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Recent Evolution

My thesis in these posts, in a nutshell, is that our society is doing what it does because we’re the kind of people we are. Which seems tautologous, I realize — a Gem if ever there was one — but look how unremarked the fact of ongoing local evolution is, particularly among Science’s self-proclaimed BFFs. And so-called “conservatives” are, if anything, worse. We’re the Reality people, y’all. Shouldn’t we at least acknowledge that Man is a physically different creature than he was back in Classical Greece?

Since computers seem to be a popular pastime among the Regular Readers, let’s use that. contrariandutchman put it nicely somewhere below: Human biology is the hardware; culture is the software. The last programming I did was in BASIC, but even I know that software pretty quickly outstrips hardware… which is over-powered to compensate, then the software bloats to fill the hardware, lather rinse repeat. For my fellow liberal arts folks: This is why every new iteration of MS Office is bigger, slower, and kludgier than the last. Only the bells and whistles change… and they screw everything up, because there’s no reason for any program outside the Defense Department to require umpteen gigs of hard drive space, let alone a fucking word processor. It’s bloat for bloat’s sake.

It should be clear to even the dullest social observer that human software has well and truly outstripped our hardware. We’re not built for the world we’ve built. This has been happening for a long time, of course, but it has really taken off recently. Note how hard it is not to watch tv, for instance. Even if you don’t have one in your home, go to a bar, an airport, hell, go to the grocery store — there are blinking screens everywhere, and it takes serious effort not to watch them. Our hardware interprets bright flashing things as a threat — can’t be helped. If you’ve been away from civilization for a few days, like I was recently, you’ll experience fatigue, even nausea when you first come back into town. The low-level-but-constant effort it takes to override your hardware when surrounded by blinking screens wears you out.

If you don’t feel like going all Thoreau, you can test the effect by simply writing your comments to this post out longhand, and then waiting an hour before typing them up. I bet you’ll find it mildly annoying no matter what, but if you’ve really got some thoughts on this matter, by then end of the hour you’ll be something close to furious. You’ve been rewired, comrade. You’re homo electronicus. We all are.

This stuff is recent — really recent. There was a limit to how screen-addled even the infamous “latchkey kids” of the 1980s could be. I had “latchkey kid” buddies, and although we had everything we needed to veg out in front of the tube in the very best Gen Z style — video games, sugary snacks, cable — we couldn’t sit and play Atari all day. I don’t mean that we didn’t; we were no smarter than any other boys; we sure as hell didn’t do anything for our health. I mean we couldn’t. Playing video games gave us ants in the pants — my Mom always knew when I’d been over at Steve’s — and eventually it got to the point where we had to put the joystick down and go throw around a football or something.

These days, the inability to play Nintendo for hours on end means you’ve got ADHD. Pass the Ritalin.

Three things made homo electronicus:

  1. modern medicine
  2. instant communications
  3. permanent caloric surplus.

Ritalin is actually one of the more benign examples. Back in the days when we were allowed to notice such things, a certain kind of social critic pointed out that falling murder rates have very little to do with crime reduction. Instead, it’s almost all attributable to advances in emergency medicine. It’s much tougher for Shitavious to kill D’L’eondrae over a pair of sneakers these days. The ER docs patch the victim up, and so what would’ve been murder one is now mere ADW, which means — Soros-funded DAs being what they are — both victim and perp are soon back on the streets, ready for round two. This idiot rapper, for instance, survived being shot nine times. That’s not nine separate shootings, mind you, that’s nine slugs in one incident. Granted the slipshod motherfuckers who capped him need to work on their aim, but surviving even nine flesh wounds from modern firearms is one hell of a testimony to the power of modern medicine…

…a power that does not, I suggest, conduce to positive eugenic outcomes.

There are lots of problems with instant communications, and they really need a whole post (or series, or book) to themselves, but one is particularly relevant here. As discussed above, it’s not the technology itself, it’s the application. The internet, like tv, is one of those gadgets that are almost impossible not to use. If it’s there, you’re going to log on – it takes serious, frustrating effort not to. Try it!

One obvious consequence of this is that it turns the whole world into a giant hen party. Karen has always been with us, probably with equal prevalence. But as late as the mid-1990s, she’d have to confine her scolding to PTA meetings and places like that. But now everyone has the Internet, and social media’s a thing, and it’s just sitting there, compelling you to use it. Woman’s natural role as the guardian of the tribes mores becomes Karen-ism on crack.

Finally, I suggest that the permanent caloric surplus that has obtained in the West since about 1950 has done more than anything to speciate us Postmoderns. It would take someone who Fucking Loves Science ™ way more than I do to assert that the vast, obvious changes in the human race in the 20th century were merely physical. Consider the oft-remarked fact (at the time, at least) that British officers on the Western Front were a full head taller than their men. Then consider (ditto) the more-or-less open secret that a lot of those tall subalterns were gay. Correlation is not causation — growing up in the infamous English public schools probably had a lot to do with it, as Robert Graves himself says — but… there’s a pretty strong correlation.

Excess fat cranks up estrogen levels. You don’t need to be House MD to interpret this finding:

In males with increasing obesity there is increased aromatase activity, which irreversibly converts testosterone to estradiol resulting in decreased testosterone and elevated estrogen levels.

Or this one:

A study supports the link between excess weight and higher hormone levels. The study found that estrogen and testosterone levels dropped quite a bit when overweight and obese women lost weight.

This is not to say those swishy subalterns were fat — indeed, they were comically scrawny compared to Postmodern people. But a little goes a long way when it comes to hormones, especially in a world where “intermittent fasting” wasn’t a fad diet, but a way of life. Any one of us would keel over from hunger if we were forced to eat the kind of diet George Orwell described as his public school’s standard fare.

Follow that trend out to the Current Year, when pretty much everyone is grossly obese compared to even the Silent Generation. Heartiste and other “game” bloggers loved pointing out that the average modern woman weighs as much as the average man did in the 1960s.  And while I think that’s overblown — we’re also several inches taller, on average, than 1960s people — there’s definitely something to it, especially when you consider how far the bell curve has shifted to the fat end. Not only do people weigh a lot more on average, the people who weigh more than average now weigh a hell of a lot more than heavier-than-average people did back when. See, for example, the ballooning weight of offensive linemen, who are professionally fat — in 2011 a quarterback, Cam Newton, weighed more than the average offensive lineman in the 1960s.

Put the two trends together and you have, on average, a hormone cocktail way, way different than even 50 years ago… and that’s before you add in things like all-but-universal hormonal contraception, lots of which ends up in municipal drinking water.

In other words, our software overpowered our hardware, which is literally bloating to compensate. We couldn’t go back to the politics of even the 1950s, even if we wanted to — we’re different creatures.

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Barrett Redux

There’s some pretty stiff competition at the top, I’ll grant you, but if I had to pick the Top Five Stupidest Things the Human Race Has Ever Done, I’d go with, in ascending order:

  • Proclaim “peace in our time.”
  • Hand Austria-Hungary a blank check for war
  • Invade Russia in the winter
  • Start a land war in Asia
  • Listen to Karl Marx.

That was prior to this week, though. When you consider that we’ve got our ongoing COVID response, a Presidential debate with Pedo Joe Biden, and now a Supreme Court nomination fight on the schedule, we might be edging into “Chamberlain at Munich” territory, idiocy-wise. It’s gonna be a wowzer.

I don’t really have much to say about the Supreme Court one way or the other. Like politicians, judges always “grow in office;” it’s not a question of if she’ll sell us out, it’s a question of when. Yeah yeah, the Constitution, but how does it make you feeeeel, Justice Barrett?

That said, if you find the spectacle of sheer bugfuck lunacy entertaining — and let’s all admit it; this is a safe space — you, like me, might need to see your doctor for an erection lasting more than four hours. Because y’all, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

As  hard as this is to believe, the Left haven’t fully deployed their storm troopers yet. When it comes to riots in places like Minneapolis, well… what did you expect? Joggers gotta Jog, and everybody knows it. America’s case of Chronic Negro Fatigue is terminal, and nobody expects them to even try to control themselves anymore. Same thing with the coddled college kids, addicts, and mental-institution escapees in “Antifa.” No one expects better of a “student” who’s still working on that Master’s Degree in Intersectional Poetry in his late 30s.

But the Basic College Girls have thus far been sidelined.

Yeah yeah, there are lots of double-X chromosomes out there with “Antifa,” but they’re exactly what you’d expect — 5’2″, 200lb., purple-haired, sleeve-tatted, multi-pierced fugs who make up their own pronouns. It’s no surprise why they’re incoherently angry. Thanks to their freakazoid appearance, they are, in themselves, the perfect refutation of whatever ideology they think they’re promoting.

But abortion though… that gets the Basic College Girl’s heart fluttering. And since Barrett is Catholic* and seems to mean it on that score, at least, the BCGs are going to start hitting the streets.

I guess you’ll just have to trust me on this. And believe me, I know — all the thousands of words I’ve written about the BCG make her sound like a typical apathetic, apolitical college kid. They’re out-and-proud trend-surfing herd animals, these BCGs, so why should they care about abortion? But they do, y’all, they do.

Think of it like an iPad. “Abortion” doesn’t make sense as a political issue, because BCGs don’t have politics, or issues. They do have lifestyle accessories, though, the latest and greatest ones. That’s how they compete with each other — the cutest shoes, the trendiest Starbucks drink, the #wokest attitude. Threatening to take away Muh Abortion! is, to them, like threatening to take away their iCrap Mini Pro 7.2, the one with the cute heart stickers and the unlimited data plan. It’s an identity thing, and they’re about to turn into screaming fucking banshees over it.

Which is great. If he tries really, really, really hard, your average CivNat BoomerCuck can still convince himself — see above — that the ongoing lunacy is solely the work of freaks, fugs, deviants, and ferals, the kind of people who just can’t help themselves. But he’s about to see his wife and sister and daughter go utterly fucking apeshit, all over a woman who looks like this:

We’re all grownups here; we’ve all been around the block a few times; we know how this is going to play — no matter what they say they’re freaking out about, any person with any social savvy whatsover is going to see nothing but MEAN GIRL SHIT, in bright blinking neon. The fact that she’s adopted a few dindus, and that’s now going to be bad somehow, is just icing on the cake. Barrett looks exactly like the kind of grasping, backstabbing overachiever who stole your boyfriend in college, that bitch… or the kind of grasping, backstabbing overachiever who dumped you in college for that guy who just got into med school.

It’s going to be an epic freakout, an estrogen-soaked battle royale. Lots of eyes are going to be opened this week. Grab lots of popcorn.

 

 


*Yeah yeah, I know, they should be cheering — after all, “Pope” Francis is Catholic, and that guy is the best friend the Poz ever had. Barrett comes to us from Notre Dame, a “Catholic” institution that didn’t just swallow the blue pill, they used it as a suppository. And trust me, gang, a pozzed “Catholic” institution makes the Politburo look like a Rotary Club meeting. Unless Barrett is actually the covenanted head of the female auxiliary of The Society of St. Pius X, she’ll crawfish on us the minute the robe is on.

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Bio-Marxism

Orthodox, High-Church Marxism suffer from two fatal flaws. The second — by far the most culturally relevant, though uninteresting for our purposes — is that it’s an all-purpose excuse for life’s rejects. No, comrade, it’s not that you were dealt a poor hand and chose to play it obnoxiously; it’s the system bringing you down. The first is the same dreary affliction that sinks all attempts at a Unified Field Theory of Life, no matter how fearsomely footnoted: It’s a Gem. The assertion that a society’s intellectual-socio-cultural “superstructure” can only rest on a given economic “base” is, when you boil off all the verbiage, merely the assertion that men can only be how they can be. It’s a tautology.

Low-Church Marxism, though, can be quite useful. Marxists who were historians first and Marxists second — such a combination was possible before the Boomers took over — did valuable work. Cf. Christopher Hill’s (born 1912) work on the English Civil Wars, or Eugene Genovese’s (1930) studies of American slavery. Though they were as dogmatic as they come in their personal politics for much of their lives (Hill kept his Stalinist faith almost to the end), the Marxism in their work was de-scriptive, not pre-scriptive — it dictated the kinds of evidence they’d look for, not the conclusions they’d reach. They were interested in the lives of ordinary people, not The People.

All of which is a long-winded way of saying that, so long as you don’t let Revolutionary fervor get the better of you, a quasi-Marxist viewpoint can be quite valuable. That’s the second key to Marxism’s enduring appeal (the first, again, being the get-out-of-jail-free card it hands to fugs, freaks, and deviants): Marx’s de-scriptions, as opposed to his pre-scriptions, were dead on. It seems almost painfully obvious now, in the Current Year, that there’s a dialectical relationship between a society’s mores and its economic system, but it only seems so thanks to a century and a half of Marxism. Nobody reads a book like The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism anymore, because there’s no need to — it’s in the air, something “everybody knows.” But at the time it was revolutionary, small-r.

Back in my teaching days, then, I used to liken Karl Marx to one of those medieval plague doctors that ran around in bird masks. His diagnosis would be spot on — you’ve got the plague, and he can see it better and faster than the best modern MD. But his proposed cure would be batshit insanity — a poultice of sheep rectum or something. So it was with Marx. Alienation is the Modern disease, it’s terminal for us Postmoderns, and no one has ever seen it better than Uncle Charlie. But like that sheep-rectum poultice, the Labor Theory of Value and its associated horrors will kill you much faster than the disease it’s meant to cure.

But let’s update the metaphor. Those among the Twenty Readers (do we still have that many?) who came over here from House of Eratosthenes probably remember this fun little exchange, with the infamous Cuttlefish Collective. If you don’t feel like wading through all that — and indeed, for the sake of your sanity, I strongly counsel against it — it’s some goofy group of trolls calling themselves “Zachriel” trying to argue about the “validity” of the argumentum ad verecundiam, the specious appeal to authority. At some point, the expertise of medical doctors was mooted as proof of… well, of something, their “thought” process was as opaque as their prose, but it doesn’t matter, the point is, I made the simple, obvious observation that it doesn’t matter how learned the MD is if he’s looking at the wrong chart. You can call in the world’s greatest specialists, the tippy-top of top men, and their diagnosis of your problem will be unanimous. The problem is, these eminent men will all be flat wrong — you’ve got bronchitis, not bowel cancer — because they’re looking at the wrong chart. You’re Jane Doe, not Tim Smith.

So, too, I’m coming to believe, with Low-Church Marxism. We seem to have learned all that history “from below” (the kind Hill and Genovese did) has to teach us… and that’s because, like the all-star team of super-docs looking at the wrong chart, we’re studying the wrong thing. The “base” upon which the cultural / political / economic “superstructure” rests isn’t economic, it’s genetic.

Before we go further, I want to emphasize again, as strongly as I can, that I’m not arguing for “genetic determinism,” the chromosomal version of what I called High-Church Marxism. Biology is even messier than economics, so we have to strive even harder to avoid the Gem fallacy. I’m not arguing that a given phenotype must produce a certain form of society. Rather, I’m suggesting that genetics sets some hard limits on the possibilities. You can get an infinite variety of calico kittens by breeding two cats, but you’ll never even get a purple one, let alone a dog.

An example: We’ve discussed all the cool steampunk shit the Greeks could’ve had, if only Archimedes had… well, that’s just the thing, isn’t it? We look at the aeolipile and see a prototype steam engine; they looked at it and saw, as best we can tell, a party trick. Back when, I suggested, Marxist-style, that labor costs were a sufficient explanation for why nobody took the obvious-to-us next step of hooking the thing up to something productive and kicking off the Industrial Revolution. Machines are labor-saving devices; the ancient world had a gross excess of labor. Calling the aeolipile a steam engine, then, is a category error.

New hypothesis: It’s a category error, all right, but not because they didn’t think in terms of labor costs. It’s because they couldn’t think in terms of labor costs.

A world organized around institutional mass slavery is, in a very real sense, a timeless world. Herodotus (I think) actually says somewhere that nothing worth mentioning happened before him, and you can see echoes of this attitude even as late as the Antebellum South. You see their attitude described as “conservative,” but since that’s egghead shorthand for “evil” you can ignore it. They weren’t consciously backward-looking; rather, they were deeply rooted to their place and station. To the outsider, it looked like they were trying to hold time back, but to the insider, time — clock time, industrial time, the time of the Protestant work ethic — barely existed at all.

So with the Classical World. The Romans, for instance, are endlessly frustrating to their admirers (of which I am an ardent one). Their only economic fix, for instance, was debasing the currency, i.e. a primitive form of inflation. You guys could figure out how to hew an artificial harbor out of some desert rocks — a trick we’d have a hard time pulling off today — but you couldn’t figure out fiat currency? Or a better political system than the tetrarchy? Or that the forts-and-legions paradigm just isn’t cutting it? Or… etc.

Stuff like that is why Spengler said classical, Apollonian culture was fundamentally different from, and incompatible with, our Faustian culture. According to Spengler, the master metaphor for the Apollonian is the human body, which is beautiful but changeless (emphasis mine, not Spengler’s). You can improve your body somewhat, but only within certain tight limits, and the body’s fundamental form is always the same (we could time warp Julius Caesar into the Current Year and still recognize him as a fellow homo sap., no matter how different his mind might be).

The Faustian, though — that would be us — organizes his worldview around space, infinite space. Practically speaking, this results in our attitude of innovation-for-innovation’s sake. We send a man to the moon because we can, but such an idea would never occur to the Romans, for the same reason they didn’t apply all their awesome engineering knowledge to the problems of governance. Hacking a harbor out of the desert is a tremendous feat, but it’s a local feat — a one-shot deal, a very specific response to a very specific local problem, with no broader applications.

This, I suggest, is because the timeless world of institutional mass slavery naturally selects for the kind of man who is at home in the world of institutional mass slavery. It’s a world of very low future time orientation, because “time” hardly exists at all. Forget machinery for a sec; the Roman world was full of enormous problems that had teeny-tiny, head-slappingly obvious fixes. Julius Caesar, for instance, was considered some kind of prodigy because he could sight-read books. Which really was a noteworthy feat, because Romans didn’t even put spaces between their words, much less use any sort of punctuation marks. And they were radical innovators compared to the Ancient Egyptians, since at least Roman writing all ran left-to-right; hieroglyphics can be read in any direction, including vertically, and I’m pretty sure there are examples of them changing text orientations in the middle of the same inscription. It’s not hard to imagine some legion commander actually losing a battle because he had to stop and sound out an important communique from a subordinate…

…and yet the Romans, for all their technical skill, never even figured that tiny change out. See also: The Chinese doing fuck-all with movable type, vs. (Faustian) Europeans using it to conquer the world. China, too, was a timeless society. As Derb says somewhere, Classical Chinese isn’t even really writing; it’s more of an aide-memoire — designed to remind readers of stuff they already know, not to communicate new information.

Your post-Roman European, by contrast, lived in a world where high future time orientation was an absolute must. You don’t need hypotheses like the famous “lead in the drinking water pipes” to explain the seemingly bizarre things the Romans did, or didn’t do; all you need is time orientation, a fundamental attitude of “this is a variation on an old problem” vs. “this is an entirely new situation that requires a new response.” Life in the post-Roman world was solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short — every man for himself; think through the consequences of your actions very carefully before you do them, or die horribly. Those who failed to do so died. Bake that into the genetic cake for a few generations, and you get Renaissance Man, who’d see a million possible applications for the aeolipile.

Which brings us to the present day [the Rotten Chestnuts motto: Come for the parenthetical asides, stay for the non sequiturs]. I like to joke that we’re re-medievalizing, since the Left carries on like the Spanish Inquisition while the peasantry sinks ever faster into the mire of goofy superstitions. But the truth is, we’re re-Apollonianizing, if you’ll allow me to butcher Spengler for a sec. Our mental horizon is now the body — our very own unique, special snowflake bodies, of whichever sex and however many genders and sexual orientations. I used to think that crimestop, as practiced by dimbulb Leftists like the Zachriel (remember them? from up top?), was a conscious choice:

Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity.

But now I think it really is instinctive. I eventually concluded that those particular clowns were suffering from something like Asperger’s Syndrome — how else to explain the fact that they were able to carry on like that for years, over thousands of comments? But I was wrong. It’s not a “syndrome,” since that entails deviation from a norm. Rather, that IS the norm, the new norm in our newly re-Apollonian age. r/K selection theory is real, it applies to humans, and it explains modern political behavior like nothing else can. We’ve bred the New Soviet Persyn, all right — this is what happens when you ruthlessly purge future time orientation from the gene pool.

Insofar as they can be said to “think” at all, those idiots out there burning down cities for Burn Loot Murder really do think everything will be just hunky-dory, that the burned areas will somehow magically regenerate overnight, once they get whatever it is they think they want. It’s the same zero future time orientation that drives Leftist “social policy” — they can tax everything, at 100%, forever, and the taxpayers will just keep on paying, because why wouldn’t they? Everything is as it always was, and ever shall it be, because there’s no future, no past, only now. They’ve bred themselves into Elagabalian idiocy.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m sure that it will be as the eugenicists described… one way or the other.

 

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Why the West?

Oswald Spengler deserves a lot of the credit — though, of course, with his reputation as a badthinker he’ll never get it — for founding the discipline of “comparative history.” The macro view, the global perspective; these are necessary if you want to understand history as “human nature writ large.” That this is a very recent fad in academic history — “the Atlantic World,” say, instead of “colonial America” — tells you everything you need to know about the competence and priorities of professional historians.

Academic psychology, sociology, etc. have a similar problem. That Jonathan Haidt guy “conservatives” get all gooey over these days* put it well: Psych “studies” are WEIRD. That is, since they rely almost entirely on Basic College Girls participating in them for class credit, these studies really only capture the momentary zeitgeist of countries that are White, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic. And since, you know, something like 80% of the world is not those things…**

Like everyone else in the Humanities, these clowns are desperately trying to dodge the question: Why are modern White people so awesome?

It takes a LOT of education — like, PhD-level education, at the best college you can afford — not to notice that, sometime around 1500 AD, White people took over the world. The break is as obvious as it is mysterious. If you were forced at gunpoint into a time machine and told to pick a time and place to go before that annus mirabilis, you’d be smart to go with someplace Asian — the Ming Dynasty was pretty nice in its salad days, India had some spectacular cultures way back when, Hammurabi’s Babylon had a wonderful law code that we should bring back in its entirety, etc. About the best you could say for Europe before c. 1500 was that it was no worse than anyplace else.

As I’ve written many times, there’s a nugget of truth in every Leftist brain-shart, and that holds good even for such sewage as “critical race theory.” Guys like de Gobineau had an answer to the question “Why did White people take over the world?” It was, basically, “genetics,” though of course he lacked the science to back it up. But even pudding-brained Leftists can see the problem with that: Unless the awesomeness gene only started kicking in during the Renaissance, you’ve got to explain how the Chinese, Indians, Turks, etc. were so far ahead, technologically, for so long. Just like video killed the radio star, historicism killed the scientific racist.

So maybe it’s the other thing. There are two words in “modern Whites,” after all, so if the key term isn’t “White,” then maybe it’s “modern.” The key to Marxism’s enduring appeal, as we all know, is that it provides a one-size-fits-all excuse for losers. No, it’s not that you’re a psychotic hose beast who has spent truly herculean effort making yourself odious to everyone; it’s that “capitalists” have rigged the system against you! As with people, so with peoples. Africa’s not a shithole because it’s full of Africans; rather, it’s — all together now — the legacy of colonialism….

The problem with that, obviously, is chicken-and-egg: If “capitalism” is why Europeans kicked so much ass, then why is it that only Europeans were able to figure out capitalism? Japan’s feudal system was so feudal it left Europe’s in the dust, but they never went through any of those “contradictions” Marx said must happen to a feudal system. Doctrinaire Marxists spent a lot of time and effort trying to retcon the rest of the world into the Scriptures, but Onkel Karl, alas, remained sinfully Eurocentric in his outlook. Marxism explains a lot about certain neuroses, but it’s worse than useless in accounting for historical change.

So what’s left? The interplay of genetics and culture… which, like all attempts at a unified field theory of life (thanks, Hillary!), says both everything and nothing. At worst it becomes a Gem — people can only be how they can be. At best, though, it’s a useful descriptor of… well, of the interplay of genetics and culture. For instance, look at the impact of clerical celibacy. Yeah yeah, I know, but a lot of the best people really lived it. From a genetic perspective, is the world better or worse off, do you think, because Thomas Aquinas never had children?

It’s not an easy question to answer, because both intelligence and personality are heavily genetic. When Aquinas entered the cloister, our gene pool lost a fearsome IQ… but it also lost a hair-splitting, rabbinical personality type. No slander intended on St. Thomas, personally, who by all accounts was an exceptionally sociable man, loyal to a fault, and beloved by nearly everyone who knew him… but we all must admit that the type of person who would go through the full rigors of a medieval university education is not, generally speaking, the go-along-to-get-along sort. The same impulses of personality that produce an Aquinas also produce a Lenin….****

I dunno. I’m just throwing it out there. What I do know is, we have to look at the gene pool if we’re going to say anything meaningful about any future politics. Let’s start there.

 


*this is the man who says it took him decades of professional study before he figured out that “conservatives” might have a valid perspective that’s worth examining, instead of being dismissed out of hand as stupidity, hate, hateful stupidity, or stupid hate. Too bad he taught several generations of professional psychological researchers before coming to this conclusion.

**To say nothing of the often ludicrously bad design of the “studies” themselves. I have a fair amount of experience in this area, actually, since back in grad school I dated a girl who was getting her PhD in applied psych.*** Since they always needed volunteers, I took a lot of their silly little tests. “Which one is closer to your views: Equality for everyone is nice, or inferior races should be shot.” No joke, some of them were almost that bad.

*** Yes, everything they say about psych majors is true. Yes, I was thinking with the wrong head. So sue me, alright? A man’s got needs.

****and again, no insult intended to St. Thomas. Jeez, it really sounds like I’m giving him both barrels. Look, the guy is my personal patron saint, I took “Thomas” as a confirmation name in his honor… but people are people, even saints.

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Fantasy Court-Ball

Since “philosophy of History” crap like the post below is probably only interesting to me, here’s a quick discussion post.

Apparently Trump met with this “Amy Coney Barrett” person today; evidently she’s long been considered a front runner. Real, or headfake?

I’m initially inclined to say headfake. My 10,000 quatloos is still on the White Hispanic, which would make this a trial balloon — get the Media all riled up in one direction, then flip it. The problem with this theory, though, is that the Media no doubt has bulging dossiers on Trump’s entire shortlist. They’ll just memory-hole their attacks on Barrett and switch focus to Lagoa.

On the other hand, one of Trump’s greatest strengths is his ability to boil things down to a single issue. He forces the Media to stay on-message — his message. In this case, we know why the Ethnics are all riled up. We have all the proof we’ll ever need that they will never, ever stop — America’s case of Chronic Negro Fatigue is already terminal, though not all of us have realized it yet. Plus Slow Joe will doubtless go all-in on the pandering* if and when he’s finally forced to release “his” list of potential nominees. Causing the Media to attack Lagoa as “Hispanic” might work well in Florida, but anyone who needs a reminder that the radical Left (BIRM) hates minorities, too, isn’t going to vote Trump anyway.

So why not make the whole thing about, sigh, abortion? Make the lunatics stay on-message… and compared to the antics of the only people who still care about abortion — sand-vagina’d crop-haired multi-pierced 300lb lesbians on college campuses — the lunacy of the rest of the Rainbow Coalition is small beer. Gyno-warriors don’t really care about rape, since, as Fred Reed so pithily put it long ago (quoting from memory), the average feminist couldn’t get raped on a troopship on free whiskey night. In fact, you and I know that there were more than a few Leftist households playing “Kavanaugh and Blasey-Ford” on their bi-annual sex night (just as we all know that it was the one with the strap-on playing Kavanaugh).

But abortion? Though the same caveats hold — an unplanned pregnancy will never, ever be a problem for the average feminist — they’ve got their identities invested in it. It might be quite instructive for any waverers, especially Waverers of Color, to see how fast AWFLs** drop them in favor of their one and only pet issue. George Floyd? That dopehead probably had it coming, truth be told, but Amy Coney Barrett might vote against Roe v. Wade! It’s not like Karen was ever going to vote for Trump anyway…

… but Karen’s “husband,” and sons, and anyone within the fallout radius of her nuclear Roe explosion just might.

My money’s still on Lagoa, but I’m coming around on Barrett. Either way, it’ll be hilarious. Keep your powder dry, and stock up on popcorn.

 

 


*The Media / Democrat campaign staff must already have some dim idea of how this thing could hurt ol’ Sundown Joe, as he has refused to list his noms and the Media isn’t calling him on it. Imagine if this happened in 2016 — all the Media would talk about, all the time, was Trump’s refusal to name names.

**Average White Female Liberal, as I believe the term of abuse is in Our Thing.

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The Science of History

The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled, the old saying goes, was convincing the world he didn’t exist. Karl Marx was a bargain-basement Beelzebub, but he managed one almost as impressive: convincing a lot of people who damn well should’ve known better that history is a science.

In some ways, of course, that’s just human nature. There are patterns in history, any fool can see that, from which it is natural — though erroneous — to infer that there’s some kind of capital-letter Law at work. An infinite number of possible things can be dropped, after all, but every one of them falls to the earth at the same rate, because of the Law of Gravity. In the same way, though there were, and are, enormous differences in human customs, all human societies tend to display similar characteristics, so why not Laws of History?

That’s how they saw it in the 18th century, of course, and even more so in the 19th, when Science — capital S — really did seem triumphant. It’s hard to overstate just how optimistic the 19th century was. In some ways, the earliest statement of this optimism — and, significantly, its most overwrought warning — was the best: Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein. The creation of life itself in the lab!* If Science could do that — and there’s a reason Shelley’s rather crappy novel was a massive bestseller, y’all — then it should be child’s play for Science to predict the course of human history…

A moment’s glance at the “science” of history guys like Marx actually produced, though, show the flaw in that line of thought. Here again, Shelley’s novel is instructive. Victor Frankenstein could give his creature life, but it wouldn’t obey him — being alive, it had free will and a mind of its own. So “scientific” history always, in the end, means something like “anthropomorphic History, capital-H.” “Life” obeys certain laws, the way falling objects obey the law of gravity, but just as there’s no such physical object as “gravity,” there’s no such thing as “life,” an abstract notion over and above the behavior of individual living things. I know Aquinas is dead, and we have killed him (to steal a phrase from Nietzsche), but these things only make sense in Thomist terms: Just as “gravity” is mathematical shorthand for the actualization of an object’s potential to fall towards a center of mass, so “life” is just the blanket term for actualization of a living thing’s various potentials. When we say things like “gravity caused the avalanche,” we don’t mean that a living, purposive force decided to pull the rocks down…

… and yet, when you get down to it, “scientific” history always ends up meaning “History — a living, purposive force” — decided to do this or that. We assign a telos to history, in other words, in a way we simply don’t to any other “force” governed by “scientific” “laws.” Sorry for all the quotation marks, but I want to make this as clear as I can. Nobody but a poet would say that Gravity, a living force, longs for all things to return to its bosom, but the authors of “scientific” history all write as if History, a living force, longs for this or that outcome. C.f. Karl Marx and his merry band of murderers getting all lathered up about The Revolution. The words on the page are all about scientific necessity, but the tone is pure hosanna.

You see it even in explicitly anti-Marxist philosophies of history, like Oswald Spengler’s. Spengler is quite clear that there’s no telos to history, no overarching purpose… and yet Spengler, too, thinks his philosophy allows nothing less than the accurate prediction of the future, because he’s discovered the Laws by which History operates. Not gravity, but water (the metaphor is mine, not Spengler’s) — oxygen and hydrogen don’t have to form water, but if you put the right amounts of them together in the right circumstances, water inevitably results. History, then, can proceed in an almost infinite variety of ways, but its behavior can still be predicted if you know enough about the initial conditions….

….which certainly sounds scientific enough, until you start reading what Spengler actually wrote. The Decline of the West is above all a work of aesthetics. “Faustian man” — that would be us — is a profoundly tragic figure. Even more so than Nietzsche (one of his major influences), Spengler urges amor fati, the love of fate. As Nietzsche puts it:

My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it—all idealism is mendacity in the face of what is necessary—but love it.

Spengler thinks he’s predicting the future, but what he’s actually doing is preaching — mono no aware, the tragic sense of life. No surprise that Schopenhauer, in himself, was a major influence on Spengler. Schopenhauer was a kind of German Buddhist; he, and Nietzsche, and Spengler, would understand Yukio Mishima’s suicide and the banzai charge, though they may not have approved.** History is a grand tragedy, one can’t help but feel, because History wrote it to be.

For both men, then — and for everyone else who considers the Philosophy of History to be a real thing — History is about meaning. We don’t strip-mine history for useful examples to analyze real-world situations; that’s mere statecraft, the kind of thing a Bismarck would do. (Though Spengler admired Bismarck). Instead, we look to History to answer our existential questions; the answer “History” gives back to us doesn’t tell us a damn thing, in the end, about “History” — because there’s no such thing as capital-H History — but it tells us everything about ourselves. Oswald Spengler longed for his emotionally distant mother’s love and never got it; Karl Marx hated his father and wanted to kill him. The Decline of the West vs. The Communist Manifesto.

The truly ironic thing about these “sciences” of History, though, is that they fail by not being scientific enough. Specifically, they don’t take Darwin into account.

Hang on a sec before you start typing that comment. I’m not saying that there’s any such thing as History, let alone that it’s predictable, in either Spenglerian or Marxist terms. All I’m saying is that any Enlightenment analysis of historical change must fail — and both Spengler and Marx were, if nothing else, the precocious children of the Enlightenment — because the Enlightenment’s fundamental assumptions were wrong.

The Enlightenment assumes that human nature is unchanging. Genghis Khan and William Gladstone might be as different as it is possible for two humans to be in externals, but they are, at bottom, the same thing — rationally self-interested creatures pursuing The Good as they understand it. But Darwin taught us, and Watson and Crick confirmed, that they’re not the same thing, and never can be. Our Faustian civilization is different from the “Apollonian” culture of Classical Greece, not because some mysterious Force of History made it that way, but because the Classical Greeks are, in effect, an entirely different species. We’re separated by 2000 years of evolution…. or devolution, or both, take your pick.

Call it “bio-Marxism,” if you like. Marx said that the social “superstructure” of a given country and epoch was the necessary — in the logical, scientific sense of “necessary” — outgrowth of the economic “base.” Feudal society, for example — knights in shining armor, the Grail legend, the whole schmear — was a mere outgrowth of “primitive capital accumulation.” Swap out “genes” for “capital” and you’ll have a scientific understanding of history — medieval man was how he was because copious, recent, and fierce natural selection made him that way. We are how we are in exactly the same way. Our future politics, whatever that turns out to be, will be the way it will be because that’s the kind of creature we are — we can have no other.

 


*Now is not the time to go off on a long comparative literature tangent, but look at the modern zombie genre for contrast — it’s always a virus. Perhaps man-made, but it’s always humans messing around with something already alive that reanimates the dead, not scientists creating life ex nihilo — a very significant difference.

** Though I have a sneaking suspicion Nietzsche would’ve approved.

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Quick Thoughts: RBG Edition – now with bonus brackets!!

So Satan finally called in his marker. Soros must be shaking in his infant-skin slippers right now. The tab always comes due eventually, you bastards. Interesting times ahead:

The Sellout: It goes without saying that McConnell and Co. will sell us out; the only questions are “when” and “how.” My best guess is that they team up with their respected opponents across the aisle to announce that, to solemnly honor the memory of a great American, they’ll hold off on any confirmation hearings until after the election. They will do this because they are

  1. feckless anti-American globohomo shit-weasels; and
  2. stupid feckless anti-American globohomo shit-weasels.

The first goes without saying, but the latter’s more important. Making the upcoming election about the Supreme Court will do two things, both very bad for the Party. The first is to remind Americans that no matter who or what we vote for, our real rulers are senile old hacks-in-black who “decide” cases based on how it makes them look on the cable tv shout shows. The second is that Joe Biden has to promise to put a Black female on the bench, and… well… somehow, amazingly, incomprehensibly, Normal America’s case of Chronic Negro Fatigue is not yet terminal, but I’m pretty sure the thought of, say, Tank Abrams on the bench will push them over the edge.

The Likeliest Pick: But let’s stipulate, just for fun, that Trump gets to nominate someone and the Senate somehow decides to act on it before the election. That the Left will go apeshit goes without saying, so Trump — who knows a thing or two about pushing their buttons — can nominate whoever will give him the biggest near-term advantage. Now, I don’t mean “advantage” in the sense of “would this person be a good Supreme Court pick.” I mean advantage, a yuuuuge one, in the sense of “since they’re going to paint the nominee as some kind of fundie rapist Hitler clone no matter who it is, Trump will nominate someone from the Dems’ most vulnerable coalition and let the Left tear xzhym apart, live on national tv, for months on end.” The Z Man thinks it’s some Hispanic I’ve never heard of, but since I don’t play Fantasy Court-ball I haven’t heard of any of the potential nominees. That would make a lot of strategic sense — Slow Joe is already tanking among Hispanics; watching Hispanics’ most mucho bueno amigos in the Democrat/Media party rip a wise Latino apart might well put Trump past the margin of fraud.

New Soviet Friends: I wish I’d saved that one from the RC archives, because it was a good bit on how social media is warping our sense of privacy. In the social media age, shameless is the only way to live, since everyone has dirt on them to some degree. This has been the Left’s secret to success since the Clintons, who in some truly gifted way were able to anticipate the social media age when the people who’d build social media were still mere gleams in the eyes of the kind of underage girls Bill Clinton digs. I was there, and I still can’t believe how fucking brass-balled shameless they both were… but that’s the only way to live now. It’ll be an interesting barometer of Our Betters’ supposed “morality,” to see the kinds of things they accuse Trump’s nominee of doing. “Oh, so ___ is supposed to be bad now?”

The Spirit of ’72No matter which way it goes, though, Trump has been handed a great campaign theme. Since the Party will oppose him no matter who he nominates, or doesn’t, and will obstruct him no matter how it breaks, Trump — who is actually, currently the President of the United States — can reprise his 2016 campaign as a Washington outsider. That’s a hell of a trick, but there’s precedent — in 1972, the Dems ran incoherent rage head, Eugene McCarthy. Now, Joe Biden makes Gene McCarthy look like the reincarnation of Solon, but the principle is the same — so incoherent a rage head (relative to his times) was McCarthy, that Nixon could run as a peacenik against the very war that he, himself, personally was in charge of.

Fun times ahead. Buy lots of ammo.

UPDATEVia offline exchange with e-migo (and all-too-infrequent Rotten Chestnuts contributor, hint hint) Nate Winchester, the Supreme Court bracket!! I’ll look at the official “short list” later, but a Z Man commenter sez:

Barbara Lagoa, 1st Cuban-American woman on the FL SC, Trump appointment to the 11th Circuit Court, is on the short list.

There’s my bet. Ten thousand quatloos on the Wise Latina. And since she’s Cuban, another 10,000 quatloos on the first time the phrase “White Hispanic” hits the Media. I’ve got “0.00002 seconds after Trump announces her nomination.”

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The Yellow Peril!

I’ve got some more thoughts on Big Man-ism — interesting discussion going on below — but since folks seem to like these “inside the ivory gulag” posts, here’s a quick bit about Asian kids and how every professional educator hates them.

If Our Thing really wants to land a blow against the Poz, we’ll come up with a word to describe well-merited “racism.” As in, I try very hard to take people as they come, but you have to go much farther, much faster, as, say, a Jogger to earn my trust, because I have a metric shitload of reasons, based on long and often painful experience, not to trust you — as a Jogger. You know how you’re always complaining about how “unsafe” you feel on campus, surrounded by all those White kids who would bend over backwards (or, in the Basic College Girl’s case, forwards) for you at every possible opportunity? That’s how I feel around y’all. The difference is, I act like it.

Is that “racism”? I suppose it must be, given the current cultural environment, but I prefer to think of it as basic, toddler-level understanding of cause and effect. You don’t have to touch too many hot stoves before you’re careful around all stoves, just on general principles. And that’s before you throw in a huge, well-funded, obnoxious grievance industry which insists that stoves have the right to cruise around my neighborhood burning people, because social justice…

But hey, whatever, let’s get the meme patrol on that. I’m talking about lying, cheating, weaselly Asian kids:

College Board, the academic giant that administers the SAT, served as a “key partner” for the Chinese government for nearly two decades, helping it establish controversial Confucius Institute programs across the U.S. K-12 system, according to a new report.

Well, that explains that, I suppose. Forget the “Confucius Institute” for a sec; that’s just the foot in the door, the camel’s nose under the tent, pick your overworked cliche. The real fun comes form that “administers the SAT” part.

It’s academia’s worst-kept secret that so many American colleges are utterly dependent on Chinese nationals paying full freight. This was certainly true of Flyover State, and let that sink in for a minute. Here’s a big-but-not-huge, almost completely nondescript school in one of those rectangular states with more barns than people. It’s the kind of school where you see their football team losing one of those December bowl games and you think “huh, I guess that state has another college.” It’s the kind of place that, unless ground squirrel population management has military value somehow, the Chinese have no business being. And yet, here they are. And they’re fucking everywhere.

Nor is this a recent problem. I went to a third-rate commuter school in one of our less intellectual states back at the dawn of the Clinton Era. Even there, even then, we used to joke that you’d need to bone up on Mandarin if you ever hoped to pass chem lab… or use the computers… or get a ping pong table at the student union… The dorms reeked of deep-fried squid, and I think some of them actually slept in the study carrels at the library. I wasn’t the quickest on the uptake back then, and certainly way less cynical than I am now, but even I could see that the guy “teaching” the required P.E. class was some kind of People’s Liberation Army paratrooper. Here again, unless the number of battered farm trucks with dualies and Rebel flag bumper stickers is somehow critical military information, I have no fucking clue why they were there… but they were.

“Teaching” them, as you might imagine, is such a joy. Hey, Joggers, once more with feeling — you know how you claim to feel around White people? That’s how White teachers really do feel around the Chinese. If what you’re teaching isn’t immediately applicable to ballistic missile design or computer fraud, they look at you like you’re an insect… until you fail their asses for their utter inability to speak even approximate Engrish, at which point they grovel so nauseatingly you’re worried they might actually lick your shoes… at which point you feel sorry for them, and give in, and then they start looking at you like you’re a particularly noxious piece of dogshit again. It’s quite a treat.

And then there’s the cheating. Oh lord, the cheating. Maybe second- or third-generation Orientals, the ones even SJWs call “bananas” — make that, “the ones especially SJWs call ‘bananas'” — are capable of playing it straight, I dunno, but first-generations sure as hell aren’t, and they’re pikers compared to the natives. How do you know one of the Han is plagiarizing? You look to see if he’s turned in a paper. That’s it. It’s plagiarized, guaranteed. But if you really want to go through the motions, read it. Here’s a kid who can’t string a sentence together in class, but his paper is in flawless, idiomatic English… on some completely random topic, more often than not. I once got a lovely paper on the economic development of Western Canada in the early 20th century… in a course on Early Modern Europe.

Which brings us back around to the College Board. I, like every other educator who has ever had to deal with them, have often wondered how these slithery little fuckers managed to get into American colleges in the first place. Far from being Diversity Pokemon, Asians — all varieties — are actively discriminated against in college admissions, and buying your way in by endowing a building only works in the Ivy League, for movie stars and guys named “Jackington Whitmore van Pelt VI.” I know standards have drastically slipped, but trust me, Engrish isn’t even as comprehensible as the l33t text-speak BCGs use. No way they’re passing the proficiency tests without massive cheating….

… and hey, whaddaya know, the College Board has been helping them the whole time. I can’t say I’m surprised, but Jesus, even backdoor whores on the Newark docks have more self-respect. So glad I’m done with that shit-show…

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The Big Man, Part II

Any form of human political organization larger than the tribe always fails in the long run, for basic sociobiological reasons: We’re primates; we’re built to live in baboon troops. As history shows, if you want your regime to survive, make it as close to a monkey troop as you can — ancient Egypt survived on this model for many thousands of years, as did the Chinese Empire. Both were so successful at preserving their character, in fact, that some of the longest-reigning dynasties in both cases were composed of foreigners who’d gone native — the Ptolemids; the Qing. Both got really weird towards the end, but ya gotta admit, a few centuries is a hell of a run.

If this is true, you’d expect purely ideological regimes to be the shortest-lived, as ideology is by definition contrary to human nature, and therefore the most ideological regimes would implode the fastest… which, yep, seems like that happened across the board. The world’s first purely ideological regime of any significance was England’s Protectorate — a mere six years, followed by a return to monarchy.* Given the dependence of their ideology on war, we could say that the Third Reich was even more ideological than the various Communist regimes; they famously lasted 12 years. The longest-running ideological state still in existence (North Korea) dates from 1948; the overall longevity champ, the USSR, made it 74 years.

Even there, longevity seems to be directly correlated with reducing ideological conformity. Whatever they’re doing in China and North Korea, it ain’t Communism in any but the loosest nominal sense; the same was true with the late-stage USSR (and isn’t it the Left themselves who keep insisting that “real Communism has never been tried”?). I suppose it’s possible there are some “pure” Communist regimes still out there somewhere — Angola or some such — and if you want to make that case, be my guest, I’m Sgt. Schultz, I know nossink. So I’m going to go ahead and say that the law holds: “Regime survival” and “ideological conformity” correlate inversely.

Whatever their ideology, then, dictatorships seem to follow a predictable pattern. (I’m assuming here that the very word “dictator” contains at least some ideological content, as even the most brutally instrumentalist dictators — your Kim Jong-uns and whatnot — still seem compelled to go through the sham of “elections” or something similar every now and again, to pretend they embody the People’s will). They all seem to end in palace coups, though (or military defeat, like the Nazis, which are uninteresting), so it’s worth taking a look at how they function when in power, and the steps they take to prevent being overthrown.

The riskiest anti-coup measure seems to be “making the dictatorship hereditary,” North Korea-style. This buys you all the trouble of a hereditary monarchy, but with the added instability of ideology. Since the son will almost inevitably be a lesser man than the father, and the grandson a pale shadow of either, by keeping the ideology you hand your disaffected “nobles” a ready-made reason to overthrow you. If I had to guess, this is how North Korea’s end will come — some disaffected general overthrowing the Kims in the name of Communism. See also: The Ba’ath Party in Iraq. Does anyone think either of Saddam’s goofy playboy sons would’ve inherited the purple when the old man finally kicked the bucket?

The Tao of the Politburo seems to be a safer choice. The Soviets, Chinese, Vietnamese, etc. seemed to make this work, with the above-noted caveat that they move hard away from ideology the minute the dictator is in the ground (the North Vietnamese, as they were then, were doing that while Ho Chi Minh was still alive; smart move, boys). The problem, though, as we’ve noted before, is that there comes a time when the last of the dictator’s enablers are themselves in the ground. At that point, ideology can rear its ugly head again. Nikita Khrushchev, for instance, was a true-believing Communist, but he also came up in the hardest possible school and knew exactly how far to push ideology. When he kicked, the mantle devolved on a guy like Gorbachev, who was a true believer without all the hard experience. It didn’t end well.

The best case scenario seems to end with your Politburo Chairman being more or less a Renaissance Pope — an affable nonentity that’s no threat to any of the organization’s real players, but who is an acceptable face to the monarchs who matter. It’s a tough needle to thread — get it wrong, and you end up with schisms, antipopes, Bablyonian Captivities, the whole Avignon schmear, not to mention stuff like the Reformation. China’s doing ok so far, but watch what happens when their economy collapses… which is, in all likelihood, just around the corner. Fun stuff. See also Mexico, where the collapse of the PRI — the Institutional Revolutionary Party, let us note — coincided with the collapse of central government authority, making the whole place a narco-state controlled by various cartels.

There’s a third case: Actual reform, and a transition to constitutionalism. Russia arguably went through this; Chile less arguably. It happens, and it’s interesting in the world-historical sense, but does anyone want to bet it’ll happen again, anywhere in the world? We like to joke about Trump as the American Pinochet, but Pinochets are one-offs.

But then there are those fascinating cases where the dictator seems to make no provision at all for the succession. You can forgive someone like Hitler, I suppose, for not making any plans, given that he was determined to do or die for the world revolution, but you’d think that even the goofiest of Los Caudillos del Momento would have some sort of plan for handing off the generalissimo outfit to his heir-designate….

[to be continued]

 

 

*Leaving aside Calvin’s Geneva, which while intellectually fecund was politically insignificant, and anyway didn’t survive the leader’s death (see the discussion of hereditary dictatorships, above).

 

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