The Restoration

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The reaction to Trump’s acceptance speech was predictable, but illuminating all the same. The Left is in a panic because they have evolved into a bizarre identity cult that no longer cares about the practical aspects of politics. Trump’s talk of jobs, trade and culture may as well have been in a foreign language. The so-called Right has evolved into a wish list of policy positions dreamed up by government spongers living in the Imperial Capital. All of the boys and girls of Conservative Inc. are shrieking in terror at the Trump speech, yelling some version of “See? He is no conservative!”

Because Conservative Inc. insists they own the trademark for “conservative”, they insist they get to define what is and what is not “conservative.” Conveniently, everything Trump says is defined as outside the bounds of conservatism, while everything they say is within the bounds of conservatism. Professional conservatives pretty much spend all their time proving they are inside the lines as currently drawn. The death rattle of every mass movement is when they begin to turn all their efforts to rule making and enforcement.

The one thing the Buckleyites have right is that Trump is not one of them. He’s no libertarian and he has no interest in kissing the ring of the identity politics crowd. Trump made clear in his speech that he thinks the globalist fantasies about the glorious future are nonsense. Trump is a nationalist in the old school sense. That is, he thinks separate countries, governed in the best interests of their people, is the right model. Those best interests are defined by the people and implemented by their representatives. Hardly anyone on Team Buckley holds these views.

That does not make Trump a conservative. In order to evaluate that, we need a better definition of conservative than what has evolved over the last three decades. The place to start for that is Russell Kirk. He’s a good example to use when understanding what went wrong with conservatism. Kirk fell out of favor with the Fusionists that make up Team Buckley and he was detested by the neo-cons. As a result he gets little run in conservative circles these days, outside of some geezer paleo-cons like Pat Buchanan and Paul Gottfried.

Despite having been thrown down the memory hole, Kirk’s conservatism is looking like it will be what survives the current ructions on the Right. Most Americans are what John Derbyshire calls “gut conservatives” in that they are instinctively attracted to tradition and skeptical of the latest utopian fads. Many reading this have been trained by our current elites to be skeptical of their neighbor’s judgement, but the everyday tasks that are essential to an orderly society are carried out by average Americans using their best judgement.

If you look through that list of ten conservative principles, you can make a pretty good case for Trump on a few of them. As is always the case when judging a man through the television, you end up projecting upon him things that say more about you than about him. For instance, Trump is not an Evangelical Christian, but he is not hostile to religion either. Whether or not he believes in a transcendent moral order is impossible to know. He has said nothing to suggest he does, but he has never said anything to suggest he does not believe it. We’re left to guess and that means guessing wrong.

Similarly, it is easy to say Trump is imprudent. His critics claim he is proto-fascist because he speaks forcefully about what he will do as president. Maybe it is just ego or maybe he believes it, but Trump certainly does not seem like a guy in awe of his own limitations. On the other hand, his statements on foreign policy sound a lot closer to John Quincy Adams than anything we have heard since the end of World War II. As with his spiritual inclinations, his prudence is not all that clear.

Determining whether or not Trump is a conservative in the Kirkian sense is further complicated by the fact that he is a natural pitchman. Trump is a self-promoter, in the old fashioned sense. He uses hyperbole freely and amusingly. You know he is polishing the apple and he knows you know he is polishing the apple. In the political realm, this makes it hard to pin him down on specifics. It’s an effective political tactic, in fact, it is a great tactic, but it makes it hard to know exactly how Trump will attempt to govern.

In all probability, Trump is a transitional figure, like Nixon in 1968. The still young Buckley movement was winning arguments, but not ready to win elections. Nixon should have been a bridge between the unhinged liberalism of the 60’s and a sober conservatism, but it never quite worked out that way. The New Right we see forming up in the form of the alt-right, dissident right and so on is not ready to be a full fledged political movement, but it can energize a candidate. Trump could be the shake down cruise for a restoration of the conservatism of Russel Kirk.

Life in a Theocracy

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In Saudi Arabia, getting caught with alcohol can get you the lash. Maybe. It sort of depends upon where you are in the social order and who is determining your guilt. In Iran, listening to western music can get you sent to prison or perhaps cost you a job in the government. Again, it all depends upon who you are and who is judging your violation. It can also depend upon who is accusing you too. This was true in colonial New England where accusations of witchcraft were arbitrary and the trials mostly based on things other than religious doctrine.

We have the image of theocracies as places with long lists of precise rules governing morality, public conduct, social relations and so forth, but the reality is always the opposite. Written rules can be debated by anyone with the ability to read. There’s not much fun in being a priest if anyone can read the rules and render a judgement. In a theocracy, the religious order educates the public, handles the violations of morality and makes sure the laws comply with the official religion. The result is a high degree of arbitrariness for those who live in the theocracy.

Going back to Saudi Arabia, members of the royal family regularly head off to Dubai to drink, do drugs, fornicate with women, fornicate with men and otherwise live like rock stars. Everyone in the Wahhabist world knows about this, but they like living more than they like Allah so they say nothing. On the other hand, if you are a foreigner, who can be a bargaining chip for the royal family, then you can get jammed up for some pruno. Anyone that is a nuisance to the government can expect to have the religious police snooping around in their life, looking for a reason to send them to jail.

Theocracy is arbitrary. It is this arbitrariness that encourages neighbors to spy on neighbors, associates to rat on each other and even children to report their parents to the morality police. Being a rat brings grace. You see that in this story about the George Washington men’s basketball coach.

In early April, shortly after his team celebrated a postseason championship, a George Washington men’s basketball player visited a campus Title IX coordinator to log complaints about Coach Mike Lonergan. Lonergan, the player believed, had created an offensive, intolerable environment, evidenced in his mind — and in the minds of many of his teammates — by the spate of transfers during the coach’s five-year tenure.

The first thing to notice are the code words for morality. Title IX has become holy writ in the Progressive faith. Like the Bible, it is a mysterious source of authority to the adherents. Most Christians never bother to open their Bible and few Progressives can tell you anything about Title IX. They just know it is the highest of law on the holiest of sites, the college campus. To be the Title IX coordinator is no different from being the mutaween in Saudi Arabia. This person is the supreme moral authority on campus.

Then we have the complaints lodged against the coach. Notice the vagueness here. On the college campus, “offensive” is the same as blasphemous. Any word or deed can be called offensive if it is deemed to have violated some tenet of the faith. Since these tenets are arbitrary, just about anything can be offensive, as long as someone in good standing with the religious authorities is willing to say they were offended. Again, you’ll notice that it matters who is accusing and to  whom the accusation is being leveled.

Read the whole 2400 word article and you struggle to figure out what exactly the coach had done to warrant being thrown off the roof by the PC enforcers. That’s probably why the writer resorts to quoting various shaman in the Title IX sect.

“They have an obligation to make sure the school is operating an environment where there is no sexual harassment,” lawyer Nancy Hogshead-Makar, a Title IX expert and a former Olympic gold medal swimmer, said when apprised of the players’ complaints. “He is sexually harassing both the athletic director and the athletes.”

Notice the language again. They never say who is obliging us in this quest. The God of Puritanism is now just a mysterious blank space, a void that can never be mentioned, but must always be acknowledged. In other words, if you know you are obligated to enforce the one true faith, you are an elect. Of course, the quest to which we are supposedly obligated is equally mysterious. What does “an environment where there is no sexual harassment” look like? How do we know we are in one? The answer is one of the priestesses of the faith will tell us.

“Priestess” is the right word. In the America theocracy, women run the cult. Take a look at the bio of Nancy Two Names in the Post story. The hyphen is the first clue. She is or was married to a cuck. People assume that hyphen indicates feminist, but it is a gang symbol within feminism to indicate the adherent has bagged and tamed a male. Second, her bio tells us she went from college into the order and has spent her life as a professional nuisance. Hassling men is her all consuming passion. It is what defines her life.

As with Iran or Saudi Arabia, the accused in the America theocracy often make the mistake of thinking they can beat the charges. After all, if they have done nothing wrong, what do they have to fear? In a theocracy, however, the unwillingness to submit and confess is proof of guilt. Coach Lonergan is a dead man, he just does not know it.  He will play by the rules, or at least the rules written down, but the Inquisitor is not bound by rules so the coach will be broken on the wheel and cast out of the campus.

That’s life in a theocracy.

Whither the Fanatic?

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Churchill supposedly said “a fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.” I think of that almost every time I visit National Review Online these days. As I’m writing this, the featured article is by the unhinged lunatic David French. He’s the nutter who thought about running for president on Bill Kristol’s Trotskyite party ticket. There’s another article by French on the sidebar, which is a rant about Trump. Above that is a tantrum about Trump by Jonah Goldberg.

If you were new to the scene, you could be forgiven for thinking that National Review is some sort of leftist site that was created for the sole purpose of howling about Trump. I have not counted, but others tell me that more than half the posted articles over the last year have been about the terribleness of Trump and Trump voters. Someone told me they went back a few months counting posts on their blog and the anti-Trump posts outnumber the anti-Clinton posts five to one. I’m not going to test the assertion as it seems in-line with what I’ve observed.

National Review is the flagship operation of Buckley Conservatism and it has given itself over almost entirely to anti-Trump lunacy. For over a year now they have been pumping out anti-Trump content to the point where there’s no point in reading any of it. The striking thing is not the volume so much as the total lack of content. Their rants fall into one of two categories. There are the base personal attacks, calling Trump a big meanie that makes them cry. Then there are the rants claiming Trump is not a “movement conservative” as if that has any meaning.

That’s really the issue at the heart of what’s happening. I’ve often argued that Buckley Conservatism was just anti-communism with things like small government and social conservatism as decorations. Buckleyites were fine trading authority for those decorative items over to the Left so they could have the whip hand on foreign policy. Once the Cold War ended and intellectual communism fell out of fashion, the Buckleyites were left without a purpose. They were a mass movement without an enemy. To quote Hoffer, “Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil.”

Thinking back, the fall of the Berlin Wall was in ’89 and then Clinton won in ’92. All the smart people at the time were wondering what would come of conservatism, but then the Republicans won the House in ’94 for the first time in fifty years. Republicans were able to impose spending limits on Clinton and for the first in generations and it appeared that the ratchet was going to click the other way. The smart people suddenly shifted gears and started wondering what would become of liberalism. Even Clinton thought the era of big government was over.

Rolling back the welfare state was going to be dirty work and there’s not a lot of fun in it. The Buckley Conservatives had been bred for generations to trade away authority over domestic policy so there were few with a real desire to get into the trench warfare that would be required to claw back the concessions of the previous generations. The ugly fight over welfare reform “taught” the Buckleyites that there were no parades for the party that cut spending and shrunk government. Fighting wars was much more fun and less risky, to them at least.

I used to say that the worst thing to happen to Buckley Conservatism was the Bush family, but the death blow was actually 9/11. The Buckleyites went all in on the Bushism because they were sure they had found the successor to the Evil Empire. It was like old times. They eagerly gave the Left whatever they wanted on spending and government, just as long as they could wage the great crusade against the Muslims. It was rank boosterism, devoid of anything resembling principle, but the movement had finally found a new devil and that’s what really mattered.

Now that making war on the Muslims is out of the question, the Buckleyites are once again in search of a devil around which they can base their movement. Anti-Trumpism for fanatics like David French is not going to be a fulfilling cause in the long run. Trotskyites like Bill Kristol and the other neo-coms can probably busy themselves with it for a while, but even they will tire of it eventually. Maybe they go back to being Progressives or maybe they just go away. Pat Buchanan thinks (hopes?) they will just go away, having been rejected by the public.

That’s not the way to bet. Fanatics will always be with us. The lesson of the Clinton years was that the ideologues would eventually adapt to the post-Cold War world. The Progressives dived head first into the cesspool of identity politics while the Buckleyites launched a crusade to pacify the Muslims. Now that the Coalition of Weirdos is blowing apart and the Buckleyites are reeling, we may enter a period of cultural sobriety, but it’s hard to know. Perhaps neo-nationalism will the next big thing to sweep the West. Maybe it will be something else, but the fanatics will eventually find their causes.

Never Hire a Powerskirt

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Looking back, we had, in the person of Teddy Roosevelt, the finest President in the history of this country. He had the spirit and determination that matched the times and the land. Then the women got the vote, and everything went to hell. While our boys was overseas fighting the Kaiser, the women got Prohibition put in. Drinking and gambling and whoring were declared unlawful. All those things which come natural to men became crimes.

–Judge Roy Bean

A quarter century ago, I was sent to my first reeducation camp. The company I was with at the time had been infected with the virus so everyone in a management position was sent off-site to be hectored about the importance of tolerance in the workplace. We did not yet have the word “diversity” to throw around as we were still in the “tolerance” stage of multicultural lunacy outbreak. At least that was the case in my part of the world so they called it “sensitivity training,” which everyone said using air quotes.

The people responsible for starting the sensitivity training were the women in the human resources department. They had changed the name of it to something stupid like “people and relationships” but it was an HR department. For reasons I’ll never understand, the men in charge of the company decided to pack the HR departments with women who immediately started making mischief. Talking to friends at the time, this was happening all over the business world. HR departments full of hens were morphing into sensitivity department full of bitter shrews.

Not long after I had returned from the reeducation camp, I was informed by HR that one of my charges had been making one of the women uncomfortable. She did not like the way he was looking at her. This woman dressed like a street walker and had to be told multiple times to stop showing off her smoking hot body at work. That made no difference. I was told I had to write him up, which I refused to do. That got me in some trouble and forever on the HR hit list, but it was the shape of things to come. My policy was going to be zero tolerance for this sort of terrorism.

That was a long time ago and things have only grown worse. The implosion of Fox News is a great example of why you should avoid hiring women.

Blogger Matt Drudge put up a headline at the top of his popular aggregation website The Drudge Report this afternoon that Ailes will exit the company with a “$40+ million parachute.” There is no link to a story, but a source subsequently told Deadline that Ailes is in exit talks, saying terms of the settlement are being hammered out tonight.

“With internal allegations mounting, it was deemed time for him to go,” the well-placed source said.

21st Century Fox, however, said in a statement: “Roger is at work  The review is ongoing. And the only agreement that is in place is his existing employment agreement.”

Ailes’ ouster comes after Fox News hostGretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against him on July 6 after her contract was not renewed.

Ailes, the architect of the Fox News as a ratings behemoth and political force, in of June 2015, signed a multi-year contract to continue running Fox News, Fox Business Network, and Fox Television Stations.

Earlier this morning, Drudge linked a headline to today’s New York Magazine story,alleging Fox News star Megyn Kelly had told 21st Century Fox’s investigators that she had been the recipient of unwanted sexual advances from Ailes about a decade ago when she was a correspondent in the Washington bureau. But Drudge used a headline saying Kelly was twisting the knife into her boss.  That post, and headline,  from the wildly popular and influential conservative blogger got media reporters to sit up and take notice.

Perhaps I am more cynical than most, but how did Ailes not see that Megyn Kelly was trouble? There’s nothing wrong with hiring bimbos to read the news on TV, just as long as the bimbos are fine with being bimbos trading on their looks. Women like Kelly trade on their looks, but they are forever bitter about it. That bitterness curdles into a viscous nastiness that almost always leads to claims of discrimination or sexual harassment, when they don’t get what they want. Once again, the facts of life are turning out to be Trumpian.

The lesson here, of course, is to never hire women like Megyn Kelly. It’s like inviting Dracula into your house. No matter how much garlic you have around your neck, you still have a bloodthirsty vampire in your midst. A good rule of thumb is to hire homely women for positions of responsibility, preferably older women. They have no illusions about how males view them. For entry level work like clerks and paralegals, hire mothers as they need the job more than they need to strike a blow for the sisterhood. They are too practical to be feminists.

Otherwise, never hire a powerskirt.

Intellectuals Versus Ideologues

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I think if I was forced to come up with a defining characteristic of a true intellectual, I’d say it is someone willing to consider possibilities that are not already on the table. When I say “true intellectual” I mean to distinguish the real thinkers from the pseudo-intellectual posers. The truly smart and curious are not constrained by or very interested in the current fads. When presented with a puzzle, they first try to imagine all of the possible solutions and then begin eliminating the impossible.

One of the useful lessons of mathematics is that there are some problems for which there are many answers. If you are presented with x – 3 = 0   or   x – 4 = 0 then you know x = 3, 4. In other words, X has more than one possible solution. A surprisingly high number of allegedly smart people struggle with that basic concept. When you get into more complex areas like human sciences, the range of solutions to a problem may include a combination of factors, interacting to cause the observed phenomenon.

So, the intellectual is someone that starts with the set of all solutions and narrows the list to those that are possible. The religiously minded, on the other hand, reverses the order of things. They first eliminate all the possibilities that fall outside the faith. A Christian, for example, will never consider the possibility that his faith is nonsense and Jesus was a fictional character. The Muslim will never consider that Mohamed was simply a medieval L. Ron Hubbard. Instead, they rely on a static set of possible causes to solve all problems.

Throughout history, we have examples of the priestly class convincing the people that the calamity that has befallen them is due to their deviation from the faith. When the plague ravaged Europe, the religious were convinced it was due to God’s wrath. What else could it be? The English blamed the Vikings on falling out of favor with God. Cromwell blamed his defeat in the Caribbean on the people straying from the path. Critically, revolutionaries blame the inevitable bad results of their revolution on enemies of the revolution.

Just to be clear, religion is vital to every society. Most people should not be thinking about all the possible causes of what is around them. Islam may be useless to Western civilization, but it serves a needed purpose in the East. Christianity was vital to the development of Western Civilization. In fact, it was what preserved the stock of human knowledge that was the foundation of the modern West. Today, the West would be better off if our leaders were Christians, instead of Cultural Marxists.

Even so, the difference between the intellectual and the ideological enforcer is all about the possibilities. A good example of that is in this post on NRO the other day from someone calling himself Mario Loyola. He is one of the thousands of public intellectuals living off the taxpayer at foundations around the Imperial Capital. His CV is here and you see the word “fellow” turn up a lot in his work history. As an aside, most of our “conservative” intellectuals have credentials from the most liberal of institutions.

Anyway, his post is about black crime rates and the causes of those crime rates. This bit got my attention.

When America is ready for a real conversation about race, it will start here. It will ask honestly what the causes are. There is not the slightest doubt in my mind that race has absolutely nothing to do with crime rates, and that government policies such as welfare are the real culprit, creating the urban blight and broken families that lead directly to crime.

Let’s first start with the phrase, “have a conversation.” When you want to kill time you have a conversation about the weather. When you want to let someone else know things about yourself, you have a conversation. When you want to find answers to problems, you don’t have a conversation. That’s how you get fired. You’re fooling around having conversations instead of doing what the boss instructed. Of course, in modern America, when a Progressive says he wants a conversation he means he plans to lecture you and you better shut up.

Putting that aside, the first thing Mario does in his “exploration of causes” is eliminate those that fall outside the One True Faith. In fact, he makes clear that he is not interested in that conversation at all as he has decided that the cause of black crime is government. If you already have the answer, there’s no need for further discovery. Once you find the answer, the next job is to tell the world about your wonderful insight. That’s why scientists post the results of their experiments. It’s how the stock of human knowledge increases.

Of course, Mario is not offering any evidence of his assertion. For this type of Progressive, race falls outside the set of acceptable causes so it is eliminated without further discussion. Because he is from the shadow end of the faith, he also feels the need to eliminate racism so he can focus on his sect’s bogeyman, the welfare state. His post is not intended to start a conversation or begin the search for the causes of black crime. It is testimony in support of his particular brand of Progressivism.

It’s not a great surprise that our public debates are mostly two sides of the priestly class shaking their fists at one another. Biology has become forbidden knowledge. So much so that few if any in the priestly class know anything about it. That’s because biology is at odds with egalitarianism, the foundation stone of the Progressive faith. Once you accept that nature does not distribute her gifts equally among all men, Progressivism is untenable. It’s akin to saying Christ was fictional or Mohamed was a con-man. That can never be allowed, no matter how many people die.

Mobile Phones

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I’ve had a mobile phone since the early 1990’s. I was provided the Motorola bag phone when it came out and I think that was ’90 or ’91, but I may be off a year or two there. Before that I was provided with a model that was the size of a cinder block, when you added in the case, battery and antennae. The funny thing was that the early phones were so unreliable we had a pool of the things. That way when one was broken you could use one of the spares. Before long no one had the number they were assigned.

That was forever ago, of course. By the end of the 90’s everyone had something small they could put in their pocket. Over the last 25 years I’ve been through all sorts of phones. I’ve always been an early adopter so I had the first flip phones and then the first pocket sized models. When Palm released the Treo I had to have one. According to the stories, Steve Jobs invented the smartphone, but that’s nonsense. Palm created the smartphone. Somewhere in a drawer I probably still have the old Treo to prove it.

Since the Droid hit the streets I’ve been an Android user and I stopped being an early adopter. I think by the second iteration of the Droid I decided I’d gone as far as I needed to go with the smartphone. Having e-mail and text was great. I’ll use the GPS when I get lost and I do listen to podcast when traveling. The millions of apps are lost on me. Since something like 90% are never downloaded, I’m clearly not alone in that. As a practical matter, the mobile phone topped out for me about six or seven years ago.

Anyway, I had to buy a new phone as the old one was starting to become unreliable.  I started with the assumption that I would buy another Android model or maybe try an iPhone. The cost of the things got me thinking that maybe it is time to downsize and go back to a basic phone. Spending $700 for a smart phone that mostly sits idle on my desk strikes me as a waste of money so I went looking at other options. Even with the zero interest financing from the carrier, it seemed like a waste.

I decided to break form entirely and buy a Windows phone. I know one person with one and they love it. I was skeptical, but I saw one on-line for $200 at the Microsoft store so I got less skeptical. You have to try new things and new things that can save you $500 are worth trying. If it was a crappy phone, I figured, it would be a $200 lesson. I’ve learned much more expensive lessons so the risk seemed small. Plus, the phone was unlocked so I could shop plans.

The hardware is actually a Lumia 650, but it is branded Microsoft and loaded with the Windows 10 OS. It turns out to be a great phone and the OS is vastly better than I expected. The interface is better than Apple and Google. I never would have guess that in a million years, but that tile interface is a great idea. It’s stupid on a desktop, but it works really well for a phone. I use mine one handed so using larger tiles for the upper left and small ones at the bottom right means I can reach everything with my thumb.

Since I was going rogue, I figured it was time to walk away from Verizon and try the low cost guys that the local drug dealers use. Mobile phones are a vital part of ghetto life so there are all sorts of low cost carriers catering to the poor. The average hopper is not leaving the five block area of his gang’s turf, so quality of service is not an issue. What is important is that you can get a good deal on a burner and the retailer does not ask too many questions.

So, I went with T-Mobile. I don’t know if they serve the black community or it was just the miracle of local demographics, but I was the only honky in the phone store. I suspect I was the only person with a job, other than the clerks. But, the lack of an income is no longer a hindrance to participating on the modern consumer economy. I saw two gals who I know have not worked a day in their lives buying new phones on whatever payment plan they offer. Maybe they were signing up for Obama phones before he leaves office.

I have a theory that most of the airtime on wireless networks is used by stupid people talking to other stupid people. Watching the sad sacks at the T-Mobile store I could not help but wonder what they talk about to the people on the other end. If their conversations in the store were representative, millions of minutes are consumed with people saying “yeah” and “you feel me” to one another. It’s not like they are coordinating meetings between business trips.

Of course, keeping the people down at the bottom busy is an increasingly important issue in a modern society. The bottom is creeping up as the demand for low-skill labor and low-IQ laborers declines. This is a problem that will only get worse over the next decades. Giving them enough money to buy game consoles and mobile phones means they have plenty of toys to fill their day. Consumer electronics are the Soma of the technological age. The iPhone and Xbox are what gives meaning to their lives.

Thoughts on Turkey

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In my youth, military coups and revolutions were not common, but they were not unheard of either. Real countries like France or Canada did not have coups, but banana republics in South America had them with some frequency. Then you had the intrigues in the Soviet Bloc. A leader would suddenly stop showing up at public events and that meant he was sick or he had fallen out of favor. Africa would have revolutions with some frequency. We called them revolutions, even though nothing ever changed, but that’s Africa.

The general assumption was that a real country did not have military coups or revolutions because they had democracy of some sort. If the people were unhappy, they could vote in people they liked. If elements of the ruling elite were unhappy, they could appeal to the public for change. The military, instead of being an instrument of the ruling class, was subordinate to the civilian government and excluded from politics. That’s not a bad place to start when defining a modern country. Real countries have elections, not revolts.

I think this is why the western news services were having so much trouble fitting the attempted coup in Turkey into their standard narrative. Turkey is supposed to be different from the rest of the Muslim world. Turkey is a real country with elections and globalism. Sure, the political leaderships sounds a lot like the lunatics from the Arab world, but that’s just an act. It’s their version of boob bait for the bubbas. Instead of guns and abortion, their rednecks want to hear about Allah and the Jews. Turkey is a real country, not a banana republic.

Following along via SkyNews, the BBC and CNN, I had to laugh at the confusion of the news people covering this thing. They did not know which side they were supposed to support. Initially, they were just baffled, as they don’t know anything about the world that is not fed to them through their earpieces. They were reduced to stuttering through live images of people walking around the streets waving flags. Then Obama came out in defense of the Islamists and the rest of NATO followed suit. Instantly, the new media was anti-coup.

Another thing I thought was humorous about the news coverage was the repetition of the claim this coup was not a “21st century coup.” I first heard this said on SkyNews and then all of the news services were saying it. Whether this was “monkey see-monkey do” or the official word from the party is hard to know. What I found amusing about it is Turkey is not a 21st century country, but it is in the middle of a 21st century civil war, of which this was a part. The fact that this is not obvious to the alleged experts, who rule over us, does not bode well for our future.

In this civil war, Erdogan is the Oliver Cromwell of Turkey and this attempted coup was something analogous to Penruddock’s Uprising. It’s not a perfect analogy, but it helps explain what’s happening in Turkey. The army is the defender of the secular legacy of Ataturk and the defender of the old order. Erdogan is the leader of the new order, the Islamists that believe they can have a modern technological society, under medieval Islamic moral codes.

Everyone seems to agree that this event makes Erdogan stronger, but Turkish politics are so opaque that outsiders can never really know what’s going on in the country. This could have been an operation run by the secular military to get the Gülen cult removed from their own ranks. The Gülen Cult is thought to have a stronger presence in the police than the military so this could be something more complex. In other words, this may not have been a revolt against the AKP but a revolt within the AKP.

There’s also the fact that ethnic Turks are a majority in Turkey for now. Kurds are the future, demographically. That’s a big part of what has put the AKP in power. The Turks view secularism as the cause of the demographic decline. The organization of the Kurds into a single political party, denying AKP a majority in the last election is a glimpse of the future and the Turks know it. That’s why the AKP sent in the army after the election to persecute the Kurds. It’s a part of what is driving the Turkish involvement in Syria.

The civil war among the Turks is about what to do about the future, a future that will have more Kurds than Turks if something is not done to arrest the low TFR of young Turks. Turkey has the Western disease, but it is still an Eastern culture. In the West, civilizational death is celebrated in the form of open borders and multiculturalism. In the East, it is met with religious revivals and bloodbaths. David Goldman makes the argument that the Iranian revolution was driven by similar forces.

The Turks are faced with a choice. They can be fully Western and go quietly into that good night. Or, they can be Eastern and fight against the dying of the light. The former means modern technology and prosperity, for a little while at least. The latter means men in robes ordering homosexuals thrown off buildings. That’s what’s happening inside Turkey today. It’s a version of what’s happening in the West, but only in a country that culturally is closer to Byzantium than Brussels.

Low Energy

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The glorious future is always just over the next mountain. The older you get, the taller that next mountain becomes and the further away it seems. It’s this realization, this understanding, that young people often mistake for cynicism. They think their elders, poo-pooing their excitement for some new innovation, are just cranky old people unable to appreciate the dawning of the new age and unwilling to adapt to it. In reality those grumpy geezers are just tired of sitting through the same film, never getting to the end.

I often feel that way about energy policy. Every decade we have a re-run of the same film, but never get to the end. Instead, everyone gets bored and walks out before the final scene where the utopian dreamer is fed into the wood chipper by a couple snaggletoothed rednecks from coal country. Instead the movie is cut short so it can be retooled for a new audience a decade later with the promise that this time, there is a new and improved ending. That’s the catchphrase of every new plan to replace fossil fuels. “This time, things will be different.”

Here is a quote from Jerry Ford’s 1975 State of the Union speech, in which he laid out his energy plan: “I have a very deep belief in America’s capabilities. Within the next 10 years, my program envisions: 200 major nuclear power plants; 250 major new coal mines; 150 major coal-fired power plants; 30 major new [oil] refineries; 20 major new synthetic fuel plants; the drilling of many thousands of new oil wells; the insulation of 18 million homes; and the manufacturing and the sale of millions of new automobiles, trucks and buses that use much less fuel…”

The only thing he got right was that cars use less fuel per mile, but that had nothing to do with the big dreams of the energy futurists. Fuel economy has steadily improved since the mass marketing of cars back in the stone age. That’s due to better engineering. The cars not only get better fuel economy today, they ride better, they are of better quality, they use better components. A new car off the lot in the 1950’s suffered from rattles, wind noise, poor fitting components and it needed constant maintenance. In other words, fuel efficiency is mostly just a byproduct of better engineering of cars in general.

The rest of Ford’s agenda never happened. Later, Carter got on the solar bandwagon. In the late 70’s, everyone new that in the future, cars would be electric and be charged by solar panels. Every house would have a rooftop solar generator. Fossil fuels would go away entirely. The fact that none of this happened did not stop the dreamers from dusting off the solar fantasy again in the 2000’s. I’m not sure, but I think the last big solar panel plant in the US shut down last year. If I eat right and exercise, I’ll live to see it re-opened again under another government free energy scheme.

What brought this on is this story in Scientific American last month. You would think that a publication with “science” in its name would be less inclined to fights of fancy, but that’s not how it works. It’s not how anything works these days.

The United States, Mexico and Canada will make a joint pledge tomorrow to draw half the continent’s power from non-emitting sources by 2025.

President Obama, President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada will announce the ambitious target at the North American Leaders’ Summit in Ottawa, Ontario, which will also address security issues and other concerns to the continent’s three governments.

White House climate adviser Brian Deese described the pact as a sign of the growing bonds between the nations on climate and energy policies. He told reporters yesterday that the trio are cooperating more on those issues now than at any time in recent history.

“We find ourselves now at a moment where the alignment in terms of policy goals and focus on clean energy between our three countries is stronger than it has been in decades,” he said.

None of this will happen. The big non-carbon power generation facilities are nuclear and hydro. We’re not building those anymore. The people who swear Gaia is vexed with us because of our cars are the people that killed off nuclear and hyrdo decades ago. Then as now, the problem is Gaia. She did not like nuclear energy and she did not like us blocking fish from swimming downstream. According to the Gaia worshipers, she is not happy with solar or wind either so the odds of those technologies getting anywhere are close to zero, even before you get to the science problems of both.

That’s the irony of the green energy movement. Even if the significant scientific hurdles can be overcome for things like solar and wind, the greens will scuttle the projects anyway. The same people banging their tom-toms over coal and oil are out blocking the so-called green alternatives. Nuclear, which has the most promise in terms of “clean” energy, has been stalled for generations now. Gen-IV reactors are extremely safe and productive. If not for the greens, we could have all our electric from nuclear, but that will never happen.

No one reading this will live to see the day when America is getting the bulk of its electric from nuclear. Your children and grandchildren will not live to see it. The most optimistic estimate puts the window for the change to nuclear well past mid-century. The most optimistic window for wind and solar is somewhere around the time we discover the warp drive. Instead, every decade or so we will have another round of nonsense about how some new green energy will finally ween us off of oil and coal. Billions will be squandered on it, the dogs will bark and the caravan will move on.

Dismal Quackery

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The other day, I made a crack about the soft sciences, psychology, sociology and so forth, comparing them to astrology and economics. It was in the context of the replication crisis that is roiling fields like psychology. The soft sciences are trying hard to pretend it is problem in all science, but that’s not true. Anyway, someone gave me grief for slandering astrology, because the early strides in astronomy and even astrophysics were due to people trying to improve astrology. If you believe in that stuff, precise measuring of the movement of stars and planets is important.

I think most empirically minded people have long ago concluded that psychology is quackery. When I was a kid, talk therapy was the rage. The schools were hiring “counselors” and having kids sit down and talk about their problems. Even as a kid I knew it was nonsense. Talking someone out of being insane or depressed is slightly less nutty than slaughtering a goat and reading the entrails. Imagine if someone claimed they could talk you out of a broken leg or cancer. But, quackery seems to to stick around much longer than logic says it should.

That’s the pattern we are seeing with economics. The colossal errors in the field should have discredited it a long time ago, but economist are still the court magicians of the modern state. This post by Tyler Cowen is a good example of dressing up uninformed opinion with the jargon of economics to make it sound like science. As Steve Sailer pointed out in the comments, economists have yet to offer a plausible explanation for how the post-nationalist world could operate. The only possible answer is that it would be based on force.

Europe is a great example of just how wrong modern economics has been about pretty much everything. The totality of mainstream economics has been cheering the Euro project for decades, even when it was pretty clear that the single currency was a disaster for many of the members. It has all the cyclical defects of hard money and none of the benefits. The open borders part of the project has resulted in a flood of non-Europeans, who have upset the social order, threatening the stability of the Continent.

This is not the first time modern economics has been outlandishly wrong about Europe. This post by Greg Cochran is a great reminder of just how absurdly wrong the field was about the realities of communism. The best estimates by the court magicians overstated communist economic output by two or three times reality. This despite the fact they had first hand observations of the state of these communist countries. Westerners, including western academics, traveled throughout these countries and could observe the squalor first hand.

In the 80’s, an acquaintance was getting sent to Moscow on government assignment. His family held a going away party as he was expected to be there for two years. Everyone was asked to bring something he could use in Russia. He got things like cartons of cigarettes, blue jeans and small bottles of liquor. The Russians turned a blind eye to this type of smuggling because they wanted the stuff too. The customs agent would take something for himself and maybe set you up with his cousin Yuri to sell the rest. Everyone, except economists, knew the score.

Of course, the birth of economics as a distinct field from political-economy was roughly 100 years ago, with the publication of an economic textbook by Alfred Marshall. Economist were just as wrong about reality then as they are today. Prior to the Great War, globalism was all the rage, just as it is today. A 1910 best-selling book, The Great Illusion, used economic arguments to demonstrate that territorial conquest had become unprofitable, and therefore global capitalism had removed the risk of major wars. A few years later Europe was murdering itself in the worst war in human history.

Science gets lots of things wrong. The scientific method assumes this, which is why test results are published, along with the methods, so others can challenge the results. Negative results are still results and add to the stock of human knowledge. In economics, they get fundamental elements of their field wrong and manage to subtract from the stock of human knowledge in the process. The problems facing Europe today are problems people understood well 50 years ago. Thanks to economics, policy makers are now forced to relearn what their grandparents took for granted.

The root of the problem is that statistics are not science and economics is pretty much just statistics applied to commerce. It’s not worthless, but it is limited. Probability and correlation can point real scientist in the right direction, but they don’t explain the mechanics of cause and effect. We know that smoking correlates with emphysema, but biologists figured out why one causes the other. Per capita chicken consumption correlates with US oil imports and only an economist would suggest one causes the other. Know what is happening is not the same as knowing why.

Calling back to where we started, most quackery manages to have some benefit, even if it is to just some make people feel happy. Astrology is right about the movement of the stars, at least as far as charting them. Horoscopes are stupid, but a harmless way for people to feel good about the uncertainty of life. Alchemy was a confidence racket, for the most part, but it eventually gave us chemistry. Even climate science has some utility, despite the massive fraud. Economists are fond of calling their racket the dismal science, but that’s not fair or accurate. It’s really just dismal quackery.

The Wuss Right

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In the chattering classes, the line dividing the Left from the Right is over means, not ends. Watch cable news for a while and inevitably they will have one of those mini-debates they like staging to illustrate the two extremes of what is acceptable opinion on some issue. After the Dallas shooting, for example, a liberal and conservative would offer their take on the incident. What we are supposed to take away from these exchanges is that your opinion better fall somewhere between the two offered on TV. Otherwise you’re some sort of fringe weirdo or worse.

The acceptable window varies from station to station, but there’s not a lot of diversity within the dominant political culture. The liberal channels set the window closer to their preferred opinion while Fox is slightly to the right of them. The thing is, everyone agrees on the ends. You never see two people debating an issue where one has an entirely different goal in mind. Both sides always start from the same premise and have the same ends in mind. By “ends” I mean esoteric concepts like world peace, racial harmony or economic equality. They both talk about “solutions.”

If I were to describe what it is that drives those on the dissident right away from conventional politics, into the arms of various alt-right groups, I think I’d start with the ends in mind. People in the various refusenik camps, on the fringes of society, simply reject the ends that the conventional Left and Right accept as their starting point. It’s not that the trouble makers want the opposite of those Utopian goals. It’s that they reject the assertion that those goals are possible. Humans are imperfect and there is no solution to that bit of reality.

An example of how this works is in this piece from The American Conservative on the problems of Baltimore City.

From near and far, too many people who felt qualified to offer an opinion or exercise power to help didn’t take the time to appreciate the history that has shaped West Baltimore or the variety of people who have been working for decades to improve this place. Accounts of a place like Sandtown have to start with policies forged decades ago regarding redlining and lead paint—policies that handicapped the value of many residents’ homes or did likewise to their children’s brains. The harm is ongoing: conservatives can easily recognize how the welfare state disinclines people to work, but it is hard to blame recipients when most of the wealth transferred through government goes straight to property managers and hospitals, not to the people themselves, who have little opportunity to accumulate wealth. The institutions that are accessible to people in West Baltimore—primarily churches and gangs—are trusted because other institutions don’t maintain any reliable order or support.

Ask any liberal why Baltimore is a dumpster fire and they will make the exact same claims. They blame it on magic. Redlining, as a real practice, never really existed. In fact, banks have been under pressure for generations now to lend to unqualified minorities. Even if we pretend it was a real thing, it ended two generations ago. Blaming long dead bankers for the problems of today is the same as blaming ghosts. No one ever tries to explain how not getting a mortgage causes T’Quan to murder Terrelle for his sneakers. Blaming redlining is no different than saying Allah wills it.

There’s a similar problem with lead paint. It was banned in 1971 and government has been removing it from housing for two generations. There’s also the fact that there are no studies showing increased levels of lead in the residents of Baltimore, compared to the surrounding areas. It’s an interesting theory, but that makes it a good example of how statistical correlations can lead you down a blind alley. But, blaming magic means not facing reality so the Left and Right embrace crackpot theories like lead paint as the cause of black crime.

Rebuilding institutions requires local leadership as well as outside aid. Great hay was made of some $130 million spent on a public-private partnership in the late 1990s and early 2000s to revitalize the neighborhood. Much of this money can still be seen in the homes that were rebuilt. You can walk around whole blocks that were vacant 30 years ago and that now have clean sidewalks, no drug traffic, and the sort of neighborliness that New Urbanism celebrates. As deep as the problems of Sandtown are, much good has been achieved using outside investment directed by people from within the community.

This is the sort of stuff black radicals like the Black Panthers used to demand back in the 60’s. They wanted no-strings attached money from white people so they could build their Afro-paradise. When they got it, they stole most of it and used the rest to build out their criminal enterprise. Well intentioned white people supported these groups because they assumed the fairy tales were true. If you just gave black people money, they would create a black version of Mayberry USA. It was just assumed that all human capital was the same, because after all, all humans are the same and only racists would say otherwise.

West Baltimore is what it is because it is full of West Baltimoreans. The people who built and maintained the city’s institutions left a long time ago for suburbs. The current residents moved in, like animals taking up spots in abandoned buildings. They did not build it. They could not maintain it. The result was that nature took its course. The institutions decayed and collapsed. The habits and ways of the new inhabitants took over. There’s no solution to this reality. You don’t fix human biology with a government program or pseudo-prayers to the gods of diversity.

The line dividing the New Right and the Buckley Conservative is between those who accept the reality of the human condition and those who don’t. The writer of that piece thinks all people are the same and that the observable differences are due to various forms of magic like racism and lead paint. It’s why they are called the Wuss Right. They inevitably give into the Left because they share all the same assumptions about humanity as the Left. They share the same goals. Convergence in the form of orchestrated surrender is the inevitable result.