SNUL: Proposition Nations

Over at Z Man’s, a takedown of the “proposition nation” argument.

This is where being out of step with the Twitters and whatnot really hurts me.  I had no idea things were getting this spergy out there.  Z Man is right, of course, but everything he says shouldn’t need to be said.

There’s no such thing as a “proposition nation.”  If there were, then it would be fairly easy to propose forming a new nation, consolidated around a very different set of principles.  Had the Founders intended this, it would’ve been obvious as early as 1814 — when many of the Founders were still alive to comment on the Hartford Convention.  But they didn’t, and the issue was decisively settled in 1861-5.  (Funny how the “proposition nation” folks never mention that set of propositions, eh?  Nobody was clearer about their intentions than the Confederacy’s founders; they put slavery right there in their Constitution, front and center, in terms so clear that not even a Wise Latina could penumbra or emanation it).

“Proposition nation” means “those who come here, and those who are already here who are insufficiently assimilated, should try to behave like White Christians.”  Whether or not they can is an open question, but they should try.  We all should; that’s what “patriotism” really means.

SNUL: The Church of Rational Patriotism, Part I

When you grow up Christian, you don’t notice its absurdities… until you do, but even then you don’t really care.  It’s only when you’re faced with a relentless barrage of other believers’ absurdities that you start to doubt.  It’s not some deep philosophical issue that turns you off; saying stuff like “it’s logically impossible for the same person to be a man and a God” is a post-hoc rationalization.  It’s the creepy kid who wants to pray your cancer away who does it, or the child-abusing hypocrite leading the Youth Group.  That’s the de-conversion experience.

Leftism, as we all know, is a religion, and it seems to be rapidly approaching mass de-conversion.  Just as Official Christianity ™ is now little more than a lesbian pastor and a “congregation” with far more cats than children, so too Official Leftism — as represented by MSNBC, academia, and the Democratic Party — is little more than pensioners mouthing Sixties pieties between seizures and vodka shots.

Meanwhile, out in the ‘burbs, “Christianity” is a megachurch fronted by an obvious grifter, while “Social Justice” has floored the accelerator in its race to become nothing more than a nihilistic death cult.  Though there will still be many believers — Osteen’s “church” is located where the Houston Rockets, an NBA team, used to play — the blatant absurdities of the true believers are going to drive off the vast majority of the lukewarm.

That’s the point we need to snag them.  Something fulfilling, not too absurd, that they can “believe” in enough to feel good, but not enough to where it actually requires more than a butt in a seat one Sunday a month.

SNUL: Bolshevik

Since we’re nearing the 100 year anniversary of the October Revolution, I’m reading up on the early USSR.  It’s fascinating to see how Bolshevik our liberals are.  The clothes, the jargon, the attitudes — the whole SJW schmear, 2017, would be right at home in a Party cell in Petersburg, 1917 (renowned Sovietologist Sheila Fitzpatrick said the Bolshevik “debate” style was all “smugness and tautology”). Even the word “activist” — a very strange one if you think about it — comes from the Russian activ, the collective noun for that personality type (much like intelligentsia, another Russian word; the singular, I think, is intelligent (n.)).

The difference, of course, is that the Bolsheviks had a goal in mind.  It was awful and impossible, but at least a Bolshie could tell you why she was acting as she did.  Our SJWs have no idea why they do what they do.  They can’t possibly describe to you what the Socially Just world would look like… largely because there’s 100 years of evidence showing that it changes from day to day, and a fervent believer in yesterday’s gospel is getting worked to death in the gulag today.

That’s one of the keys to SJW psychology.  The Bolshies dressed like bums and acted like drunk longshoremen consciously, because that’s how they imagined the “Proletariat” acted and they were trying to ape “proletarian” culture (they went so far as to make an “art” movement out of it — proletkult, another wonderful Russian word we could sorely use here).  Again, it was stupid and impossible, but goal-directed.  Our SJWs act like that because acting like that disguises the pointless stupidity of it all.  SJWs are bored, listless people who know, deep down, that they’re wasting their lives.  Constant offense lets them keep that feeling at bay.  It’s “permanent revolution” in the mechanical sense — if you’re always spinning, spinning, spinning in place, you’ll never realize you’re not getting anywhere.

The Technical Intelligentsia

The author of a book I’m reading on the Russian Revolution comes right out and says it was all the fault of non-STEM smart guys.

He doesn’t put it quite that way, of course — he’s a professional historian after all — but he does introduce the Russians’ distinction between types of intellectuals.  In Russia around 1900, the “intellectual” was what he was in Europe in 1700: An independently wealthy dilettante, who could dream up impossible schemes because he’d never have to interact with the grubby proles who would have to implement it.  As Europe went all-in on industrial capitalism, though, this kind of guy disappeared — except for professors of obscure subjects at the very few universities, anyone with anything on the ball went into trade.  They became what the Bolsheviks called “technical intellectuals” — engineers, lawyers, doctors, etc.  Lacking developed industries, Russia didn’t have a “technical intelligentsia” either, and since Russian universities, like Russian cultural life in general, was so heavily censored, there weren’t many job openings in the “literary” intelligentsia either.  Which meant, again, that the only option for these guys to vent their resentment was in Revolution.

The Revolution got more violent, dogmatic, and repressive in direct proportion to the number of these guys in the ranks, the author says, because they weren’t really Marxists — they were envious, frustrated intellectuals, and “Marxism” as they understood it was the best way for them to act out.  Their “Marxism,” like Lenin’s, was a self-contradictory mishmash masquerading as the most rigid orthodoxy.

The results were interesting.  Marx said you had to have industrial capitalism in order to have socialism — largely, it turns out, because you need the “technical intelligentsia” that only capitalism can provide in order to set up “socialist” production.  Since they wanted to skip capitalism, the Bolsheviks were forced to crash out a technical intelligentsia from scratch… but since they were Bolsheviks, they insisted that their indispensable technical experts be paid exactly as much as a factory hand.  And so, of course, anyone with anything on the ball skipped that whole “technical intelligentsia” bit and got himself a Party job, where he could live the life to which he believed himself entitled.

The parallels with our current situation are obvious, so I won’t belabor them.  Rather, I’ll point out that the USSR worked (insofar as it did) because there were enough technical intellectuals who bought into the system to keep it going, and the reason they bought in was that they had a goal — they thought Socialism was a real thing, and they were building it.

After Stalin, of course, it became obvious that Socialism is impossible, and these days we don’t even bother defining a goal.  What do the SJWs actually want?  They don’t know, and the very question would baffle them.  Want a glimpse into our future?  Russia, circa 1995, is probably the closest you’ll get.


Somewhere around 1880, Western Civ died.

Lots of folks thought so at the time, anyway, and this attitude produced the aesthetic we variously call Decadence, aestheticism, the Fin de siècleetc., depending on which aspect of it you’re emphasizing.  You know the kind of thing I mean:


You might not recognize the artist (Aubrey Beardsley), but you know the style.  Decadence (or whatever) is like pr0n — you know it when you see it.  Modern life is anonymous, mechanical, and meaningless, these guys argued, and so there’s nothing left but art for art’s sake.  It can look spectacular — Edward Burne-Jones posters are on every other dorm room wall in America for a reason — but it’s ultimately empty.

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

as a Decadent throwback once put it.

So, too, with their politics, and here’s where it gets interesting.  The Fin de siècle was in love with cloak-and-dagger stuff.  Unshaven black-clad anarchists rioting made Advanced Thinkers moist back then, just as it does now — there’s a reason the Campus Ches and Trust Fund Trotskies all talk like Haymarket Square was just yesterday.  Then as now, they’re in love with the style, the gesture, the look.  It’s cosplay politics — despite the wishcasting of Progressive historians (BIRM), there was no real danger of Western Europe going communist at the turn of the 20th century.  The Revolution happened in Russia for a reason — it’s so far out in Western Civ’s suburbs that it’s practically Mongolia.

History goes in cycles, you know?  We’re 17 years past the turn of the 21st century, but we’re most definitely living in a Fin de siècle culture.  Modern life is anonymous, mechanical, and meaningless, all right — back then it was factory work, today it’s retweets and thumbs-ups, but the dynamic is exactly the same.  And so is the response.  Our politics is all cosplay, too.  It’s entirely gestural.  What does this….organism….want?


Xzhe doesn’t know, any more than this guy does:


They’re just gesturing frantically, trying to hold back the dark with funny costumes and rhyming slogans.

And that’s problematic, as the kids these days say, because if we’re condition to think of politics as nothing but gestures — and again, describe one substantive policy proposal either of those two geeks has — then the best-dressed gesturer wins.  And we know who does great with uniforms, armbands, slogans, torchlight parades…..

Law is Not Culture

Post-Obama America is a fascinating place if you’re a student of human folly.  Liberalism is in its death throes — it’ll be a bumpy ride, and not all of us will survive it, but it’ll be a hoot until they cart us off to the reeducation camps.

The Gods of the Copybook headings are coming back, and they are pissed.

One important lesson we’re learning is: Law is not Culture.  Culture matters far more than Law, but since Liberals don’t believe in Culture — ignorant, ahistorical fools that they are, they think it’s all a scam by the Pale Penis People — they’ve tried to reshape humanity by fiat.  It has worked out as well as every other Liberal idea from the past 100 years.

Anyone who has ever been around kids instinctively understands this.  You want Bruiser to be nice to Timmy, but since Bruiser doesn’t want to be nice to Timmy, you have to forbid certain activities… but Bruiser, despite a 70 IQ and the attention span of a gnat, can still think up more misbehaviors that you can forbid.  So you try positive law — instead of not being able to do certain things to Timmy, you make him do other things for Timmy.  But, again, he doesn’t want to do things for Timmy, so he does what you make him in the most obnoxious way possible.  There’s no set of regs you can lay down that will get the result you want; you have to convince Bruiser that being nice to Timmy is an end in itself.

Get the Culture right, and you hardly even need the Law.  But again, Liberals don’t believe in Culture.  They only believe in Words and Power, so it follows that the right combination of words must work.  They have to believe that if we achieve maximum North Korea — everything not compulsory is forbidden — we shall at long last have Utopia.  Their Utopia, where everything is what it appears to be and nothing can ever be different, no, not ever, world without end amen.

At their best, Culture and Law work in tandem; Law is Culture’s boundary.  In Victorian England, for example, homosexuality was outlawed – punishable by ten years in the slammer after 1861; before that it was a death penalty offense.  And yet, seemingly half the British upper crust were gay in the Victorian Era, and they weren’t too subtle about it — it was simply expected that English public schoolboys would choke up on each other’s cricket bat, as it were.  In this instance, the Law existed to police the acceptable barriers of conduct — Oscar Wilde didn’t go to jail for being gay; he went to jail for being vulgar (he’s the one that sued).

Liberals can’t believe that, so they’re forced to fall back on Law.  It won’t end well for them, but it’ll probably end worse for us — the Law will always be with us, but Culture, once it’s gone, is gone forever.

SNUL: The Classic Slum

Over at Z Man’s, “race realism” goes off the rails.  It always does.  Have you noticed?

Z Man’s complaint is against Our Rulers and their belief in what amounts to magic.  The only options for blacks’ lousy social, cultural, and economic performance vs. whites are race, culture, and magic, and since we’ve tried fixing culture and it can’t be race, it must be magic. Thus “critical race theory,” “white privilege,” and the rest, all of which can be summed up “bad juju, boss.”

I’ve got no beef with that.  But, as always, the danger is reductionism (see the comments).  Culture does play a part — a significant part.  For proof, read Theodore Dalrymple’s Life at the Bottom, then Robert Roberts’ The Classic Slum.  Dalrymple’s underclass British whites are indistinguishable from underclass American blacks — from whom, it’s easy to see, they draw much of their worldview, language, and style.  Roberts’ underclass British whites are very obviously proles, but they’re proud, industrious proles.  You could walk down the street at night in Salford; in most British or American cities today, you’d better have SEAL Team 6 escorting you if you venture outside after dark.

What happened, of course, is that clever academics realized we’re all hypocrites, and from that, concluded that the very idea of standards is a major way The Man is keeping us down.  Back in the Jurassic, we believed in God, so men falling short of their proclaimed ideals was no big deal — we’re not angels, we’re all fallen, let him who is without sin cast the first stone and all that.  You’d never hear the following, which my Millennial students all consider the atom bomb of rebuttals:

Parent: Don’t do drugs!

Kid: You did when you were my age!

Back in the days, the parent would say “yeah, and that’s why I’m telling you it’s a bad idea!” and that would be the end of it.

Some of Roberts’ slum-dwellers had kids out of wedlock.  Some of them were alcoholics.  Some were homosexuals.  Some of them had all the modern social pathologies (adjusted for time and place).  And yet, nobody questioned that monogamy, sobriety, heterosexuality, etc. were good things.  If we can’t all practice them as much as we’d like, well, see that “we’re no angels” stuff, above.  It was important to try — you know, for the kids — such that even if you fell short, the kids would see that trying to rise above one’s circumstances is another good-in-itself.

Dalrymple’s slum dwellers have concluded that, since nobody can live up to his standards all the time, it’s stupid to even try…. and they’ll bust a beer bottle over your head if you do.

American blacks believed this once, too… or, if you must be a “race realist” about it, were forced to act as if they believed it by Jim Crow.  Either way, though, culture kept a LOT of pathological misbehavior in check.  It’s a necessary, but not sufficient, cause of social regeneration.

My So-Called Ideology*

A million years ago, a dead white guy said that the greatest threat to civilization was “huge organized forms of self-righteousness.”  He was referring to stuff like Communism and Fascism but — harebrained nihilistic death cults though they were — at least they had a coherent body of thought behind them (yes, Fascism too, if anyone would ever bother to read it).  Today’s huge organized forms of self-righteousness lack even that.

Example: The other day I was driving to work and saw that the town must have an election coming up — there were signs everywhere reading “So-and-So for Mayor.”  The name sounded vaguely familiar, which is odd, because I don’t follow local politics in cities I don’t live in.  So when I had a free moment I googled up So-and-So… and hey, whaddaya know, he’s a failed Congressional candidate from a few years ago, from another district.

Who says politics is just showbiz for ugly people?  This clown is a character actor from central casting, indistinguishable from every other central casting clown Our Rulers see fit to bestow upon our “elections” every few years.  Should he not get elected mayor, So-and-So will no doubt be parachuted into some other town to run for alderman or something.  His resume and biography don’t matter — he once got elected to something, somewhere, so he’s “electable.”  He’ll die in office, and his obituary will gush about “a lifetime of public service”… though it won’t mention all the publics he’s served, since someone might notice that he’s not from any of those places and none of his so-called constituents could pick his mug out of a police lineup.  See also native New Yorker Hillary Clinton, or stalwart Chicagoan Alan Keyes, whose totally Constitutional qualification to run in those districts was “once changed planes at La Guardia and O’Hare,” respectively.

Hillary Clinton is, in fact, far from the worst violator, though since she’s the most prominent lately let’s roll with that.  Does anyone here think Hillary Clinton has any personal convictions at all?  Ideological convictions, I mean, since we all know that she’s deserving of a whole bunch of the other kind — securities fraud, insider trading, espionage, murder one….

To ask is to answer.  Hillary Clinton is out for Hillary Clinton, full stop.  As president, she’d have executive ordered up mandatory school prayer, concealed carry, and NASCAR attendance if someone paid her enough.  She’s more brazen than most — other hags who make noise about Feminism would at least be a little embarrassed to stay married to an out-n-proud philanderer credibly accused of multiple sexual assaults — but it’s a difference of degree, not kind.  “Liberalism” pays better than “Conservatism,” so she’s a Democrat not a Republican.

Actual ideology requires deep reading, sustained thought, and a backbone, three things which very few of our fellow citizens possess — certainly none of the casting-couched mercenaries we call “politicians” do.  Whether that’s a byproduct, or the point, of the modern educational system can and should be debated, but the end result’s the same either way.  What’s the State for, anyway?  Why should the people get to vote on stuff?  Come to think of it, just who are The People, and how did they get here?

Nobody currently occupying, or running for, any political office in the land has any clue.  Which is, as the Smart people say, problematic.

*I was going to shoehorn in some conceit about that old 90s tv show My So-Called Life, but that’s too cute and nobody cares.  But since I haven’t posted any pictures of attractive people recently, here’s Jordan Catalano.


SNUL: The Eternal Mystery of Liberalism

I got nothin’ much these days, so here’s this:

When you can satisfactorily explain the appeal of Hillary Clinton, you will fathom the liberal mind.

I’m not being sarcastic here.  I understand the following reasons for supporting her candidacy:

  • She’s got dirt on you (this explains half the DNC).
  • She’s going to keep the graft gravy train rolling (this explains the other half).
  • She’s not Donald Trump (remember, MPAI – for lots of folks, politics is sportsball and the Dems are “our team”).
  • You’re a single-issue voter (feminist, abortion zealot).

But those are all tactical choices (for values of “tactical” that include the knee-jerk partisanship of the numbnuts low-info voters that are the majority of both parties’ bases).  But lots of folks sure seemed to be truly, madly, deeply in love with the concept of Hillary Clinton, specifically, as president of the United States.

If you can explain how this reptilian criminal got herself a personality cult without actually having a personality, you have explained modern Leftism.

SNUL: Marxy Marx and the Funky Bunch

Sorry no update lately.  A few quick thoughts on The Z Man’s foray into the Nazi briar patch:

Just as “Nazi” used to mean something real and obvious, so too did “Marxist.”  But just as the Left throws “Nazi” around to mean “anything I don’t like,” so the Right does with “Marxist.”  Of course, this is partly the Left’s own fault, as they themselves throw St. Karl’s name around a lot — your required Intro to Studies class at any college in America is nothing but Marxy Marx and the Funky Bunch, for instance.

But there’s never been a viable Marxist movement in America.  You’d be forgiven for thinking there was if you only read “Progressive” history — which is to say, all academic history written since about 1950 — but it’s wrong.  There are many groaning shelves’ worth of books about labor organizing in the Gilded Age, for example, but

  • a) that’s about as far as it ever got, and
  • b) it wasn’t that far, and
  • c) when you actually look at their evidence, it’s all Judean People’s Front vs. People’s Front of Judea-type tempests in teapots.

In fact, that’s still the burning question for Labor History, lo these many decades later — why was there no viable Marxist movement in America?  (And yes, “Labor History” is a thing, and yes, it’s as insufferable as it sounds).  The answer, of course, is “because Americans, lacking 1500 years of feudal tradition, don’t think of themselves in class categories,” but that must be wrong, because Marx.  So round and round it goes, the only practical effects being: C. Wright Mills‘ books still get on required reading lists in college history classes, and there are some grumpy old men named “Melsor” out there.  The guys who originally pushed this stuff were the “Old Left,” and they’re deader than disco.

The “New Left,” as everyone knows, were the Sixties radicals.  They talked a lot about Marx, too, but their real inspiration was Herbert Marcuse, who said you could screw your way to Enlightenment (and liberate the proles in the process).  Since that required a lot of force — human biology being what it is, and Leftists being the losers they are — the New Left was also all-in on Mao’s style.  They were, if anything, even more economically illiterate than the Old Left (if such a thing be possible), but they didn’t care; they just knew they had to say “Marx” every now and again to keep up their street cred.

Which brings us to the PoMo Left, a.k.a. the Social Justice Warriors.  Their avatar is Barack Obama, who, as the Z Man points out, probably can’t even spell “Marx.”  They’re just old-school Calvinists cosplaying as Bolsheviks — somewhere, somehow, Wrongfans are having Wrongfun, and that must not be tolerated.  And if they get to live like Ottoman pashas in the process, well, vanguard of the proletariat and all that.  There’s no such thing as a Fact, everything’s a Social Construction, nobody’s different from anybody and everyone’s the best at everything, and if you say different, we’ll ruin your life.

Karl Marx has the blood of millions on his hands, but he never said anything that stupid.  Blaming him for SJWs is like blaming the first ape to bash another ape with a rock for ICBMs.