO political philosophy posts.

Before we begin (2): Read this.

It’s a piece from a wonderful site called The Last Psychiatrist, whose archives are just filled with goodness (though TLP himself seems to have passed on).  It begins with the story of Keisha, a 27 year old woman who considers herself “retired” because she’s On Disability.  Most of the rest of the post details our — society’s — complicity in this farce:

The economy was a Ferrari and now it’s only a Honda, but either way, not much time for absences and no time at all for Keisha’s learning curve.  Keisha isn’t just unemployed, she is completely unemployable.   We can argue whether auto plants should pay $20/hr or $50/hr, but for certain there is no market for unskilled labor at all….The jobs employers would be willing to take a gamble on are jobs that pay too little for it to be worth her showing up at all.  Hence SSI [=”being On Disability”].

Also:

For fun, let me point that that another 10% of the unemployed in America are relabeled as “incarcerated”, so total you have a real rate of 15-20% unemployment, and this does not include the unemployable who have been relabeled as “military personnel” thanks to two endless wars, or those who manage ten hours a week at the Buy-n-Large who are relabeled as employed and thus are of no consequence;  all of which is good because if the unemployment rate printed higher than “9%” the credit rating of the US would have to fall to C-.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is one of the main problems Fascism is designed to solve.

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Fascists accept Marx’s fundamental premise, that society is composed of three mutually hostile classes.  That’s why “Nazi” is short for “National Socialism.”  The difference is, while Marx thought this class antagonism would inexorably lead to international proletarian revolution, Mussolini et al thought it could be channeled — and eventually eliminated — by restructuring the institutions of one particular society.  Hence, National Socialism.

To the Marxist, our labor is all any of us really has.  Which is why Marxism became Marxism-Leninism after the Russian Revolution.  Lenin had a civil war to win and a country to run, and soon enough he realized that the Keishas of the world will never be generals or surgeons or factory managers.  It took him a little longer to realize that intellectuals make poor factory hands — early post-revolutionary Russia is filled with morbid stories of university faculties turned out as “shock workers” — but he eventually did.  And in typical commie fashion, he churned out a zillion pages of “theory” justifying why Communism looks just like Capitalism when you actually put it into practice, except nobody gets paid and nothing works.

Fascism skips all the squid ink and accepts the fundamental reality that people are different.  This is one of the main sources of Fascism’s appeal.  Unlike Marxists, who believe that the Proletariat is capable of all things (under the leadership of Marxists, of course), Fascists realize that there’s generally a reason for people falling where they do on the socioeconomic spectrum.  No amount of community college classes on Dialectical Materialism is ever going to make Keisha employable in a modern economy.  Keisha will always be “unskilled labor,” because she is [pick one: genetically, historically, congenitally] incapable of ever acquiring an economically useful skill.

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Fascism also recognizes that Keisha is always with us.  Liberals and/or schoolchildren please take note: This is why George W. Bush wasn’t a Fascist.  Unlike Bush, Fascists realize that it’s mathematically impossible for everyone to be above average.  No matter how exotic and specialized the economy gets, there will always be someone who can’t keep up.  Something must be done for Keisha.

A truly capitalist society, like the one Rachel Maddow fans think America is, would simply let Keisha starve in the gutter.  On the other hand, there’s plenty of work at a living wage for her in People’s Heavy Tractor Manufactory #202 in Krasnoyarsk… and all she has to do is give up her land, her family, her people, and her traditions.  Become a faceless prole, interchangeable with all the others all over the globe, or starve — those are Keisha’s options.

And who’s to say that they won’t be your options someday soon, if the Communist revolution succeeds, or the Capitalists find someone to do your job cheaper?

National Socialism solves all that.  Keisha gets a decent job at a decent wage.  She gets the pride of working for a living, not a soul-crushing handout.  Meanwhile, her employer gets a willing employee.  True, his profits won’t be quite as large, but he, too, has his pride. He’s contributing to national success in a direct, highly visible way, since most jobs that could employ a Keisha — McDonald’s, let’s say, to stick with TLP’s example — are locally owned.  Indeed, the only people we harm by stopping outsourcing, offshoring, and automation are the very biggest Capitalists, i.e. the very same bastards who brought us here in the first place.

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If you accept Marx’s view of life, then — if life is, at bottom, just economics — then Fascism is not only a viable alternative, it’s the best alternative.  For Fascists, State, Economy, Society, and Culture are synonyms — they’re three different descriptions of the same thing.  As Man is an economic animal, Society is the economic organization of human groups.  Culture is the expression of that economic organization, and the State provides its security.  Thus, the Fascist will preserve Culture by rejiggering Society and the Economy via the State.  The vast numbers of poor are helped, only a few of the super-rich are harmed… and they’re all internationalist parasites anyway.

Look closer

These aren’t my personal views, of course.  Fascism terrifies me.  But… can you find the flaws in this post?  Because a whole lot of people would be nodding along with every single word… and that number is growing by leaps and bounds, every day.  If you want have have any hope of heading American Fascism off, you’d better start digging.

Was Pharaoh Left Wing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

A Reply to John C. Wright

At the risk of this becoming nothing but the Fascism-and-Historical-Jesus Blog (Morgan, Philmon, Texan99… y’all want to weigh in here?), I found this question at John C. Wright’s Journal pretty interesting, but I can’t seem to log in to post a reply (perhaps the hacker issues are ongoing).

The question is:

I would like someone to volunteer to show me, in simple steps, how to get from statement (a) there is nothing of eternal meaning to statement (c) there is nothing of meaning. What is the missing statement (b) that links the two sentences?

My stab at an answer is:

Statement a) begs the question.

Wright writes:

Again, if the universe is merely natural, then the laws of nature, the laws of logic, and other properties that are not material doe not arise from the matter of the universe, but are part of the form of the universe.

I agree, and that’s why I think statement a) — “there is nothing of eternal meaning” — is question-begging.  If the universe is only this — quarks and atoms, gravity and van der Waal’s force — then “meanings” must be provisional, and therefore temporal.

In effect, it’s my answer to the problem of theodicy.  Why do bad things happen to good people?  Because humans ascribe temporary meaning to their temporary situations.  If there’s no Good — because there’s no God — then there’s no Evil, either.  Whatever “bad” happens to you is nothing more than a confluence of circumstances, filtered through your conscious, voluntary perception.

[The Stoics would call this something like an “un-preferred indifferent.”  Stoicism holds the only Virtue is Good; all other things are indifferent.  But since Stoics have to live in the world like the rest of us, they have a pretty good yardstick for situational ethics — “preference.”  Though food is itself indifferent — it is not in itself Virtuous — it’s better to be well fed than hungry, so, all things being equal, a Stoic will eat when he’s hungry if there’s food available.  But if all things are not equal — say, he can’t eat without stealing food — he will “select” or “prefer” hunger, or “de-select” or “un-prefer” food].

Now, I’m pretty sure there’s something wrong with this argument — it’s not called The Problem of Theodicy for nothing, and I can hardly expect to have out-thought all the people who have meditated on it lo these past 5,000 years.  But I can’t see where I went wrong.  Any thoughts?