Why Young Americans Love Socialism

No, it’s not ignorance of history, despite what wildly overrated old fossils like Camille Paglia say.  You can “know” all the history ever written, but you won’t learn a damn thing if you keep shoving it into the same tired old boxes.  See, for example, the wildly overrated old fossil Camille Paglia:

“While I believe that boom-and-bust capitalism is inherently Darwinian and requires moderate regulation for the long-term greater good,” she says, “I insist that capitalism has produced the glorious emancipation of women.” They can now “support themselves and live on their own, and no longer must humiliatingly depend on father or husband.”

That’s exactly backasswards, sugar tits.  Oh, capitalism “emancipated” women, all right.  But that’s BAD.  Nothing makes me want to take a long, hard second look at Marxism — or radical Islam — more than capitalism’s emancipation of women.

“Capitalism” is the bastard child of the Enlightenment, which was a gross error based on Western culture’s oldest, most comprehensively refuted, yet most enduring myth: That Man is the “rational animal.”  Life would be so much better, everyone from Aristotle to Rousseau argued, if people simply carried on their affairs rationally.  Someone like David Hume might’ve had the good grace to squirm a bit if he were forced to attend a service at one of Revolutionary France’s “Temples of Reason,” but neither he nor any of the other Enlightened could’ve objected.

Nor could any “capitalist.”  All the hooey about “freedom” that has grown barnacle-like on the word “capitalism” is exactly that — hooey, eyewash, propaganda against the police-state thuggery that Marxism so obviously entails, and Marxists so fervently embraced.  Stripped of all that, “capitalism” is nothing less than the Cult of Reason in action: purely rational actors, trading on objective information — information, that is, stripped of its human element.  Faith, hope, charity, culture, blood and soil… none of that matters to the bottom line, so all of it has to go.  To the “capitalist,” women are just labor-units and consumption-units… grossly under-utilized ones, in fact, and there’s your “emancipation of women.”  Ladies, now you too are free to toil in cubicles 50 hours a week, to buy stuff that no one could possibly need…

… except that “free” isn’t quite the right word, is it?  “Required” is much closer.  “The Economy” needs you to make partner at the law firm, gals, and to do that it needs you to take out that hundred large in student loans, to sacrifice your prime childbearing years, to forego marriage completely, if we’re being honest.  Just like it needs you to pop out that one designer, turkey-baster kid at age 40, so that there’ll be a few little consumer-units to keep the day cares (and colleges!) in business until those autistic, benzo-addicted consumer-units get around to making partner and popping one out on their own…

Other than the fact that the NKVD are all volunteers these days — check your Twitter feed! — what, exactly, is the difference between life under “capitalism” and life in a Worker’s Paradise?  You, ladies — certainly including Prof. Paglia — are no more “free” to reject iCrap than Stalin’s slaves were to not use the equally-shoddy, broken-in-three-months products of Soviet industry.  “Capitalism” is as antithetical to real human life than Communism ever was.

Given all that, “Socialism” seems like a decent deal.

Not only that, but “Socialism” — as it’s taught in schools, the way college kids understand it — offers not just an alternative, but a meaningful alternative.  What does “capitalism” offer?  If you were tempted to mutter any iteration of “freedom,” I want you to re-read the last few paragraphs fifteen more times.  Then I want you to go rent a room in the nearest college town, and spend a weekend wandering around.  Freedom?  College kids are the freest people on earth.  The entire ecosystem is devoted to them.  They can watch, eat, drink, pierce, insert, or have inserted, anything, anywhere, at any time.  No kink, quirk, or hang-up is so bizarre that you can’t find at least one other enthusiastic participant near you in a five-minute trawl through your smartphone.

The very word “choice” is meaningless to college kids, because things are defined by their opposites and they’ve never had anything but limitless choice.  Want to know why I retired from teaching college?  There were lots of reasons, of course, but by far the biggest one was this: Any time I tried to enforce the rules — stuff like “due dates” and “proper use of apostrophes” — I’d get students flooding my office hours who weren’t just mad, but bewildered.  It didn’t take too many incoherently angry freshmen demanding that I change any and all class policies at their whim for me to realize that I was the first person who had ever, in their entire lives, told them “no.”

In a world like that — which is the world of pretty much every young American, from sea to shining sea — what could the word “freedom” possibly mean?

Socialism offers an identity, a goal, a sense of purpose.  Sure, it’s a pointless identity and an impossible goal, but they don’t know that.  How could they?  Their entire “education,” K-thru-PhD, has been designed specifically to avoid them knowing it.  The only other option they see is the status quo, which to them is: Take out the loans to get the degree in order to get the job, which you have to have to pay off the loans that got you the degree that got you the job.  Someone like Greta Thunberg is a hero to them because she’s for something, anything, that isn’t that.

If we’re ever to get off the Internet and into the real world, Our Thing must realize how desperately hungry for purpose our young people are.  They’re wrestling with a deep, pervasive nihilism, and as we know, whoever accepts nihilism always — always — flees to the biggest, most all-encompassing collectivism on offer.  Right now that “Socialism,” however you want to define it.  But it doesn’t have to be.

Take a page from the gamers.  Set up “fetch quests,” mini-games, that kind of thing — objective statistics, complete with badges of rank.  It sounds silly, but it works.  Look at how the kids on the Left are killing themselves — sometimes literally killing themselves — to prove who’s the #Wokest.  There’s tremendous energy there, tremendous vitality.  Give them a purpose — and a way to show others they’re working towards it — and they’ll do anything you want.  The Socialists understand this.  Why can’t we?

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How It All Ends

Since this seems to be generating a lot of discussion, here’s my take on how our world ends: Not with a bang, but a whimper.

There will be no revolution, only confused guerrilla violence between hostile ethnic groups — “Yugoslavia on steroids,” as Pickle Rick puts it.  I doubt any but a massive, nearly instantaneous economic collapse will cause widespread, major, tanks-rolling, air-strikes violence.  I’ve been predicting national socialism — small n, small s, but definitely featuring the secret police and marching armbands — here in America for going on a decade now (seriously – check the archives!).  I foresee a slow(-ish) motion collapse of the economy, to which “nationalize everything!” will be the knee-jerk response.  It’ll even be the knee-jerk reaction of white people; it’s the default response of Enrichment-Americans, who love them some big government in direct proportion to their inability to operate one.

That’s not to say there won’t be lots of widespread minor violence, though, with lots of rural areas rapidly becoming “Indian country” to La Presidenta por Vida Ocasio-Cortez’s mercenaries.  The problem there, though, is lack of leadership.  I need to clarify what I mean by this.  Here’s contrariandutchman:

You dont need leaders to have a (civil) war. Indeed, usuallyt takes having great leaders to -avoid- major (civil) war.

An Otto von Bismarck could for 2 generations avoid major war in Europe, and by extension the world, while also mostly keeping the peace at home despite severe social stresses in a rapidly industrializing and urbanizing society with deep religious divisions. Lesser men then fumbled their way into a massive war and revolutions they didn’t want yet didn’t know how to avoid….

…And lets not forget that before the US civil war Robert Lee was noted as a competent officer but he had never commanded anything larger then a regiment, and that not even in battle. The civil war allowed his talent as a general to show, without it he would have remained a colonel, respected by his fellow officers but forgotten to history. Today there are no doubt men in the US who similarly have talents that can only be revealed when the hour has arrived.

I agree (with qualifications) with the first part, disagree with the second.  The qualifications to the first part: Europeans clearly wanted a major war, just as Americans in the 1850s were openly longing for a civil war.  They didn’t like the war they got, of course, but there’s a reason that the Zeus of the Copybook Headings is: “Be careful what you wish for.”  A towering statesman like Bismarck could hold back the tide for a few years, a few decades even, but it was going to happen soon enough, for the reasons CD cites — rapid industrialization and urbanization.  No American leader was at Bismarck’s level — the best we could do was Stephen A. Douglas, who prevented the war breaking out in 1850, only to be the proximate cause of it breaking out in 1854.

(That’s the usual pattern with these things.  Absent very strong, Bismarckian leadership at the top, hair-splitting weasels like Stephen Douglas take functional control of the government.  Britain bumbled into umpteen wars and crises when Dizzy and Gladstone were out of office (and lots more when they were, alas).  Look at Current Year America — Donald Trump is the President, but it’s pretty clear that our real rulers are Adam Schiff, Peter Strzok, and a few Hawaiian judges).

Speaking of Schiff, Strzok, and the Hon. Tyne E. Bubbles, they’re the reason that the crisis will a) happen sooner than anyone thinks, and b) be dumber than anyone can possibly imagine.  These people are terrifyingly stupid.  It’s obvious, for example, that Schiff planned this whole “impeachment” farce around the assumption that Trump wouldn’t release the transcript.  Actually, it’s worse that that — the idea that Trump could release the transcript never even crossed his tiny little mind.  It just struck him as a good idea in the moment, and just… kinda… went with it.  And he’s a fucking Mensa member compared to the likes of AOC, who is merely the vanguard of the Marching Morons.  Compared to the Democrats’ bench, Dwayne Hector Elizondo Mountain Dew Camacho is Bismarck.

My guess as to the actual precipitating event — some minor civil disturbance followed by a gross, and grossly stupid, overreaction by La Presidenta por Vida’s security forces.  As I (and Pickle Rick, and others) have said many times, at least your old-school panzer commander was qualified to command a panzer.  Today all our tanks are crewed by 5’2″, 200 lb lesbians cosplaying as Erika von Mannstein.  Imagine Karen, who insists on speaking to the manager, has heavy artillery and air strikes at her disposal.  That’s America’s brave new gays, girls, and trannies armed forces… if not now, then by next week.  Get between one of these psychotic hose beasts and her double-whip, extra-hot, foamy soy frappucino latte, and hello Tiananmen Square.

Such is my qualified agreement to the first part.  As for the second — “the Civil War brought talented guys to the fore” — that’s my point: There are no talented guys out there.  None under age 40, anyway, and precious few who aren’t eligible for social security.  The younger generation is too pozzed, too iCrap-addled and soy-enfeebled, to produce any kind of leadership.  La Presidenta por Vida’s security forces will get their asses handed to them every time they venture into Indian Country…. provided the Indians are still stocked with Metamucil, and only so long as their mobility scooters can outrun a dyke-commanded panzer.

The only flashpoints of serious violence, I argue, will be in the inner cities.  Pickle Rick wagers “that Jamal and Tre [will] be eating each other inside a week after the Piggly Wiggly runs out of malt liquor and canned food,” and I agree.  Remember that horribly, horribly racist story going around after Hurricane Katrina, that the homies were cooking and eating each other inside the Superdome?  There’s a reason that rumor got around.  Black people know better than anyone what will happen to them if Whitey isn’t around to keep the lights on.  They’re quite open about it.  It truly would not surprise me to hear that, after President Warren’s Green whatever tax brings the world economy to a crashing halt and the food riots start, Col. Karen of the 101st Bitchy Haircut Brigade ordered a nuclear strike on Baltimore. That’ll teach ’em to get uppity.

So… yeah.  The future?  Imagine an Ugg Boot stamping on a White face, forever.

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It’s Inevitable?

Most of Current Year America would be recognizable to a time-traveler from the Year 2000.  They didn’t have social media back in those dim dark days, of course, but the technology was substantially there — “it’s like email and a video conference, but on your mobile phone” wouldn’t seem too outlandish.  The more cynical the time traveler, of course, the easier he’d find it to swallow the presidencies of Barack Obama and Donald Trump, but no one who paid any attention during the Clinton years could really be surprised by them.  Hell, they were mocking “cancel culture” back in 1994, for pete’s sake, when the Internet was still mostly used to argue about Star Trek with other Defense Department contractors.  People forget that Idiocracy (2006) bombed at the box office, mostly because it seemed trite — “we’re already there, buddy.”

The only thing that would really baffle our time traveler is a doozy: The seeming acceptance of the idea, by a large and ever-growing segment of the population, that some kind of violent political upheaval is just around the corner.  America had its fault lines back then, of course, and there was no shortage of lunatics out there eager to turn the nation into a Worker’s Paradise, but as late as 2008 they were largely confined to academia and the op-ed section of the New York Times.  Their avatar was Dennis Kucinich, whose claims of a close encounter seemed so plausible because he came off like Mork from Ork’s dorky little brother.  They seemed, at worst, to be hippie fossils.  A Department of Peace?  Groovy, man.

But they meant it.  Every word.  Obama’s eight-year kleptocracy convinced them to pull the mask off, and of course Trump’s election drove them completely around the bend.  The Department of Peace is really the Ministry of Love, and when Hillary Clinton proclaimed that the message of 1984 is “trust the government,” she meant it.  She and O’Brien are spiritual cousins.  All Leftists are, and none of them even bother trying to hide it anymore.  Like the man says: They hate you, and want you dead.  What part of that is so hard to understand?

Even the dimmest dimbulbs on the “Right” are starting to grasp it.  A recent post at Ace of Spades, of all places, ended with the Z Man’s refrain: “We’re not voting our way out of this.”

The Ace of Spades guys, I’m sure I don’t have to remind you, sincerely believed Megyn Kelly was a hard-hitting conservative journalist.  When even those noodle-armed choirboys think revolution is just around the corner, you’d best stock up on ammo.

That’s the thing about violent upheavals, though — pretty much everyone knows they’re coming.  Maybe in the ancient world you could be excused for not knowing the Huns were thundering your way, but modern communications make things pretty clear.  Even supposedly out-of-nowhere events like World War I were taken as inevitable by lots of people — perhaps the majority of the common folk — in all combatant nations.  The Kaiser surely wasn’t building all those warships just to look pretty, and “revenge for Sedan” was France’s animating philosophy almost from the minute the shooting stopped…. which was 1870, if your European history is a little rusty.  The continent’s two dominant military powers had been spoiling for a rematch for almost half a century by the time Gavrilo Princip did his thing.  For most people in most nations at the time, the prevailing emotion was relief — what the hell took so long?

World War II, same deal.  Just to stick with a theme, George Orwell took it as read that Hitler’s election meant a second war with Germany, sooner than later.  In his personal politics Orwell was nuttier than squirrel shit, but his understanding of political behavior was second to none.  He had a very great talent for distilling what great masses of people were thinking about the large events of their day.  If Orwell thought war was inevitable, surely Nigel Sixpack thought so, too.

Even the American Civil War — the first one, I mean — was greeted more with relief than shock.  European “intellectuals” could convince themselves that neither the Kaiser nor the Fuhrer meant what he so often said, but even American “intellectuals” knew the fire-eaters were serious.  There’s a longstanding joke, attributed to Lincoln, about Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  “So you’re the little lady who started this war,” he was supposed to have quipped to Harriet Beecher Stowe.  The Mount Vernon Association of Experts has yet to weigh in, but it’s true in spirit if not in fact.  Think about it for a sec:  How far down the road to disunion does a society have to be before a novel like that gets published?  If he’s still alive, the Turner Diaries guy must be frantically cranking out a sequel.  He’d make millions.

Hell, even our so-called “intellectuals” think civil war is a possibility.  I’m told The Altantic has a thumbsucker up discussing it.  They blame it all on Trump, natch, but again, The Atlantic is the Liberal version of Ace of Spades — uptight, painfully earnest goobers who just want to be loved by the big girls on the alphabet networks.  Blaming it on Trump is a foregone conclusion, but the very fact that they’ve mooted the question means it’s time to panic…

… or not, because as the blackpillers in Our Thing keep pointing out, there’s no revolutionary leadership.  Civil War 1.0 was chock-a-block with impressive dudes with real political skills.  Only field specialists and other enthusiasts have heard of, say, William Lowndes Yancey, but he was a heavyweight politician who could really wind up a crowd — you don’t win a parliamentary fight against Stephen A. Douglas without some serious chops.  Who do we have that’s anywhere close?

That’s the last fact about big violent upheavals.  They’re easy to see coming, but very hard to actually instigate.  Ever seen college kids rush the field after winning a sportsball championship?  They’re lining up, eager to go… but they hesitate.  The arena cops have to let them go.  The cops always do these days, of course, since it’s “tradition,” but drunk idiots have been running out onto the field ever since sports were invented.  They didn’t tear down goalposts at the Yale/Harvard game back in the 1920s, not because there weren’t a lot of drunk idiots in the stands — trust me on this one — but because even at their drunkest, those idiots knew it was the apocalypse if they did.  They needed permission to rush the field.

Who’s going to give us permission to rush the field?  You know the answer, and so do I… but I really hope someone can change my mind.

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“Automata Inconvenienced with a Soul”

The problem with regarding people as “moist robots,” as the Z Man puts it, is not that people aren’t actually moist robots.  Glaring falsehood is a feature, not a bug, of every grand sociological theory this side of Original Sin.  Try it for yourself:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Nope.  Sorry, Tom, but every single substantive claim in that sentence is wrong, and obviously so.  Men aren’t created equal, life obviously isn’t a right, both life and liberty are alienated all the time, calling “the pursuit of Happiness” a “right” is incoherent, etc.  As slogans go, it’s not the worst ever to have rallied troops, but as a statement about the human condition it’s absurd.  For proof, see American history — yeah, ALL of it — 1865 to present.

It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness.

Ponderous Teutonic prose keeps this from being as obviously false as Jefferson’s nice plain English, but it’s still bollocks.  It’s an A+ example of the Ishmael Effect.  How did you, Karl Marx, get your consciousness past the limits of your social being, in order to tell us that no one’s consciousness can ever get past his social being?  As an explanation for why Marxist regimes are always police states, it’s aces — nothing changes your social being like a decade or two in the gulag — but as a social theory it’s bunk.

____ is just a social construction.

The parts that aren’t biology, anyway.  So, you know, maybe 25%, tops.

And so on down the line.  The social contract assumes rough equality between individuals in the State of Nature, a falsity inside an absurdity.  Anarchism assumes people naturally cooperate.  Aristotle, who famously defined man as the political animal, also assumed that man was the rational animal.  Spend five minutes on social media and tell me how that holds up.

The danger, then, isn’t the error per se.  It’s that the error becomes fundamental to one’s identity.

Everyone who has “taken the red pill” knows: It hurts.  Those of us who were once “CivNats” never thought of ourselves that way.  We thought we were just Americans — outgoing, generous, trustworthy within limits, maybe a little stuffy, but fundamentally decent.  We thought everyone else was, too.  Our default setting was “give ’em the benefit of the doubt.”  We wanted a nice house on a quite street in the ‘burbs because that’s nice, and we assumed that everyone else wants nice things, too.

It’s one hell of a punch to the gut to discover that lots of people aren’t nice, that they think nice people are suckers, that in fact they hold the very idea of “nice” in the deepest contempt.  That there are lots of people who live by the mobster’s mantra — “fuck you, pay me” — but they think even less of you when you actually pay.  So you build delusions for yourself — “they live like that down in the ghetto,” you tell yourself, “because they just don’t know any better.  More education, in better schools, with more job opportunities…that’ll fix it.”

But it won’t.  They live like that because they want to live like that.  Spend five minutes down there, and you’ll see people going way out of their way to increase their own squalor and misery.  A freshly-painted house will draw vandals from three ‘hoods over.  A kid who does his homework will be beaten by his classmates.  It’s all by choice.  That’s the red pill, and it goes down hard.

Or it doesn’t go down at all.  Sometimes the error is just too fundamental to one’s identity.  The believers in moist robot theory — those who believe men are just “automata inconvenienced with a soul,” as was said about the tsar’s bureaucrats — are, I’m increasingly coming to believe, Irredeemable.  They’ve embraced the error to such an extent that they try to make it truest for themselves.

Think about it:  It takes a certain type of person to be frustrated, intimidated, stressed out by the mere fact of choice.  A person who experiences real emotional distress when forced to choose between Froot Loops and Cap’n Crunch isn’t (just) a namby-pamby sissy.  This is a person who desperately wishes he was a meat robot, so that the programmer could tweak his algorithm and he’d never have to face another decision.

Only a certain type of person could write a book called Escape from Freedom.  It says it’s about Nazis, of course, but it’s actually a perfect portrait of a cultural marxist.  The Sane Society, the same author informs us, shall only be achieved when all those frightening decisions are made for us by a benevolent authority.

So, too, in economics.  Guys like Tyler Cowen write as if people are nothing more than culture-less, deracinated consumer units, because he himself longs to be a culture-less, deracinated consumer unit.  Calling someone like Cowen an “American” is like saying “he has brown hair” — true, but meaningless, as it’s just an accident of birth.  He desperately wants to be a rootless cosmopolitan consumer, so he writes as if we all are.  He’s nominally on the “Right,” but he means the same thing as the nominal “Left” when he pens another paean to “diversity” — isn’t it great that you can get Thai-Bavarian-Eskimo-Cuban fusion cuisine on the Upper West Side?

tl;dr — as the man said, SJWs always project.  They long to be meat robots.  They try desperately to make themselves into meat robots.  And since we the people only matter as stagehands in the all-encompassing show that is their pwecious widdle selves, they try to make us into meat robots, too.

I don’t think it’s curable, comrades.  Sadly, I think the only way to “help” folks who feel themselves to be “automata inconvenienced with a soul” is to “convenience” them.  I hope I’m wrong, but I guarantee you that thanks to “people” like them, we’re going to learn the answer soon enough.

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Skin in the Game

There’s a fascinating old book called Codes of the Underworld, that discusses things like face tattoos on convicts.  He makes an obvious — yet almost entirely unobserved — point: The kind of folks who do things like that have totally given up on “straight” society.  Those tattoos, and other mob-type behaviors, aren’t intended to communicate with normal folks; they’re signals to other lowlifes.  To normal society, they convey only one message: “I am dangerous; stay away.”  But to their fellow scumbags, prison tattoos and the like contain a wealth of vital information.  Only people who are part of that world can understand.

We normal folks have the same problem when confronted with Leftists.  Just to stick with a theme, consider tattoos.  A quick googling suggests that something like 20% of Americans ages 18 and older have at least one tattoo.  This Federalist piece doesn’t cite its source, but the claim that 40% (!!!) of those aged 18-29 are tatted up sure feels right — anecdotes aren’t data, of course, but I taught college for years; I’ve got lots of anecdotes.  Kids these days are slathered in garish, gaudy ink.

Now, it’s probably safe to assume that those tats don’t mean anything criminal… but how would you know?  Back when only sailors and military types had tattoos — you know, those dim dark days before about 1994 — tats had fairly obvious meanings.  Globe and anchor — Semper Fi, buddy.  But these days they seem entirely random.  Which is the point — if you catch yourself wondering “What kind of idiot would get that permanently etched into his flesh?”, then by definition the message isn’t for you.  But think about how much time, effort, and money is expended on tattoos.  They mean something, I promise you.

Dealing with Liberals is like that.  Every element of every tattoo is recognizable, but the meaning of the whole is utterly opaque.  So it goes with Leftist language, Leftist gestures.  We understand all the words that they say, and they do all the things normal people do, but not for any reason any normal person can figure out.  We don’t live in their world.

Actually it’s worse than that.  We think we know what they’re doing.  We’ve got a cute label for it: “Virtue-signaling.”  But that doesn’t go far enough.  What virtue, specifically, are they signalling?  Figure that out, and we might be able to find a way to break it.

I suggest that the key to understanding Leftism is: Conspicuous consumption.  I think it’s the point of all those weird college-kid tattoos, too.  The whole point of the exercise is to show that you have the resources — the money, tight young skin, and above all time — to undergo such a laborious process.  Time is the most precious commodity of all.  All the money in the world won’t buy you a single second more.  Every second you spend worrying about your pronouns is a second you can’t spend doing anything productive… which is, I submit, the entire point of worrying about your pronouns.  Only the young, or those stuck in permanent adolescence, can be so profligate with time.

This is why young people are the Left’s shock troops.  The Left uses young people to break into organizations they want to ruin the same way they use gays to break into neighborhoods they want to “gentrify.”  Since gays have nothing but disposable income and will never care what the schools are like, they can jack the neighborhood rents up to the point that it drives out the Vibrancy.  So it goes with the young folks.  As I’ve written many times, you simply can’t beat Trigglypuff.  She has more time than you ever will.  Even if you somehow could drop all your normal-person commitments — you know, your job and family and the like — you’d still have less time than she does, because you have to sleep sometime and she doesn’t (college kids can’t use an apostrophe correctly to save their lives, but they all know how to game Student Health into giving them unlimited prescription psychotropics).

The key, then, is to somehow get these young people to put some skin in the game.  If time’s what they’re wasting, then take their time away.  Stopping the student loan scam would be a fantastic start.  Universal conscription would be even better.  How to get either of those actually passed is beyond me right now, but hey, it’s a start.  Suggestions?

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Embrace Your Pathology

It occurs to me that Our Thing ought to take a long, hard look at the Frankfurt School.

Those were the guys, of course, who pioneered the notion that their political opponents must be mentally ill.  Given that

  • all sane people are good; and
  • good people only want good things; and
  • Socialism is a good thing;

then

  • anyone who doesn’t want Socialism wants a bad thing;
  • therefore is a bad person;
  • therefore is insane.

Anyone with the common sense God gave little catfish recognizes this as begging the question.  And not particularly subtle question-begging, either, which is why it took over 1,000 pages (!) of ponderous Teutonic prose to disguise it.  It’s science, comrades.  Only Socialism, or a .38 to the back of the neck, will cure us….

…. assuming, of course, that we want to be cured.

The Frankfurt Schoolers assumed this, of course, as did all those freelance critical theorists running the NKVD’s torture chambers.  But that was then.  The Frankfurt Schoolers were shockingly bourgeois on so many things.  They thought homosexuality was a mental illness, if you can believe it, and I doubt even Herbert Marcuse would’ve signed off on “drag queen story hour,” let alone the state-mandated chemical castration of 6 year old boys.  Only the peerless enlightenment of the Current Year recognizes this, comrades.

These days, as we all know, what were once pathologies are now badges of honor.  Gays and feminists — once the #Wokest of them all — now play second fiddle to the trannies (and they, soon enough, will be replaced by the pedos).  Modern life is little more than the search for ever-more-outre “identities.”

Given that, I agree with the Frankfurt School.  I am grossly, flagrantly, incurably crazy, in that I think Socialism sucks.  I believe in biology, yea, even to the point of saying that boys have a penis, girls have a vagina.  I’m nuts, comrades.  Cuckoo for cocoa puffs….

…. and I demand that you subsidize me.  Only comprehensive universal health care will cure this.  And UBI.  For me.  Cloward, Piven, y’all ain’t seen shit yet.  Lunatics of the world, unite!

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Will This Be on the Test?

Over at Tim Newman’s, an interesting two part (so far) discussion of the upcoming trial of a 93-year-old former concentration camp guard in Germany.  Newman’s position is that this is just virtue-signaling, as no meaningful “justice” can be meted out to a nonagenarian for things he did as a 17-year-old draftee under one of the world’s most notoriously repressive regimes.  That’s debate-worthy in itself, but much more telling is fact that so few people seem to grasp what his position actually is.

If I had to teach something like this to undergrads, I’d have to use a hypothetical (because of the Nazi thing.  They can’t spell “Nazi,” but they can’t ignore it).  Making things as clear-cut as possible: New evidence, DNA or whatever, has come to light about a string of coed killings back in the early 1940s.  It turns out there’s this guy, call him “Pierre Delecto,” who was responsible for them all.  It’s open-and-shut.  But here’s the catch: Pierre Delecto is nearly 100 years old.  He’s been planted in the vegetable ward of a nursing home since 2004, and in 2013 he slipped into a coma from which he can never recover.

Now: What do we do with Pierre the Ripper?

After a little prodding, some of the more intrepid students would probably venture the idea that justice is in some sense time-bound.  Not because Justice, capital-J, isn’t a universal principle — maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, take my buddy’s PHIL 101 class to find out — but because justice, small-j, human justice, is all we can do in this world.  Students, especially cute little sorority girls, can be shockingly callous when they’re allowed to let the PC mask slip.  One of them would no doubt ask what the point of doing anything to this guy is?  He’s all but dead anyway.  Giving him the chair would speed things up, what, maybe a month or two?  Just drop the case.

Building off that, we’d eventually get around to the notion of revenge.  Small-j justice, we’d have to conclude, has something like revenge in it.  Pierre the Ripper might not know he’s being executed, but the victims’ families would know…. But see above: It was 75 years ago.  The girls’ parents are dead.  Many of their siblings, if they had them, are dead.  Even if we suppose that a few of the victims had children, it’s a fair bet that some of them are dead, and even if they aren’t, they’re senior citizens by now.  What could their relationship possibly be, to someone who was killed when they were infants three quarters of a century ago?  Even Inigo Montoya, we might suppose, would let it go once he got into his 80s.

Which might bring us, finally, to the notion that small-j justice is, Plato-style, an imperfect reflection of big-J Justice.  If there is such a thing as big-J Justice, then perhaps we are duty-bound to serve it as best we can.  We’re obligated to somehow give Pierre the Ripper due process of law, and, once we reach the inevitable conclusion, to carry out the prescribed penalty for his crimes, whether he or anyone directly affected by them knows it or not.  An interesting question, that, and here’s where I’d slip the Nazis back in:

Let’s say that goofy conspirazoid show on the History Channel was right, and Hitler somehow hoofed it out of the bunker.  He’s now cooling his heels in Argentina or wherever.  So one night you’re visited by Raguel the Angel, who offers you the following deal: You can kill Hitler, with no consequences to yourself, BUT no one will ever know.  Do you do it?

If you instinctively answered “yes,” then it seems you’re on board with capital-J Justice.  If not… well, maybe you’re still on board with big-J Justice, but it isn’t what you thought it was.  Small-j justice certainly isn’t, because we’ve already concluded that something like revenge is a part of it.  If nobody knows the guy’s dead, can even small-j justice really have been served?

I don’t know the answer to any of this stuff, and since I’m retired — thank you, Buddha! — I’ll never have a chance to run through it with a class of undergrads.  But I do know this: Whatever my hypothetical class of undergrads would’ve concluded re: Pierre the Ripper, it wouldn’t have mattered in the slightest when applied to the real-world case of former concentration camp guard Bruno Dey.

For today’s kids, it’s a standardized test question:

  • Was the guy in the SS or not?  If yes, then
  • Was the guy actually at the concentration camp or not?  If yes, then
  • He’s guilty of everything that went on there, full stop.

It’s “justice” via flowchart.  The “givens” of the “problem” — and students actually do use those terms, about essay assignments in history classes — are simple.  The SS is bad (they’d probably convict him on that alone, if we’re being honest), and concentration camps were the worst thing ever, so it’s a no-brainer.  All that stuff up there, about big J’s and small j’s and time and whatnot?  Doesn’t matter.  The guy was a Nazi.  A draftee Nazi, sure, with no meaningful choice in the matter… but see the comments on Newman’s pieces for that.  Nazi, dude.  Not-zee.  End of story.

They’ve been trained their entire lives to find the right answer on the standardized test, and this one’s a fuckin’ gimme.  Now consider that this mentality determines carries over to law school, medical school, the military, the police academy….

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A Tyranny of Nihilism – UPDATED

Sounds like the last volume in the Game of Thrones series, doesn’t it?  There has to be one ruthless sadistic amoral scumbag remaining after all the other ruthless sadistic amoral scumbags finally kill each other, so he gets to be king of whatever’s left…

Alas, I don’t think it’s fiction.  I’ve spent a long time pondering the question of what, exactly, people like Hillary Clinton actually want.  Money is a big part of it, of course, but like the kleptomaniac African Big Man she so often resembles, her actions seem more about the thievery than the spoils — she’d rather make ten bucks by pulling some big elaborate caper than make ten million by playing it straight.

The contrast with Obama makes it plain.  Though as goofy, lazy, and corrupt as any Dark Continent “president,” Obama isn’t actually a Big Man — rich beyond the dreams of avarice, he seems content to live out his days shuffling between his many, many mansions.  “At a certain point, you’ve made enough money,” he famously proclaimed.  Turns out he was talking about himself, and it’s the one honest statement on that subject he’s ever made.

“Power for power’s sake” also fails as an explanation for Hillary.  While I don’t believe she ordered every single one of these people whacked, you don’t need to be wearing a tinfoil hat to notice that people who (potentially) have dirt on the Clintons tend to expire early, often under rather strange circumstances.  And while I guess Seth Rich, say, might’ve preferred going out in a big gaudy drone strike rather than a “mugging,” the point is that the power she would’ve had as president represents a difference of degree, not kind (and not all that big a degree, either, considering she was Secretary of State).  If power for power’s sake was her goal, in other words, she achieved it.  It didn’t blunt her ambition in the slightest.

Which leaves…. what?

When you’ve pruned all the explanations down to nothing, then nothing’s all you’ve got.  As terrifying as this is, I’m forced to conclude that what people like Hillary Clinton really want is…. nothing.  Nihil.  Nada.  The Big Adios.

I know, I know, it makes my brain hurt too, which is why I’ve resisted it for so long.  But you must admit it fits the facts.  If Hillary is too rage-inducing to contemplate, try it out on someone like Bill Kristol.  It’s obvious what’s wrong with him, and the rest of the ahoy, maties! on board the SS NeverTrump: They’re bored.  As I’ve written here somewhere before, this is a man whose taedium vitae is so terminal, he’d have us nuke Moscow just for the lulz.  Ditto Jonah Goldberg and the rest of them.  Neither money nor power (“influence”) suffice to explain them, since they had more of both back when they were steering National Review into the ditch.  It’s not even that they’re trying to convince the crocodile to eat them last.  Rather, they’ve soberly sized up their situation and concluded that since we’ve all got to go sometime, thrashing around in an amphibian’s jaws is one of the less boring.

Or consider, sigh, teh Jooos!!!  If I must face the possibility that every single person on the nominal “Left,” and 95% of those on the so-called “Right,” are in politics solely to make us bit players in the drama of their existential ennui, then I’m compelled to consider that the oh-god-sooooo-many mouth-breathers in Our Thing are right after all, and the Learned Elders of Zion are trying to blow up ambient civilization because…. well, because.  I’ve never once heard a coherent explanation for what the (((special people))) could possibly be getting out of whatever (((they))) are accused of doing today, but if I’m right about Hillary Clinton, then it stands to reason that the Heinrich Himmler Fan Club might be right about the Tribe.  There’s no point to blowing the world up… or, more precisely: the pointlessness is, itself, the point.

This would explain, finally, our Elite’s seeming inability to see what’s in front of their faces.  I’m not denying that people like Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are terrifyingly stupid.  But nobody’s that stupid.  They know.  They just don’t care.  That they, too, will end up fighting off Super Mutants in the wasteland with the rest of us is a feature, not a (giant, irradiated) bug.  At least they’ll have something to do.  Their lives will still be exquisitely pointless, but it sure as hell won’t be boring.

The ever-increasing tyranny they exercise over us can only end one way, and it’s by design.

UPDATE: This started as a reply to Pickle Rick, below, but needs to go above the fold.

Fiat justitia, ruat caelum, some Robespierre type supposedly said — let justice be done, though the heavens fall.  To which some Severian type would inevitably reply: “Embrace the power of and, buddy.”  There’s no true justice this side of the grave, and since you people are convinced there’s nothing on the other side of it, either, you’ll only find justice six feet under.  These days he cucks harder than David French at an all-night showing of Mandingo, but P.J. O’Rourke nailed it back in the days: Socialists are all about equality, and if everyone ends up equally broke, hungry, and dead, well, fair’s fair.  Igor Shafarevich flat out declared that Socialism is a suicide cult.  Take your pick — Socialism simply is Nihilism.

That seems bizarrely wrong, considering how much effort Socialists put into saving the world.  But look at it objectively, comrade (heh heh), and you’ll see that Save-the-World-ism, of whatever flavor, always boils down to Destroy-the-World-ism.  Always.  It doesn’t matter how the world gets “saved;” it always gets blown up in the process.  You still can’t find a better primer on chiliastic psychology than Norman Cohn’s The Pursuit of the Millennium.  The specifics of each loony doctrine changed, but the underlying presumption was always the same:  Kill everyone, destroy everything, and then Jesus comes.

This is true even of millennialists whose doctrines don’t obviously entail killing everyone.  Calvinists, for example.  I spent decades trying to explain Calvinism to undergrads, and never once succeeded.  The gulf between their words and their actions is too vast for the adolescent mind.  There are only two logical responses to the doctrine of “double predestination”: quietism, or hedonism.  They knew it, too, which is why they started burning people at the stake the minute they got any real power.  Look at what they did, not what they said, and you’ll see nihilism plain as day.  Calvin’s Geneva was the nearest thing to a police state that could be achieved with 16th century technology.  The ideal Calvinist would say nothing, do nothing, think nothing, as he sat in the plain pews of his unadorned chapel, waiting for death and the Final Judgment.  Calvinists wanted to grind the world to a halt, not blow it up, but once again the mass extinction of the human race is a feature, not a bug.

Take Jesus out of the equation, and you end up at pure shit-flinging nihilism in less than three steps.  Marxism is perhaps the most exquisitely pointless doctrine ever devised.  It’s more pleasant to have than to have not, I suppose, but no matter how much everyone has, we’re still just naked apes, living the brief days of our vain lives under an utterly indifferent sky.  Marxists are a special kind of stupid, so they don’t realize it, but…. they won.  Modern Western “poor” people keel over from heart disease while fiddling with their smartphones in front of 50″ plasma tvs.  While wearing $200 sneakers.  We’re so far from being “alienated” from the fruits of our labor that “labor” is an all-but-meaningless concept for lots of us — and the further down the social scale you go, the more meaningless it gets.  The modern ghetto dweller simply is Marx’s ideal proletarian.  Does he look self-actualized to you?  Ecce homeboy.

I assure you, the SJWs know this.  Calvinists to the core, they know better than anyone the utter futility of all human effort.  So they do what the original Calvinists did: Displace, displace, displace.  Don’t take it from me, take it from a card-carrying Marxist.  The end result is the same: Whether you’re a Puritan or an SJW, the only way to escape the crushing meaninglessness of your condition is to spend every moment of every day contemplating your pwecious widdle self.

Throw in the transitive property of equality, and you’ve got people like Hillary Clinton.  If Socialism is Nihilism, then Nihilism is Socialism.  Far from arguing against the idea, as Pickle Rick states, that Hillary et al are motivated solely by hatred, I’m 100% behind it.  In fact, I’d argue that the Nihilism comes first — people who have convinced themselves that life is pointless always, always, embrace the biggest and most all-encompassing form of collectivism on offer.  What could be crueler, than to be given all this for nothing?  It’s not even a sick joke, since a joke implies a joker.

How can you not hate this world, then, and everything in it?  More to the point: how can you not hate yourself, for seeing the world as it really is?  Ignorance is bliss… but how can you not hate them, too, those poor deluded motherfuckers who still think stuff like God and love and family and the designated hitter might somehow mean something?  Vanity, vanity, all is vanity… and if I have to face the existential horror of it all, then fuck it, so do you.  “Capitalism,” the “free market,” “representative government” — call it what you will, it’s all just vanity, just another way for the sheeple to keep deluding themselves.  Fuck it, and fuck them.  Burn it down.  Burn it allllll down.

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Roman Law

The ancient world took it for granted that different peoples organized themselves in the ways that were best for them.  Guys like Herodotus might’ve admired the Egyptians, by and large, but he’d never suggest that Egyptian society had anything to teach the Greeks.  Or vice versa, which is why Greeks could actually rule Egypt for centuries without being “Egyptianized” for any but the grossest propaganda purposes.  Even the one pharaonic custom they did adopt, royal incest, was largely to keep the dynasty Greek.

Ruling the different peoples according to their customs was the cornerstone of Roman imperial law, too, which is why the pax romana was so successful for so long.  The Jews are a good example.  The Romans ruled them through client kings for as long as it was politically feasible.  Pontius Pilate wasn’t being cowardly when he washed his hands of Jesus; he was playing imperial politics.  He clearly had the power to execute Jesus on his own authority, but doing so would’ve put him at odds with traditional imperial legal practice.

Indeed, the Christians screwed up Roman imperial jurisprudence in two major ways.  The first was their refusal to sacrifice to the Cult of the Divine Augustus.  That alone probably wouldn’t have been so bad — it could’ve been worked out, or quietly dropped, by governors on the spot — if it weren’t for the second thing: Their refusal to be subject to the laws of their ethnic group.

The Romans didn’t care if you were an Isis-worshiping Gaul, any more than they’d care if you were an Egyptian who worshiped Cernunnos.  They’d try the Gaul as a Gaul, and the Egyptian as an Egyptian.  And, of course, they’d try a Roman as a Roman, which is the only reason Paul lived long enough to write all those epistles — though ethnically a Jew, he was a Roman citizen, entitled to a hearing in front of a Roman magistrate (in this case, Seneca’s brother).  But as a Christian, Paul emphatically renounced his Roman citizenship, which threw their entire system of justice out of whack.  To them, “renouncing” your Roman citizenship would be like an African “renouncing” his black skin — impossible, bizarre, unthinkable.

The important thing to realize is that the Roman system, for all its flaws, worked in practice.  It took a revolution in human relations to undermine it.  There is, in short, nothing special about our current belief in universal legal principles.  In fact, it’s just that — a belief, subject to modification at any time, for any reason.  “Judging each man by his group’s standards” is one of only two ways to achieve lasting piece in a multi-ethnic society.  You know what the other one is….

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Churchianity in Our Thing

Back in the days, I’m told, those who studied the “Dark Ages” wondered just how “Christian” Europe really was.  There was no “unity of theory and practice,” as the Marxists would put it, because there couldn’t have been.  Scholastic Theology was weird and wonderful, but so heavy that even the scholarly elite struggled with it.  The peasantry, of course, were ragged illiterates on the edge of survival.  In a world where everyone knows someone who knows someone who starved to death, you just do what the priest tells you.

There was a similar debate about “individuality” in the Dark Ages, I hear.  There was lots of art in the Middle Ages, but no artists.  (Seriously, here’s a list.  A mere handful of names, most very late, all pretty much indistinguishable from each other in terms of style).  Ditto the rulers.  We know their names, but — a few florid psychotics aside — they’re pretty much indistinguishable by their acts.

Part of this is the blurring effect of time and distance, no doubt — 1,000 years from now, the Chinese robot historians digging through the rubble will have a hard time distinguishing Eisenhower from Obama — but the fact remains that for all we can tell, you could drop the average peasant from 850 AD into his home village in 1350 AD and he’d be done the wiser… if there was even a “he” in the first place.

These debates (if they happened) were interrelated.  The most striking fact about the Middle Ages from a modern perspective is their love of lists, categories, forms.  This is partly practical — Church art all looks the same because it has to communicate a consistent message to the aforesaid illiterate peasantry — but lots of it isn’t.  They were simply obsessed with forms, with outward order, to the point that even the few true individuals were hard to tell apart — William of Ockham and Thomas Aquinas were as different as two thinkers could possibly be, but unless you’re a subject matter expert, their writings look identical.

“Individuality,” on the other hand, comes from inward experience.  What, if anything, did the medieval peasant believe when he went to Mass?  Impossible to say, but one of the reasons that’s so is because the form of his “piety” was so all-encompassing.  Some years back, a Jew wrote a funny book about trying to live his life by the letter of the Mosaic law.  One could do the same thing with medieval Catholicism.  Take a gander at the liturgical year — hardly a day goes by without a feast, a commemoration, a celebration.  Do all of that, and you’ll hardly have time for anything else.  They were so focused on the outward show, at least in part, because there was so much showing to do.

When the Reformation shitcanned all that, piety turned inward.  There are zillions of sources for what the Reformed believed (or, at least, said they believed), because the Reformation was a middle-class pursuit and the middle classes were literate… and, crucially, had the free time to be literate.  I’m guessing here, but since people are people and always have been, I’m pretty sure that your medieval peasant loved the show of his religion, because it gave him a little much-needed time off from his hourly grind of back-breaking, ragged-edge-of-survival physical labor.

Your middle-class incipient Calvinist, on the other hand, was bored to tears with stuff like “creeping to the cross” — all those billable hours lost (surely no one is surprised that Calvin, Knox, et al were all lawyers or merchants).  In their vanity, they insisted it wasn’t enough to seem pious; you actually had to be pious, which meant putting the time you would’ve spent doing public penance into contemplating the state of your soul.  Check out The New England Mind — once you fight through prose, you’ll see that the vaunted Puritan piety was little more than Special Snowflakism with a New Testament twist.  They’re “individuals,” all right, but only because they’re as obsessed as Tumblrinas with their very own pwecious widdle selves.

The point of this isn’t just to bash Puritans, fun as that is (and as richly as they deserve it).  The point is that, as Current Year America is a thoroughly Puritan nation, we have to realize just how historically contingent Puritanism really is in order to beat them.

Puritans desperately wanted to be individuals in a world that couldn’t support very many individuals.  You need a lot of free time to be a Puritan, and in the 16th century free time was almost inconceivably expensive.  Whatever else it was, Puritanism was gross conspicuous consumption — Puritans announced to the world that they alone had the free time to indulge in expensive educations, books, Bible study, and the endless hours worrying about whether or not it’s Biblically justified to paint the altar.  In a world where most everyone still knows someone who knows someone who starved to death, that’s one hell of a statement.

In the modern world, by contrast, nothing is cheaper than free time, and we’re terrified of individuality.  Spend five minutes among Social Justice Warriors.  If you manage to hang on to your sanity, you’ll see that they’re frightened above all of stepping out of the herd… and because they are, since they control the culture, the worst thing a young person can be these days is original.  They’d rather do anything than think.

This is exploitable.  Churchians could be our staunchest allies, if we could turn their piety away from save-the-worldism (hereafter “dinduism” or “negrolatry”) and towards social benefit.  I’m pretty sure Jesus said some stuff about getting your own backyard in order before going out to clean up the rest of the world.  Pitch it as anti-poverty, anti-addiction, anti-whatever-it-is that doesn’t involve sending money to distant places to “help” brown people.  Focus on the here-and-now.

Puritanism makes you think, but our neo-Puritans desperately want to avoid thinking.  They currently do this by sending some money to Save-the-Africans, then boasting about it on social media.  Make them do the modern equivalent of “creeping to the cross” — you can still post on social media, but it has to be selfies of you helping a guy, yourself, personally, down at the Homeless Shelter on 24th Street.  Let the inner-city churches worry about what’s happening in the inner cities, and African churches about Africa.  You worry about your community — I guarantee you there’s something wrong that a good dose of Jesus can fix.  You just have to go out there and do it, you yourself, personally… and if a White guy gets off fentanyl, and that opens your eyes to what’s going on around you, well, that’s a feature not a bug.

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