Category Archives: Uncategorized

All Else Equal…

Big historical events seem inevitable in hindsight.  The Civil War, for instance.  You can make a strong case that the United States was doomed from the start, incorporating as it did two wildly disparate cultures that had very little in common other than a shared struggle with the British.  Or you could say that the writing was on the wall by 1800, with the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions.  Maybe the annus horribilis was 1801, when Jefferson appointed John Marshall Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.  Maybe it was the Hartford Convention of 1814-5, when the Yankee states threatened secession, or the Tariff of Abominations and Mr. Calhoun’s Exposition and Protest of 1828 that did us in….

And yet, all of those were contingent.  Even very late in the game, the crisis could’ve been averted, or at least seriously mitigated.  The Democrats could’ve all pulled together behind Stephen A. Douglas, who had a real shot of winning, in 1860.  The 1861 Peace Conference could’ve succeeded.  Major Anderson could’ve followed orders and remained in Fort Moultrie.  The Confederates could’ve waltzed into Washington DC after 1st Manassas.  Nothing that happened was inevitable.  And yet…

Would it have mattered?   Which big decision in the run-up to the war would’ve stopped the war, had it been decided the other way?  Maybe Major Anderson stayed put in Moultrie, or surrendered Sumter before Beauregard opened fire.  Maybe John C. Calhoun was never born, or the Black Hawks scalped Abe Lincoln. Would it have mattered?

Hegelian “Forces of History” are Idealist metaphysical bullshit, but the aggregate of a million little decisions, inconsequential in themselves, do seem to add up to an unstoppable tide.  If you want to say that due to tobacco agriculture, the Atlantic Slave trade, Puritanism, and the Industrial Revolution, something like the US Civil War was inevitable from at least the end of the French and Indian War, no matter if “we” won the Revolution or not, you won’t get too much of an argument from me.  Zhou Enlai’s quip about the French Revolution (“too early to say“) has been deliberately distorted into the profound wisdom of the Inscrutable Orient — he was talking about the street riots of 1968 — but he was at least half right for all that.  The roots of any great human calamity run centuries deep.

The problem with making these kinds of analyses lies with a simple phrase: “All else equal.”  You can make the facts fit any thesis you want, depending on when and how you deploy that crucial qualifier.

It might help to consider a less life-threatening situation: Baseball.  Half the fun of barroom baseball arguments is comparing players from widely disparate eras.  Mike Trout, for instance, is often compared to Mickey Mantle.  Well, what if Mantle were playing today?  If, instead of growing up a dirt-poor dust-bowl Okie with a drinking problem, the Mick grew up middle class in a nice New Jersey suburb, like Trout did?  Give Mantle 21st century diet, nutrition, and training, and who knows?  Maybe he hits 100 homers a year, steals 95 bases, hits .450 lifetime….

Or maybe not, because the Mick did what he did against 1950s competition.  Put Mike Trout on the field back then, when black players were a rarity, relief pitchers were scarce (and not very good), and all but the superstars still had to work regular-guy jobs in the offseason, and maybe it’s Trout who hits 100 homers, steals 95 bases, goes .450 lifetime….

Or maybe not, because of course, Trout wouldn’t have all those 21st century benefits — nutrition, training, coaching, travel teams that play against top-tier competition all year long….

See what I mean?  “All else equal” is fun for friendly arguments over a few beers, but pointless in real life.  Even if you go all sabermetric on it, and somehow decide that the average pitcher in 1958 is 0.7924 times as good as the average pitcher from 2018, then multiply Mantle’s stats by the phases of the moon, divide by the cosine, carry the one… it still doesn’t matter, because all of that is ass-pulled.  1958 isn’t 2018, 2018 isn’t 1958, and in this case at least, the similar things aren’t as similar as the different things are different.  Or maybe they are…..

Eventually you just have to go with your gut.  Since folks in Our Thing are historically literate, we tend to love these “all else equal”-type arguments.  The problem is, they’re seductive — you can get lost in them, such that while you’re arguing about what might’ve happened all those years ago, you miss what actually is happening now.  What does your gut say?  Whatever else might have happened in 1860, doesn’t it feel rather 1860-ish right now?  ‘

History’s nice, but don’t let “all else equal” act like a lullaby.  Follow your gut.  My gut tells me things are about to get really bad, really fast….

 

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Adventures in Advertising

I love watching ads.  No, really — TV these days is straight-up poz, but the ads, though also straight-up poz, tell us a lot about where our culture is going.  TV’s passive; it does all its work through osmosis.  Ads, though, are active.  They have to engage you, give you something to aspire to…

You even see it in spam.  Since I write a lot about college, declining standards, the Asian invasion, and the possible relationships between these, all my posts get bombarded with comment spam for paper writing services.  That tells us a lot, doesn’t it?

One thing I keep banging on about is: How fast big historical changes happen.  Most of us, when we hear “history,” think of change taking place over epochs, somewhere deep in the distant past.  It somehow never occurs to us that History never stops, and that we, too, are a part of it — assuming we don’t nuke ourselves back to the Stone Age before then, the historians of 2140 are going to have a field day with us.  All the evidence of looming disaster was right there; how could those fools not see it?

The collapse, when it comes, will take just about everyone by surprise.  I’d be keeping an eye on Harvard if I were you.  You may not know this, but they’ve got a big lawsuit on their hands, and it’s about to go to trial, and it’s not going to go well for them.  Of course Harvard discriminates against Asians.  Everyone knows this, just like everyone at Harvard knows Elizabeth Warren ain’t no kinda Indian.  So long as they’re not stupid enough to put it in the public record, everyone’s fine.  But the discovery process, like DNA tests, can be killer….

It’s like this, y’all.  Colleges have three objectives:

  1. Collect Diversity Pokemon;
  2. Maintain administrators’ and professors’ fat sinecures;
  3. Maintain academic standards.

As funny as 3 sounds now coming from me, it’s true… so long as you understand what “standards” mean, and, most importantly, why they define them that way.

“Standards” means things like “average SAT score,” “graduation rate,” and any other number that can be put on the marketing materials sent to the parents of kids who don’t qualify for scholarships, especially out-of-state.  One could actually escape college debt free without scholarships, even now, if one stayed in-state and commuted…. which is why colleges don’t bother with education anymore, and instead focus on “The [college name] Experience.”  You’re missing out if you don’t stay in the dorms all five years, at an aggregate cost far greater than even out-of-state tuition!

I’m only exaggerating a little, if at all, when I say that the entire university ecosystem depends on this — dumb parents paying full out-of-state tuition, room, and board.

Yes, Harvard too, which is why they’re so eager to get Asians… but only actual from-Asia Asians, the kind that go back home and take up their rightful places as second-deputy-undersecretary of indoctrination at People’s Heavy Tractor Manufactory #202 somewhere in Xinjiang Province.  It doesn’t matter that Asians-from-Asia don’t speak English, refuse to do the work, and turn the dorms into a Workers’ Paradise — their bought-straight-from the-Internet SAT scores still count for marketing purposes, and grade inflation takes care of the rest.**  So long as they pay the freight, they get counted as “Diversity” — win / win / win.

What they absolutely don’t want, on the other hand, are Asian-Americans, which both real Asians and college administrators* call “bananas” — yellow on the outside, white on the inside.  Those kids stick around, and become legacies, and marry the daughters and sons of legacies, and, in short, royally screw things up for the dumb-but-clubbable Slade Jackington van Pelts and their dumber-but-still-clubbable kids.***

I trust y’all see where this is going.  So long as everyone knows — BUT NOBODY SAYS — that Asians-from-Asia count for Diversity purposes but Asian-Americans don’t, it’s all good.  And nobody’s going to say anything, so long as you don’t constantly shove victimology down undergraduates’ throats….

As schadenfreudily delicious as it is to watch the SJW monsters they themselves created tearing the Ivy League apart, consider that Harvard is “elite” only in name.  Seriously: Every other big school in America does the exact same thing, and most of the little ones do too.  Remember the “college paper writing service” spams that started this post?  They don’t advertise those at Harvard, because they don’t need to — Harvard gets the best cheaters the cheating-est political system of the most dishonest culture on Earth ever produced.  I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if the profs wrote these kids’ papers themselves at places like Harvard.

At Big State, though, it’s still necessary to pretend that the Asians-from-Asia can, and actually do, do the work.  If Harvard is forced to play it straight with their admissions, so to will every other university in America…. and unlike Harvard, they don’t have a zillion-dollar endowment, so have to at least pretend that their degrees’ value are in the learning, not in the brand.  Without constant subsidies from the PRC, they’ll be forced to fall back on their own resources…

… and pop goes the higher ed bubble.  Before you start cheering, recall that Americans now have more student loan debt than credit card debt.  What do you think happens if people learn just how much of that trillion or so dollars — yes, with a T — is a big fraud?

Wars have started over much, much less.  It’s not going to end well.

 

 

*Yes, waaaay off the record, of course, and with some chemical help, but I’ve heard it.
** It is almost literally impossible — literally, Millennials, literally! — to fail out of college these days, and it gets harder the higher up the academic food chain you go.  The little commuter-college branch of Big State out in Podunk can fail kids, as their business model is “churn-and-burn,” but you’d have to plagiarize your term paper while making like Bill Clinton at dollar beer night at the nudie bar, and vote Republican, to fail out of the Ivy League.  The customer’s always right, remember?
***Big State U has the same problem, of course, with the added headache that Asian kids of either variety are no good at football.
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In Soviet America, Surveys Take YOU!

The now-defunct discipline of “Sovietology” was one of the few areas of the ivory tower in which one was allowed to be an open conservative, so it produced more than its share of colorful incidents.*  One of my favorites was Robert Conquest’s re-titling of his seminal work on Stalin’s purges, The Great Terror.

Originally written in 1968. Conquest was forced to rely on the only information available to historians in those days — official Soviet reports, declassified CIA intercepts, testimony from dissidents and escapees, etc.  He was of course pilloried for decades because of this, since the logical inferences he made, though perfectly consistent with the available sources, went against Socialism, then as now academia’s official ideology.  He stoically endured until the Soviet Union’s collapse and the opening of their archives, which proved him right in just about every respect.  But finally he couldn’t take it any more: When asked by a BBC interviewer what he’d change about his book now, he replied “only the title.  I’d call it I Told You So, You Fucking Fools!”

Alas, it’s not true; the new title was a real suggestion all right, but made on Conquest’s behalf by his friend, the novelist Sir Kingsley Amis.  The point is, this kind of thing has been going on for at least three generations now.  As we all know, “a Liberal ___” is a Liberal first and a ___ only a very distant second, and if there’s ever a conflict between the two — as is inevitable, Reality being what it is — Liberal always wins.  As blogfather Morgan says, the only logical thing to do is paste those “parental advisory” stickers rap albums have onto any and all “research” involving Liberals, because it’s all but guaranteed there’s some fudging going on somewhere.

Which brings to mind another Soviet-era joke.  This one’s not apocryphal; it’s a pun in Russian.  Isvestia means “news;” Pravda means “truth.”  As these were the titles of the two main Soviet newspapers, Ivan Sixpack quipped “there’s no news in the truth, and there’s no truth in the news.”  This has been true in America, too, at least as far back as the Sixties.  As all histories of the period were written by Liberals, based on “news” “reported” by Liberals, it’s all but guaranteed that everything we “know” about the period is wrong.  I’m starting to wonder if there even was a “Vietnam War.”  After all, if they can fake a moon landing, it’s child’s play to fake a war….

The difference between then and now isn’t the Internet, as most people who haven’t thought about it say.  (Seriously, read any political site on the Net, Left or Right.  You’ve got a better chance of spotting Elizabeth Warren’s Cherokee ancestor than you do catching a glimpse of objectivity).  Rather, it’s that the Left, having gotten away with so much for so long, has finally forgotten why they bothered to fake it in the first place.  The kind of gross incompetence on ever-increasing display since 2016 goes beyond hubris; it’s only possible thanks to a historical amnesia so vast, not even the Russians have a word for it.

Liberals used to be great at playing the double game.  They came off as the voice of sweet reason in public, while embracing their “direct action” lunatic fringe in private, because they knew they’d never get called on it.  Should any Leftist politician get caught on camera saying something stupid, the Media would simply burn the tape before the nightly news, just as they were guaranteed not to show all the anarcho-commie banners that made up — indeed, still make up — the majority of “peaceful” Leftwing “protests.”  Meanwhile, the Media could be counted on to distort anything the Right said or did, from making giant pro-life rallies look tiny to only showing photos of infiltrators at Tea Party events.  So long as they didn’t start acting like lunatics on live TV and social media, Liberals were golden.

We all know how that turned out.

That’s why the November elections offer a ray of hope.  Now, I don’t think for a second we can vote our way out of this — sorry to rain on your parade — but the results should be a pretty good bellwether of how screwed we really are right now.  Only the truest of true believers still trust the “Blue Wave” polls… and even they’re backing down (the polls, I mean, not the true believers.  They’ll never stop).  If the official report is “Dems up 5,” then the reality must be closer to “Republicans up 10.”

If the Dems win, or if it’s even a toss-up, we might avoid serious violence for another election cycle, as their tried-and-true tricks worked this one last time.  But if they lose….  since there’s no way to claim “Russian hacking!” about every single race nationwide, violence will be all they have left.  And if the Normals are awake enough to consciously know the entire Media apparatus is lying to them — and what other conclusion could we draw from a “Red Tsunami“? — then when the Left starts shooting, as they must, chances are good the Right will start shooting back.

Or maybe not.  Remember, very few Sovietologists saw the end of the USSR coming.  When these things happen, they happen with blinding speed.  But if I were a betting man, I’d put money on Red… then start fortifying my compound.

 

 

*Funny how that works — Right-Answer disciplines need conservatives to make them work, as we’re discovering as we try to replicate the glories of Soviet science, circa 1950.  They set themselves back decades in biology, for instance, by going all-in on Lysenkoism, because — and ONLY because — Lysenko had the “correct” socio-political background.  If you ever wondered what going to the doctor was like in the USSR circa 1972, wait ten more years, for all the diversity hires to fully take over the med school faculties.
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Own Goals

I admit it, I was wrong.  I thought 50% of the reason the Left wins is because they’re impossible to take seriously.  But then Elizabeth “Dances with Socialism” Warren took a DNA test, and now I’m certain it’s more like 75%

When Lieawatha first came to my attention, I thought “surely no one who looks like that would be stupid enough to….”  But of course I was wrong, because that’s why she came to my attention in the first place.

“But given that,” I thought, “surely nobody would be so dumb as to double down on it.”  I was wrong there too, because nevertheless, she persisted.

“Even so,” I said to myself, “surely someone who knows enough about the rules of evidence to get a law degree wouldn’t be so foolish as to take a DNA test, especially when she’s on record saying her grandparents faced discrimination because of their Indian-ness.”  But, there it is.

Will any of this matter to the moonbats when Warren throws her hat in the ring for 2020?  Of course not.  And as for us Normals, we have this weird mental block where we assume that someone who has been so thoroughly humiliated would never dare show herself in public again.  When even Orrin Hatch is bagging on you, for pete’s sake, there’s no hole deep enough to crawl into… or so we Normals think, anyway.

And yet, there’s a better-than-decent chance that this woman ends up the Democratic nominee in 2020, which means, what with the constant immigration and the voter fraud and all, there’s a better-than-decent chance this fucking clown ends up the next President of the United States.

It’s pretty simple, y’all — if facts and reason motivated any significant part of human behavior, there would be no Liberals.  As impossible as these bozos are to take seriously, we can’t afford not to, not even for a second.  Fauxcahontas just scored a huge own goal; we need to put that fucker up on the scoreboard, and keep it there.

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Open Thread

I’m sick.  I’m tired.  I’ve got nothin’.  So what the hell, everyone else seems to do these.  How about an open thread?  What is it that you want to discuss?  Anyone have any post suggestions, comments, concerns?

I can’t speak for Morgan, Phil, etc., but I’m up for whatever.  I enjoy and appreciate all twelve of y’all, not least because we’re all contrarian enough not to let things devolve into a circle jerk.  So….

Open thread.

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What’s the Matter with Kansas Now?

Karl Marx got a few things right — when history repeats itself again, it’s a farce.  Our Guys are Thomas Frank now.

For the benefit of younger readers, Frank’s 2004 tome What’s the Matter with Kansas? was one of those Wild Kingdom-style political documentaries, in which the intrepid Liberal leaves his deep blue enclave and disappears into the Midwestern mists, bringing back strange tales of feral savages who drive pickups, shop at WalMart, and go to church on Sundays.  You know, the kind of thing only a guy who looks like this could write:

It’s a master class in point-missing.  Pay attention, this will be on the midterm:

Out here the gravity of discontent pulls in only one direction: to the right, to the right, further to the right. Strip today’s Kansans of their job security, and they head out to become registered Republicans. Push them off their land, and next thing you know they’re protesting in front of abortion clinics. Squander their life savings on manicures for the CEO, and there’s a good chance they’ll join the John Birch Society. But ask them about the remedies their ancestors proposed (unions, antitrust, public ownership), and you might as well be referring to the days when knighthood was in flower….

The larger interests that the [Democratic Party] wants desperately to court are corporations, capable of generating campaign contributions far outweighing anything raised by organized labor. The way to collect the votes and — more important — the money of these coveted constituencies, “New Democrats” think, is to stand rock-solid on, say, the pro-choice position while making endless concessions on economic issues, on welfare, NAFTA, Social Security, labor law, privatization, deregulation and the rest of it.

Would those corporations that the Democrats are so desperate to court be the same corporations that stripped Kansans of their job security, blew their life savings on CEO manicures, etc.?  The ones the Democrats are bending over and lubing up for, on every issue except abortion?  Or are they different ones?

To me, this sounds like Kansans are just getting on the winning team under the terms of Frank’s own “logic.” I mean, ya know, if “corporations” are going to fuck you over no matter what party you vote for, shouldn’t we salt-of-the-earth types at least vote for the party that isn’t all-in on wholesale baby murder?  But hey, that’s just me; I don’t get paid to write for Harper’s Magazine or get interviewed on NPR.

Whatever, point is, the folks in Our Thing now find ourselves in a very Thomas Frankish position vis a vis places like Kansas.  Like all pantywaist ivory tower soybois who’ve never worked a day in their lives (BIRM at least 3x, I know), Frank assumes that economic issues should always trump cultural ones.  That the eeeeeevil GOP he’s forever railing against also assumes this is so ironic my toes are starting to rust just typing this, but that’s where we are.  The core problem Our Thing faces is: He’s right.  Provided that the latest iCrap has a slightly wider screen, White folks will continue to enable their own extermination.

In fact, economics-over-culture is forcing us to make the same arguments loony Leftists made half a century ago.  I love quoting Orwell on imperialism:

The alternative is to throw the Empire overboard and reduce England to a cold and unimportant little island where we should all have to work very hard and live mainly on herrings and potatoes. That is the very last thing that any left-winger wants. Yet the left-winger continues to feel that he has no moral responsibility for imperialism. He is perfectly ready to accept the products of Empire and to save his soul by sneering at the people who hold the Empire together.

It’s fun to sneer at people like Frank and Orwell — I plead guilty — but we’re on the flipside of the same coin.  Orwell thought his fellow Englishmen would throw over the Empire and go back to shivering, potato-chomping irrelevance if only they knew how bad folks had it in Bangladesh.  We “alt-right” (or whatever the hell we’re calling it this week) seem to think our fellow Americans will happily embrace a 1950s standard of living — in which a whole hell of a lot of homes didn’t even have air conditioning — because Doris Day just shut up and sang.

“No a/c” beats genocide, I’ll cheerfully admit, but what do you think will have to happen before people start thinking those are their choices… IF those are their choices at all?

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The Face You Deserve

The Classical Greeks held that Beauty, Truth, and Goodness are the same thing — the Good is the True, which is the Beautiful.

The old cliche has it that by 50, you have the face you deserve.

Put ’em together, and you have one top shelf COPROP campaign.

It’s no accident that 95% of Liberals are ugly, and that the 5% who aren’t (Hollywood actors and whatnot), are degenerate freaks.  Ugliness — physical, moral, and mental — is a logical outcome of Leftism’s premises, and it always has been.

Stripped of all its formidably dense pseudoscience, Marxism is just Utilitarianism elevated to a religion.  Utilitarianism means “the greatest good for the greatest number.”  Obviously the Plain Janes of both sexes far outnumber the truly attractive people.  The valorization of physical attractiveness, then, causes way more pain to more people than it ameliorates.  Therefore, physical attractiveness is counterrevolutionary, comrade.

Lenin obviously agreed.

Not only that, but the beauty industry — Big Lipstick, let’s call it — is one of those tools of hegemony Antonio Gramsci was always going on about.  It’s impossible to achieve the proper revolutionary consciousness when you’re worried that Mao suits make your butt look big, and that’s just how Big Lipstick wants it.  Same deal for working out and eating right — nobody does it just for the health benefits; if they did, they’d eventually stop talking about their fitness routine, and, of course, no one ever does.  That, too, is a tool of social control, because it reinforces bourgeois values like “self-control.”  So not only is physical attractiveness counterrevolutionary in itself, but so is wanting to appear more attractive than you are.

Last, there’s the fact that the Proletariat is…. well, not to put too fine a point on it, the Proletariat is disgusting.  Factory workers aren’t the heroic, iron-jawed, muscle-bulging supermen of Communist propaganda.  Real factory workers look like this:

Lefties knew it, too, even back then, which is why Theophile Gautier, one of the deans of art-for-art’s-sake, famously proclaimed that “the most useful place in the house is the toilet:”

There is nothing really beautiful save what is of no possible use. Everything useful is ugly, for it expresses a need, and man’s needs are low and disgusting, like his own poor, wretched nature. The most useful place in a house is the toilet.

Faced with that reality, the only thing to do is to make ugliness itself into a political statement, which Bolshevik women, to their… credit? I guess?… got going on right away:

That’s Nadezhda Krupskaya, Lenin’s main squeeze, and she’s actually not too hideous by Bolshevik standards.*  Here’s Emma Goldman, rocking the true revolutionary intellectual look:

See what I mean?  “Fat acceptance,” slutwalks, and all the rest of it follow naturally from Bolshie beliefs.  If you accept — as a good little Dialectical Materialist must — that there’s nothing to human happiness but bread, shoes, and shit, ugliness — physical, moral, mental — becomes a good in itself.  How could it be otherwise?  Only truly useless things can be beautiful, and useless things, by definition, do not further The Revolution.

Too bad for the Bolshies that it’s in our nature to confuse the messenger with the message.  I like to think of myself as an open-minded, tolerant man who takes things as they come, but holy jeeebus, I don’t care what Emma Goldman’s deal is — if she’s for it, I’m against it.  I need bleach for my eyes.

We need to use that.  It’s no coincidence that Ashley Judd and now Taylor Swift are spouting off about Progtard politics — they used to be cute; now they’re not.  See what Social Justice does to you, ladies?  Stay cute – vote Trump.

 

*Alas, nobody refers to Russian women who joined the Party as “bolshe-chicks,” but feel free to use it.

 

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The Taylor Swift Thing

I really couldn’t give a rat’s ass about contemporary pop culture, but the Taylor Swift freakout entertains me a little.  If Our Side had any game at all, we’d be doing something like this:

This is your body before Social Justice.  And this….

…is your body after Social Justice.

The “Game” guys have it right on this one.  There’s no super-secret evil plan here.  Swift is only 28, but pop tarts age in dog years.  If she wants to continue having a career, Swift needs to become a “serious artist,” which as we all know is synonymous with “SJW-cliche-spouting Progtard.”  By coming out (heh heh) in favor of the Democrat at the tail end of a losing race, she’s testing the waters, trying to figure out which way her second career is going to go.  Will she be the new Sarah McLachlan, or will she spend the 2020s opening up for the Indigo Girls?

Remember: Modern politics is almost exclusively aesthetic.  We have the pretty girls.  They have the ugly girls.  Which means they get the formerly pretty girls who hit the Wall at Mach 3.  “Social Justice: It’s What’s For Dinner” would make one hell of a COPROP meme.

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The Liberal Rage Virus

I’ve mentioned it before, but I highly recommend Robert Jay Lifton’s Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, his study of “brainwashing” in early Mao-era China.  He listed eight criteria for successful “thought reform:”

  1. Milieu Control. This involves the control of information and communication both within the environment and, ultimately, within the individual, resulting in a significant degree of isolation from society at large.
  2. Mystical Manipulation. The manipulation of experiences that appears spontaneous but is, in fact, planned and orchestrated by the group or its leaders in order to demonstrate divine authority, spiritual advancement, or some exceptional talent or insight that sets the leader and/or group apart from humanity, and that allows reinterpretation of historical events, scripture, and other experiences. Coincidences and happenstance oddities are interpreted as omens or prophecies.
  3. Demand for Purity. The world is viewed as black and white and the members are constantly exhorted to conform to the ideology of the group and strive for perfection. The induction of guilt and/or shame is a powerful control device used here.
  4. Confession. Sins, as defined by the group, are to be confessed either to a personal monitor or publicly to the group. There is no confidentiality; members’ “sins,” “attitudes,” and “faults” are discussed and exploited by the leaders.
  5. Sacred Science. The group’s doctrine or ideology is considered to be the ultimate Truth, beyond all questioning or dispute. Truth is not to be found outside the group. The leader, as the spokesperson for God or for all humanity, is likewise above criticism.
  6. Loading the Language. The group interprets or uses words and phrases in new ways so that often the outside world does not understand. This jargon consists of thought-terminating clichés, which serve to alter members’ thought processes to conform to the group’s way of thinking.
  7. Doctrine over person. Members’ personal experiences are subordinated to the sacred science and any contrary experiences must be denied or reinterpreted to fit the ideology of the group.
  8. Dispensing of existence. The group has the prerogative to decide who has the right to exist and who does not. This is usually not literal but means that those in the outside world are not saved, unenlightened, unconscious and they must be converted to the group’s ideology. If they do not join the group or are critical of the group, then they must be rejected by the members. Thus, the outside world loses all credibility. In conjunction, should any member leave the group, he or she must be rejected also.

I did a whole series on this (start here), but it’s worth rehashing here, as at that point we only had six regular readers and now we’re up to twelve (wow, a 100% increase!  We all deserve raises).  We can boil it down to two crucial points:

  1. You can find all of this stuff, right out in the open, at any college in the land.  I’m not exaggerating when I say that Lifton’s eight steps are pretty much just what college IS these days.
  2. It doesn’t have to be “total” to work.

The second point is worth expanding, because of course you can’t go the full Mao on college kids — you have to let ’em off campus sometime.  The best you can reasonably do with the majority of kids is to infect them with Social Justice toxoplasma, a latent infection that flares up intermittently for the rest of your life, like malaria.  As David Stove said of Hegel, you can’t be exposed to very much of this stuff without contracting the habit of thinking the way they want you to think.  “Privilege,” for instance, is everywhere; it’s just part of the human condition.  But it’s lethally easy to start blaming people for their “privilege,” and once you do — even once — you’re infected.

Leftism isn’t a set of doctrines, obviously — the SJW catechism changes daily, without warning, as we’ve all seen.  Nor is it a mindset, a way of thinking, a weltanschauung.  All of those are too all-encompassing, and nobody’s a full-time Leftist, because that’s impossible.  Seriously — you can’t grow potatoes by “thinking” like a Liberal, because that would entail you can grow potatoes whenever you want, regardless of climate or season, so long as the soil is sufficiently #Woke about its “nitrate privilege.”

Leftism only works if you think about it as a latent infection, that flares up when conditions are right.  One of my granddad’s old war buddies, for instance, got malaria courtesy of Emperor Hirohito back in 1944.  Every few years he’d get run down with the flu or whatever, and then, when his constitution was at its lowest, boom!  He’d have malaria again.

Leftism’s like that.  It’s like the rage virus from 28 Days Later, except instead of turning you into a spastic zombie full time, it only flares up when activated.  The point of American “education,” then, is simply to infect you with the virus.  And trust me, I speak from long experience — put the typical kid through all eight of Lifton’s steps, and they will contract SJ toxoplasma.  It’s almost impossible not to.

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Forbidden Thoughts and Common Sense

In The Book of the New Sun (see previous post), the protagonist’s nation is at war with a group called the “Ascians,”  Wolfe swears this shouldn’t be read as “Asians,” but Wolfe saw combat in Korea…. so yeah, they’re the Yellow Hordes, and their “language” consists solely of quotations from government propaganda.  A central episode of the final novel is the narrator listening to a “story” by an Ascian prisoner, told entirely in soundbites from (the far future equivalent of) Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book.

Folks who study totalitarianism call these quotations “thought-terminating cliches,” and while the prisoner is capable of making his meaning known with them, the story he tells is itself a cliche — that of a just man being persecuted, then rescued by The Party.  It’s a neat trick.  Wolfe both humanizes the prisoner, by showing his inventiveness, while also showing that collectivism reduces even the most intelligent, inventive man to thinking in patterns no more complex than a fairy tale.

Orwell tried a different technique in 1984.  The Ascians are window dressing in Wolfe’s books, but Newspeak is central to Orwell’s.  As Orwell explains, Newspeak aims to reduce human thought by reducing vocabulary.  With only a handful of words that have unchanging, concrete meanings, one simply can’t express abstract concepts like “love” or “justice” or “freedom,” and so they cease to exist.

Our modern Ed Biz gurus haven’t gotten quite to either point yet — though not without some serious effort in both directions — but they’ve come up with something equally insidious, that works almost as well: Stuffing students full of disconnected factoids.   Ray Bradbury described it in Fahrenheit 451:

chock them so damned full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information. Then they’ll feel they’re thinking.

That’s modern “education” in a nutshell: Endless praise for the endless regurgitation of “facts”… and punishment for putting any two facts together.

Just to stick with a theme from the Hard Truths, consider two “facts” that “everybody knows” about human beings: 1) We share 96% of our DNA with chimps, and 2) the “theory” of evolution is true.  Now, suppose for the sake of argument that both of them actually are true.  If one were genuinely curious about human origins, one would ask the immediate, obvious question these two facts raise: What’s in the 4%, that gives us language, music, and the Designated Hitter?  There’s only A, C. G, and T, for pete’s sake — which combo do we have, that chimps don’t  have, that lets us paint the Sistine Chapel while their only art form is flinging poo?

But now the punishment kicks in.  I bet some of y’all were even tempted to it yourselves — “whaddaya mean, suppose evolution is true?  What are you, some kind of gap-toothed fundamentalist?”

See what I mean?  You’re Smart for knowing that evolution is true, and you’re Smarter for knowing we share 96% of our DNA with chimps.  Everyone who Fucking Loves Science does!!

It’s not quite Newspeak, but we’re getting there.

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