Being Wrong

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When I read the founding texts of Western Liberalism, I’m often struck by how right they were about some things. Read Rousseau and you see that the men of the Enlightenment were figuring out evolution long before Darwin came along. They did not call it evolution and they were not approaching it from a biological perspective, but they understood there was a period before human settlement. They knew that period of human organization required different men than the world at that time produced.

That said, they got some big stuff wrong too. The “state of nature” was nothing like Hobbes imagined. It was not men in a constant state of warfare against one another. Of course, the blank slate stuff upon which Rousseau built his moral philosophy is, we now know, complete nonsense. We are what our DNA instructs, for the most part. There’s not only variation between people, there’s diversity between groups of people due to generations of inherited traits, within isolated groups of humans.

There are two things to learn from that. One is that tens of millions of people were murdered because Rousseau was completely wrong about the nature of man. That’s a big mistake. The other take away is that even when a theory seems to explain what we observe, it could still be wildly wrong. For instance, the ruins at Gobekli Tepe are forcing archaeologists and historians to rethink the civilization timeline.

On the day I visit, a bespectacled Belgian man sits at one end of a long table in front of a pile of bones. Joris Peters, an archaeozoologist from the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, specializes in the analysis of animal remains. Since 1998, he has examined more than 100,000 bone fragments from Gobekli Tepe. Peters has often found cut marks and splintered edges on them—signs that the animals from which they came were butchered and cooked. The bones, stored in dozens of plastic crates stacked in a storeroom at the house, are the best clue to how people who created Gobekli Tepe lived. Peters has identified tens of thousands of gazelle bones, which make up more than 60 percent of the total, plus those of other wild game such as boar, sheep and red deer. He’s also found bones of a dozen different bird species, including vultures, cranes, ducks and geese. “The first year, we went through 15,000 pieces of animal bone, all of them wild. It was pretty clear we were dealing with a hunter-gatherer site,” Peters says. “It’s been the same every year since.” The abundant remnants of wild game indicate that the people who lived here had not yet domesticated animals or farmed.

But, Peters and Schmidt say, Gobekli Tepe’s builders were on the verge of a major change in how they lived, thanks to an environment that held the raw materials for farming. “They had wild sheep, wild grains that could be domesticated—and the people with the potential to do it,” Schmidt says. In fact, research at other sites in the region has shown that within 1,000 years of Gobekli Tepe’s construction, settlers had corralled sheep, cattle and pigs. And, at a prehistoric village just 20 miles away, geneticists found evidence of the world’s oldest domesticated strains of wheat; radiocarbon dating indicates agriculture developed there around 10,500 years ago, or just five centuries after Gobekli Tepe’s construction.

To Schmidt and others, these new findings suggest a novel theory of civilization. Scholars have long believed that only after people learned to farm and live in settled communities did they have the time, organization and resources to construct temples and support complicated social structures. But Schmidt argues it was the other way around: the extensive, coordinated effort to build the monoliths literally laid the groundwork for the development of complex societies.

The model of human development has been based on the idea that humans began to learn how to farm and domesticate animals while living as hunter gatherers. Groups of humans figured out that they could improve their prospects by cultivating wild crops, thus providing a hedge against the bad times. This led to the slow development of cooperative societies and eventually settled agriculture-based communities. Large scale social organization beyond blood relations happened after agriculture, not before.

The existence of large structures requiring lots of people working together over a long period of time, perhaps across generations, before the advent of agriculture is a big deal. It means cooperation is the result of something other than economic necessity. In other words, people started cooperating for some reason other than it made for better living conditions. The theory presented in the linked story suggest the motivation was spiritual. The people who built Gobekli Tepe did it to please the gods in some way.

This may not sound like a big deal, but consider that the last 300 or so years of Western political debate has been between Team homo economicus and Team homo reciprocans. If both are just manifestations of a basic human drive for spiritual salvation, then basing economic and political systems on either is only going to end in tears, which would be a good way to describe the 100 million or so dead trying to prove Rousseau was right. It means our self-interest and cooperation are bound by something else.

I’ve written a lot about how our ideological impulses are just channels through which our natural religious impulse flows. Those of us less inclined to believe, tend toward political skepticism. Those more inclined to believe, tend towards mass movements like socialism, communism, libertarianism, etc. Much of what vexes the modern West is the deluded belief that we have evolved past our superstitions and spiritual impulses. Maybe that’s all wrong and maybe it is important.

Reality 7, Fantasy 0

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One reason to be optimistic about the current madness is that reality does not go away when you stop believing in it. Eventually, all of this crackpottery we see from our rulers will crash into the jagged rocks of reality. Now, a lot of us may get thrown over the rails or go down with the ship, but eventually this spasm of insanity in the West will end. This story from the land down under, as reported by the Mail Online is a nice little pick me up.

Australia’s national women’s soccer team have suffered a devastating defeat in the lead up to the Rio Olympics – going down 7-0 to the Newcastle Jets under-15 boys side.

What is particularly concerning for the Matildas is that despite resting some regulars, they were still able to field experienced international stars including former AFC player of the year Katrina Gorry.

Despite the embarrassing defeat on Wednesday night at Valentine Sports Park in Newcastle, the Australian team will travel to Brazil as one of the gold medal favourites.

While the Matildas played with a rotating squad, there is no denying losing to a team of school boys is far from ideal preparation for the world’s fifth ranked team in their quest for Olympic gold at Rio.

Assistant Matildas coach Gary van Egmond was as surprised as anyone about the result admitting his side were outplayed.

‘To be honest we didn’t expect that,’ Egmond told the Huffington Post Australia.

I suppose the coach could be forgiven for this. Maybe he has been so immersed in girls soccer he can no longer compare the girls to the boys. It’s also possible he is just telling a white lie in order to avoid embarrassing his players. They can pretend they did not take the match seriously and the boys team was better than they expected. It’s a lame excuse, but it avoids facing reality.

‘The Jets boys were very good, all credit to them, they moved the ball around very well and were excellent all night.’

Egmond said that the Matildas are often forced to play against boys teams as trying to find quality female opposition can be difficult.

It may not be the first time that the Australian team have suffered a heavy defeat against school boys with claims that they were ‘smashed’ by an under 16 Sydney FC team last year circulating.

The social media reaction to the defeat has been condemning with many claiming that the result is not good enough for a team that is expected to challenge for a medal at the Olympics.

Maybe that’s true, but it would be amazing to me if that many humans were walking the earth unaware of the stark differences between male and female athletes. A woman in her prime years has the cardiovascular capacity of a man in his 50’s. It’s why girls cannot pass the same physical tests as males in the military. Many male recruits also fail early on, but a month or two of training and even the least fit males are well beyond the female recruits. Imagine the differences when we’re talking years of training.

Of course, the difference between boys and girls are no limited to physiology. All the stuff that makes up personality and intelligence is rooted in the same stuff as physiology. We are what our DNA says we are and human DNA makes boys difference from girls cognitively, physically and emotionally, etc. These differences cannot be wished away or hectored away. Most of what we call liberalism is at odds with biological reality and that can only end one way.

Summer of Scandal

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I’ve long thought that Team Obama was going to work to destroy the campaign of Hillary Clinton, not by having her indicted or backing an alternative in the primary. That would be too obvious and it would risk splitting the cult of personality Obama created within the Democratic Party. Part of the plan to make Obama a billionaire after he leaves office is to cash in all the favors he has in the bank, so that means not spending them now in a political fight.

Instead, the better play is to let her twist in the wind on the scandals and let surrogates on the Left take turns whacking Clinton around in public. Unlike Bill, Hillary lacks the nimble political instincts to dodge and weave in public. Bill could easily swat away whatever was hurled at him and he always looked like he was not worried in the slightest. That was the creepy thing about him in the Lewinsky scandal. He seemed to enjoy the scandal more than he enjoyed the cause of the scandal.

In contrast, Hillary always looks like she is lying. The woman could be ordering lunch and she gives off the vibe that she is plotting to kill the waiter. The reason for it is she is always lying and she is not very good at lying. Bill is a sociopath. For him, lying is his nature. He enjoys the game. Hillary is just a crook and she is always worried about being caught, which is why she looks so calculating in public. This is a woman who knows she is a crook.

Anyway, that’s what this latest revelation tells me. Team Obama is just letting this stuff drip out a little here and little there so the pressure is always on Team Hillary to deal with scandal. The more times she and her people are asked about it, the more chance there are to lie and get caught lying. For a generation, the NYTimes has been carrying water for the Clintons, but even they have to admit the truth when the State Department concludes Clinton has repeatedly lied about her e-mail.

Team Obama could have shut this down or had State exonerate Clinton a long time ago, but they did not. That’s how you bury someone without making it obvious. You let others do it in a plodding, bureaucratic fashion so it just looks like procedure. That’s what this Terry McAuliffe scandal looks like right now. The FBI was probably sitting on this for years, but then they decided to fold it into the Clinton investigation, because it opens up another front in the trap they are slowly building for Hillary.

It also points to the next phase of this slow torture of Clinton. The McAuliffe issue is a money scandal. He took donations from the Chinese, which is a favorite gag of Team Clinton going back 25 years. He also appears to have got his personal funds confused with campaign funds. Coincidentally, those campaign funds have links back to the Clinton Foundation. This lets the FBI open a case against the Foundation and that means examining the finances of what everyone knows is a money laundering operation.

Politicians understand scandal better than the press and the public. The one thing they know is that sex and money are the two scandals that get you tossed out of office. The reason is, people can easily relate to those types of failings. Using campaign funds to buy gifts for your girlfriend is the sort of thing that makes great copy and it requires no explanation. The public gets it because we all understand the temptations involved. Everyone likes money and getting laid.

That’s why I suspect this McAullife stuff has surfaced. The FBI is probably not going to get the DOJ to indict Clinton before the election, at least not on the e-mail stuff. That would actually play in Clinton’s favor as she could then play the victim card. She would come out and claim it is a right-wing conspiracy to keep a woman out of the White House. The liberal media would turn the FBI head into Ken Starr because that’s the easy sell. It fits the narrative of the good liberal fighting the evil man.

That sort of narrative reporting does not work when the dramatis personae are Chinese bagmen, the oleaginous Terry McAuliffe and the parade of unsavory characters around the Clinton Foundation.  Every reporter in Washington will now be on the prowl for a piece of the puzzle connecting all the players in a web of financial shenanigans. Proper e-mail procedures are boring. Financial scandals are juicy and they are really juicy when they involve exotic weirdos carrying satchels full of cash.

Ironically, it is now following the same path as Watergate. The old line about that scandal was that it was not the crime it was the cover-up. That was half true. The real story was the deep, long standing hatred of Nixon by the liberal ruling elite. They hated him for his red hunting and they hated him for his decidedly plebeian style. Watergate and the related scandals were standard issue politics in those days, but they became weapons for the beautiful people to use against the usurper.

That’s the way this is looking to me. The Left never really liked Hillary. She was always seen as the Yoko Ono of the Clinton Team. Her disastrous handling of health care made her a loser and there is nothing worse in liberal circles than losing. The way that Team Clinton opposed Obama in 2008 forever placed Hillary outside the in-crowd. Now, the beautiful people are using all of these small crimes to shred her candidacy. The summer of scandal is upon us.

The Wimpening

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When I was a young man, my grandfather would tease us boys by telling us “In my day it was wooden ships and iron men. You boys will be lucky if you are wooden men in iron ships.” I’m not so old that my grandfather lived in the age of sail, so it was just a way for an old man to have some fun teasing his grandkids.

That said, he had a point. A boy coming of age a century ago was facing a much tougher world and would have to be tougher to live in it.  There’s little doubt in my mind that men of my generation are softer than the men of father’s or grandfather’s generation. It’s not just the material excess we have today. When I was a little kid, I had it much easier than the prior generations. My grandfather, for example, quit school at 13 and went to work in a coal mine.

Steve Pinker has made a strong case that men have grown decreasingly violent over each generation. His data corresponds with the historical record, which is what makes it such a strong argument. We know, for example, that banditry was a serious issue in the Middle Ages. Traveling from one town to the next was dangerous. Today, we travel from town to town without thinking about bandits, other than cops running speed traps. The only danger there is to your wallet.

One of the reasons he points to for the decline in violence is the feminization of men, which he defines as a growing awareness of and respect for the interests of women by men. I’ve always paused on that one simply because it runs counter to what we know of history. Women have often been the cause of violence and I don’t just mean men fighting one another for women. I mean women instigating wholesale and particular violence. Roman history is littered with women who killed a lot of men.

That said, you can argue that women are less tolerant of wholesale violence, on average, than men so as women increased their influence over western society, violence dropped. At the same time, as the value of violence dropped, men less inclined to violent solutions rose in status, while the tough guys fell in status. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance plays on this theme. In a civilized world, the tough guys are marginalized and the smart guys rise to the top of the social hierarchy.

To circle back to where I started with this post, the pop heroes of my grandfather’s generations were gangsters and cowboys. In my generation, we still had some of that, but the male leads were more contemplative, using their wits and charm more than their brawn. Watch a current movie and the male lead is a small, wimpy guy, who cowers to women. The alternatives are cartoon tough guys that resemble video game characters, more than real males.

I’ve always wanted to think this is just Hollywood being overrun by social justice warriors and liberal fanatics. Fifty years ago, Hollywood cared about making money so they made movies to please the audience. Today they care more about making commentary so they make films that lecture the audience. That and the drop in skill means they are less adept at using subtlety to make their propaganda.

Still, events do make me wonder if there’s been a collapse of manliness and Western men have gone full Eloi.

A respected violence researcher has declared that the Cologne sex attacks show German men have forgotten how to fight, and it’s a good thing.
Jörg Baberowski gave a speech recently at the Philosophy Festival  in Cologne on Thursday night saying that the New Years Eve sex attacks in Cologne prove that German males have forgotten how to stand up for themselves. He said the fact that the German men had not come to the aid of the women being sexually assaulted by large gangs of migrants showed a reluctance to be violent and commented: “We see that men in Germany no longer know how to deal with violence,” Stern reports.

However, immediately following the remark Baberowski, who is a historian at the Humboldt University in Berlin, said “thank god” that German men no longer know how to stand up for themselves or face violent conflict. He claimed that is was good that German men relied solely on the state to take care of them and protect them. He claimed that the New Years’ attacks were a failure of the state to protect its citizens and that if the government can’t guarantee that safety then the confidence the citizens have it it will be shaken.

Thinking back to my youth, I recall hearing lectures about the importance of letting the authorities handle whatever trouble was brewing. Lecturing boys about using their wits versus their fists was common enough to stick in my memory. There was also the idea of “being the bigger man” and not responding to physical challenges. I was reminded of that watching this from Milo Yiannopoulos’s event at DePaul University.

One of the things that men my age will talk about with one another is how young white males never get into fights. I’ve had interns tell me they have never been in a physical confrontation with another male. I’ve never considered myself a fighter, yet I was in a scrape every week growing up. That was just what boys did. Even into my teen years, things we often settled physically, even if it was quickly broken up.

Getting back to the Milo event, I keep wondering what would happen if someone popped one of these BLM cunts in the mouth. If Milo had knocked her cold, I’m thinking that would be the last of these confrontations. The risk assessment by these people would change overnight. Taking on the honky would suddenly come with real danger. Whatever benefits there are, assuming there are any, of refusing to fight, there’s no doubt it encourages troublemakers like that woman to get increasingly aggressive.

Watching the reaction from his fans on-line, I feel like I’m from another planet. Frankly, I cringed watching that video. Yet, the reaction on twitter suggests most people think he was the winner in that exchange. If that’s “winning” then I don’t want to see losing. To my old eyes, that looked like a white guy being dominated by a scrawny black bitch and then slinking away. I get that he is a gay guy and maybe the rules are different, but still, it was hard to watch, much less cheer.

Maybe the great wimpening has reached the point of no return. Traditional forms of masculinity are dead in the West and will not be revived until sometime after the Caliphate is established. Those dusky fellows rampaging through the streets of European cities are unlikely to sit there and take a lecture from a mouthy twat from Black Lives Matter. If Western men can’t stand up to mouthy college twats, they stand no chance against the Mohammedan.

The Muslims are not wrong about everything.

The End of Left and Right

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Some of my posts, of late, have elicited shock and horror from people, who probably think I am a fellow traveler. The post on inequality is the most obvious example. As I mentioned at the start of that post, people outside the Progressive fever swamps have been trained for generations to run screaming from the room whenever the topic of inequality is raised. After all, that’s what commies talk about and being conservative has always meant not being a commie.

The interesting bit from my perspective is the assumption that when it comes to inequality, there can only be two positions. One is the Randian view that the high achievers should get everything and the low achievers should die. Concerns about merit and social comity are for losers. The other view is that a dictatorship of the proletariat should rise up and murder the rich and turn the country into a version of Harrison Bergeron. In other words, equality is a stalking horse for communism.

In my post, I offered no policy proposals. I just pointed out that concentrations of wealth are lethal to self-government and social stability. That’s the lesson of history. The New Right or whatever we’re calling it these days, should be willing to discuss this reality. Otherwise, you cede the field to retrograde loons, who simultaneously demand higher wages and the importation of cheap helot labor from cultures antithetical to Western values. In other words, the game has changed.

You see it in the recent election in Hitler Land. The loser is described as “far extreme right” while the winner is described as a lovable teddy bear. OK, I made up that last part, but that’s not the point. The “right” in this case is simply the guy who wants to keep Austria an on-going concern as a separate country. His economic and social positions are irrelevant. What brought him and his party to prominence was opposition to immigration and globalism.

Similarly, his opponent is best known for wanting to liquidate the country’s borders and dissolving it into the amorphous blob that is Europe. Alexander Van der Bellen was the head of the Green Party for a long time and once said, “Anyone who loves Austria must be shit.” His positions on economics and other matters are a muddle, but no one really cares. He’s not a Nazi and he is a globalist. That’s all that matters and it is the reason he was able to squeak out a victory.

In America, the old Left-Right paradigm no longer makes any sense. The Buckley Conservatives have no meaningful proposals to roll back the welfare state. The Left has no plans to level the playing field by seizing the wealth of the rich and distributing it to the poor. Both sides wave their hands around for old times sake, but they are both open-borders globalists, funded by the buccaneer class of donors.

Calling Ted Cruz a right-winger, for example, misses the point. Sure, he would like to tinker with the tax code in a slightly different way than Hillary Clinton and he has slightly different views on how to bomb the muzzies, but on the defining issues of our age, they are pretty much in agreement. Both the Buckley Right and the Left embrace globalism, open borders and the ceding of popular sovereignty to un-elected international bodies controlled by global corporations.

The New Right that is emerging is not defined by tax policy, endless yapping about the constitution or its principled losing. It’s a cultural movement, first and foremost. The technocratic managerialism that defines the Modern Left and Buckley Conservatives is not a part of the New Right. Instead, it is opposition to open borders and globalism based on citizenism. Being a citizen is not just location. It is language, customs and historical perspective.

The striking difference between my view on equality, for example, and some of my critics is that I place great value on social stability. I’m willing to use the power of the state, if necessary, to prevent global buccaneers from destroying national culture. Libertarians and Buckley Conservatives faint when hearing those words because they place theoretical limits on government, and their symbolic loyalty to those limits, above all else.

There’s the great new dividing line in politics. One side is concerned solely with stability and comity at the top. The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times argue endlessly about how best to organize global governance, because that’s what matters to them. They are not just indifferent to what happens in your neighborhood. They see such concern as a fault, a mental defect that should exclude you from the halls of power. As far as they’re concerned, you are no more important than the Malaysian sweatshop worker. You’re just an economic unit.

On the other side of the dividing line are the localists, the people who focus their attention on their neighborhood, their town, their city and their country. The Super Duper Global Trade Pact may be great for Mega Corp, but if it means all the jobs in your town get shipped to Malaysia, then it is not good for you. Cheap stuff at Walmart is not much good to a man without a job. Generous welfare benefits are not much good when everyone spends it on liquor and meth.

That’s the new line in politics. Are you concerned about what you see out of your window or are you concerned about what you see through your telescope. Hillary Clinton thinks of the US government as the local interface of the emerging global state. It’s one facet of the managerial class. You, as a “citizen” have no control of it, you interact with it like an ATM machine. That’s exactly the way they see national governments. They’re just nodes on the network.  All of the company approved GOP options held the same views until Trump came calling.

Left and Right are dead. It’s globalist versus localist and everyone is going to have to pick sides, even the libertarians for a change. The #nevertrump loons are picking sides, even if they don’t fully understand it. They are the toadies and rumpswabs that are in the baggage train of every ruling elite. They are the folks who rush into the street to greet the invaders. They don’t understand any of this, but they are men who believe in nothing but self-preservation so it really doesn’t matter. Everyone else will pick sides, based on their perceived self-interest.

The Pornification of Conservative Inc.

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Way back in the olden thymes, access to pornography was limited. When I was a kid, there were magazines sold from behind the counter, books sold from the backs of those magazines and smoker films that came from sleazy vendors in big cities. Women had bodice rippers, the soft porn of romantic novels, which were sold openly in grocery stores. Otherwise, it was your imagination when it came to titillation.

The result of this was a tiny porn industry. Magazines like Playboy were “big time” in that they had a large subscriber base and were able to work from swank offices, but they were still relatively small. They maybe used three or four girls in each issue and some women would appear repeatedly so the pool of women, who made money in men’s magazines, was tiny. The same was true of smoker films and the money they made was tiny as well.

Public morals played a role, but it was mostly technology that kept the porn business small. They were barred from the mass media of the day, television, and public morals meant porn had to be sold discretely. I recall a store in our town mistakenly putting skin mags in the regular magazine shelf. My mother and some other women went to the owner and probably threatened to nut him. The mags went back behind the counter.

The big change for porn was the VHS tape. This was the first way to distribute video that anyone could play at home. All of a sudden, the porn maker could reach a much larger audience. When video stores popped up, they inevitably had a back room for adult films. With a bigger audience, the industry blossomed. Suddenly there was big money in porn so the San Fernando Valley became the Hollywood of porn, making films on a scale never imagined.

Those of you on-line in the dial-up days know where I’m headed next. Porn was the first to truly exploit the internet. They pioneered the use of images on-line and then the use of video. The technology for putting video clips on-line was an obvious boon to the industry. The same is true of credit card processing. The porn guys were the first to adopt this technology. The first commercially successful websites were for porn. The joke back in the day was that a lot of code was written one-handed because it seemed like the porn sites were driving innovation.

The point of this walk down memory lane is that technology changed the porn industry. Demand was always there, but rarely met. The people on the supply side exerted enormous power because the cost of creating and distributing the material was high. Technology suddenly dropped those costs, thus allowing a wave of new suppliers into the business. It also wiped out the old suppliers like the old smoker films and skin magazines. It was a classic case of creative destruction.

That’s not the end of the story. The internet lowered the barrier to entry so much that anyone can be in the business now. Amateurs make films and post them on-line for peanuts. Low-cost operators in Eastern Europe can sell porn to Western consumers for pennies. Porn is now free and ubiquitous. As a result, the porn industry has collapsed. There’s simply no money to be made making sex films or selling pics of naked people. It’s a classic case of the tragedy of the commons.

Something similar has happened to the pundit-ocracy, and specifically the Conservative Industrial Complex. In the 70’s, you had  a few “conservatives” like Bill Buckley and Bill Safire showing up on TV and writing for major newspapers. Otherwise, the supply of conservative opinion was tightly controlled by technology and the liberal morality police. As a kid, my local library had one copy of National Review and unlimited copies of the liberal rags.

Then talk radio burst the damn, in the same way the VHS opened the porn industry. All of a sudden local radio was allowing right-wingers to talk about forbidden topics. Cable TV started to open up more channels to non-liberal opinion and the Conservative Industrial Complex began to flourish. Instead of booming in a valley north of Hollywood, it boomed in the Acela corridor, running between Washington and New York City. I guess you could argue that Rush Limbaugh was the Seymore Butts of right-wing punditry.

Like the porn industry, the conservative opinion rackets are now under assault by the internet. Specifically talented amateurs who know how to cheaply reach a broad audience on-line and, most important, say things the professionals are afraid to say. Playboy did not just collapse for business reasons. It’s content was overtaken by a wave of providers willing to do anything. National Review is being swamped by a wave of talented bloggers, twitterers and commenters willing to say what NR is afraid to say.

One difference is that being an insider has value. The price for access has always been the keeping of confidences. The big shot reporter who had a lot of friends in government could lever that into high paying TV gigs. He just had to be trustworthy with the secrets shared with him. Bob Woodward got rich and famous leveraging his confidences. That’s not something that is easily replaced with technology. But, it does limit the insiders and connected because there are things they can’t say that the bloggers and twitter guys can say.

The other obvious difference is the government was never shoveling billions into the porn industry via tax schemes and subsidies. Plutocrats were never bankrolling porn shops like we see with the pundit rackets. There’s a great disconnect between compensation and audience share in the chattering classes. S.E Cupp has a six figure salary despite the fact you can count one hand the number of people who pay any attention to her. That’s because billions flow into the TV chat shows via government regulation.

Even so, the Trump phenomenon is a good example of how technology is collapsing the political industry in the same way it collapsed the porn business. It’s simply not that hard to be a chattering skull on TV or a political writer on-line. There are millions of people out there good at selling candidates and positions. Trump’s volunteer meme army is crushing the pros in both parties because it’s just not that hard to be clever with this stuff. When lots of people can do something and the barriers to entry fall, the market collapses.

Big Fat Phonies

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Like most people, I guess, I became aware of Jonah Goldberg at some point in the Clinton years. I’m going to guess and say it was during the Lewinsky stuff, but I could be mistaken. He was the guy who started the Corner on National Review and that’s where I started reading him with any regularity. His act in those days was as the slacker conservative, a sort of proto-hipster who wrote about TV shows, comic books and right-wing politics.

It worked for him because most conservative writers to that point wanted to be Bill Buckley so their style was dull, humorless and unnecessarily complex. I grew up on Buckley too, but by the 90’s his writing was incomprehensible at times. Goldberg went a different way. He was like Seth Rogan if Seth Rogan could read and write and had the slightest idea what was happening outside.

Jonah’s goofy and accessible style made him the Bart Simpson of the commentariat. In fact, he used a lot of references to the Simpsons when writing about politics, which was part of his hipster-doofus act. In the 90’s, the cool kids made Simpsons references. It’s hard to remember back that far, but in the 90’s the Simpsons were the leading edge of cool kid comedy. If you quoted lines from the Simpsons, you were cool.

That was then. Two decades on he is no longer the snarky Bart Simpson. He’s more like the bloated has-been, Krusty the Klown. He’s long past being funny, but he has been around long enough where he feels like a fixture. Instead of the cheeky prankster, he is the jaded hack. It’s not hard to imagine that the guy who wrote this did so after yelling at the neighbor kids about making too much noise.

The Alt-righters. The less said about these creatures, the better. Mostly composed of Twitter and comment-section trolls, this coprophagic phylum is convinced Trump is the tip of the spear of some new white-nationalist takeover of the party and the country. They think it’s hilarious to bait Trump’s critics with Klan-vintage racism and Nazi-style anti-Semitism. Probably my biggest complaint about the benighted is the degree to which they make apologies for the bigots or don’t care that the bigots speak in their name.

Goldberg was an original anti-Trump for petty personal reasons. Trump used to make fun of him on twitter and guys like Goldberg don’t take criticism well. The carefully cultivated funny guy act he does on TV hides a thin-skinned narcissist. Goldberg earlier went full-on David Brock and participated in a smear campaign run by National Review, claiming Trump was in the KKK. Goldberg has made the trip from goofy conservative to sneering social justice warrior.

The panic over Trump is not just petty and personal. Trump by himself can be dismissed, which is what they were all prepared to do a year ago. The issue is his success, because it reveals things about the Right they would just as soon not face. The truth is, guys like Goldberg are not all that interested in small government, traditional solutions and cultural stability. Those are just lines in his script for his role as the Seth Rogan of TV conservatism.

Goldberg popped out of college and landed in a job at American Enterprise Institute assisting Ben Wattenberg making PBS specials. He then went over to National Review, which, as I a pointed out the other day, is like every political magazine in that it lives off tax deductible grants from rich people. That got him into cable news, which exists solely off its right to tax every home in America a buck a month, whether they watch or not and 95% don’t watch.

The point here is that Goldberg has spent his life living off government. The million dollar home in the swank DC suburb is paid for by government in that his livelihood is entirely dependent on government. His wife, Jessica Gavora, worked in the Bush administration and you can be sure the two of them were rubbing their hands together thinking about her next gig in the third Bush administration.

Big sprawling government has given Jonah a 1% lifestyle. How serious is he about shrinking government? Put that reality next to the results of the Bush years and the conservative response to Obama and people can be forgiven for thinking guys like Jonah are just big fat phonies. These are cocktail party conservatives who were toted to the party by their traveling buddies, the limousine liberals.

Washington DC is Hollywood for homely people. It is a company town and everyone works for the company in some capacity. They may bitch about the company, in the same way actors and writers bitch about the big studios, but they will defend it to the death in the same way Hollywood tries to choke off independent film. The #nevertrump loons are the circus performers of DC baring their fangs, warning the rest of us to stay away from their turf.

Inequality

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For generations, Americans, who rejected liberalism, were trained to screech and run out of the room whenever the topic of inequality was raised. After all, anything other than a natural distribution of wealth was socialism and if nothing else, conservative means not being a socialist. It’s fundamentally the problem with all reactionary ideology and why Buckley Conservatism has degraded into a shabby libertarianism, lacking anything resembling a coherent worldview.

The issue of inequality is a perfect example. That French economist wrote a big book on the topic and the response from the Right was to dismiss it without having read it. The libertarian wing thumbed through some reviews so they could pretend to have read it, before dismissing it in a shower of platitudes. They have to pretend inequality is not a real issue because to do otherwise means confronting the contradictions in their ideological safe space.

The fact is, having a small number of people or corporations controlling the nation’s wealth ends in tyranny. This is the lesson of history. If one man owns everything then you have Africa. If a cabal of men control everything through a bureaucracy you have China. The West figured out that a broad distribution of ownership cultivates human capital and maximizes individual liberty. It’s not perfect, but there is a reason we never speak of the African Renaissance.

Part of why both parties are being swamped by what they like to call the fringe is stories like this one I saw on Vox Day’s blog.

The rising cash holdings of U.S. corporations are increasingly in the hands of a few U.S. companies, with just five tech firms having grabbed a third of it. And nearly three-quarters of cash held by non-financial U.S. companies is stashed overseas, outside the long arm of Uncle Sam.

Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), Alphabet (GOOGL), Cisco Systems (CSCO)and Oracle (ORCL) are sitting on $504 billion, or 30%, of the $1.7 trillion in cash and cash equivalents held by U.S. non-financial companies in 2015, according to an analysis released Friday by ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service.  That’s even more cash concentration than in previous years, as these five companies held 27% of cash in 2014 and 25% in 2013. Apple alone is holding more cash and investments than eight of the 10 entire industry sectors.

Corporate America’s rising pile of cash is becoming increasingly important to investors as profit growth and the stock market stalls. The amount of cash held by U.S. companies rose 1.8% in 2015. Unfortunately for U.S. investors, 72% of total cash held by all non-financial U.S. companies is stockpiled outside the U.S., up from 64% in 2014 and 58% in 2013, as companies try to avoid paying U.S. tax rates.

There was a time when Democrats would make an issue of this based on old school appeals to class. “Look at these fat cats robbing the working man!” The Right was not mute on this stuff either. Wholesale tax avoidance was not always a conservative principle. Conservatives would also note that these firms are run by progressive, nation wrecking wackos. But, that was when conservatives still thought countries were real things.

The reason Faceberg gets to summon media whores like Glenn Beck to his lair and demand they stop talking about his censoring of opinion is because he has 40 billion dollars. He is also allowed to have free access to the internet by the state. The reason for the gross corruption of the popular media is that those concentrated billions can be funneled into operations that buy news reporters and outlets, in addition to politicians.

It’s something I’ve been repeating for a while now, but I enjoy repeating it. Buckley Conservatism was always about anti-communism first and foremost. The whole point of their ideology was to shape the defense of the West against Soviet communism. Reagan is a perfect example. He was willing to concede domestic policy to the Democrats in order to have a free hand on foreign policy. The result was a continuation of the welfare state in exchange for a military buildup.

The problem for the Buckley types is the Cold War ended. Generations of conservative “intellectuals” have been trained to cede cultural issues to the Left. Their default response on domestic issues is to surrender so they can get back to talking foreign policy. It’s made them incapable of fighting a culture war. Those principled conservatives are too busy planning the sack of Carthage to be bothered by the Left’s assault on decency.

It’s why they are being swamped by what we’re calling the alt-right. Talking about special treatment of carried interest to a guy who is watching his town be overrun by foreigners is insulting. That’s why Trump was able to shove everyone aside and win the nomination. Watching those debates, I was reminded of the movie Pleasantville. In this case, Trump was the only guy in color and the rest were in black and white.

Conservatism used to focus itself on maintaining and defending the culture and traditions of the country. Allowing a handful of financial buccaneers, who got rich plundering the economy while riding a sea of credit money created by the state, is the antithesis of conservatism. It conserves nothing. Dealing with these extremes is something the Right cannot cede to the Left or you end up like Venezuela.

Time to Forget

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Certain events have a warping effect on the culture long after they have any practical impact. The sacking of Baghdad by the Mongols permanently altered the trajectory of Islam. The English Civil War is another great example of a single event casting a shadow over many subsequent generations. Regular readers will know I reference it often, because it plays such a big part in American history. America would be a much different place if the Mayflower had sunk in the North Atlantic or the Wampanoag had done the right thing and slaughtered the Pilgrims.

The reason we have the word “penumbra” is that every shadow has a limit, beyond which it has no influence. In the history of man, those seminal events that cast the shadows, shrink with the passage of time and their shadow correspondingly shrinks. In time, they cease to exist. We can joke about Genghis Khan because he no longer casts a shadow any of us can feel. One day, people will joke about Hitler in the same way because his deeds will have no impact on the minds of the living.

We are living in an age of receding shadows as the big events that have shaped our present fade from our collective memory along with the people who lived through them. Hitler is an obvious example. Let’s assume the youngest one can remember back is to when they were around five years old. That means the youngest person to remember Hitler is 76 right now. It means the youngest person who could have fought Hitler is pushing 90 right now.

In my lifetime, the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement are the two issues that loomed largest in politics. I don’t remember an election that did not have some racial component to it. The Democrats try to use the race card to turnout the black vote. At the same time, support for Israel has been a defining issue of foreign policy debates. Republicans are so hawkish on defending Israel, they often sound like they are running for Prime Minister of Israel.

For generations, the worst thing you could ever be called was an anti-Semite. A very close second was racist.  One of the things that we see in what we’re now calling the Alt-Right is an indifference to the charge of racism. In fact, many make sport of being called a racist and spend hours on Twitter trolling Lefty in order to elicit the racist charge. The reason is the charge has been so over used that it is laughable. When you get called a racist for quoting FBI crime statistics, the charge has no meaning. It’s simply another way for the mob to scream “witch!”

Vox Day has a recap of a twitter exchange between himself, Jonah Goldberg and Milo Yiannopoulos the other day. A point Milo and others are now making is that the charge of anti-Semitism has gone the way of racist. No one takes it seriously because it has been so overused. There’s also the fact that no one alive has any clear recollections of the Holocaust so it has no emotional impact. That’s why telling jokes about Jews is no more meaningful to young alt-right types than telling Irish jokes.

There’s certainly some truth to their claims. When not spending the $400k salary he pays himself from the magazine his father created, John Podhoretz spends his days calling people anti-Semitic on Twitter. When he gets bored with that, he runs around demanding to see the bar mitzvah pictures of Jews he does not like, so he can accuse them of not being authentically Jewish. There’s only so long that festering carbuncles like John Podhoretz can do this before people no longer take any of it seriously.

The Holocaust has cast a very long shadow over American public life and it may be starting to recede. Like the tide going out, we are now seeing a lot of surprising things that had been covered by the water. One of those is that there is not as much conformity and unanimity within the Jewish community as has been assumed. The blood libel against all gentiles has forced a degree of solidarity on Jews in America, but as that loses its power to scare the goy, it also loses its power to unite the Tribe.

I think that’s what we are seeing with the feud between Bill Kristol and David Horowitz. Solidarity is losing its value so it is beginning to crack and a guy like Horowitz is fine with having a nasty public spat with a fellow Jew.  Yeah, what’s good for Israel is a part of it, but that’s not the defining issue for Jews in America. Evangelicals care more about Israel than most Jews. The core issue in this dispute is patriotism.

The yesterday men on the Right like Podhoretz and Goldberg will cling to the old slurs until the last man, but this is probably a very positive development in America. You can meet Italians who are liberal and you can meet Italians who are libertarians. In other words, blood does not dictate politics for 85% of Americans. The exceptions are blacks and Jews and we may be seeing that fall away for the Jews.

That is probably a very positive development as it means Jews can fully and publicly integrate into American life in the same way the Irish or the Italians have blended into the fabric of American culture. No one ever talks about Irish solidarity in the way we talk about Jewish solidarity or black solidarity. No one worries about offending Italians or Poles. There’s no stigma attached to it. Just as important, the rest of us can stop tip-toeing around the obvious.

By obvious, I mean the fact that Jews have been the most successful ethnic group in America. In fact, no country has been better for Jews than America. Here, the Jewish people have been free to reach their maximum potential. That’s something all Americans should take some pride in, but Jews should be extremely proud. Instead of viewing themselves as oppressed losers, American Jews should be confident winners, celebrating and enforcing that which allows them and everyone else to be a winner, compared to the rest of the world.

David Goldman comes down on the side of Horowitz and I sense he is viewing this as a positive as well. He does not address it head on in his column, but the fact that he chooses sides based on patriotism is a bit of tell, I think. What’s good for America trumps ethnic solidarity. As a Jew you can be pro-Israel, but you have to be pro-American more than anything. That’s the way every other ethnic group is expected to view things. You can cheer for Ireland over England in soccer, if you’re Irish, but you don’t root for Ireland over America.

For as long as I’ve been alive, the key phrase with regards to the Holocaust has always been “never forget.” That’s a wonderful rallying cry for an abused people who feel they have to fight their way inside. It’s self-defeating for a successful people who are already inside and often in positions of authority. Whether guys like John Podhoretz like it or not, people do forget and that’s often a good thing.

A Totally Different Head

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One of the ironies of the information age is we are probably dumber as a result of the sea of information in which all of us now swim. Some of it is due to the volume of information coming at us. It’s just too hard to sort the nonsense from the truth. At the same time, publications are so desperate to get our attention, they are willing to post the most outlandish click bait. People naturally assume there is some effort by publishers to vet their stories.

Mass media seems to have encouraged the production of bullshit too. Social science stories are a pretty good example. The researchers slap on a press release that wildly overstates their results, because they know the stupid people in the media will run with it. The result is we get, often on the same day, a report saying coffee causes cancer and coffee prevents cancer. In reality, the studies are crap and don’t pass the laugh test, but that no longer matters.

Anyway, that’s always important to keep in mind when reading any medical story these days. This one about head transplants is a good example.

After more than a year of deliberation, the controversial Italian has set a date of “around Christmas 2017” in China to perform the first ever human head transplant.

He said that his team of Chinese scientists and the technology are now ready to perform the operation, and that the only obstacles needed to be overcame now are funding and, perhaps the most problematic of all, ethical approval.

Dr Canavero said: “We’re looking at a date around Christmas 2017 to perform the transplant in China.

“The Chinese team has already experimented on human cadavers to hone the technology.”

He added that the patient, who will be Chinese, could make a full recovery within a year of the procedure.

The Italian had said that he would perform the controversial operation on Russian patient Valery Spiridonov – a sufferer of a rare muscle-wasting disorder, but he said that he could not find a donor in China due to biological reasons.

Despite the obvious high-risks associated with the surgery, which will see Canavero remove a person’s head and put it onto another body, he says that he has established a way to perform it successfully.

He will cool both the donor and recipient to 12C so that cells don’t die due to a lack of oxygen.

He explained: “This’ll give enough time to cut the tissue around each neck and link the majorblood vessels through tiny tubes.”

The recipient will then be kept in a medically induced coma for several weeks “to limit movement of the newly fused neck, while electrodes stimulate the spinal cord to strengthen its new connections.”

That last bit is where I get off the bus. Medicine has been stymied by this for a generation which is why they have had no success treating spinal cord injuries. As of now, there is no way to reattach a severed spinal cord. It’s why we have protocols for handling suspected spinal injuries. It is to prevent further damage that could come from a broken vertebra. If these head transplant guys have figured out how to reattach a spinal cord, that would be a huge breakthrough for medicine.

The technical aspects are just one part of it. The human brain grows and develops with the body. This proposed procedure is not a head transplant; it is a body transplant. The brain would have to instantly figure out how every cell in the new body works without making a mistake. We know from stroke victims that “re-learning” basic functions can take years. Your brain would take a lifetime to figure out how to use a whole new body.

That said, it does bring up an interesting subject. Our sense of self lives in our consciousness, but is intimately tied to our physical self. The new body would most likely trigger a degree of madness that is unimaginable to us. Even schizophrenics can rely on their fingers moving as expected and their eyes blinking without any surprises. Imagine ever conceivable sense being foreign and relentlessly assaulting the patient’s mind.

That would be the great challenge for the singularity guys. Uploading yourself to the grid assumes you can digitally recreate all of the sensory inputs that make up your sense of self. You may be able to upload your mind to the internet, but the result is you go insane and are erased by an anti-virus program. Since you can’t know these things in advance, the singularity could very well be nothing more than a brief period of madness before death.