Category Archives: Uncategorized

What Happens if the UFO Actually Comes?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Part II coming soon.

 

 

 

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

 

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Organizational Behaviour in the Human Male

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

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The Basic College Girl, Redux

Behold, the most important voter demographic in America:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Overturning Locke: Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

*Well, except that whole “refusing to encourage migrations hither” bit — FedGov is fucking aces at that.  But no historical analogy is perfect, alas.
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Organizational Behaviour in the Human Female

Work forced me to venture into the cesspool that is YouTube, where I was exposed to Lizzy Warren’s presidential campaign ads.  Ye gods, what a shrew!  I haven’t watched the tv with the sound on for years, so I’d forgotten how much her voice makes one long for the dulcet tones of an air raid siren…. or the whistle of a descending 500 pounder bringing the sweet release of death.  Freud was famously stumped by the question “What do women want?”, and for once I’m with the ol’ cokehead 100%.  Elizabeth Warren stories are what chupacabra parents tell around the campfire to scare their kids straight, and yet this woman is — somehow, someway — an aspirational figure for every short-haired, power-skirted, man-jawed cat lady in America….

Poli-sci types really miss a trick when it comes to (for lack of a better word) aesthetics.  Put as simply as I can: Except for the aforesaid cat ladies, every single person in America is put off by nagging, hectoring schoolmarms.  If only middle-aged White women voted, Hillary would’ve won 2016 with a Saddam-esque 99% of the ballot.  The rest of her “support” was Democrat diehards, GOP-E losers, and confused old people who still think that nice Mr. Roosevelt is the only thing keeping the bank from foreclosing on Pappy’s dirt farm.  Since Warren looks likeliest to be the last bozo standing when the Democrats’ primary circus folds up its tents, they must be counting on the bulk kitty litter purchasers to come out even more this time around.

That’s not the way I’d bet.  Yes, granted, every single xirl who pages through sperm bank brochures the way boys used to finger Victoria’s Secret catalogs is a guaranteed Warren vote.  But are younger women going to break that way?  In my not-inconsiderable experience of college age girls, they’re getting pretty fed up with feminism.  Not the platitudes, but the career opportunities.  They’ll still sing hosannas to “strong, confident wymyn” — college girls are nothing if not out-and-proud herd animals — but “catty” is a female-only adjective for a reason.  Elizabeth Warren is nothing if not a Boomer, and today’s college girls have spent their entire lives waiting for fossils like her to finally retire so they can have their moment in the sun….

From their perspective, Elizabeth Warren has won.  She played the girl card, and the Fake Indian card, with consummate skill.  She’s so good at Victim Poker, she ought to be nicknamed after a city.  She’s rich, famous, and gets to tell men what to do, all without visible accomplishment, and she did it with a college girl’s work ethic — that is, by working sooo haaarrrrrdddd! (vocal fry x1000) and tattling on anyone who made her feel bad.  In other words, to the Basic College Girl, Elizabeth Warren isn’t a shining example of Sisterhood is Powerful; she’s a Mean Girl bitch who needs to be taken down a few dozen pegs.

Plus, she’s a professor.  Donald Trump needs no advice from me on how to skewer an opponent, but if you’re reading, Mr. President, hammer that for all it’s worth.  Basic College Girls don’t have mothers, they have day care providers.  Professors are just babysitters on steroids.  Nobody likes them, not even other professors, and Basic College Girls hate female professors most of all.  They’ll all say they’re behind the Woman’s Candidate 100%, but they’ll vote differently.

Last, but certainly not least, The Great Fuck You of 2016 continues apace, and has been dialed well past 11.  “Nagging, hectoring schoolmarms” describes everyone in The Media, of both sexes and all 37+ genders.  Most men, and a considerable number of women, voted for Donald Trump precisely because he told those nagging, hectoring schoolmarms to get bent.  As Elizabeth Warren is fully as reptilian as Hillary Clinton, but somehow even dumber and more shrewish, the same basic playbook should work wonders.  There’s no linguistic killshot like “Crooked Hillary” for her yet, but I’m sure Trump’s got one (it’d be stupid to pull it out now, when she’s not yet the nominee).

Along those same lines, Hillary had to run away from her many, many, many scandals; the Media spent the week after every debate instructing the electorate that all that stuff Trump brought up didn’t really happen, well ok it did, technically, but it doesn’t matter, and anyway he’s got orange skin and funny hair.  Being an accomplishment-free nonentity (rather than an obviously felonious accomplishment-free nonentity) is a formidable advantage for Warren.  But see above: Elizabeth Warren is stupid.  Seriously, bone-deep dumb, in the way only a tertiary-educated academic can be.  Hillary kept walking into punches; Lizzie will leap into them on a rocket-powered pogo stick.

This is not to say I’m sure Trump will win.  I think he’s pretty likely screwed, actually.  But he’s screwed structurally, largely as a result of his own cucking.  But if he’s going to pull it out, going after the Basic College Girl vote is, counterintuitively, a good way to do it.

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Socialized Medicine

Medicine doesn’t show up in the classic utopias.  If you think about it for a second, it’s striking, even shocking —  Campanella, More, et al, all the way up through Edward Bellamy and V.I. Lenin, describe their paradises in detail, and they always mention that disease has been overcome, but there’s never even the hint of a mechanism.  They just somehow assume that common property and communal living make illness a thing of the past.

Medicine didn’t show up in the Progressives’ political fantasies, either, though these were specifically designed to be (and, alas, all too often were) made law.  This is not, you can be sure, because of some weird vestigial respect for personal autonomy.  The Progressives, after all, thought that the State could and should run your sex life for you.  Medicine doesn’t show up in Socialist fantasies because medicine was, for all practical purposes, completely useless.

Historians of medicine (of which I’m not one) like to joke that if you somehow get sent back in time, and you get sick, you’d better stay the hell away from the doctor if you’ve landed anytime before 1920.  It turns out that physicians have the same joke, only they pick 1950 as the annus mirabilis.  In other words, “medicine” is so recent an invention that there are probably still a few guys in nursing homes somewhere whose professional medical practice was little better than voodoo.  The three great medical accomplishments of the late 19th century — germ theory, aseptic surgery, Koch’s postulates — laid the foundations for modern medicine, but without an effective broad-spectrum antibiotic, actual treatment remained all but medieval.*

The history of medicine highlights the deepest, most dangerous irony of “Progressivism:”  They must assume that what’s now is forever.  Progressivism is, at bottom, just organized envy.  If anyone, anywhere, possesses X, then there can never be justice until everyone, everywhere, possesses X.  That X might just be an accident, a historical hiccup, a blip of static on Time’s radar screen, never occurs to them.  It can’t.  Otherwise, they’d be praising the Gilded Age’s “universal access to healthcare,” since John D. Rockefeller’s kid was just as likely to die of some horrible infection as the poorest immigrant’s.  Same for Rockefeller himself — burst appendixes are no respecters of rank.

This locks “Progressives” into their categories, such that they can’t see the runaway freight train heading right at them.  Bernie Sanders is still on the campaign trail sounding like a refugee from the Wobblies, talking about poverty.  Poverty, fer chrissakes!  As if America’s “poor” people didn’t keel over from heart disease while fiddling with their Obamaphones in front of their HD tvs.  The real driver of social change isn’t poverty, it’s idleness.

The signature pathology of the 21st century is our utter lack of purpose.  Our inner cities aren’t vibrant because the people there are poor.  It’s because they’re bored.  They don’t lack jobs; they lack the very notion that anything they could possibly do might be meaningful for its own sake.  Likewise, people don’t jump the border for “economic opportunity.”  They jump the border because they want to loaf on the public dime.  Why else would all those hardworking immigrants, working 24 hours a day doing the jobs Americans won’t, end up acting exactly like our very own native-born ghetto bangers?

If you think it’s bad now, wait until the robots start taking over for real.  The consequences are obvious — so obvious that H.G. Wells, himself a moron Socialist, saw them back in 1895.   But that’s “progress” for you….   We should all thank God that medicine didn’t really get going until after the Progressives had shot their wad.  Otherwise your Obamacare doctor would want to bleed you fortnightly to release your bilious humours.

 

*For the record, the first effective, widely-available antibiotic was Salversan.  It came to market in 1910, and treated two conditions: Syphilis and trypanosomiasis (African Sleeping Sickness).  Feminists, natch, have been having a field day with that ever since — of course The Patriarchy would develop an STD cure right off the bat!  Which just goes to show that feminists know as much about chemistry and microbiology as they do about economics and logic, but whatever, the point is, there was no broad-spectrum drug until 1928, and the word “antibiotic” didn’t even make it into the dictionary until the 1940s.
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Reality is Oxygen

No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.

That’s the opener from Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.  Stephen King calls it the best opening in horror literature, and I think he’s right.  Just three sentences, but you could write a small book about everything they accomplish — setting the scene, introducing the theme, foreshadowing the ending….

Note especially the contrast in the first two lines: “sanely” / “not sane.”  This suggests that “Hill House, not sane,” exists “under conditions of absolute reality.”  But Hill House is haunted — something walks there (though it walks alone).  Which suggests that were we not in some sense blinded by our sanity, we’d see the ghosts all around us….

Which is why I wrote “the best opening in horror literature.”  The Haunting of Hill House is a ghost story, yeah, but it’s art for all that, because it tells us something important about the human condition: “Sanity” — for lack of a better term — is a very recent, very contingent phenomenon.  Pick any random human from our species’s long, long history.  It’s ten million to one that this sample of homo sapiens takes the supernatural world for granted.  He sees the ghosts, in a way that Modern people simply can’t.  We’ve had it beaten out of us by 300 years of “the Enlightenment.”

Which means, perversely, that we’re less in tune with Reality, not more.  The Enlightened, scientific mindset seeks to reduce Reality to math.  We Moderns know incomparably more about that tiny slice of the Universe than our ancestors did, but at the cost of vast and growing ignorance of everything outside of it.  Our culture rests on a synecdoche — we cling to a tiny slice of the world, mistaking it for the whole.

This matters, because as our understanding of that tiny slice of Reality grows, we approach the dilemma of Hill House: How much of any given Reality can we handle while remaining sane?

Our ancestors’ Reality was much broader than ours.  Death, for us, is a remote, sterile thing.  It happens in hospitals, and when it’s over we reduce the dead man to a mawkish car window sticker, a Facebook page, a moment’s histrionic grief… then nothing.  Our ancestors, who knew Death intimately, had an elaborate ritual structure for dealing with grief.  The dead were gone, but never forgotten.  Death — the ultimate sanity — spawned the elaborate insanity of requiem masses, saints’ days, Heaven, Hell…

We Moderns know better.  Death is just one last chemical reaction, before all chemical reactions cease.  Consciousness can’t survive the body, because consciousness IS the body.  There is no Heaven, nor Hell.  Our threescore-and-ten is pointless agitation, because life itself is an accident, the random collision of atoms in a void.  That’s our Reality.  How sane are we?

To ask is to answer, and it’s the key to understanding the insanity of Postmodern life.  The Left, as Science’s BFFs, have committed themselves to the notion that life is colliding atoms.  It terrifies them, because it’s a psychological impossibility — it must be true, yet it can’t be true, because if it is, then what’s the point of anything?  Even Social Justice, if per impossibile it could be achieved, is meaningless.

The Universe might actually be nothing but atoms colliding in a void, but no one can live as if it is — not for one single second.  The Left know this better than anyone, because they’ve spent the most time staring into that void.  Thus the Left’s peculiar insanity, which insists that though everything is just a social construction, everyone who doesn’t move in lockstep with the social construction of the moment should be hounded out of society.

The key to deprogramming the Left, then, isn’t to get them back in touch with Reality.  They’ve seen Reality — their little slice of it, anyway, which is the only one that matters to them — and it has driven them insane.  Reality is like oxygen: Necessary in small doses; lethally corrosive in larger.  The only way to fix them is to manage their insanity, to get it more in line with ours.

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The Myth of the Conservative Revolution

When Liberals aren’t pretending to be the Constitution’s BFFs (e.g. Slow Joe Biden’s bizarre call for more Originalists on the Federal bench), they’re insisting that the American Revolution was a “conservative” revolution.  The Founding Fathers were, after all, a bunch of CisHetPat White slave-owning gun nuts.  They still cite Charles Beard’s Marxist agitprop from 1913 as the gospel.  The Constitution, they argue, was never intended as anything more than a tool of the Pale Penis People to protect their entrenched “privilege.”

You don’t even need to know any history to disprove this.  All you need is the First Law of SJW: SJWs always lie.  The American Revolution was radical indeed, as Gordon Wood demonstrated in his creatively titled book The Radicalism of the American Revolution.*  If you do know any history, this “conservative revolution” stuff looks even sillier.  George Washington may have carried himself like an aristocrat (doubtless this is why he’s my favorite revolutionary), but guys like John and Sam Adams, John Hancock, and Alexander Hamilton were as radical as they come.  Hell, Thomas Jefferson was for all intents and purposes a Jacobin — hence that goofy “pursuit of happiness” stuff in place of Locke’s “life, liberty, and property.”  They had privilege, yes, but so does every Trust-Fund Trotsky.  The only difference was that these guys had courage, character, and principles…

….which I guess makes it a conservative revolution after all, those items being nonexistent on the Left, but whatever, the point is, revolutions are inherently radical.  The difference between griping about the government, versus shooting at government officials, is as vast as the difference between yelling “I’m gonna kill that guy!” at the dude who forgot to supersize your fries, and shooting up a McDonald’s.  No conservative is ever going to go to the gun unless his family’s back is unmistakably against the wall, and at that point, by definition he’s no longer a conservative.  Conservatives are loyal to traditions and institutions.  They’re why he has a family in the first place.  If those have grown so corrupt that only rebellion will do, then how can he possibly remain loyal to them?

As the Z Man points out today, it’s the so-called “conservatives” who are contemplating (metaphorically, FBI goons, metaphorically) rebellion.  James Comey is unquestionably guilty of treason, but he won’t even see an hour in the slammer, much less the short end of a long drop.  If you need any more proof that “democracy” as currently conceived is fatally flawed, there you have it.  The Constitution isn’t a living document, it’s a dead letter.  The only way a system of government designed for White, Christian, frontier-dwelling farmers can work is in a nation of White, Christian, frontier-dwelling farmers.  We haven’t had one of those since at least 1861.  If some anti-Charles Beard wanted to write A Cultural Interpretation of the United States Constitution, it’d be one sentence long: “The laws, customs, and form of government of a state are the expression of the soul of its people.”**

Some form of essentialism is true.  Biology being what it is, it can’t be otherwise.  If you want to label this a “conservative,” even a “reactionary” view, be my guest… but you’ll be flying in the face of 100 years or more of mandatory make believe.  What’s more radical than that?

 

 

*Sorry, cheap joke.  But if you need proof that Wood was on the money, and utterly demolished arguments like Beard’s, all you have to do is look at that wiki entry.  It’s one of the seminal works in the field, every single Americanist is familiar with it, it’s still assigned in colleges and graduate seminars across the land, and Wiki…. gives it three sentences.
**That’s Gustave Le Bon, quoted from memory, but close enough.
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Quick Take: NYC Schools

I’ve got nothing much to add to this, but if you still need convincing that our elites are terrifyingly stupid, here it is (Ace of Spades link):

For years, New York City has essentially maintained two parallel public school systems.

A group of selective schools and programs geared to students labeled gifted and talented is filled mostly with white and Asian children. The rest of the system is open to all students and is predominantly black and Hispanic.

Now, a high-level panel appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio is recommending that the city do away with most of these programs in an effort to desegregate the system, which has 1.1 million students and is by far the largest in the country.

Ace’s comment:

This is going to get very ugly, and test liberals’ commitment to the ideals they pretend to worship.

One other factor in play: If Di Blasio forces a mass exodus to the suburbs, not only will New York City take a big hit in tax revenue, but it might cause a serious deflation in NYC residential real estate.

I don’t see what choice Di Blasio has apart from making the case that Equality and Integration Are Overrated. A politically-engineered exodus of the high bourgeoisie — a White Flight combined with Asian Evasion — would be a disaster.

There it is.  There once was a time where the only certainty beyond death and taxes was liberal hypocrisy.  As they consider themselves the Vanguard of the Proletariat, “Socialism for thee, but not for me” is a feature, not a bug, of their worldview.  Or, at least, it was — just as the fastest way to find yourself in Siberia was to suggest that The Workers should maybe have access to The Party’s special consumer-goods stores, so the Golden Rule among Western fellow-travelers was: Never mention, on pain of social and perhaps literal death, all the special exemptions we carve out for ourselves in the policies we impose on the rabble.

But fear clarifies the mind wonderfully.  When Stalin’s around, the notion that “true Communism is whatever the Boss says it is today” is incandescently obvious.  Tell the NKVD to ease off a bit, though, and pretty soon you get guys like Gorbachev, who really seemed to believe all the Party’s hooey about “democracy.”  Similarly, having long since driven the bitter remnant of Legacy America’s rear guard from the field, New York liberals have grown quite attached to the smell of their own farts.  They really believe their own bullshit, in the same way The Media does.

Which is why this will be such a good test for my theories.  Ace argues that Di Blasio will flinch, because

You wanna know who this affects and why it’ll be ultimately rejected? JOURNALISTS.

They don’t have fuck-you money for private schools and they can’t move to the burbs. But they’ll drag DeBlasio over this.

I agree that this would’ve been the case, perhaps as recently as a decade ago.  Back then, there were still enough crusty old fossils in the newsroom that could see the obvious if you beat them about the head and shoulders with it for a few months.  “Punch” Sulzberger was no genius, but little Pinch, in addition to being terrifyingly stupid, is also the truest of true believers.  Far from putting the brakes on White Flight and Asian Evasion, I’ll bet that The Media will trumpet them out of town.  The new Media generation is nothing but blue-haired Millennial soy addicts and xzheir transgendered cats; what do they care if New York is now completely unlivable for families?

Time will tell.  Bookmark this one, and tell me how wrong I was three years from now.

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Skynet Becomes Self-Aware

The Skynet Funding Bill is passed. The system goes on-line August 4th, 1997. Human decisions are removed from strategic defense. Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug.

Character, some Dead White Male once said, is what you do when nobody’s watching.  That short sentence explains pretty much everything about the weird affect — half cringing mouse, half junior varsity kommissar — of the upcoming generations.  For them, somebody’s always watching.

The Pale Penis People focused so obsessively on “character development” in their schooling because communications were so slow in their world.  A 19 year old kid fresh out of Eton might find himself in command of a regiment somewhere on the Northwest Frontier, where, as the only authority figure for 300 miles, he’d have to deal with native rebellions, blood feuds, famines… Without a very flexible character operating within a very rigid set of norms, he might be overwhelmed.  Which mattered, because if the subaltern on the spot blew it, by the time the captain 300 miles away finally heard about it, he might have another Mutiny on his hands.

This system resulted in some real absurdities — officers in the mess at Quetta, eating roast beef and drinking wine and passing out from heat prostration in full wool dress uniforms — but the absurdities were a natural outgrowth of those necessary character constraints.  A subaltern who wouldn’t “play up, and play the game!” when “The Gatling’s jammed and the Colonel dead” would succumb to the thousand and one lesser temptations he faced every day out there on the frontier.  He wouldn’t have the moral fortitude to lead, which in a very real sense was the only thing keeping a nation of 500 million, plus the scum of the British jails under his command, from putting his head on a spike.

They could be real bastards, those public school boys, and Modernity got them in the end, but the same Modernity that killed them wouldn’t have been possible without them.

The reason they’re so hard for modern people to understand is their — for lack of a better term — historical sense.  Even the 19 year old kids — if you know anything about teenagers, especially the 19 year old kids — were acutely conscious of their importance in the grand scheme of things.  As a young frontier nation full of self-avowed rugged individualists, we Americans have nothing close to the Old School Tie.  Even if you’ve been to the Ivy League, even if you’re one of those insufferable pricks who considers himself a “real Harvard man,” you’ve got nothing on Old Etonians, old Carthusians, etc.  Those kids always acted as if Henry VI was watching, because in a very real sense, he was.  When your father, and his father, and his, and his, all the way back to 1441 were “Old Etonians,” you can’t take the simplest action without feeling the weight of all that ancestry on your shoulders.  It doesn’t matter that everyone else around you is running away or surrendering — Great-Great-Great-Granddad didn’t run or surrender at Bosworth, so neither will you.

Modern kids, by contrast, feel nothing but the weight of their own peer group.  They’re characterless, and while we on the back nine of our lives read that as an insult, it’s not intended to be.  How could they ever have developed any character in the first place?  Today’s 19 year old was born exactly at the turn of the Millennium, to parents born in the late 1970s or early 1980s.  Their parents’ world was already heavily globalized; their world is almost exclusively online.  If a kid barely knows his own father — and 40% of all children in the US are now born out of wedlock — then how could he possibly know what his grandfather did?

Today’s 19 year grew up at a physical address, but not a neighborhood.  In our day, our playmates were whoever happened to be roughly the same age whose parents lived on the surrounding blocks.  We  had to learn to at least tolerate pretty much everyone, because that’s who you were stuck with, and since everyone from the neighborhood went to the same school, such was your social life until at least high school.  Nowadays, local kids don’t play together.  Everyone has his own set of tightly supervised activities, and it’s unthinkable that little Jimmy should just, you know, go outside and play.  Something like pickup baseball is inconceivable — even if you found enough kids to play with, with no adult supervision and no liability waivers Mommy wouldn’t know who to sue if you scraped your knee.  Plus you could hurt your hand, meaning no piano practice for a week, which means you can kiss early decision at Princeton goodbye (never mind that you’re only ten years old).  Plus it’s ten to one that you’ve moved three or four times in your childhood, as Mommy clawed her way up the corporate ladder…

Given all this, it’s no surprise that today’s kids are so painfully self-aware.  All their peers are online, and since everything they do must be tweeted and instagramed and snapchatted and facebooked as it’s happening, peer feedback is both instantaneous and constant.  They’re either a part of the online outrage mob, or desperately trying not to be noticed by it.  Whatever works is right, because now is the only moment that will ever matter.

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