My Advice to the Alt-Right

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Back in the 1980’s, when I was a young man, being a young conservative was the best of times because it felt like the war had turned. The enemy’s lines had broken and we were on our way to a great final victory over the forces of darkness. Every right-wing hack in America had a laundry list of things that had to be done, once the battle was over and our tropaion was placed on the battlefield. First the military would be rebuilt, then we would win the Cold War and then we would roll back the welfare state. Party time.

Young people can be forgiven for getting ahead of themselves, but there were plenty of old coots talking about the triumph of conservatism in the 80’s. Even though Reagan did nothing to tame the welfare state or even slow its growth, it felt like we were still on the right side of history. Once the Soviets cracked, it just seemed like a matter of when, not if, the great return to normalcy would happen. Of course, that did not happen. The Left regrouped and the Right sold all of us out for cushy jobs in Washington.

That’s the first bit of advice I offer to the alt-right. Trust no one. In the Reagan Revolution, it was impossible to tell the grifters from the committed. Lots of people attached themselves to conservatism, as writers, thinkers and commentators, simply because there was money in it. The term “Conservative Inc.” did not exist in the 80’s, but the idea of it sure did. Just ask Charles Krauthammer. He was a liberal speech writer for Walter Mondale and then he changed teams, because there was more money in being a right-winger.

Related to this is the recent Milo flap, where he was cut down by previous statements he made in one of his “look at me I’m outrageous” performances. He was ever so close to finally getting onto the big stage, making it to the show, but now he has been sent down to the minors and his career is in doubt. The people in charge of the stage have strict rules about who gets on and what they say while on the stage. You either submit to these rules or they toss you from the stage.

Conservatives in the 80’s made this blunder. They truly thought they would be accepted into the club if the public embraced them. The people in charge don’t give a damn about the public’s opinion. They care about controlling the message and the media stage is the platform from which the message is broadcast. If you want onto the stage, it means signing a blood oath to promote the message and there is no room for compromise. There are two sides in this, pick one and live with the choice.

That’s why it is important to no-platform the people in charge. It would glorious if all Trump voters dropped their cable sub this month, but that’s not happening. People like their entertainments. What you can do is build your own media platforms by relentlessly supporting the new ones coming on-line now. Gab is becoming a useful platform that is beyond the control of the Cloud People. Vox Day is starting a news service designed to curate news stories in a way that undermines the media model. .

Supporting the media that supports you means looking for a friendly source before going to the mainstream source. It also means the leaders and big shots of the movement need to stay the hell off the mainstream platforms. Milo doing Maher did everything for Maher and nothing for Milo. Anyone who tries to get onto the big stage and mix it up with the mainstream media should be suspect. It is the Golden Rule, the man with the gold makes the rules and in media, it is the man who owns the stage who makes the rules.

The big lesson from the Reagan Revolution is that optimism is easily used as a weapon against the optimistic. All the “Morning in America” bullshit in the 80’s fooled a lot of people into thinking the fight was over and the results were a foregone conclusion. Young people were convinced they had been born into the springtime of a cultural revolution, when in fact they had been born into the early winter of a declining civilization. Instead of being clear eyed about what was possible, people got caught up in the excitement of the times.

It will never be morning in America. The alt-right will never amount to anything unless it maintains a clear eyed view of its own position. It was a failure to grasp the reality of our age that allowed a legion of hustlers to rush in and turn the conservative movement into Conservative Inc. We live in an age where charlatans take advantage of fools, while pedants lecture the critics on matters of style. There’s no sweeping this away in order to start fresh. The question of the modern age is how will the story end.

Finally, the key to lasting success for any mass movement is to take over the institutions that can be re-purposed and destroy those that cannot. The institutions of society are the high ground of every civilization. The Left co-opted the schools, government, media and finance. They obliterated religion, local institutions and, to a great degree, the family. The grand success of this weird religion offers a lesson for the alt-right. It’s not enough to fight and build alternative institutions. You have to begin to infiltrate the exiting ones.

The Masons, for example, are constantly advertising for members. That’s the sort of opportunity a young a vibrant Left would have infiltrated and re-purposed. The point is to organize a million Jacobin societies by taking over what has been abandoned and infiltrating what is not well guarded. The demolition of twitter is a great example of how to destroy an organization by turning its rules into a weapon. Twitter is now now the dying brand of vinegar drinking prudes. That’s the lesson. If you cannot own it, destroy it.

What About Bill?

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The other day, Bill Kristol took to twitter to announce his support for a coup against President Trump. Kristol has become fond of this sort of thing, leading some to wonder if he has lost his marbles. Alternatively, it could just be a lonely old man looking for attention as no one seems to care about his opinions these days. It’s hard to know, but Kristol is still taken seriously by people in Washington, especially with the neocon cabal that still occupies a lot of space in the media and the GOP. Here’s the tweet:

Regardless of his intentions, Kristol is a good example to keep in mind when wondering how to judge the opinions from the commentariat. Bill Kristol has been wrong about most everything for the last 25 years. He was a champion of Bush’s big government conservatism, which meant doing all the things the Left dreamed of doing, but calling it principled conservatism. He also championed the invade the world/invite the world polices that resulted in losing at least two wars of choice and flooding the nation with low-IQ hostiles from the third world.

That’s a lot of wrong for one little man. There are two questions that arise when looking at the disastrous career of a guy like Kristol. One is how was he allowed to wreak so much havoc? People like Pat Buchanan warned about the lunacy of neo-conservatism from the onset, but Kristol and his cohorts in the movement not only outmaneuvered the paleocons, they had them banished to the void. That raises the other question. How is it that people so wrong could be so good at maneuvering their way to positions of authority?

An answer to former question can and will fill up many books. The latter question is far simpler. The policy experts and political wizards of our age are men who possess no standing outside the very narrow field of politics. In the higher reaches, none of them have made a mark in a field outside of politics, like science or business. They prefer to restate, in slightly different terms, the views of a hundred predecessors, so they can invest all of their energies into currying favor with the powerful.

It is often argued that the appeal of politics is that it allows people to gain power and wealth, without having to invent a better mousetrap or figure out a better way to build a mousetrap. The reality is that the main attraction for guys like Kristol is they see punditry and commentary as fields where there is no right answer. Science, math, business, these are fields with right answers and more important, wrong answers. In the productive world, wrong answers have consequences.

Third rate men will always be drawn to endeavors where everyone can claim to be right, by simply saying that everyone else is wrong. That’s how a Bill Kristol can trade on the family name and his father’s accomplishments to lever himself into positions of authority within the Republican Party. He is good at the small strategies of parlor room politics, but entirely worthless at everything else. It is no wonder that he fell for every crackpot policy idea of the last 25 years. He had no basis from which to judge them.

Bill Kristol imagines himself as a hawk, soaring the skies looking down upon the world and seeing its parts move before him. In reality he is just a frog leaping into the air, catching glimpses of the world on his way down. He is a man who does not know what he does not know, because he is a man who has never been tested in any meaningful sense. That’s because he never had to compete for customers in business or had to add a column of numbers and get the right answer. Being wrong has never been a concern, because being right was never a concern.

For some people, the purpose of their life is to be a cautionary tale and that is the case of Bill Kristol. As the Conservative Movement™ shrivels into obscurity, it will be replaced by something else. The people of that something else had better be men who look at politics as a side business, a hobby they indulge when they take breaks from their productive work. Alternatively, the thinkers and commenters who offer up alternatives to replace the Buckleyites should be people who have had success in right answer professions.

It’s not that being a good computer programmer necessarily makes a Curtis Yarvin someone you should listen to for political theory. It’s that the practical world of productive industry gives one perspective that you cannot get by repeating lecture room jargon to your coevals in the faculty lounge. In the right answer fields, being wrong has consequences. Mistakes leave marks and the best lessons are those that leave scars and as a result, the best men are usually those with the most scars.

I don’t think it is an accident that two of the most influential figures on the Dissident Right are Steve Sailer and John Derbyshire. One comes from math and business and the other from math and computer science. They spent a great deal of their lives learning how to get it right so they present their opinions and ideas after careful consideration. They also have been habituated to the idea that it is important to not be wrong. That’s a bit of wisdom that the faculty lounge dandy never has, because it is never needed. In the commentariat, no one ever has to say they are sorry for being wrong.

Back To Black

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There is a word in German, fremdschämen, which roughly means to be embarrassed by seeing stranger say or do something embarrassing, like be drunk in public or behave foolishly on television. The notoriously shy Finns have the word myötähäpeä that means roughly the same thing. The “second-hand shame” concept is probably something that is exclusive to northern Europeans, but I don’t know. I do know that whenever I watch good whites crash into the reality of race, I feel myötähäpeä.

That came to mind reading this story that was posted on Tyler Cowen’s blog.

Asian-Americans also have a huge advantage in building a fan base, although this is driven almost entirely by Mr. Lin, who is the 27th most popular player despite being the 80th most prolific scorer. Of the 30 most popular players, he is one of only two men who has never played in an N.B.A. All-Star game. The other is Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavaliers. This initially made no sense to me: Mr. Thompson averages fewer than 10 points per game. But then a friend explained the likely reason to me: Mr. Thompson is dating Khloé Kardashian.

What should we make of the edge in support that black players get? It is of course possible that someone will find an alternative explanation for this correlation, but let’s assume that my analysis of the data holds up and that being black is a large advantage today for N.B.A. players trying to build a fan base. How should we interpret these results? Is it a bad thing or a good thing or nothing?

IF the results were reversed — if white players got a big edge in support — this would clearly be bad news. There is strong evidence that black Americans are discriminated against in many crucial areas of life — jury decisions, police stops, job interviews, dating sites, presidential elections. If African-Americans were discriminated against in building a basketball fan base as well, it would show that white privilege can even show itself in one of the arenas in American life in which blacks have had tremendous success.

But African-Americans getting a boost in support? What should we make of that? I view this phenomenon as good news in at least two ways. I think it’s great that members of minority groups who face discrimination in many aspects of their lives show strong support for other members of the group. And it is also encouraging that many white fans will give some extra support to the country’s most successful minority athletes.

Notice the line “if white players got a big edge in support — this would clearly be bad news.” Then a little later the line “I think it’s great that members of minority groups who face discrimination in many aspects of their lives show strong support for other members of the group.” The writer suddenly finds himself bobbing around like a cork on a sea of uncertainty as everything he knew about whites and blacks is now suddenly invalidated by reality. Watching the poor slob stagger to the finish filled me with fremdschämen.

The commenters on Cowen’s blog mostly sought to dodge the central issue of the story, which is that blacks shamelessly practice racial solidarity, while whites do not. That bit of reality contradicts the narrative of modern American life, which is that the great struggle is against white racism toward blacks. Obviously data that shows that whites not only harbor little animus towards blacks, but favor blacks over their own, turns the world on its head. Throw in the fact that blacks are wildly racist and suddenly life is not worth living.

Thirty years ago I worked with a black guy in Boston who was a Laker fan. He was a Laker fan for the same reason all black basketball fans were Laker fans, regardless of their home city. The Lakers were the black team opposing the white Celtics. Plenty of whites cheered for Magic Johnson and plenty of whites rooted against both teams, but blacks everywhere cheered for Magic Johnson and the Showtime Lakers because they epitomized black basketball and opposed the very white Celtics.

Before my time, blacks rallied to Mohamed Ali versus Joe Frazier mostly because Ali was flamboyantly black, but also because he was anti-white. Frazier being favored by whites only added to it. The truth is, blacks don’t really like white people very much. It’s not a Malcolm X hatred, but the consequence of ethnic solidarity. Black people prefer blacks over whites. They see whites as the rival gang, the other team, so they always root for the black guy over the white guy.This is perfectly normal.

Humans are tribal so we side with those in our tribe over those outside our tribe. It’s a basic survival strategy that worked pretty well until recent. American whites no longer seem to possess this quality. A couple of generations of propaganda against racism has made most white people so allergic to anything that resembles ethnic or racial solidarity, most whites instinctively prefer those outside their group. It’s why a black sports star will get so much support from white fans, even if he is openly hostile to while people.

Progressives are baffled by this mostly because the central narrative of their cult holds that the great struggle is against white racism directed at the noble black man. Poor Seth Stephens-Davidowitz started his project sure he would find proof of the “systemic racism” he learned about in school during story time. Instead he stumbled onto a horrible secret that may haunt his dreams forever. Or maybe not. Being in a cult means having the ability to process disconfirmation and still maintain belief in the one true faith.

This Blog: February 2017

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I was in the elevator of a building where important people are known to frequent and I overheard an interesting conversation. Two men were talking about politics in a general way and one of them used the phrase “Cloud People.” In fact, he said “It is Cloud People versus the Dirt People and we will all have to choose sides.” The two men were unfamiliar to me and they did not have the look of important people. Although I have never been an important person, I have been in the same room with them and I can usually spot them.

I guess I was too obvious in my eavesdropping as it was clear to me they noticed I was listening, so I said, “I’m sorry, but I could not help but hear what you said. What did you mean by Cloud People?” The truth is, I don’t think anyone but me uses that term. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure the whole Cloud People versus the Dirty People motif is my invention. But, you never know so that’s why I asked. That and I wanted to shift the focus from the fact I was listening to their conversation.

The guy who was doing the talking was quick to volunteer that he had picked up the phrase on Facebook from one of his friends, who he told me worked in politics. Why he volunteered the last bit is unclear, but my guess is he just assumes that’s the origin of the Cloud People stuff. Regardless, it was a funny moment for me. It is entirely possible that I have coined a phrase that is now getting some circulation in the wider world. These things have to start somewhere, but I’ve never put much thought into where or how they get going.

It did remind me that I have not posted a site update in a few months. In fact, it was back in November after the election. The readership keeps growing. According to the tool I use to estimate average monthly readership, I’m pushing 90,000 now, which is about ten percent increase since November. I’m never quite sure if that tool is correct, but it does seem to track with overall site traffic. In fact, traffic is way up setting daily records on a regular basis so maybe that’s why my pithy expressions are getting loose in the general public. I could be famous and not know it.

I am, of course, grateful that people take the time to read my posts and share them on social media. Facebook and Twitter continue to be big drivers of traffic. Gab is now starting to be a big source of traffic. Something I’ve noticed is I get a fair amount of links back to specific comments, meaning that part of the increase in traffic is the active and interesting comments here. I can’t help but notice that the volume of comments is way up too so that means more traffic and more new readers.

One thing I have noticed is that when I write about the Cloud People stuff, those posts get passed around a lot. This one broke a record for hits in a day. I thought it could be the Trump angle, but looking at the traffic numbers, the Cloud People/Dirt People topic is just more popular than I would have guessed. The great divide in America is never discussed in the popular press and even the hate thinkers tend to avoid it. My guess is the admonitions against class warfare from our betters is the reason few talk about it.

The plan going forward is more of the same. I have been looking at maybe doing a podcast or perhaps get on the GabTV ride. I listen to a lot of podcasts and internet radio, but I don’t know if I have the voice or the talent to actually do it. The video stuff has the advantage of being easy as the smart kids have worked out the technology to do it from a  phone or tablet. The downside is that all the ones I have seen look like hostage videos or really bad video dating examples. The result is I’m still mulling these options over.

The other bit of site news is I am working on a book. I’m looking at the self-publishing options mostly because I just want to see how it works, but also because I have no interest in dealing with publishers. I have a friend in the book game who says I am nuts and I’d have no trouble finding a publisher that would make the process simple. We’ll see about that, but I have to write the book first so that means I may stop posting on weekends in order to make time for the new project. We’ll see how that goes.

Otherwise, I thank everyone for reading and I’m grateful to those who pass the word and bring new readers into the fold via social media.

Somewhere Eichmann Smiles

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When I was a teenager, abortion was one of the big issues in politics and social policy. Bill Buckley used to say it was one of three issues that told you everything about a man’s politics. It turns out he was wrong about that, as so many of his tribe were pro-life for effect, as a part of the Frank Meyer “fusionism” strategy. Putting that aside, for normal people, abortion was the issue that defined you politically. Liberals were pro-abortion and non-liberals were pro-life. The latter emphasized the sanctity and uniqueness of each life while the former rejected that entirely.

Here we are 30 years later and abortion is not much of an issue for our politicians. There are some who make it a centerpiece of their politics, but they are rare exceptions. The so-called conservatives that we see in the commentariat wince when the topic is raised. You get the sense they look at it like public professions of faith, something the Dirt People still do, but unbecoming of a Cloud Person. They go through the motions, as we will see with the court nominee, but the result will be that a “conservative” judge will swear to never ever think about altering abortion law.

The thing that the pro-life people never could accept is that the pro-abortion people were never really pro-abortion, at least not as they advertised it. Sure, the barren spinsters protesting in the streets for a “woman’s right to choose” are pro-abortion, but they are the dull witted shock troops of the Cult of Modern Liberalism, organized around simple ideas in order to get them out in the streets making noise. The women who were running around dressed as vaginas last month had no idea why they were doing it. They just liked the drama and the attention.

The real core of the abortion movement is blank slate ideology, which has become a foundation item for the Left. Since all humans are the same at birth, the only thing society should care about is the number of live births and the social structures for shaping and forming these amorphous blobs as they come into the world. Babies born to mothers not “properly trained” to be good citizens will not get the proper training so the emphasis of the abortion movement has always been about making sure the woman is “ready to be a mother” as if it is just another job within the state.

Anyway, another example of how far and how fast we have moved away from the idea that human life is unique and precious is what we are seeing with gene editing.

An influential science advisory group formed by the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine on Tuesday lent its support to a once-unthinkable proposition: clinical efforts to engineer humans with inheritable genetic traits.

In a report laden with caveats and notes of caution, the group endorsed the alteration of human eggs, sperm and embryos — but only to prevent babies from being born with genes known to cause serious diseases and disability, only when no “reasonable alternative” exists, and only when a plan is in place to track the effects of the procedure through multiple generations.

“Once unthinkable” basically means last week. In the Bush years, we had big fights about the use of embryonic stem cells for use in experiments. Now, we’re about to start experimenting on actual humans, without really knowing the result. This is, of course, eugenics. The Cloud People will not use the word, because they believe they killed that word and the bad juju that comes with it, but that’s just the nature of magical thinking. Once you step onto the path of designing humans, you are in the world of eugenics.

The counter argument will be that this is not really human experimentation. That embryo they are editing is not a person. It’s not like they will be pulling kids out of school and zapping they with the CRISPR gun to “fix” their defects. That sort of argument is a dodge and a common one used by our betters. Left unmentioned is the reason to edit the embryo, which is so that the resulting human comports with what the editors set out to create as a finished product. It’s designer babies and that’s eugenics.

There’s another aspect to it. Mistakes will be made. In fact, dig around in the literature and that is the assumption. The process will involve multiple embryos and the correct one will be used and the rest discarded. This assumes human error. But then, maybe the human error is not detected until six months into pregnancy or six years into life. Like any other manufacturing process, recalling defects will have to be a part of the discussion at some point. If you are buying a designer baby, you will want to get what you paid for, which means sending back the lemon, if it comes to it.

Crisis and Crackdown

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Imagine yourself as the head of an organization facing some sort of crisis. External pressures are revealing fissures and faults within the organization, thus magnifying the external pressures. There’s a very real concern that the organization could collapse or succumb to the external threat unless something is done to calm the organization and get it focused on the external threat. Maybe you were the boss as the storm gathered. Maybe you were brought in after the organization realized they had a problem.

A society at war is the most obvious example. For example, the Russians were locked in a stalemate with the Germans in World War I and the accumulated costs of war began to reveal the faults within Russian society. Czarist Russia, in times of peace, could provide enough food and enough authority to maintain order. The war sapped the strength of the state such that it could no longer provide enough food and enough authority. In the ensuing crisis, the state broke and eventually collapsed.

The Bolshevik Revolution is a great example of how leadership failed to respond to the crisis because their range of options was limited by forces outside of their control. Liberalism, in the European Enlightenment sense, had not taken root in Russia, because it was a land of peasants and aristocrats. There was no middle class, at least not one with power, with which the aristocrats could bargain. The Czar should have struck a deal with the Kaiser early on, but he did not and the result was disaster.

More pleasant examples are the English Civil War and the French Revolution. The former is a good example of an intransigent ruler, unwilling to adjust and accommodate to the social changes buffeting his rule. Charles had plenty of chances to strike a deal with Parliament and the growing merchant class that Parliament represented, but he chose confrontation instead. His response to crises was to crackdown, as much as possible, on any resistance to his authority. Charles made his enemies.

In contrast, the example of Louis XVI is a textbook case of how a weak leader can be swallowed up by crisis. The financial crisis that consumed the crown was avoidable, but Louis was unwilling to exercise his authority over the aristocracy in order to resolve it. At the same time, when he had chances to squash the revolution, he hesitated, allowing his authority to be challenged without response. Just as Charles should have been more flexible. Louis should have been less flexible. Like Charles, he lost his head as a result.

Modern people in Western countries don’t think much about how their rulers will respond to crisis. It is assumed that that the people in charge will examined the data, consult with experts, hold an open debate in the media and then settle upon a course of action to address the crisis.That’s because for as long as anyone can remember, there has been no crisis, at least not one that threatens the existing order. The only thing to come close to a threat to our rulers was the communist menace in the 40’s and 50’s.

That’s instructive because the response from the ruling class was the classic iron fist in the velvet glove. The government relentlessly hunted down communists, while the popular press relentlessly defended those “wrongfully” accused of being communists. The Venona Project allowed the government to root out subversives, with a fair degree of precision, at least the ones that posed a real threat. It was not until the 90’s that the public was made aware of the extensive domestic espionage operation.

The lesson of the Venona Project is that when the people in charge feel threatened, they will do whatever it takes to dispose of the threat. We’re seeing that today with the coordinated attacks on the trouble makers by the media companies. Twitter and Facebook are banning anyone that they think is in in the resistance. Even comedy posts can be deemed blasphemous. Yesterday some guy named PewDiePie was erased from the media for impure thoughts. Here’s the google search:


The level of coordination is astonishing. Google and Disney team up to erase the guy and then the mainstream press is out reporting within minutes that he was eliminated due to heresy. It could be a coincidence that all of the big media players were on this at the same time, but it could also suggest a high degree of cooperation. The people in charge are pulling out all the stops to crack down on dissidents. They consider the threat posed by errant comedians on YouTube so serious, any means necessary will be used to end it.

What’s important here is not that some comedian lost his livelihood. That’s part of the message being sent. The more important part is the coordination. The tech giants made it clear in the election that they were working together to defeat Trump. These are people who colluded to suppress wages and violate the nation’d labor laws so they have a history of this. Now we are seeing social media coordinating with the legacy media to send a clear signal that they are cracking down on dissidents.

Crackdowns on dissent are always in response to crisis. Whether it is perceived or real is the big question. A heavy handed response can turn a manageable situation into a full blown crisis. On the other hand, passive responses to challenges can lead to rebellion. The people in charge believe the lesson of the last election is to crack down hard, using every means necessary, to quell any challenge to their authority. That is the reason the intelligence agencies are now working with the media to undermine the President.

How this will play out is unknown. Charles I and Parliament were willing to fight a war over their disputes. The revolutionaries in France were willing to commit regicide to impose their vision on society. People today are not the fighting sort. The rulers struggle to imprison criminals and the people passively acquiesce to encroachments on their liberty. In other words, despite the big talk, there’s not a lot of fight in the people or their rulers. For now, it is cat ladies from HR harassing normies over their use of twitter, but that could change.

The Others

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Prior to the Super Bowl, I was made aware of a television ad from Audi. The ad was based on the long ago discredited claim that women are systematically paid less for doing the same work as men. Here’s the ad. It’s one of those times when the PC proselytizing is actually worse than what you expected.  Watching it through to the end is difficult because the smug radiates from the screen like a bad odor. It’s not the ridiculous preening that is repugnant. It is the inappropriateness. Who does Audi think buys their cars?

It’s not hard to imagine the room where this ad was screened for the executives at Audi USA. Men and women in snappy business suits talked about how to target the professional female car buyer. Maybe they had data showing that Audi lags in this segment compared to its competitors. Everyone watched the ad, nodded in agreement, felt brave and wonderful and then agreed it should be the big ad for the big game. No one bothered to ask if Audi or the ad agency pays their females less than their males.

This ad, put out by a sneaker company, can only be described as offensive. It’s hard to imagine a more offensive ad. It’s also hard to imagine a more ridiculous ad. We just spent eight years with a black president and his mulatto mafia running the country and we are suddenly in need of a lecture about racism, from a sneaker company? They threw a lesbian and some black Muslim women in there, but the clear thrust of the ad is that whites are not accommodating enough to millionaire black athletes. Thanks Nike.

Of course, these ads are not whipped up overnight. They take months to produce, especially ads with multiple stars. Arranging a day for each star can take months of planning. Ads created for a big event like the Super Bowl are often started six months before they hit the air. In this case, these ads were cooked up last summer and put together in late summer and early fall. That means they were dreamed up before the people in charge noticed that the world had changed, if they noticed at all.

It’s another reminder that the Cloud People were absolutely sure that the noises coming from the Dirt People could safely be ignored. Six months ago when these ads were commissioned, the beautiful people were locking arms, certain they were heading off to the Age of Aquarius, where the Dirt People would no longer be a concern. They were so sure they were on the right side of history, they no longer had to pretend to be civil to the rest of us. These ads are a reflection of the smug, arrogant pricks who made them.

Even accounting for the arrogance of these people, the main reason they thought these were swell ads to run is they have “otherized” themselves, to borrow a term from the multiculturalists. It’s not that these people have lost touch with the common man. It’s that they have deliberately alienated themselves from their country and countrymen. These preachy ads have nothing to do with selling cars or sneakers. The ads are a public act of piety by people who are no longer part of the general culture.

It is why the mass media is becoming increasingly bizarre. It’s tempting to think it is nothing more than proselytizing and propaganda, and that is a big part of it, but some of it is due to the insularity of the people inside the media bubble. To them, having a Valentine’s Day program featuring homosexual couples is not normal, it is aspirational and therefore inspirational. The fact that the rest of us find it grating and a bit offensive never comes to mind. Everyone they know thinks it is a great idea and those are the people that count.

We live in a strange age, probably not a lot different from the late feudal period, when the ruling class was largely unaware of the storm that was brewing. If you were an aristocrat, you may not have a lot of money, but what you had was social distance from the people who were not aristocrats. That distance was your currency. The provincial lawyer or merchant may have been accumulating money and lands, but he was never going to be you and never be in your circle. Making that clear was of the highest importance.

The main difference is that the sword nobility was also a defender of the old order, while the Dirt People of the day were looking to topple over the old order. Today, our sword nobility is hell bent of toppling over what’s left of the old order, simply to prove to one another they are not a part of the old order. Highlighting the distance between them and us is their primary fixation. It’s why Trump is so hated despite being a billionaire New Yorker. It’s because he is a man much more comfortable among the Dirt People because he respects them and crossing that class line is the great sin among the others.

War In Asia

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There is a class of pundit that lives to talk about various war scenarios, almost always involving the United States. In the Cold War, this was a lucrative profession as most people thought war with Russia was an inevitability. Back then, the scenarios were all built around a chain of events that would lead to a nuclear exchange. The big set piece battles in Europe would give way to one side or the other deciding to launch their ICBM’s. In retrospect, the only way that was going to happen was though human error.

Today, the focus of the great game is usually on Asia, particularly China. That’s because the formerly dirt poor Chinese are suddenly rich and spending tons of money on their military. That means they have started to bully their neighbors, most notably Japan and Taiwan. As the patron of North Korea, they also can push the South Koreans around a bit too. The Chinese also have a strange way of being unnecessarily hostile to the US by letting it be known they are ready for a fight, just as soon as they can start one.

The assumption in the West is that China has plans to displace the US as the regional hegemon. That’s not an unreasonable assumption. A civilization with a billion people and 5,000 years of history should swing a big stick in its own neighborhood. The mistake is in thinking they are in a big hurry to confront the US in order to take control of the Pacific Rim. That’s a Western way of looking at things and it ignores a lot of history. China has always taken a long view. They don’t have to rush into anything. Instead, they can wait and let nature takes its course.

There’s also the fact that the Chinese have never been a naval power. They are not a naval power now and even at their current investment rate, they will not be a naval power anytime soon. There’s also the fact that the Japanese can become a naval power by next week if they wish to do it. There’s also the Russian fleet headquartered in Vladivostok and a big naval base in Avacha Bay on the Kamchatka Peninsula, with a major submarine base located at Vilyuchinsk in the same bay. The Russians are a serious naval power.

All of this means that the Chinese are a long way from dominating the region and even further away from confronting the US military on the high seas. Even if they launch a first strike against US naval assets in the Pacific, The US sub fleet is beyond their reach. That means a counter strike that eliminates Chinese naval assets and closes off Chinese sea traffic. It also means the remainder of the conflict happens on Chinese soil. That’s a high price to pay when waiting probably gets the same result.

An important thing about China that Western thinkers ignore is that the Chinese leadership worries far more about internal threats than external ones. The “iron rice bowl” has been a fact of life for a long time in China, despite efforts to break this cultural practice. Closing off sea traffic and access to world markets is the ultimate breaking of the iron rice bowl and no one knows what would happen. There’s also a lot of wealthy Chinese who would suffer if trade is disrupted. Pissed off rich people is always bad for the state.

The bigger threat is from North Korea. They combine the worst elements of a rogue state, a paranoid dictatorship and East Asian technical savvy. Most of the crazy regimes in the world rule over low-IQ populations incapable of sustaining modern economies and the technological products that result from it. The Arabs are a nuisance, but they cannot project power without Western help. The North Koreans are smart and they are building a serious ballistic missile program to go along with their nuclear program.

The best intelligence suggests the regime is fragile. Kim Jong Un is still consolidating power and that is always a dicey proposition in an authoritarian country. There’s always the threat that those who fear being purged will move against him first, but that just makes him more paranoid and more dangerous. It also means the people around him are not the best and brightest, just the least threatening. It’s also possible that Kim Jong Un is crazy, or at least on his way, so the set of plausible outcomes is very large.

Here’s where China and her zeal for stability probably keeps things under control. There are thousands of North Korean escapees in China. The Chinese government repatriates many of them, but not all. The numbers are small now, but any serious instability in North Korea means millions of starving Koreans heading north. That’s a big incentive for the ChiComs to keep a lid on the North Koreans. That means financing whoever promises to keep the place under control and not launch a nuke against the US.

There’s also another factor working against war in Asia. All of these countries are getting old and they have very weird demographic imbalances. Japan is the most well known example of low TFR, but China is undergoing a similar transformation. A very rich country like Japan can manage through this sort of demographic transformation. Relatively poor countries suddenly getting old is a different matter. Chinese per capita GDP is $6500, while Japan’s is $39000. That’s a huge challenge for China that will take priority over military adventurism, assuming any exists.

We Need A Tom Doniphon

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Recently, the nation’s cat ladies have been asking the rest of us, “Aren’t you afraid that Trump is going to become a dictator and start bullying journalists and judges just to get his way?” Of course we’re all suppose to start from the premise that Trump is Hitler reborn and just looking for a reason to impose martial law. The fact that Trump has assiduously adhered to the rules of the game to this point is just proof that he is Hitler. After all, Hitler won an election too and we all know how that worked out.

My answer to that query is, “No, I’m not afraid Trump will do all those things. I’m afraid he won’t do those things.” For the last three decades, probably longer, the guys allegedly on the side of the rest of us, have been obsessed with playing by the rules. The thing I don’t fear is that Trump will “go too far” or fail to respect the rules of the game. I don’t care about those rules anymore. Those rules are the bars of the cage. What we don’t need now is a guy obsessed with procedure. We need a guy willing to break the rules.

We have reached a point where it is heads they win, tails we lose. The game has been rigged to make reforming the system within the rules an impossibility. When a majority of the people favor a policy that the managerial class opposes, the policy gets hamstrung by the rules of the game. All of a sudden, the process is sacred. When the managerial class wants something for their masters, they change the rules so it either flies through or simply happens without anyone noticing. The process is not all that important.

All the blather about America being a nation of laws is just cover for the fact that ours is a lawless nation ruled by lawless men. An obvious example is the Ninth Circuit judges, who have fabricated a legal justification for throwing sand in the gears of a wildly popular executive order issued by President Trump. These are not men enforcing the law or respecting the laws. These are men who hold the law in contempt. All that matters to them is obedience to the weird secular cult we have come to call Progressivism.

If what it takes to break the stranglehold this cult has on society is a dictator willing to toss a few judges from a helicopter, then sign me up for dictatorship. I’d much prefer to live in a society where me and my neighbors meet once a month to govern ourselves and our community, but that’s not on offer. What is on offer now is the post-modern theocracy that uses the corrupted and degraded tools of 18th century liberalism to maintain its grip on society. Squads of government men rounding these people up in the middle of the night sounds pretty good right now.

Totalitarians attempt to change the world and human nature, by controlling all aspects of society, including the granular aspects of the political system. It’s what makes reform impossible as we are quickly seeing with the opposition to Trump’s policies. It’s not that they object, on policy grounds, to the very mild reforms that are being proposed. What is at issue is the very concept of the all encompassing world state. To permit reform is to permit questioning and that can never be tolerated.

The only way to break the totalitarian stranglehold may be with a an authoritarian willing to bust down doors and crack some heads. Authoritarianism is only concerned with political power and as long as that is not contested it gives society a certain degree of liberty. You can still have judges falling out of helicopters as we saw with Pinochet, but the people can still go about their lives, free from the hectoring of secular fanatics living off the tax payers. Trump ordering the execution of the 9th Circuit is not ideal, but it beats the hell out of being ruled by angry lunatics from San Francisco.

The main argument against personal rule is that the person eventually dies. Then you have to hope the next guy is not crazy or dangerous. That’s also an upside to authoritarianism. Trump is not going to live forever. What follows is not likely to be another authoritarian. Pinochet eventually gave way to a form of self-government. The reason Chile did not suffer the same fate as Venezuela or Argentina is that Pinochet had most of the secular fanatics shot and tossed into a pit. As a result, Chile came out of the other end of the Pinochet years looking pretty good.

America is headed for a bad end unless things change quickly and radically. The suicide cult that has control of our society is not going to stop until we’re all dead. At some point, you have to use every means necessary to prevent a catastrophe. If that means Lindsay Graham winds up in pit covered in lime, so be it. If Bill Kristol has to write his tantrums from exile in Israel, I can live with that. In order to have a world run by Senator Ranse Stoddard, you first need a Tom Doniphon to do the dirty work of clearing out  Liberty Valance.

Essential Knowledge: Part V

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Rome is such a big topic, it not only deserves a post of its own, but it can be studied in isolation as it encompasses so much of Western history. The most obvious reason for this is the Romans were around for a long time. The traditional dating of the start of the Republic is 509 BC and the end of the Western Empire is 476 AD. That’s roughly one thousand years and it was an action packed and dramatic thousand year run too. Rome features some of the most colorful characters in human history.

There is something else. The Greeks were a culture, but the Romans were a civilization that incorporated the culture of the Greeks. Culture is the spirit of the people, the world view that results from their shared history. The Greek culture was a product of the people and their place in the eastern Mediterranean. It is their literature and philosophy, their understanding of man’s relationship to other men and the world in general. It is the structure of their language, which is a reflection of how they thought about the world.

Civilization, on the other hand, is the end point, the destination of culture. It is the tangible product of cultural yearnings. Culture is the belief in self-governance. Civilization is a constitutional assembly. The Romans adopted Greek culture and built a mighty civilization. Because Rome carried the spirit of the Greeks throughout the known world, planting its seeds throughout Europe, knowing the Romans is to know the essence of Western culture. You cannot know the West, without knowing Rome.

Traditionally, you learned about Rome by reading Gibbon. You can buy the The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire from Amazon for $133.00 or if you want to read it from a tablet, you can get it for two dollars, which is one million Canadian dollars.There are many better options than this, which we will get into next, but having some familiarity with Gibbon is a good idea, as you will find that later writers refer to him regularly. Spending a couple of dollars to have him in your digital library is a good idea, even if it is just as a reference work..

Then there is Latin. Learning some Latin is a good idea for anyone who likes knowing stuff. One of the worst things to happen to education in the modern age is the end of Latin instruction in the schools. Knowing even a little bit helps expand your language skills as an English speaker. In the case of Roman history, it is a good idea to have some basic knowledge of Latin, which means buying a primary school grammar used by home schoolers. You are not going to be reading Caesar in the original, but you get enough of the basics.It’s not necessary, but recommended.

The most basic way of thinking about Rome is to break up its history into three periods. The founding through the Republic, the Empire starting with Augustus and then the late Empire, when things got squirrely and the Empire was in decline. A recent book that will take you from the founding through the Empire, but stopping at the Late Empire, is Mary Beard’s SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome. It was a best seller and it a great read. An excellent study on the transition of Rome from a Republic to an Empire is The Breakdown of the Roman Republic: From Oligarchy to Empire.

A particularly important period in Roman history is the third century, when the Empire was staggering from one crisis to the next. This is the period that gave rise to Diocletian and Constantine, two people who have cast a very long shadow over Western history. It used to be a topic of study in the US Army War College for both military tactics and crisis management. It is fair to say that without Constantine, there is no Christian West. The Roman Empire from Severus to Constantine is the only book I know of that focuses just on this period.

A controversial book on Late Empire Roman military tactics is The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire: From the First Century CE to the Third by Edward Luttwak. It is controversial for two reasons. One is that Luttwak is not a historian or classicist, so he is treading on people’s turf. More important, he offers an alternative to the dominant view of how the Roman army managed to keep the barbarians at bay, despite the numerical advantages of the barbarians. It’s an interesting read on a topic that has implications for the modern era.

Finally, for those who like podcasts, one of the best history podcasts ever is also on the history of Rome. Mike Duncan’s podcast is incredibly well done and it covers the entire history of Rome to the fall of the Western Empire.  For those who like a long, dramatic retelling of history, Dan Carlin’s Death Throws of Rome is fun and informative. You can always get the narrated version of Gibbon from Audible, which is becoming a popular alternative to podcasts. Think of audio books as long play podcasts.

Finally, this brings us back to Joseph Tainter’s The Collapse of Complex Societies. The collapse of the Western Roman Empire has two interesting angles to explore. One is why it lasted so long despite the external stresses and the internal conflict. History books do a good job of covering that material. The other angle is why did the Western Empire collapse when the Eastern Empire continued on? That’s a subject that offers some insights into why a thousand years later the West was ready to roar past the rest of humanity.