This Blog: Stardate 47634.44

Site Update

It has been a while since I did an update on where things are with the site and other miscellaneous things related to the blog. Since we are heading into the long holiday weekend, it feels like a good time for one of these catch up posts. There’s also the fact that most of my posts the last few weeks have been on more serious topics so a little break from the doom and gloom is a good idea. I’m not into the happy warrior stuff, but life is for living and you should not spend all of your time on the dark side of the gloom.

As far as traffic, the average is right around 100,000 unique non-robot visitors per month and 1.5 million page views. The strange thing I’ve noticed is traffic will slow for a while and then tick back up, like the tide coming in and going out. I’m not really sure why that is. I know my habit is to visit a site daily until I find something else for a while. I then drift back to the regular rotation of sites again. Maybe that’s true of most people and that’s what I’m seeing in my traffic. Perhaps the lunar cycle has something to do with it.

The refresh of the site is still on the drawing board. I’ve done some of the prep work, but real life has sidelined this project recently. The plan is to implement a drop down menu for links, post collections and so forth. I’m also going to roll out donations, as that is something you’re supposed to do. I’m told that alternative media needs to foster the donation culture, since we don’t have billionaire grifters on our team. I’m a bit skeptical about it, but if it covers the cost of running the site that’s a good thing.

Comments have ticked up steadily and you can see a community forming in the comment section. I think this is a good thing as the hate community needs places for like minded haters to congregate without be harried by screeching harpies from the Cult. Just as important, there has to be a place for the right side of the curve to debate with one another without the sort of mindless hooting you see in the Breitbart comments or on twitter. I frequently hear that the best part of the blog is the comments and I take some pride in it.

Questions

Someone asked me the other day if I would ever consider doing an “Ask Me Anything” sort of thing. I’m generally open to anything, but I don’t really get Reddit or Voat so I have no idea if it is something I’d like. I do get questions via the miracle of e-mail most days and I try to answer them. I get some of the same questions every week, so I thought putting them and the answers into a post may be useful. I’ll give it a test run now and maybe make a feature out of it going forward. That way I don’t have to learn about Reddit.

Q: Why don’t you write about Israel? Do you support Israel?

Me: I get this every week from someone. Judging from the e-mails, my guess is it is mostly Zionists. I’ve never had a sane conversation with an Israeli or Arab about Israeli or Arab-Israeli relations. As a result, I think it is an unanswerable riddle so there is no point in me thinking much about it. Israel is a civilized country, so I wish her and her people the best. Otherwise, I have no opinions on Israel or Arab-Israeli drama.

Q: Why do you hate libertarians? Why don’t you learn something about libertarianism before commenting?

Me: I don’t hate libertarians and I learned all about libertarianism in the 80’s. That’s the thing. I’m not a 30-something. I’m a 50-something. The young guys in the hate community will tell you that they came to the dark side through the Ron Paul campaigns when they were in the 20’s. For Gen-X types, our path was most often from the Left. My people were all conservative Democrats who held populist opinions on economics, but conservative opinions on social issues. We were the so-called Reagan Democrats of the 80’s.

As young guys, my generation flirted with libertarian ideas because they are easy and appeal to young people, but also because they were one leg of the Reagan coalition. Young people tend not to appreciate social conservatism so libertarian economics, particularly its anti-communist rhetoric, was appealing. The collapse of the Buckley Right and the Reagan coalition in the 90’s taught a lot of us that you don’t win a culture war with pie charts about tax policy. Libertarianism is mostly worthless in this fight.

Given the choice, I’d choose to live in the libertarian paradise over most any other form of social arrangement, but that’s never going to be on the table. The only way to get anywhere near close to it, means getting the culture right and that means getting the demographics right. It also means accepting all sorts of compromises on the economic and political front. If a commie is my ally in the demographic fight, so be it. If a libertarian chooses to be my enemy in the culture war, then I will be his enemy.

Q: Why don’t you do other sorts of media?

Me: After I did Grace & Steel, I got asked this a few times. I don’t have anything against doing these things. I have turned down two interview requests from liberal outlets claiming to be doing pieces on the alt-right. I believe in supporting the media that supports me and doing everything I can to destroy the media that hates me. As a result, I’ll gladly help those on our side where I can. I’m not trying to build a media career so I’m not putting any effort into getting on other platforms. I’ll help if asked.

Q: Why do you hide behind a pseudonym?

Me: I’ve had this domain for roughly 20 years so when I started the blog, I just put it here out of convenience. The story behind this is that in the early days of the internet, ISP’s would assign you a user name. I always got assigned some variation of “zman” and it was a bit of a joke with friends. As a gag, I registered the domain and started using it for an e-mail address. Everyone I know, knows me by this domain and as a result, they know about and read this blog. If I were hiding, I’d have registered a new domain.

Someone who knows about interwebs marketing and branding told me that it was a good idea to stick with it, as it makes it easy for people to find the site. Put “z blog” in a google machine and I’m right at the top. Given the amount of traffic that comes via web searches, I think they were right so I’m sticking with the concept. David Goldman did a similar thing when he wrote for years under the pen name “Spengler” for the Asia Times. It has turned out to be a good gimmick that I landed on by accident so I’ll keep it going.

Ruminations On The Way Down The Mountain

Yesterday, I made the trip to the Imperial Capital. I passed through the majestic gates of the Secret City, ascended the golden staircase into the heavens, to be among the Cloud People. I stood beneath the Glasir and watched Eikþyrnir and Heiðrún graze on the leaves of Læraðr. Despite the weather on the ground being dreary and drizzly, for us in the clouds, it was sunshine and gentle breezes, perfumed with the odor of honeysuckle. It was everything you imagine it is, among the Cloud People.

Actually, I was in meetings all day, in buildings that resemble the administrative structures you see on a typical college campus. In TV and movies, corporate and government structures are imagined as cold and sterile buildings made of glass and steel. In reality, they are almost almost always like the administrative buildings built on colleges that the boomers fondly remember from their youth. The new Apple lair is like something from a comic book, but only if the super-villain is a middle-aged homosexual.

Being a man of two worlds, I’ve found it easier to adjust to the Cloud than the other way around. When circumstances require me to spend extended time among the Cloud People, the trip back to the ground is like coming home from the 10-day dream vacation. It’s nice to see the old familiars, but there is a certain ennui. I always imagine it is the same feeling Adam and Eve had when they were ejected from the Garden. I also imagine it is what the Cloud People fear it is like too, which is why they avoid it at all costs.

For reasons I cannot go into, I was required to sit through a presentation by a middle-aged woman on the new diversity strategy for their organization. Of course, not a single person in the room was diverse. It was wall-to-wall honky. The presenter did not mention it and, if I had to guess, did not notice it. There was a ceremonial feel to it, as if she was leading the group in prayer. In fact, I had flashbacks to my youth in Jesuit schools where every class began with a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer or a Hail Mary.

Communists used to work the civil religion angle this way, by having indoctrination sessions for workers before their shifts. They would also have struggle sessions for those who wandered off the reservation. My guess is this is the inspiration for the constant harangues about diversity among the Cloud People. The difference is the Dirt People are not participating. We’re more like audience members now. Instead of the ideological enforcers mingling with the workers to educate and discipline, the prols are now ignored.

It suggests that the Revolution has moved onto a new phase. In the French Revolution, after the White Terror, the Constitution of 1795 established The Directory. This was the start of a new phase in which the lower classes were mostly ignored, as the new ruling class consolidated its power. That may be what we are seeing with our managerial class as they largely ignore the results of recent elections and enforce discipline in their own ranks. It’s not a perfect analogy, but it may be useful in analyzing what we are seeing.

There is another angle, one you can see in this Scott Alexander post a few weeks ago, that was popular with the cognoscenti. Star Slate Codex is popular with people who not only think they are smart, but see themselves as steely-eyed reason machines. It’s also popular with people who like to believe stuff like this:

Yes, CNN leans liberal, but it’s not as liberal as FOX is conservative, and it’s not as open about it – it has a pretense of neutrality that FOX doesn’t, and although we can disagree about how realistic that pretense is I think few people would disagree that the pretense is there. Nor is there a liberal version of FOX that lacks that pretense of neutrality.

That’s a very believable argument if you have no familiarity with cable news or you look out at the world from deep inside the Progressive fever swamps. It is the sort of thing people write when they want to seem like the people who write things like this. It’s the worldview of someone confusing a mirror with a telescope. To Alexander, Fox is way out on the fringe and they are brazen about it. CNN, on the other hand, is maybe a little biased, but they are good people, my people, so they mean well.

Of course, there is the omnipresent hive mindedness. The world for Scott Alexander, and most of his readers, is a world of black hats and white hats. There are those inside the walls, the people of light, and the people outside the walls, in the outer darkness. The people outside are an undifferentiated collection of eyes peering out of the darkness, which is why they routinely misuse works like “conservative” when describing the people outside the walls. Words like “conservative” and “right-wing” just mean the outsiders.

Animals that find themselves isolated, like on an island, evolve in different ways, compared to those on the mainland. Insular dwarfism is the process where large animals get smaller over a number of generations when their population’s range is limited and isolated, like on an island. The reverse can happen where a small animal ends up on an island without predators. This is known as island gigantism. Some argue this is what happened with dinosaurs, but there is debate about that.

We may be seeing a form of this with our managerial class. Their isolation is shrinking their understanding of the world outside. The lack of interaction is resulting in a narrowness of the caste, to the point where we are as alien to them as they are to us. The latter is normal, while the former is dangerous. Similarly, their isolation is allowing their confidence to grow out of all proportion. Read Scott Alexander and what oozes through is a naive sense of confidence that he has it all figured out.

On the way down the mountain, into the land of the Dirt People, I started thinking about the not-so-silent coup that is unfolding in Washington against Trump. It’s not really fair to call it a coup. It is more of a tantrum. Trump is not going anywhere. But, the managerial class attempt to de-legitimize Trump is somewhat analogous to the Coup of 18 Fructidor V. After the elections in which the Royalists made great gains, republicans purged all the winners banishing 57 leaders to death in Guiana and closed royalist newspapers.

After the election of 2016, we are seeing a panicked managerial class trying to pick off members of the Trump team and isolate him from any base of support he may enjoy in his own party. Just as with the Directory, the people in charge seem to be wildly out of touch with the reality of their circumstances. Trump is not Napoleon, but Napoleon was not Napoleon at that point either. The point here is our managerial elite’s determination to circle the wagons and enforce ideological discipline may be weakening their position.

 

The Lotos Eaters

The lotus was introduced to the Western mind by Homer. Odysseus tells how his ship was blown off course and landed on an island. While his men rested, he sent a small party to investigate. These men encountered the natives, who gave them a drink made from the lotus flower, which grew on the island. It was a narcotic that put them into a languid state of bliss. So much so they had no desire to tend to their work or return home. Odysseus forced them back onto the ship and sailed away, despite their protestations.

Lord Tennyson’s poem, the title of which is the title of this post, is a retelling of Odysseus adventure among the lotus eaters. The difference is it is from the perspective of the men as they try to explain why they should stay and live a life free of toil. Living as a lotus eater means abandoning external reality and living instead in a world of appearances, as if everything is a pleasant dream. It is a world of self-delusion where everything “seems’ the same, which is why “seems” is liberally used thought the poem.

This is what came to mind reading this piece on Richard Spencer in the Atlantic. The writer, Graeme Wood, tells us so much about himself in the piece, the article could just as easily have been about him. In fact, the whole article is less about Spencer than the reaction of the writer to the very idea of Spencer. It is a style of writing common today, where the author tries to take you on their emotional journey as they encounter the subject of their piece. Often, the subject’s role in a story is only as a catalyst.

Even though the author is trying hard to put Spencer in the worst possible light, you get the sense that he is locked in an internal tug-o-war with himself. On the one hand, there is the temptation to engage the world of reality. On the other hand, there is the world of forms in which he lives, a world where everything seems right. Based on what Wood tells us about himself in the beginning of the piece. It is a safe bet he has never left the island, or at least not gone to far away from shore.

That’s why the article reads, at times, like Wood had made the journey upriver to meet Mr. Kurtz, to tell him he has been bad for business. If Spencer had mounted a few severed heads on pikes, it would have fit in perfectly with the tone of the piece. The difference is, instead of Spencer as the one muttering “The horror! The horror!” at the end, it’s Wood. He has made his journey into the heart of darkness and now munches on the lotus, hoping to never be tempted by reality again.

Therein lies part of the hysteria we see from the social justice warriors and PC enforcers running around trying to stamp out dissent. It’s not really about the dissenters. It’s not, strictly speaking, about the content. It is about the temptation. Like Tennyson’s sailors, the social justice warriors are locked in a struggle with themselves. They want to remain in the languid land of “seems” but at some level they know it is self-deception. The dissenters, the people who left the island, are a reminder of that and they hate them for it.

The old saw about people not being able to handle too much reality is certainly true. It has always been true. The reason for myths, legends and religion is to knock the hard edges off of life and give people hope and purpose. For most of human history, it has been the rulers who find ways to keep the people in a bit of a delusional fog. Whether it is bread and circuses or manufactured reasons to pull together toward a common goal, the clear-eyed people at the top have found an opiate for the people.

Today, things are upside down. It is the people that face the hard realities of life, while the managerial class sits around drunk on self-delusion, fearful that someone may introduce temptation into their world. The poor may be high on heroin, but they have no illusions about the world. The people in charge, on the other hand, are living a fantasy version of life. It’s why they are not concerned with the consequences of their polices. They simply don’t think of the consequences. They focus on how good it makes them feel.

Odysseus and his sailors eventually left the island. It was the authority of Odysseus that compelled them to leave, but they did leave. Maybe that’s what happens with the managerial class. Just as Spencer’s search for meaning has led him to identity politics, the managerial class will make a similar journey off the island. A world of low work and high pay has its attractions, but it it snot life. It offers no genuine purpose. Of course, that could mean they start a war or unleash a plague. Things can always get worse.

Financialization

One of the things that ails us in the modern age is we have yet to adjust our thinking to the modern economy. The great political-economic thinkers lived in a time when money was either gold, backed by gold or a fiat currency. The result is our political and economic debates are based in the logic of a world that no longer exists. The modern global economy is not based on fiat money or hard money. It is based on credit money, which has a unique set of characteristics.

For instance, the US government is no longer able to print up greenbacks and sprinkle them on the economy. Instead, when they expand the money supply, they expand lending, both domestic and global. It’s not just any sort of lending either. The central bank can buy up long term notes in order to drive down long term lending rates, thus expanding lending for capital goods. Alternatively, they can buy up short term debt and increase the amount retail lending. The Federal Reserve holds close to 2 trillion in mortgages, for example.

There’s no question that this new form of currency arrangement has had benefits to the West. Libertarians and goldbugs will spend hours arguing against this sort of currency manipulation, claiming it will lead to a financial collapse, but so far, the opposite has been true. The mortgage meltdown of 2008 did not result in a global depression. The worst you can say of it is the result has been a long, localized recession. The rulers look at current asset values and see a ringing endorsement of credit money and central banks.

Putting that debate to one side, there are longer term problems that come with credit money. One is the slow eating away of the middle class by eating away at small and mid-sized business. The most obvious example is the collapse of retail. The old joke was that Amazon turned big box stores into their showroom. Consumers would go to Best Buy to look at electronics, get free advice and then go on-line to buy them. This can only last for so long and the mass closure of retail stores we see this year suggests the end is near.

The libertarian argument is that the more efficient business has displaced the less efficient business, and that’s not completely wrong, but it ignores the salient aspects of this phenomenon. A world in which everyone either works for or buys from a global company run by a Bond villain is not a world most people want for themselves or their progeny. There’s also the question as to whether it is economically sustainable. Business needs customers and customers need jobs in order to have money to be customers.

There’s also the fact that Amazon would not exist without credit money. In a world of real money, Amazon would have gone bankrupt long ago. This is true of the social media companies that now control public debate. None of them would have made it past the hobby stage if not for the financial system’s ability to conjure credit money. In effect, we now live in a world where the rulers can make their money more valuable and your money worthless, simply by manipulating the amount of credit money.

There’s another way in which the financilization via credit money erodes social stability by undermining the middle-class. Take the example of industrial supplies. This has always been a middle-class, local business. The “value” added was the owners willingness to invest in their location and facility in order to meet the needs of their local customers in the commercial trades. They were almost always family businesses with the wife running the office and the husband running the shop.

The miracle of credit money has allowed investors to back the acquisition and consolidation of these mom and pop businesses. The way it works is investors back one business buying up other shops in the area. This allows the new owner to replace the previous owners with low cost salary men. It also allows for the consolidation of accounting, IT, human resources, etc.. This makes the over all business more efficient, giving libertarian economist a tingle in all the wrong places.

This increase in efficiency does not mean lower prices to consumers. It often means the opposite. In some areas, there’s no longer competition so prices rise. The economic gains from efficiency show up in the returns to the investors. The lack of community investment, like sponsoring local little leagues and social organizations, is also stripped out and returned to investors. This is great for a Bain Capital, but it is terrible for the local communities. Instead of communities, we now have areas populated by strangers.

Another useful example is education. Just a generation ago, a college diploma had real value that exceeded the purchase price. The financialization of college has not only decreased the initial value of the diploma, it has stripped away much of its long term value through the student loan rackets. The only people benefitting from college today are the people running the colleges and the money men financing it. The school makes millions staging mock combat with retarded black men and your kid gets saddled with the debt.

Credit money has unleashed financial pirates on the American middle class, turning every small town and family business into a Lindisfarne, in the eyes of our financial class. A big reason why the economic data looks good, but the the people are revolting is the social capital that held together the American middle has been financialized and moved to the balance sheets of global financiers. Increasingly, the relationship in the modern American economy is not between buyers and sellers, but between predators and prey.

At least when the Vikings raided a village, they did not demand that the locals celebrate their ruination. It was a raid and the local authorities tried to prevent it. That’s the other aspect of this that is eating away at our civic life. It used to be that government worked to reign in the financial tricksters, not because they cared about the suckers, but because it was bad for politics. Today, if the political class has anything to say about it at all, it is usually a celebration. The Danegeld has now become an institution.

When Alfred the Great faced off against the Great Heathen Army, he quickly learned that adherence to old customs and old ways was a liability. The world had changed. In fact, it changed so much that he nearly lost his crown before he could adjust to the new realities presented by the Viking raids. The Norse played by a different set of rules and they had no respect for the Anglo-Saxon ways. In fact, they sought to exploit those ways to their advantage. To survive, Alfred had to embrace new tactics and new methods.

Eventually, Alfred resorted to guerilla tactics, something previously seen as dishonorable by the Anglo-Saxons, to weaken the Danes and maneuver them into the decisive battle at Edington. The point here is that those old economic arguments from the libertarians, like those constitutional arguments from the Buckley Right, are no longer relevant. In fact, they are now hindrances. The modern pirates have figured out how to turn our virtues into vices. That means we will need new virtues and new tactics.

TV Off The Grid

When I had a TV subscription, my viewing habits were fairly simple. In the evening, I would put on the television and try to find a sporting event. If nothing of interest was on, then I would flip around the channels until I found something, but more often than not, I’d settle for a re-run of some show like Seinfeld. I never had the patience for channel surfing, so much of it went unnoticed and unwatched. Most of the time, the television was just background noise while I did something else like screw around on-line.

When you cut the cord, television watching becomes something different than the ever present background noise. If you want to watch something, you have to think about what you want to watch. Then you have to figure out the source. I’m an Amazon Prime customer so I have their library of movies and TV shows. I also have access to the dark underworld of pirate sources. The Kodi app for the Amazon Fire gives me access to television channels from all over the world. I’m spoiled for choice.

Anyway, since I have never been much of a TV watcher, I ask people for recommendations and then find a source for them. Someone I know has been binge watching a program called The Walking Dead. He told me it was OK. I had some vague recollections about it from a few years ago. A bunch of people started writing about the best tactics for dealing with a zombie attacks. There was probably a National Review article on the conservative case for surrendering to the rage zombies.

I downloaded the first season and I can see why people like it. You can’t think about the zombies as they make no sense. The claim is a virus turns the dead into walking attack corpses, but that’s silly. The human body starts to decay at death, so in a few weeks, the zombies would have fallen to pieces. A supernatural explanation, like the war skeletons from Jason and the Argonauts gets around that problem, but I’m not the target audience for this stuff. Maybe the writers don’t want to spend time on the science of zombies.

The funny thing about that though is the novel that kicked off the whole end times plague genre had a simple solution that would probably make the story better. I Am Legend used a disease that turned people into something like vampires. They were still alive, but they just liked killing people and eating them. The cause of the vampire-ness was a blood disease. There was also an evolutionary angle as not all of the infected became murderous ghouls. Some retained their humanity and their faculties.

Doing some research on-line, I learned that the show is very popular and has a devoted following, even after seven seasons. I’m only through one season, but I can see why people like it. Most of our video entertainments are just poorly disguised lectures about how white people suck and men are terrible. This show is just a good drama for adults to enjoy with their kids. The men are men and the women are women. More important, the writers seem to respect the male and female characters by writing them properly.

For some reason, the show reminded me of the series Justified that was popular half a dozen years ago. That was another show that  was just good old fashioned drama aimed at adults looking to be entertained. The fact that Hollywood is able to make these sorts of programs means they make the PC crap on purpose. It’s not that they are just a bunch of moonbats making what they like. It’s that they really want to make lectures so they do it as often as they can. These normal programs are happy accidents that pay the bills.

That last part is probably a huge driver for Hollywood. One of the things you learn when you go off the grid for your TV is that there is a lot of crap produced every year. I have an app that let’s me scan through all movies released by year. I bet most people have not heard of 90% of them. Anyone heard of Lazer Team, released last year? How about Doris, staring Sally Field, who I was sure was dead. How is that people allegedly good at making movies cannot see that these are terrible movie ideas? How do they get made?

The most likely answer is the business works on the theory that if they can get financing for a project, they make it, even if it is hilariously stupid. It’s like the venture capital business. The winners pay for the many losers. As a result, even dumb ideas like a King Arthur movie with black guys as the knights gets made. Of course, the fanatics who want to make lectures are driven to get the financing so they can deliver their lecture. That’s why so much of what is made looks like a deliberate insult to the intended audience.

That’s the other strange thing about all the terrible shows is that Hollywood has a massive amount of data on audiences. They use this to market test all sorts of things about movie and TV projects. Big budget movies are now written by committees, that include marketing people and data analysts. It seems like the obvious step is to use the data to determine what is worth financing. There can be no model that says a movie like Catfight has a chance to earn enough to pay for the camera rentals.

Maybe that’s what’s over the next hill as people cut the cord and the business model begins to unravel. The music business had to adapt when digital technology broke up their oligopoly. Maybe a similar thing will happen with video. We’ll get fewer shows, but they will be driven by market research, rather than the whims of studios. Or, maybe they just pay everyone less and keep pumping out crap movies like the Brothers Grimsby. As long as there are suckers with money, Hollywood will be happy to take their money.

One final thought on this topic. For those thinking of going off the grid for television, be prepared for your viewing habits to radically change. I found I watch less sportsball than when I had a sub. Even the limited effort to find a sports stream is enough to have me looking for other things to do in the evening. On the other hand, you will binge watch a series, which means spending a rainy weekend on the couch watching a full season of a TV show. You watch less, but more, if that makes sense.

American Alawites

I was googling around trying to remember the name of the funeral song for Pinochet and I found this video. The Chilean army uniforms got my attention. I could not recall anyone claiming that Pinochet was Hitler or even antisemitic. Out of curiosity I searched around for anything on his views regarding the Jews. I found this twenty year old article from the Jewish World Review. It turns out that the Jews thought The General was good for the Jews. This bit is what piqued my interest.

It is possible to say with a high degree of certainty that despite the prominent presence of Jews in Allende’s government, an important number of Jews welcomed Pinochet. Moreover, when Allende was elected president in 1970, 8,000 of Chilean’s 30,000 Jews fled the country, mostly to Israel, fearful of losing their property and assets to the socialist regime. Furthermore, when Pinochet took over three years later, many of those who had fled returned to Chile; however, other Jews fled the country.

The casual way in which a total lack of national loyalty is mentioned suggests it is just the way in which Jews view their relationship to the host country. Whether or not Allende was good or bad for Chile was inconsequential. What mattered was protecting their property and assets. There are other countries, after all. It is not the way most people would look at things. Your patriotic duty would require you to put nation ahead of personal gain, but more important, where would you go even if you threw in the towel on your country?

Jews have always been accused of having dual loyalties and the charge is not without some merit. It’s also not without good cause. After all, if you are a tiny minority living in lands where the host population is often less than welcoming, a high degree of clannishness is a necessary tool for survival. That loyalty to the group over all else naturally means a lack of loyalty to the host population. Both Jews and gypsies have managed to thrive as tiny minority groups, largely because of intense group loyalty.

Of course, clannishness is a bit easier when the host population is hostile. In America, the host population has always been indifferent to Jews. The first wave that came over in the 19th century largely blended in with the locals. In areas where they maintained a unique cultural identity, German Jews tended to conduct themselves like the WASP elite. Steve Sailer has done a bunch of stuff on Jewish golf club culture and the divide between the first wave German Jews and the second wave eastern Jews.

If hostility from the majority helps minorities maintain group loyalty, then the lack of hostility works against it. In modern America, there’s no such thing as Irish or Italian culture anymore. It has been commercialized and homogenized out of existence. It is why Jews work so hard to perpetuate the idea that they have faced terrible discrimination in America, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Maintaining the belief that the goyim are about to go full blown Nazi at any minute helps maintain group solidarity.

The thing is though, Jews are not a minority living on the fringes of American life. A scan of who controls the high ground in America shows that Jews are wildly over represented in the law, culture, media and finance. It really is quite incredible. Close to half of the owners of pro sports teams are Jewish. Roughly 85% of Jews attend college and 44% of Jewish households earn $100,000 or more. The statistics are rather incredible, when you consider that Jews are just 2% of the population.

American policy makers struggle to understand why Bashar al-Assad of Syria tenaciously hangs onto power. He has been offered a deal to leave Syria and live out his life in luxury somewhere in the West. Instead, he fights and his people fight, despite being outnumbered by the Sunnis. The Alawites are just 12% of the population, but they have been able to dominate Syria largely by remembering they used to be an oppressed minority. There was a time when Alawites had no legal rights. Righteous indignation is a powerful weapon.

This is relevant to Jews in America because they have manufactured a history of oppression in America as a way to maintain group loyalty and cohesion. This not only allows them to prosper, but it is a strong motivation to be wary of anything resembling group loyalty anywhere else. In a country that is becoming increasing fragmented, and headed for majority minority status, this will eventually be seen as hostility. Put another way, what has so far been good for the Jews could turn out to be really bad for the Jews.

Whether or not that’s how things unfold is hard to know. The appearance of “renegade Jews”, the term David Horowitz applied to Bill Kristol, could be a sign that Jewish identity and group loyalty is breaking apart. The whole neocon experiment looks increasing like a suicide cult. The folks at Commentary Magazine may be ready to close the books on mankind, but it is unlikely the rest of the Tribe is ready to join them. The paranoia over Chabad suggests group loyalty is not holding up.

The world is ruled by numbers. The Syrian Alawites have used cunning and ruthlessness to rule over the majority population. The American Alawites have used superior cognitive skills and the generosity of an open society to occupy the high ground in culture, politics, finance and the law. Maybe that’s enough and it is the natural order of things. The grinding war in Syria, however, suggests otherwise. But, Assad remains in power and the Sunni remain divided, so maybe numbers are not everything.

The Reconquest

Anthropology tells us that early modern humans slowly populated what is now sub-Saharan Africa and then began to migrate out into the rest of the world. Whether this was out of curiosity, the search for food or population pressure is unknown, but it was probably some combination of all three. The most likely route was along the western coast of the Red Sea and then into the Eastern Mediterranean. From there, humans slowly fanned out across the globe. It’s all speculation, but that’s the logical route out of Africa.

The point here is the first wave of human migration was south to north. Humans appear to have made it as far north as Siberia and Scandinavia before changes in climate forced people back south again. There are some who think that the populations to the north had acquired better cognitive and maybe even physical tools that allowed them to migrate south and displace the populations in the more temperate zones. The changes in climate had the effect of improving the human populations in Asia and Europe.

That may be debatable, but what is not debated is that large scale human migrations change both the invaded and the invader. The people being conquered are either massacred or bred out by the winning tribes. On the other hand, the invading people tend to borrow things from the conquered people, including genetics from the female line. The Irish say the Vikings took the best looking women with them to Iceland, which is why Icelandic women are some of the most beautiful in the world.

A good example of this may be Islam. Historians have assumed Islam grew out of the polytheistic religions of Arabia in the late 6th century. While the details of Mohamed’s life are not clear, it has generally been accepted that he was a real person, who lived around Mecca in the 6th century. It has been assumed that Islam was an Arab response to the growth of Judaism and various Christian sects. In time, Islam spread through the Middle East, as the Arabs conquered the region.

There’s some interesting revisionism of the origins of Islam and the accuracy of the alleged Arab conquests. This New English Review article from a few years back is a nice summary of it. The archaeological evidence suggests that Islam was a Persian implementation of a Jewish-Christian sect that disappeared after the Council of Nicea in 325. Persian coins from the period, for example, when Mohamed was allegedly leading the Islamification of Arabia, have Christian symbols on them, in addition to Persian symbols.

The revisionist think Eastern Christians migrated into Arabia and Persia. In time, their form of Christianity evolved into a monotheistic religion of the Persians. According to this line of thinking, the Persians actually conquered the region and spread this hybrid Christianity that would evolve into Islam. It was only later, when the Arabs took over for the fading Persians, that the tale of Mohamed was created, as well as the story of the Arab conquests. Islam as an off-shoot of a now extinct form of Christianity is not implausible.

What’s interesting about both approaches to the origins of Islam is the base assumption that it filled a void that existed within Arab populations. Christianity and Judaism were the dominant religions of the Near East, but those people were the hated rivals of the Arabs and Persians. A need for a unifying faith to compete with the monotheism of their rivals was probably understood by Persians and Arab rulers. Religion has always been the business of kings, so it is reasonable to think they encouraged this development.

It’s also interesting that Islam most likely evolved from a mix of Judaism, Christianity and other ancient religions. What may have started out as a Jewish heresy was transformed by the people into a religion that was useful to them. Put another way, Christianity made its way into a less than fertile land, but adapted and mutated until it was something that could thrive. The fact that Islam has not spread too far past the boundaries of the people who created it suggests something about religion in general and Islam in particular.

When you look at what is happening to Europe, there are some similarities to the Arabs and Persians in late antiquity. The attempts to replace Christianity with the sterile bureaucratic super state have largely failed. Falling birth rates and an unwillingness to resist invasion are signs of a people who have no purpose. The average European today lives for carnal pleasures and the acquisition of goods. There’s a void in the center of European life and perhaps Islam is what is going to fill it.

It could very well be that the Muslim invasion of Europe is the end of a cycle that was started by Emperor Constantine when he made Christianity the religion of his empire and bound the Church to Rome. The losers at Nicea wandered off into the desert, presumably to be forgotten, but instead, their decedents are back to reclaim Europe. Like the people who migrated north and then returned ahead of the ice sheets, the Muslims are coming into Europe armed with a purpose, against which the locals have no answer.

Alternatively, maybe the people in charge of Europe, away from the public and the press, know that their people need a religion. Maybe like the Persian king Chosroes II, who historians are sure practiced a form of Christianity, the leaders of Europe are inviting Islam into their lands, even if it means taking in Muslims. After all, the Archbishop of Canterbury seem pretty keen on Islam. It’s unlikely that there is a secret mosque in Brussels for the EU rulers, but maybe they think some form of Islam would not be such a bad thing.

Regardless, we may be seeing the start of a reconquest, of sorts. Instead of Christianity making a come back in the West, it is the forgotten version, the one many think was the first and therefore the correct version of Christianity. Islam as practiced today will never work in Europe, but it could certainly evolve into something that does work. Maybe what’s happening is that the old original form of Christianity is coming back, but first as its foreign incarnation. In time, it will evolve into something the West can use.

American Vendée

When we had schools, Americans learned about the French Revolution, mostly as a peasant uprising against the king. The storming of the Bastille is usually characterized as the riff-raff reaching their breaking point and taking control of a the dungeon the king used to imprison his political opponents.  While the fortress was a symbol of royal authority, it was hardly a tool of royal oppression. The Bastille, when it was stormed, had just seven prisoners. There were four forgers, two lunatics and one degenerate aristocrat inside.

The truth is, the French Revolution was a cosmopolitan affair, led by men who were educated and well off, relative to the peasantry. The Jacobin Club was not for hod carriers and sewer workers. It was lawyers and academics. These were the men who had internalized the ideas of the Enlightenment and began to think about the political framework that should spring from those ideas. Of course, it was centered in Paris, which was where the cognitive elites were centered. These were urban revolutionaries.

That does not mean the countryside had no role in things. It’s just that the waves of change radiated out from Paris.The key insight of the Jacobins was to send representatives out into the smaller towns and cities to organize radicals and incite rebellion. It was a stroke of genius that has been copied by radicals and revolutionaries ever since. Many rural peasants welcomed the revolution as it meant some degree of freedom and the redistribution of lands seized from the Church and aristocracy.

As is always the case with radicalism, they went too far and were soon alienating the people they claimed to champion. The Civil Constitution of the Clergy was passed on July 12, 1790, requiring all clerics to swear allegiance to the French government. The radicals could get away with seizing Church lands, but when they seized the priesthood, the people in the countryside began to resist. The Church was the center of rural life and the foundation of French rural traditional. The radicals were now making war on this.

Imagine you’re living in a farming community and government officials show up and haul away your parish priest because he refuses to swear an oath to the state. Further, those government agents closed the local churches. It would be a lot like the state coming in and telling the Christian baker that they had to celebrate gay marriage and pay for their employee’s abortions. Imagine the government one day saying that your mother and father’s life is no different than two men sharing rent and a bed. Crazy.

The revolt in the Vendée region, on the west coast of France, began with the March 1793 conscription requiring Vendeans to fill their quota of 300,000 men for the army. The enraged populace took up arms and quickly formed a Catholic Army. What started as a demand for reopening the churches and getting their priests back, turned into a Royalist counter rebellion against the Republic. Initially, the Republicans were caught off-guard and the rebels enjoyed some success, even though their army was ill-equipped.

The Republic got its bearings and sent a 45,000 man army to suppress the rebellion and by the fall of that year the rebel army was defeated. The Committee for Public Safety decided that beating the army was not enough and opted for pacification. Whether or not the word “genocide” is appropriate is debatable. Some estimates put the death toll at 400,000 for a population of 800,000. Then there was the “scorched earth” policy of razing the homes of anyone suspected of being a rebel, which was anyone who owned a home.

The War in the Vendée is interesting for a number of reasons, but one important lesson is the fervor of those protecting their way of life is no match for the zeal of the Utopian fanatic building his paradise. The romantic rustics of the countryside were beaten by the savvy fanatics of Paris. It was not just the numbers or the resources. The people of the Vendée were people defending the limits of human conduct, while the Committee For Public Safety was limited only by its imagination. They would do anything to reach the promised land.

Another important lesson is the savagery of Louis Marie Turreau, the French officer sent by the Committee for Public Safety to pacify the region, was the result of righteous enthusiasm for his task. The radicals were murdering their enemies not as a means to end but as an end in itself. For the radical, murder becomes a sacrament. When Turreau inquired about the limits of what he could do to pacify the region, the answer from the committee was “eliminate the brigands to the last man, there is your duty.”

This is something to keep in mind when thinking about the present crisis. The revolt that put Trump in office is a revolt of the provincials. Plenty of Trump voters went to college or have office work. It’s not the old class divide. It is the new class divide. The revolution over the last 25 years has been led by a cosmopolitan elite, based in the coastal cities of America. These are the people dreaming up gay marriage and transgenders, not because they make any sense, but because they offend the sensible provincials out in the suburbs.

It’s comforting to think that the pendulum is swinging back toward normalcy, but it could simply be a rearguard action. The radicals running the American “republic” are no less bloodthirsty and malevolent than those who razed the Vendée. They may not unleash genocidal infernal columns on the suburbs, but they are plenty enthusiastic about importing hordes of foreign peasants to wreak havoc on the people. They are also smart and savvy, masters of the tools of power. But most of all, they have no sense of restraint.

Orks and Beakers

The Orkney Islands are an archipelago off the northeastern coast of Scotland. If you look at a map, they are pretty much due north of what most people think of as England, roughly on the same latitude as Oslo Norway. Archaeologists think the first people to find their way to the islands were Mesolithic nomads about 8000-9000 years ago. The first people to set up camp, most likely, were Neolithic people about 5,000 years ago. Archaeologist have found and dated stone structures from that period so that’s the prevailing theory.

During the Roman invasion of Britain the “King of Orkney” was one of 11 British leaders who is said to have submitted to the Emperor Claudius in AD 43 at Colchester. Whether or not that’s true is hard to say, but it is a cool story. Somewhere in the late Bronze Age or early Iron Age, the islands were either incorporated into the Pictish kingdom or overrun by the Picts. It could simply be that the people thought of themselves as Picts all along and no movement of peoples occurred.

As the Picts faded from the scene, the Norse began to arrive. First as traders and then as raiders, the Norse made the Orkneys a base for their pirate activity, as it was a perfect place from which to launch raids on English coastal towns. Eventually, the Norse began to settle in large numbers. In the 9th century, towns and villages began to change from Orcadian names to Norse names. The assumption has always been that the Norse, given their reputation, either killed off the locals or killed the men and took their women.

Recent genetic data tells a different story. The current population is still about 65% Orcadian, with the rest being Norse. This is not just on the female line. It is on the male line as well, suggesting that the Norse just blended into the local population. The thing is, even though a relatively small number of Norse settled into the Orkneys, they did not assimilate into the local culture. Instead, it was the Norse who dominated. Their language, their customs and even their religious practices displaced the native Orcadian culture.

It is one example of how a small population can conqueror a larger population by imposing their culture on the vanquished people.  By the times the Norse arrived, Pictish culture was dying out. Celtic missionaries had started to arrive, beginning the process of Christianization. On the other hand, the Norse were bursting at the seems with cultural confidence. They were sailing forth to raid coastal cities in England and Europe and they were taking lands from old Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. The Vikings were on the rise.

The reason this is of any importance is the combination of a fading culture and the arrival of an ascendant one can result in the former being replaced quickly by the latter. People go with a winner, especially the women. When the Nazis occupied the Low Countries, they found plenty of local women willing to take German lovers. The same was true in France, despite the centuries long hostility between the French and German people. Women naturally look for security and that means picking men from the winning team.

This may seem obvious, but the flat-earth types who rule over us have been insisting for decades that culture is transportable. People are the same everywhere and when one group comes up with some new idea, it can easily be transported to other societies. The big example was Beaker culture. The archaeological record has their unique form of pottery all over Europe, but the further east you go, the older the examples. Put another way, the oldest stuff is found in central Europe, suggesting it as the origin.

This would suggest these people migrated West, but that would bring up things about the human condition our betters would prefer were not true so the official theory was that they lent their cultural habits to people across Europe. It is known as the “pots, not people” theory. For some mysterious reason, their unique pot making became the rage of Europe, like a pop song, and spread West. It’s funny, but a big part of official knowledge depends upon mysterious, unexplained forces driving natural processes.

Anyway, the cultural diffusion theory took a big hit when a new genetic study was recently published showing that the people in the West were related to the steppe people associated with the Beaker culture. It means that humans migrated West from the steppe and either conquered the people already in Europe or dominated them in the same way the Norse came to dominate the Orcadians. They moved in and imposed their ways on the local people or they wiped out the local people, if that was required.

The history of humanity is that humans have migrated from place to place since the first humans left Africa. When a group of humans encountered another group, they would at first be on good terms with the people they encountered, maybe conduct trade and adapt to local customs. But, when the numbers of the new arrivals reached a certain level, they went from migrants to invaders and then to conquerors. The progression has always been traders, raiders and then conquerors.

That’s why when our ruling lunatics howl about being nations of immigrants, what they are really saying, even though they are too fevered to know it, is that we are nations of conquerors. The tribes in place today, at some point pushed out or wiped out the tribes that were there yesterday. It’s not always the case. Some times the natives muster the will to thwart the raiders and discourage further incursion. Sometimes, like the Late Bronze Age Egyptians, they just had the will to resist the conquerors and maintain their culture.

But first you have to want it.

The Blinkered Class

Since the 1960’s, maybe earlier, the American academy has said that America is an anti-intellectual country. I first heard this said when I was a freshman in college. A professor said that America does not have academics or experts in politics like Europeans. Instead, intellectuals are kept locked up in the academy. This opinion appears to have formed in the post war years and became an article of faith in the 60’s. This was all before my time, but it strikes me as something the Boomers would have cooked up.

I always associate this attitude with the false worldliness that is common on the Left, particularly among Progressive politicians.The Clintons were two hayseeds from the Ozarks, but they carried on as if they were citizens of the world. Obama has a habit of pronouncing foreign words with the foreign accent associated with the word. He was raised abroad and never picked up the basics of another language, just the funny accents, like a bad comic from the 70’s.

Americans are anti-intellectual, but very much pro-expert. Foreigners often remark on this weird quirk, which is an English habit we inherited from the mother country. The Brits are nuts about experts. Have a problem around the house? Go find a man in a shed, who is a specialist at that particular problem. We have a bias against generalist and we have bias in favor of the practical application of knowledge. Learning a bunch of esoteric stuff just for the sake of learning it strikes most Americans as a bit pointless and dishonest.

When it comes to the topic of anti-intellectualism, the focus should be on the chattering classes, which in America operates as the megaphone for public policy experts. The vast managerial class that controls all aspects of society listens to these people. Most Americans, for example, don’t bother watching the chat shows and cable news channels, other than when something big happens. On the other hand, the managerial class, particularly the vast army of government bureaucrats, pay close attention.

It’s why the chattering skulls appear to live in a bubble, divorced from what is happening in America. Their lives are devoted to those who pay attention to them. They write and talk about what they know to people who live and work in politics. It’s why Charles Murray is treated like Marco Polo by the managerial class. He is one of the few to wander off campus and visit the country. His observations about Americans are read like Jonathan Swift, by the intended audience. Most probably think he is a fiction writer.

This obtuseness is everywhere in the chattering classes. This post I saw on NR reads like a parody. The guy who wrote it gives off a Rip Van Winkle vibe, as if he has been asleep for the last few decades. The PC terror campaigns waged in corporations and on social media are well documented. The people in the chattering classes, on the other hand, are just noticing. The article that is the subject of the post is worse. It reads like an essay for the Efficiency Society. Someone should send him Vox Day’s book.

This post, by the retired Marxist Ron Radosh, is another example of the insularity of the chattering classes. He is long past his expiry date so maybe he can be forgiven for not noticing that those “conservatives” are not conservative. They are Trotskyites just like him. They wandered over to the GOP because they feared the return of the Tsar, but otherwise, they retained all of their Progressive inclinations. The only people unaware of this are those in the chattering classes.

It is not just the B and C level talking heads. This post by big shot libertarian economist Tyler Cowen is a master work of juvenile vacuity. His great insight is that people don’t like paying for their own health care. He thinks Democrats are refusing to acknowledge this. Everything about the Democrat Party over the last century has been based on the free lunch, yet Cowen suspects they are trying to hide this from us. Cowen is a sheep in sheep’s clothing, by posing as an intellectual pretending to be an anti-intellectual.

Wu Zetian is credited with expanding and developing the imperial exam system during the Zhou dynasty. Wu could also be considered the first power-skirt, or perhaps the first power-gown. The exam system was used to recruit and train the best and brightest to work in the imperial administration. During the Song dynasty, the system was formalized throughout China. It was highly competitive, as it was the only way for an ambitious person to gain status in Chinese society. China became a land of scholar-bureaucrats.

The system also became increasing narrow, rewarding the memorization of select philosophical texts, to the exclusion of more practical knowledge. The result was a boiling off of the curious and critical. The one sure way to lose your place was to ask questions or be too curious. The system was great at promoting and enforcing conformity, but it resulted in a ruling class lacking the necessary technical skills to constructively address the world. It resulted in a ruling class that prized not noticing above all else.

A good example of how this warped the Chinese intellectual class, is the story of the first telescope brought to China by Western missionaries. The Chinese were duly impressed, but instead of using to understand the heavens, they wanted to use it for better fortune telling. This story is often cited as an example of how centuries of mandatory conformity can cripple an otherwise smart people. It is also often cited by modern population geneticist as an example of what is happening today with genetics.

Pulling the threads together, what seems to be happening in our chattering classes, and our academic classes as well, is a narrowing of thought to the point where the most prized ability is never looking up from the approved text. You cannot comment about the fly on your friend’s face if you never look at his face. In order to achieve unity and collegiality, our managerial class is adopting a monocular political ideology that screens out applicants at the college level, and boils off non-conformists, who slip by the gate keepers.

Again, it is ironic that the person credited with the imperial exam system was a woman, given that the modern exam system is increasingly dominated by women. It used to be that college was for men to acquire skills. Now it is a place for women to learn the rules and how to enforce them. It’s not a surprise that our intellectuals, the chattering classes, are increasingly blinkered. Rare is the scholar who possess anything resembling useful skills. Instead, they memorize the rules and how to cleverly restate them.

The imperial exam system served China well, but only after she conquered all of her neighbors and unified the Han people. The system was about locking in the gains of the past. What that says about the modern managerial class is open to debate. Perhaps they are solidifying control as globalism supersedes the nation state. Perhaps, like we see in modern business, the arrival of the SJW signals collapse. Regardless, we seem to be heading for anti-intellectualism, driven by the product of the managerial exam system.