Category Archives: Uncategorized

Gay Genes and Gay Germs

As so often happens around here, a throwaway comment in a post generates almost as much (if not way, way more) discussion than the post itself.  In this case, it was pointing out the really, really, really obvious fact that Barack Obama is gay.

I just kinda assumed that was common knowledge.  Ever seen Him throw a baseball?  There’s nothing wrong with being hopelessly unathletic, but I’ve seen little girls with neuromuscular conditions toss out a better first pitch than that.  There’s really only one comparison to Obama’s effort.  Then consider The Media’s reaction to Him.  I’m pretty sure “fag hag” covers 50% of the female, and 75% of the male, reporterettes on the tv news, which tells you all you need to know about the bitter Hillary vs. Obama rancor back in 2008….

But whatever.  This whole thing reminded me, once again, that homosexuality is a huge problem for the Left (they won’t recognize it, of course, but that’s because if they could suss out consequences they wouldn’t be Leftists in the first place).  To wit:

It’s commonly accepted that gays are “born that way.”  Which is fine if you’re a realist about Human Biodiversity, but if gays are born that way, then there is obviously a “gay gene” lurking somewhere in the depths, waiting for CRISPR to ferret it out.  A “gay gene” clearly entails that gene expressions have vast impacts on human behavior, up to and including making us to act in all kinds of anti-social and self-destructive ways.  If that’s true… well, so much for “race is just a social construction,” eh?

There’s a renegade theory of gayness out there, the “gay germ” proposed by Greg Cochran.  Guys in Our Thing seem to like this one, no doubt because they think that Jonathan Haidt guy is right and “conservatives” are obsessed with purity (guilty as charged, I guess, as I find the majority of gay behavior as icky as the next hardcore throne-and-altar reactionary).  The problem, though, is if it’s correct, we’ve politicized disease in a way the Soviets could only dream about.

Sluggish schizophrenia,” like “mental illness” in general, was / is mostly made-up bullshit, but IF the “gay germ” hypothesis is true, THEN you’ve just identified a whole suite of obviously pathological behaviors that only manifest later in life after being contracted in infancy — in other words, sluggish schizophrenia.  Remember those FEMA camps George W. Obama was going to herd all the dissidents into?  Well, now he’s got a scientifically proven rationale for doing it.  Whoever gets the other side into the medical books first — Late-Onset Liberalism vs. Conservafluenza — can eliminate their enemies on public health grounds.  Given that the only folks who dare to look at the scientific basis of human behavior are Deplorables….

Finally, I suppose one can split the difference to “explain” homosexuality — half nature, half nurture, in the way that a person with a genetic propensity to alcoholism isn’t predestined to become an alcoholic, but should probably keep away from the firewater on general principles.  For the Left, this has the unfortunate side effect of reattaching consequences to actions.  Just as no one is going to argue that our society is morally compelled to break the bank getting an alkie a liver transplant, especially when he knew he was predisposed to the condition, so the 50/50 explanation of homosexuality means the end of all the ridiculous set-asides for HIV…. which means you’ve deprived the Left of another opportunity to organize a 5K fun run.  Think about that for a second — it’s practically a fucking hate crime.

I guess the only sensible thing to do would be not to worry about it too much.  To make, in effect, a social compromise — I won’t care about the “why” of homosexuality if you won’t force me, all day every day, to contemplate the “how.”  But since that’s how things basically went back in the past, when dinosaurs and Hitler roamed the earth, it’ll never happen.

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Bad Writing

I got nothin’ today, so here’s someone better with some notes on the craft.

I think there’s some generational change going on here.  The bad writers Z Man mentions by name made their bones in the legacy media.  Most of us here are older, so we no doubt agree with him — William F. Buckley was pretentious; Jonah Goldberg’s frat-boy act got old twenty years ago; bad writers and chicks can’t string together three words without referencing themselves; etc.  Unfortunately, though, I think all of those things are the wave of the future.  I’ve seen lots of undergrad writing, y’all — “spastic, pretentious, sorority girl narcissism” covers pretty much all of it.   That’s just how written communication is done in the Twitter age.

See e.g. here:

Instead of focusing on the subject, the writer focuses on himself, which suggests he does not know the material. Even when relating an experience or conversation, the good writer makes himself a secondary character in the story, not the focus. Bad writers are always the hero of everything they write, as if they are trying to convince the reader of something about themselves. Good writers avoid this and focus on the subject of their writing.

But he cites former President Obama as a hilarious example of this.  As with all the praise heaped on Pres. Sort-of-God all these years, one must significantly discount for the Magic Negro effect.  Still, with all allowances made, lots of people really did — really do — see him as a compelling orator.  I suggest this is because he’s so narcissistic — what else does one do in front of a captive audience, after all, but make the most of the opportunity to drone on about one’s fascinating self?  He’s only doing what they would do, given half the chance.

See also: Lots of big, popular blogs.  For instance: the Internet being what it is, and the Right side of the Internet in particular being what it is, I’d predict that Vox Day’s “I am humanity’s greatest genius!” shtick would go over like a lead balloon.  But he’s got a gazillion readers.  Again, making all due allowance for an obvious — and obviously effective — Oscar Wilde-ish publicity strategy, this technique builds a loyal audience.  For every casual reader like me (who has learned to skim the sixteen paragraphs of boasts to get to the one interesting claim), there seem to be five who really like that kind of thing.

Speaking of going on way too long, Z Man continues:

Another common habit of the bad writer is to use five paragraphs when one paragraph will do…They will belabor a point with unnecessary examples or unnecessary explication.

Here again, let’s note that the bad writers he specifically mentions — Jonah Goldberg, girls — are either well into middle age, or, well…. girls.  As he says about the fairer sex:

Female writers only write about themselves. It’s why autoethnography is wildly popular with the Xirl science types on campus. They finally have a complicated sounding name for what comes natural to them.

There’s no thought so banal, no detail too trivial, to avoid describing in full when the subject is one’s own endlessly fascinating self.*  Goldberg, on the other hand, came up in Grunge era and went to college at a self-proclaimed “most innovative” school.  In other words, he learned the SocJus MadLib composition method back when PoMo was still largely confined to academia.  Since every essay always boiled down to “and that’s how [subset of Pale Penis People], through [jargon], oppressed [Designated Victim Group],” the only problem was stretching it out to meet the professor’s page length requirement.  That’s how you become a ninja master at unnecessary explication.  Do that for a couple semesters, and you won’t be able to write a post-it note to your roomie in less than five paragraphs.

Nowadays the problem is reversed.  Kids these days are so well-trained in SocJus MadLibbing that it never occurs to them to explain anything.  To take one of our stock examples, if you ask a typical American college kid to write an essay covering the causes of the Civil War and you don’t specify a page length, you’re likely to get back one word: “Slavery.”  Ask them why slavery was a cause, and they’ll say “because it’s racist.”  Nothing else computes, so in order to make length they throw everything they’ve written down in their class notes onto the page (for those forced to “grade” this mess, the term d’art is “word salad”).

Left to their own devices, in other words, Millennial communication really would be text messages.  It can’t be otherwise — since all the dogmas of the Proglodyte faith contradict each other, you can’t explain how they fit together.

Z Man concludes:

another common feature of bad writing is the disconnect between the seriousness of subject and how the writer approaches the subject. Bad writers, like Jonah Goldberg, write about serious topics, using pop culture references and vaudeville jokes. On the other hand, feminists write about petty nonsense as if the fate of the world hinges on their opinion. The tone should always match the subject. Bad writers never respect the subject they are addressing or their reader’s interest in the subject.

Here again, Goldberg was ahead of the curve.  Like fellow blog-pioneer “Sports Guy” Bill Simmons, Goldberg got way out in front of an emerging trend.  Just as Gen X was starting to take the sociocultural reins back in the early 1990s, Simmons and Goldberg brought a recognizably contemporary voice to moribund fields.

Before Simmons, sports reporting was either your basic box score, or a long George Will-type thumbsucker about how baseball shall save the dying Republic.  Now, half the fun of being a sports fan is taking a child’s game absurdly seriously… but only half.  Simmons got that.  By snarking and over-sharing and throwing hissy fits and being the most shameless homer on God’s green earth, he showed his fans that he was in on the joke.

Goldberg did something similar with politics.  We all know that politics is showbiz for ugly people, which makes nerding out over policy the equivalent of reading Playboy for the articles.  The guys on political yak shows have exactly as much influence on the direction of the country as the bobbleheads on ESPN do on the outcome of a basketball game.  It’s exquisitely silly, which is why political tv, like sports tv, features exquisitely silly people like Bill Maher and Rachel Maddow… and Jonah Goldberg.  Like Simmons, Goldberg was in on the joke — you might as well compare the latest reshuffling of semicolons in the tax code to Star Trek, because We the People have as much chance of influencing things to our benefit as we do of fighting Klingons.

But that was the 1990s.  Since then, we’ve rammed another two generations through the SJW indoctrination system, K-thru-PhD.  It’s not that kids today don’t know how to match the tone to the subject; it’s that they have no idea there’s such a thing as “tone” at all.  Feminists write about petty nonsense as if it were the apocalypse because they live their entire lives at DEFCON-1.  At the risk of breaking one of the rules of bad writing, I’ll repeat for emphasis:  Telling a feminist — which means “any American girl under the age of 40” — that she’s writing about petty stuff simply doesn’t compute.  There is literally — literally, Millennials, literally!! — no difference in her mind between “the toxic masculinity at the McDonald’s drive-thru that forgot to supersize my fries” and “the toxic masculinity of the Red Army raping its way through East Prussia.”

In short, you should check out the Z Man’s ruminations on bad writing, especially if you’re a writer yourself…. but with the caveat that, in 20 years, we’ll be looking back on the twenty-teens as the halcyon days of clear expression.

 

 

 

*Or see Obama, again.  I don’t watch tv and avoid Left-leaning blogs like the plague, so I can go months without ever seeing Him.  Every time I do, though, I’m struck by just how ludicrously fruity He is.  Bill Clinton may have beaten Him to the coveted title of “first Black president,” but until we elect Harvey Fierstein, Obama’s got “America’s gayest president” locked down.
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If there is Hope, It Lies in the PUAs

The colonies were paradise until White women showed up.

That’s what all the Old Hands said in the 19th century, and if you think about it for a second, it’s obvious.  Going East of Suez was more or less a life sentence.  Retiring to a nice country house back in dear old Blighty was the standard-issue dream, but it almost never came true — and everyone knew it.  You went to India knowing you’d die there — You went, so your brothers wouldn’t have to.  Life in those circumstances, surrounded by likeminded men, is a blast.  Ask anyone who has spent time in a war zone.

But, of course, the Raj wasn’t a war zone for long.  The Mutiny took care of that, so much so that guys actually started coming home at the end of their tours.  Word leaked out about how the Ruling Caste lived over there, and all of a sudden Calcutta harbor was home to “the fishing fleet,” the boatloads of single girls that arrived each spring determined to snag themselves a husband.  Think about that for a second — take the kind of girl who doesn’t have the looks or connections to get married back home, then plop her down in a situation where she’s the only White woman in a thousand miles.  Give her an army of servants, a basically unlimited budget, and the whole power of the State enforcing her whims.  Is it any wonder social relations got so awful so quickly?  The burra memsahib was a staple of Imperial fiction for a reason.

Social Media has created an entire generation of burra memsahibs right here at home.  As the Z Man puts it, “The propaganda machine has weaponized unattached females, turning them into enforcers of the orthodoxy.”  Is there any wonder our social relations are so comprehensively fucked?

Short of banning Facebook, Twitter, and all the rest — which ain’t gonna happen — the only way to de-weaponize unattached females is to attach them.  But not just attach them — the fishing trawler who made all the subalterns in the regiment squirm when she was single, after all, made them crawl when she finally deigned to marry the crusty old colonel.  We need to reimpose Patriarchy, stat.

That’s essentially what “Game” is.  The essence of it, I’m told, is “amused mastery.”  Act like Rhett Butler, the theory is, and you’ll score like Rhett Butler.  Worry about the morality of it later.  Our society is flatlining — stop the bleeding first.

If there is hope, it lies in the PUAs.

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The Juju Principle in Action

The Juju Principle, as I call it, comes from phenomenon well attested by old Africa hands.  A European who takes a highway curve at 70 mph and comes dangerously close to flipping the car will take the same curve at 60 next time.  The African, by contrast, comes to the opposite conclusion: If I almost flipped at 70 — but didn’t! — the only safe thing to do is take it at 80 the next time.

I posit that this is because Africans live in a condition verging on learned helplessness.  Since there are so very many random ways to die in Africa, if a life-threatening event doesn’t  kill you, the only logical thing to do is more of whatever it was you were doing when it happened.  I suggest that since prosperity plus “intersectionalism” puts Western Leftists in a similar situation — one where actions and consequences are completely severed — this same “do more of what you were doing last time” logic governs their actions.  It’s the only way to explain their behavior.

But, MBlanc46 objects, it simply might be that the Left are making a final push:

Since going ever Leftward has gotten them this far, it only makes sense to them to go ever further Leftward. And whoever goes furthest Leftward will end up Chairman of the Politburo.

This might be part of it, but it assumes a goal-directedness that the Left just doesn’t have.  It’s hard to wrap our heads around, just as it’s almost impossible to wrap our heads around the idea that, to the African, taking the next curve at 80 mph makes perfect sense.  But consider this:

For approximately three decades, the prevailing feminist doctrine was “gender neutrality” theory; it held that the sexes are the same except for the superficial physical differences, therefore raising boys and girls the same way will result in their being identical beneath the skin.  This was embraced so radically that, as iconoclastic feminist Camille Paglia once related, feminists would corner her on college campuses in the ’70s, glaring, and swear that hormones didn’t exist and that even if they did, they couldn’t possibly influence behavior….

[Feminists] didn’t think.  They were led by their passions, their emotions, like children, ignoring that ideas have consequences.  Just because you’re wholly illogical — and even may dismiss logic as a white male phenomenon — that doesn’t mean your arguments won’t be taken beyond their utility for you and to their logical conclusion.

As he is a cognitively normal person, the author, Selwyn Duke, is baffled by the feminists’ inability to see a glaringly obvious consequence of their position.  I was baffled by it, too (you can check the archives) — if gender is nothing but a social construction, as the feminists insist, then there’s absolutely no reason a 6’2″ linebacker with a ten-inch dong can’t put on a dress and enter the Miss America pageant.  In fact, if something so basic as gender is a “social construction,” then so is everything else — Rachel Dolezal and Shaun “Talcum X” King really are Black, that 69 year old Dutch dude really is 45, and that lunatic panhandling at 4th and Main really is Jesus Christ.

Feminists are insane, but they’re not stupid.  Africans aren’t stupid, either, but they still do what they do, and the Juju Principle explains both.  Notice what feminists complaining about trannies aren’t saying.   Check the citations in the linked article: The only gals who are willing to say that chromosomes have something to do with sex (Germaine Greer), or that hormones have something to do with athletic performance (Martina Navratilova), are fringe figures, old battleaxes whose time is long past.  The younger ones, by contrast, frame the issue in terms either of female safety (Julia Beck, warning against “predatory males”) or, like Megan Murphy, simply assert women’s distinctiveness.

Nobody who matters, in other words, is claiming “Oops, we were wrong; gender isn’t a social construction.”  Calling trannies “predatory males,” for instance, implies that they don’t really identify as women — they identify as men, and they’re lying, to cheat women out of what’s rightfully theirs.  In other words, what these feminists are doing is what feminists have always done: Claiming special privilege, because argle blargle reasons.  Fill in whatever you want for the “argle blargle,” since it’s 1,000,000 to 1 that once this tempest in a teapot has passed, Julia Beck, Megan Murphy, and all the rest will be back out there, yelling “Gender is just a social construction!”

It’s all just juju.  They don’t see the logical consequences of their position, because it’s not a position at all.  Feminists don’t see “Gender is just a social construction!” as a step on the way to anything.  It doesn’t have any relationship to any other statement in the feminist lexicon.  Just as the African concludes that since we didn’t crash this time, we’d better keep taking turns at 70, so the feminist reasons that because “Gender is just a social construction!” got her everything she wanted every other time, she’d better keep saying it….

… and just as it’s pointless to tell the African that next time might be different — to tell him, that is, that there’s a causal relationship between curve speed and car crashes — it’s pointless to tell the feminist that “Gender is just a social construction!” entails that men really are women if they, the men, simply assert that they are.  Just as the African regards “car crashes” as random, uncaused events, so feminists regard challenges to their assertions.  Asking them to do otherwise is asking them to be other than they are.

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The Juju Principle – UPDATED

“Traditional societies” are traditional for the very best reason: It keeps them safe.

Consider what life in prehistoric Africa (hold the jokes, please) must’ve been like:  Food is abundant, but “food” includes you.  It’s hard to starve to death, but easy to get eaten by a lion.  Whatever “it” is, if it works — if you don’t get eaten by the lion that one time — then it’s the only way to go, now and forever.

Old Africa Hands tell me this is the way Africa works even today.  The reason traffic accident rates on the Dark Continent are so appallingly high — and generally fatal — despite a near-total lack of traffic is exactly that “it kept us safe from the lion” principle.  A European who nearly kills himself taking a turn at 100mph will think “hmmm…. excessive speed nearly caused the car to crash.  Better not do that again!”

The African, on the other hand, will conclude that since we didn’t flip over that time, we must do the exact same thing again, to prevent flipping in the future.  Please note: This isn’t a reversal of cause and effect.  They may be primitive, but they aren’t stupid.  Rather, they seem to regard “car crashes” as they would “the presence of a lion” — that is, as random, and therefore unpredictable, events.  It’s akin to learned helplessness — in a world full of lions, you can’t avoid running into one; you can only hope that your juju is stronger and, if it is, make sure to do nothing that will weaken it.

Here’s where the HBD crowd jumps in and crows that we Europeans have evolved past that.  Which is true, but — as is their wont — in their rush to pat themselves on the back, the HBDers conveniently forget one of their other sacred principles: Regression to the Mean.  It doesn’t take long for the Juju Principle, the “we didn’t get eaten by the lion this time” effect, to kick back in.  Inertia is mankind’s ground state.

Consider l’affaire Coonman.  Along with everyone else in Our Thing, I was angered — but not really surprised — to learn that Coonman’s GOP opponent, Ed Gillespie, hadn’t bothered to do basic oppo research.  But there’s another — far more disturbing — way to look at it.  Consider that Coonman’s people were as surprised as the rest of us when the blackface photos came out.  They didn’t have a contingency plan in place.  Before you snark that “The Media are the Left’s all-purpose contingency plan,” consider that the Virginia Democrats got caught flat-footed by the allegations against Justin Fairfax and Mark Herring, too.  Yeah, yeah, the Media are doing their best to bury those, as well — you actually have to type “Virginia attorney general blackf” to get Google’s auto-complete to suggest “blackface,” and no news stories about that appear anywhere on the first page of search results otherwise — but the fact that those stories exist at all isn’t just laziness or hubris; it’s insanely dangerous complacency.

It wasn’t a calculated risk.  It’s not as if the Dems knew this stuff and ran the candidates anyway, counting on Media cover.  Nor can it be the case that they cut a deal with the GOP — any political operation that knows enough to hire data-mining operations (which, you’ll recall, are only bad when Trump uses them) knows enough to know that the Internet is forever.  Even if the GOP did graciously agree to run a sham campaign — you’ll hear no argument from me on that one — they’d know that the dirt exists, and they’d have a contingency plan in place.

They didn’t.  Which means they truly didn’t know.

They’re regressing to the Juju Principle.  “It worked last time!” — last time being 2016, I guess, when it was obvious to all the world, up to and including car-smashing Africans out on the savanna, that Hillary Clinton was as crooked as the Gordian Knot.  Hillary herself is a fantastic example.  There’s really no other way of looking at all the breathtakingly crooked, stupid, hubristic things she did.  Check out this (helpfully minimalist — thanks Wiki!) list of Hillary Clinton’s “controversies” (thanks again, Wiki!).   Every time she gets busted, she ups the ante, because even though she keeps getting busted, she never faces any consequences.

Hey, it worked last time!!

Pretty much everything the Democrats do fit the template.  What kind of idiot, for example, would let Elizabeth Warren take a DNA test?  Warren herself is dumb as a box of rocks, so maybe she thought it was a good idea, but that’s why Senators have aides.  She should be surrounded by half a dozen bright Ivy League kids who….

See what I mean?  Because Warren actually IS surrounded by half a dozen Ivy League kids, 1%ers all, with the most expensive, and therefore most “elite,” educations money can buy.  These are the smart ones.  I have no doubt they all aced their SATs, just as I would bet the kids’ college fund that none of them has ever made less than an A in her life.  For professional political operatives, keeping Fauxcahontas away from the blood lab should be as instinctive as breathing, just as schlepping on down to Podunk Tech to check Coonman the Babykiller’s yearbook photos should’ve been.  It’s beyond complacency; it’s regression to primitivism.

This is why I say we’re much closer to a serious crisis than most anyone thinks.  The Juju Principle means that the spark might be, in itself, quite minor — the kind of thing that anyone with the ability to see half a step ahead could easily squash while it’s still a minor-league local crime story.  But not only have we lost the ability to see half a step ahead, we’re perversely incentivized to up the ante.  It worked last time!!!

UPDATE: Some good feedback on this makes me realize I haven’t quite conveyed my main idea yet, so let me add on.

I’m something of an amateur Africanologist.  I haven’t been there, but I read up on the place as often as I can stomach it — which isn’t very often — because Africa is our default state.  Evolution, as they say, is copious, local, and recent… and so, alas, is devolution.  Without vast, society-wide effort, we’ll return to Africa within a few generations, so it’s important to understand what Africa is.

Kim du Toit, an Afrikaaner, gives some context to what I meant with “learned helplessness:”

In Africa, life is cheap. There are so many ways to die in Africa that death is far more commonplace than in the West. You can die from so many things: snakebite, insect bite, wild animal attack, disease, starvation, food poisoning… the list goes on and on. At one time, crocodiles accounted for more deaths in sub-Saharan Africa than gunfire, for example. Now add the usual human tragedy (murder, assault, warfare and the rest), and you can begin to understand why the life expectancy for an African is low — in fact, horrifyingly low, if you remove White Africans from the statistics (they tend to be more urbanized, and more Western in behavior and outlook). Finally, if you add the horrifying spread of AIDS into the equation, anyone born in sub-Saharan Africa this century will be lucky to reach age forty.

Magical thinking — the Juju Principle, I’m calling it — is probably a psychological necessity under those conditions.  Even now, the richest, healthiest, most-vaccinated and best-protected Westerner would be well advised to make out his will before heading for an extended stay in Africa.  If you grew up back when American high schools still pretended to educate, you probably had to read Heart of Darkness.  Stuff like this is why it’s a classic — live under these conditions for a while, and you too will succumb to primitivism.

Did I mention that our culture is trying it’s damnedest to instill learned helplessness in us?  Oh, yeah, I did, and when you think about it, the whole dog’s breakfast of “intersectionality” is designed to produce it, too.  Everything that happens is somebody else’s fault… but that “somebody else” is never named.  It’s always a nebulous group of Other that does it, and — crucially — the Other can change without warning.  Ask e.g. the lesbians how that’s working out, now that the trannies have fought themselves temporarily to the apex of the victim pyramid.  At that point, you might as well just sit around clutching a fetish to your chest.

Whichever specific method you choose, though, the underlying principle never changes: You induce learned helplessness by severing cause and effect.  But since we’re evolutionarily hardwired to search for causal relationships, you’ll never get a human to sit trembling in a corner, the way a mouse would.  Instead, we construct fetishes, and that gives us the “Africa Wins Again” psychology….

…if you’re in Africa.  There’s a much subtler way to do it: Kill ’em with prosperity.  Another word for “effect” is, of course, “consequences.”  If you decouple actions from consequences, you’ll arrive at learned helplessness just as fast.  Just to stick with a theme, why do you think feminists are so miserable?  It’s because their cause/effect vectors are screwed up.  Like the Game guys say, feminists start by blaming men for all their problems… and end by pleading for men to ride in like John Wayne and solve all their problems.  Feminists are the most privileged people on earth.  They have everything that anyone could ever possibly want.  But they’re miserable, because they have no agency.  Everything comes from somewhere else.

Combine primitive fetish-psychology with the learned helplessness of intersectional prosperity, and you get the fascinating, terrifying spectacle of people with all the time, money, and power in the world doing stuff that wouldn’t make sense to a child 100 years ago.  Just as the African who doesn’t crash his car taking a turn at 70 miles an hour figures he’d better take the next turn at 80 just to be safe, morons like Jussie Smollett, Hillary Clinton, Coonman the Babykiller, Incitatus Ocasio-Cortez, and all the rest figure that, since they didn’t face any consequences from their last caper, they’d better double the ante for the next one.

For instance, Smollett wasn’t setting up some White guys to take the rap.  It wasn’t a frame up.  It’s so terrifyingly stupid that you almost can’t get your head around it, but the truth is, he never bothered thinking that far ahead.  He really, truly seems to have assumed that the Chicago PD would, you know, kinda…just… give up once they couldn’t find the mythical MAGA guys.  It never occurred to him that every Media outlet on God’s green earth would be hounding CPD 24/7, 365, for not bringing the perpetrators of an outrageous hate crime to justice.

So, too, with Hillary Clinton.  It’s not that she thinks she’s invincible.  She knows she’s not, because she keeps getting caught.  But since she doesn’t face any consequences for getting caught, she figures, fetish-style, that the only way to appease the gods is to pull an even bigger, dumber caper.  It’s the only explanation, just like it’s the only explanation for Elizabeth Warren’s DNA test — this woman is 100% metaphysically certain that she’s not an Indian.  She cannot possibly have believed it, not for one single second.  Moreover, she knows she’s been running her Fauxcahontas scam since at least the mid-1980s, and that it’s a matter of public record — all someone has to do is wander down to the courthouse and pull the paper.  In her mind, though, it’s like the African taking the 75 mph curve — the gods rewarded us with success this time, so we’d better do more of the same next time!!

And the hell of it is, she’s right.  In a rational polity she’d be in jail.  In even a semi-rational… hell, in even a quasi-sorta-rational polity, she’d be the punchline to every joke on late night tv for a year.  Instead, she’s still a Senator, still a member in good standing of the Democratic Party, and rich idiots are still sending her money, which means she’s still, God help us, a viable candidate for President of the United fucking States.

See what I mean?  We’re a lot closer to Mental Malawi than we think, which means that the crisis is much closer than we think.

 

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Who Decides on the Exception?

The infamous legal theorist Carl Schmitt said “Sovereign is he who decides on the exception.”

Schmitt doesn’t define “the exception,” however, because — paradoxically — the exception’s undefinability is what makes it truly exceptional.  You can make provisions for some pretty far-out scenarios — several comedies, plus the reboot of that old tv show Battlestar Galactica, hinged on the whole government being wiped out and the Secretary of Education (or something) ending up as the President.  That’s not an exception in Schmitt’s sense, because no matter how catastrophic the event which led to the situation, there are procedures in place to address it.

An exception is so far outside the norm that you can’t plan for it.

If you take this in a mild sense, Schmitt’s “exception” is commonplace.  Hard cases make bad law, and it’s impossible for even the best-crafted, most comprehensive statute to consider all possible circumstances.  When the judge lets you off the hook because the public benefit of you stopping a terrorist attack outweighs the crime of your double-parking in a school zone to do it, the judge is ruling on the exception.  He’s sovereign in Schmitt’s sense… and should be.  That’s why we have a judge presiding over court cases, not DecisionBot 5000.

If you take this “exception” stuff in a strong sense, though, it makes you wonder if the US isn’t much closer to outright collapse than most of us think.

Who decides on the exception in Current Year America?  Though it’s tempting to say “Hawaiian Judges,” I ask you to look at the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Coonman the Babykiller is still governor, and while that’s just par for the course — Democrats never resign — you could at least cite narrow legalistic grounds to justify it: Appearing in a Klan robe and / or blackface isn’t a high crime or misdemeanor.  But Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is another story.  Credible accusations of a serious crime have been made….

…but you know as well as I do what’s going to happen.  The Virginia GOP is going to put on another production of failure theater.  They’re holding “hearings,” the upshot of which is

A Republican lawmaker said he plans to invite two women who have accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault to share their stories before a General Assembly panel…. Republicans accused their Democratic counterparts of thwarting efforts to form a bipartisan subcommittee to investigate. For their part, Democrats have said they favored a law enforcement investigaton [sic, and holy Christ, NPR, doesn’t anybody know how to proofread anymore?] that “should proceed unencumbered and outside the political arena.”

Emphases mine, but they hardly need emphasizing.  “Share their stories.”  “Form a bipartisan subcommittee.”  Oooooooh, bipartisan subcommittee, the scourge of the criminal underworld!!!

Meanwhile, out in the real world, either a crime is alleged, or it isn’t. Both accusers have talked to law enforcement officials, but neither has actually filed charges… and the “talked to law enforcement officials” reports were dated more than a week ago.  Which means, of course, that the cops are waiting for the curtain to fall on the VA GOP’s failure theater before quietly sweeping the whole thing under the rug: “A bipartisan committee investigated, and gosh darn it, they just didn’t find enough credible evidence to… do nothing, I guess, since they have no law enforcement authority.  We do, but since the bipartisan committee says it’s a big waste of time, we’ll go back to doing nothing now.  Call us when Brett Kavanaugh’s high school rape gang shows up at the class reunion.”

Clearly an exception has been made here, but by whom?  The Boston DA?  The Virginia GOP?  The accusers themselves?  (They certainly don’t need the cops’ permission to file charges).  It matters, because the exception-decider has decided that Democrats are all-but-officially above the law.

Now take that a step further.  What happens in a real, nationwide crisis?

To simplify things, let’s eliminate human agency.  Let’s say some Worcestershire sauce gets into the embalming fluid down at the local morgue and we’ve suddenly got a zombie outbreak on our hands.  Supposedly the Army has a plan for this, but the psychological impact alone would, I think, render this situation exceptional by Carl Schmitt’s standards.  Who decides then?  President Trump?

We’ve already got LGTBQ+ groups yelling that it’s homophobic to want to stop the Iranian mullahs from throwing gays off skyscrapers, because Donald Trump says that throwing people off skyscrapers because of their sexuality is bad.  The “give peace a chance” crowd wants to nuke Damascus, because Trump wants to get our troops out of Syria.  You know as well as I do that if Donald Trump cured cancer, the entire American politico-cultural establishment would call it “lymphoma genocide” and give themselves Pulitzer Prizes for reporting on all the poor oncologists Trump has put out of work.

Do you really want to stake your family’s lives on the notion that all levels of government will obey the President’s orders?

As it now stands, I’m afraid that “Hawaiian Judges” might be the best-case scenario when it comes to exception-deciders.  The more accurate answer to “Who decides the exception?” might well be: Nobody.  Nobody’s sovereign.  Nobody’s really in charge.

If that’s true, the crisis is a lot closer than we think, and it’ll take a lot less than we expect to set it off.

 

 

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How the World Works IIb: “Created Equal”

Some discussion in the previous post of the Enlightenment’s greatest fallacy, “all men are created equal.”  Folks in Our Thing have a better understanding of it, of course, but even we aren’t necessarily grasping the depth of the problem with “all men are created equal.”

For instance, we like to say, as Pickle Rick does here, that

“all men” was construed to mean free white men of good character, capable of bearing arms. Not slaves, not servants, not women or children. Men like themselves.

That gets much closer to the heart of it, but still not close enough.  Mostly Jefferson meant a kind of naïve legal positivism — that even the worst freeman should have the same assumption of innocence at law as the king’s son, and should either of them be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, the sentence should be the same.  That’s maximal liberty, as the Founders would’ve understood the term: Neutrality before the bar.

The problem, of course, is that nobody will fight and die for “neutrality before the bar.”  All men are created equal, though… that’s a slogan that will rally troops, especially when you’re asking men to volunteer for the hundred-lashes horror of an 18th century army.

The idea that arms-bearing capacity should give you the right to vote was much older than Jefferson.  It came out of the Putney Debates during the English Civil War.  Back then, the issues that a man might be called upon to understand in order to responsibly exercise his franchise were small and local.  Recall that the only hard limit on a government’s power is communication speed — 17th century infrastructure being what it was, life in most places for most people wasn’t significantly different under the Protectorate than it was under King Charles.  Not that Cromwell and the boys didn’t give totalitarianism the old college try, but when it took three days for the fastest courier to make it to Edinburgh from London, they just didn’t have the juice to make it work.

America in 1776 was a rough frontier society.  Infrastructurally, it pretty much was England in 1648.  Jefferson can be forgiven for thinking that the same conditions applied.  But they didn’t, because present trends never continue and history never stops.  Thanks to increased communication speed, people started looking at what Jefferson said, not what he meant.

That’s half the problem.

The other half is that in some ways, Jefferson really did mean what he said.  We’ve already noted that social contract theory has a fatal flaw: Hobbes’s Leviathan ends with the most absolute possible monarch, but it starts with the premise that all men are roughly equal in the State of Nature.  Again, Hobbes was writing in the 1640s.  He can be forgiven for thinking that this is roughly true, since “the state of nature” he envisioned was an English village — a tight-knit, seemingly eternal world all to itself.

For us, the state of nature is much different.  For us, “all men” means “each individual,” which means “isolated free agents”… and the “state of nature” is, of course, the entire world, because there’s virtually no place on this globe of ours that you can’t reach within 24 hours.

Thus, we know just how glaringly false “equal” really is.

That being the case, we know that social contract theory — i.e. the basis of representative government, i.e. the foundation-stone of the Constitution — is wrong.  And not just a little bit wrong in the details.  It’s fundamentally wrong, and nothing built on an error can endure.

It was a necessary lie in its day.  But it was a lie for all that.

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How the World Works, Part II

Once again, I present these in the spirit of Martin Luther’s theses: As starting points for reasonable discussion among learned men.

Part I discussed those of our social assumptions that are so wrong they’re backwards.  This one discusses Things that are (Merely) Wrong.  As that’s a loooooong list, let’s start with:

Governments of laws, not men.  We’re told that this is what the “social contract” gives us.  It’s the goal, we learn, of Classical Liberalism.  But — as you might expect from a philosophy that rests on a glaring falsity (“all men are created equal”) — Classical Liberalism is wrong. All governments are governments of men.  The very best you can do is to arrange the laws and institutions such that they incentivize bad men to do good, or at least less harmful, things.

The Founders understood this.  Alas, they assumed a proposition at least as wrong as “all men are created equal.”  To wit: History stops.  It’s not their fault — it’s pointless to warn against teleology, or decry “Whig history,” because all history is Whig history. The realization that things were different in the past carries with it the implication that the present is inevitable.  Whether you see now as a product of degeneration from a golden age (all history up to the 18th century), or the past as nothing but darkness (the technical definition of “Whig history”), the notion that things could not have been different than they are right now rides with it, like a birth defect.  We should be able to see beyond this, but we can’t.  Therefore, the institutions that worked for a rough frontier society in 1783 were creaky by 1823, moribund by 1853, and dead by 1863 – a single human lifetime.

In truth, sovereignty is what Carl Schmitt says: “Sovereign is he who decides on the exception.”  This, in turn, rests on Hobbes’s insight that “the power of the mighty hath no foundation, but the belief and opinion of the people” (Schmitt was a profound Hobbes scholar).  Witness the exception-deciders of our own age: Hawaiian Judges and the Media.  The same people who say walls don’t work have massive walls of their own, plus armed guards, because they understand that they’re sovereign.  They also understand the “opinion and belief of the people” part….

… at least, they did.  But see above: That situation is not inevitable.  Present trends never continue.  Institutions change as men change.  The men who realize the changes first are the ones who find themselves in power.

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How the World Works, Part I

Like Luther with his famous theses, I present these propositions as items for reasonable discussion among learned men.

Things that are Backwards:

Modern life is built on certain propositions.  Most of them are wrong.  Some of them are so wrong, they’re actually backwards.  Such as:

Modern political theory assumes all men are rational, or at least capable of sustained rationality.  Which is true as far as it goes… but it doesn’t really go anywhere.  When it comes to concrete objectives, for instance, people can be quite rational about means, even when — especially when — the ends are batshit crazy.  See e.g. the drug addict who is fiendishly ingenious about getting his fix, even as fixing kills him.

Political theory stands even that on its head.  As David Stove says, the minute the generality of mankind attempt abstract thought, they invariably go mad.  We give the junkie a vote, assuming that somehow the guy who thinks killing himself with heroin is a good idea will square himself away enough to competently pass judgment on questions of war and peace.  The more we know about the human sciences, the clearer it is that “rationality” is intermittent at best, a cruel fiction at worst.


Similarly, social contract theory — at least, the degraded version of it that emerged in response to Marxism in the later 19th century — assumes that men want freedom, that we are free agents in search of maximal space for self-expression.  This too is backward.  Men are never free agents.  We carry a centuries-old burden of language and culture, custom and belief.  Even in America, the immigrant’s paradise, virtually no one came here alone.  Humans are apes; apes have the most elaborate society in nature.  We migrate as families.

In other words, we confuse liberty with freedom.  Freedom means “no external restraints.”  It’s synonymous with license.  It’s what barbarians have.  Liberty, by contrast, means “self-actualization within rules — specifically, that eons-old matrix of belief and custom.”


Put them together, and it’s clear that representative government isn’t just wrong, but inverted.  It assumes that the worst part of our game — rationality; enlightened self-interest; a preference for liberty, not license — is actually our best.  It has to fail, because it’s backwards.

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Does the State have Limits?

Karl Marx was right about a lot of things, actually — class conflict being the biggest.  He was even right about the “law of increasing immiseration,” for a certain value of “immiseration” — it’s spiritual, not material.  The Frankfurt School saw this (scroll down at the link); that’s one of the reasons they asserted that capitalism makes you crazy.  That was the Frankfurt Schoolers’ recurring nightmare, that the kind of “state capitalism” Lenin warned about would forestall the Revolution forever.

Which is hilarious if you think about it, because it’s the Left who are all in on State Capitalism these days, and the guys in Our Thing — the “Right,” for lack of a better term — who insist on the spiritual necessity of revolution.

Turns out Marx was right about that, too:  First time as tragedy, second as farce.

The problem with any all-encompassing social theory, though, is that it assumes present trends will continue.  Karl Marx was born in 1818 — just three years after Waterloo.  The Industrial Revolution was still in its infancy, so the “proletariat” really was being immiserated at an ever-increasing rate.  The great event of Marx’s early adulthood was the Year of Revolutions,1848.  It doesn’t wash the blood of millions off his hands, but it’s at least understandable that he thought world events really were breaking his way.  By the time of his death (1883) it was clear that a lot of his ideas were, if not fully wrong, then at least in need of serious modification… but by that time “Marxism” had very little to do with Karl Marx.

That’s where there’s room for hope, comrades.  And we need it, because present trends are looking very, very bad for us.

Starting from the top: All previous political commentary assumed that the State has some hard limits.  The least-contentious definition of “sovereignty,” for instance, is “monopoly on the legitimate use of force,” which implies that the ruled can always resort to illegitimate force against their rulers.  This seems to be the default assumption in Our Thing, too — the “molon labe, motherfuckers!” crowd clearly see themselves as the Wolverines from Red Dawn, taking the battle to Incitatus Ocasio-Cortez and the few lickspittles in the security forces that will follow her.  They point to the success of Afghani goatherds against our troops…

… but they never acknowledge that our troops are 10,000 miles away from home, fighting under rules of engagement that make Johnson’s Vietnam ROE look like a how-to guide for the Waffen-SS.  And they certainly never acknowledge the reason our ROE are so restrictive:

Communication speed.

That’s the fundamental limit on state power.  Had the British generals in Boston been able to get the word out in time and actually catch the rebels at Lexington and Concord, there’d have been no American Revolution.  If King Charles had been on Twitter and got the word about the London arsenals before Parliament did, the English Civil War would’ve been over before it started.  Pretty much every single Roman civil war can be traced back to some commander out in the boonies with too much time on his hands.  Put the Emperor on Skype, and we’d still be sacrificing to the Cult of Divine Augustus.

Our guys in Trashcanistan know that every single thing they do is potentially on the net, live, in real time.  See, for example, Obama watching the “get bin Laden” mission.  He had the technical capacity to call it off almost to the minute the choppers crashed.  How long does it take a scrambled electronic signal to reach Islamabad from DC?  That’s your window for independent action.

Now apply that to the United States.  If the government wanted to blast me for wrongthink, how much time would I have?  How long does it take for the computer to see I’ve hit “publish” on this little screed, identify a drone asset in the vicinity, and relay the order?  Five seconds?  Ten?  Then calculate the flight time of the cruise missile from wherever it was launched.  That’s my lifespan, should the State decree it so.  Maybe six, seven minutes, would you say?

How many dronings do you think it’ll take to cow the populace?  Molon labe indeed.  Remember, the government’s spin can go out in real time, too.  Sure, sure, they can convene a blue ribbon commission to “investigate” just why I was that I got droned.  They can even “punish” someone for icing a US citizen without due process.  In the meantime, though, the video of my house getting blown to smithereens is on every computer in the entire world, instantly.  How’s that going to work out, Wolverines?  “Gosh, it turns out it was all a great big misunderstanding.  I’m sure we can trust Space Command not to do it again.”

That’s if present trends continue, of course.  So long as nothing happens to the communications infrastructure, we’re pretty much screwed.

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