Fake News

I think I may have watched a grand total of one NBA game this past season. The games are not geared for middle-aged white guys. The game has been changed over the years to value running and jumping over teamwork and developed skills. The result is that basketball looks a lot like track and field, rather than a skills game. That’s not a moral argument, just a factual observation. I do follow the game through the stat sheet, as it is a good study of human bio-diversity and not just what is on the court.

The other aspect of the NBA that makes it interesting to me is the conduct of the sports media covering the NBA. It is a good model for understanding what has happened to the mainstream media, particularly with regards to politics. The NBA press does very little reporting. There are still game summaries posted on-line and box scores, but those are churned out by interns and robots. The professional NBA journalist does no actual reporting, Instead, he talks about story lines, personalities and other sport reporters.

The recent NBA draft is a good example. Every year the “reporters” claim it is going to be a wild week of trades and deals. Then they spend the week talking about rumors that are made up by other reporters. Those rumors are often just about rumors. It is not unusual to see a story about how it is rumored that a trade was rumored to have been mentioned by someone. Meta-news is news about news. The NBA is now doing news and rumors about rumors. That’s meta-meta-rumor-news, I guess.

The reason for all this is the news media no longer bothers to uphold any of its alleged standards. It was not that long ago that editors required two sources that were actual human beings with a credible claim to know the material. Newspapers might bend this rule, but they never went with copy that contained sources unknown to the editor. That’s no longer the case as editors no long exist in sufficient numbers to police it and the remaining ones simply don’t care. Anything goes so its all fake sources now.

Sports reporters have never been terribly bright or hard working so they have responded to this breakdown in order by doing what comes natural. Instead of working hard to get good stories, they make up semi-plausible stories with fake sources. An NBA trade, for example, will involve two or three people talking by phone. Yet, we’re supposed to believe that some guy at ESPN was then briefed on it by one of the parties. Even more absurd, we’re supposed to believe some blogger “broke” the story. Yeah, right.

The bigger issue though is something that happened in the Jordan years. It has been thrown down the memory hole, but Jordan decided the way to help black sports reporters was to give them exclusive access and deny access to honkies. Guys like Ahmad Rashad and Michael Wilbon were given special access. This made their careers, but it also ushered in the era of access journalism. Players granted access to reporters who were willing to sing their praises in their columns and on TV shows.

Something similar happened around the same time in Washington politics. The Clinton machine was ruthless in controlling the media. They would shutout reporters that did not play ball. There’s always been some of this, as people are naturally going to be nice to those who are nice to them and not so nice to people they see as adversaries. The difference was, the Clinton team turned this into a formal policy and the Washington press corp went along with it. They liked being treated like players so they acted accordingly.

The Bush people could not play the same game, as the Washington media is universally liberal, but they did a little bit of it with operations like Fox and the talk radio guys. Rich Lowry of National Review remodeled the magazine to be a GOP mouth piece for exactly this reason. It gave them access to Republicans. The Weekly Standard largely existed as a public relations vehicle for the Bush family. Much of what has gone wrong with Buckley Conservatism is due to the perils of access journalism.

This is why we see the explosion of fake news. The NBA guys want access or at least the illusion of access. To that end, they tweet out rumors and fake news in the hope of getting a reply from an agent or front office guy. That way they can then shoot down their own rumor or fake news with an actual quote from a real person. “After talking with person X, I can now report that the rumor I reported is false.” Fake news about rumors produces gossip that is eventually addressed by a real person in the news.

That seems to be what’s going on Washington with all the fake news. No one in the Washington media bothered to develop contacts in the Trump team. Instead, they mocked and harassed them through the campaign, figuring they were currying favor with the Clinton people. Now, they have no access so they create fake stories hoping to get a response from the Trump people. In lieu of real reporting, it is provocative fake reporting in the hope of gaining access to real people in the Trump White House.

Now, that’s not to say it is all innocent. Clearly, the major fake news organizations are fully converged, as Vox Day would put it. They are so in the tank for the one true faith, they now resemble a UFO cult. The point of their fake news campaign is to discredit the Trump people. Still, this is the logical result of access journalism. When the path to fame and glory is getting exclusive access to a powerful person, it is no surprise that the media has now turned itself into a PR firm for the rich and powerful.

Utopian Misanthropes

It probably says something about us that we accept the dystopian future of Orwell as being to some degree inevitable, despite the fact he has proven to be wrong about most things. He was not wrong about everything. He got communism right in Animal Farm. His critique of writing is timeless and is probably more applicable today than in his era. On the other hand, the future is not “a boot stamping on a human face — forever.” Not even close. The future is a bot making sure you never get your feelings hurt or have a bad day.

In that regard, Huxley has proven to be the more prescient. Brave New World was much more accurate, especially with regards to the upper classes. Whether or not we will ever be “decanting” humans is questionable, but science may be closer to genetically enhancing people than maybe is proper. Similarly, H. G. Wells understood the arc of humanity was toward a softer end than Orwell imagined. His depiction of the Eloi, and his explanation for why they existed, is being proven out today.

Even so, Orwell is what resonates with us even today, as we drift into the soft authoritarianism of the custodial state. The most likely reason is that at some level, people understand that at the core of every Utopian scheme is a coldness toward humanity that eventually leads to the sort of ugliness we associate with Orwell. Huxley’s future is eerie and disconcerting, but Orwell’s gets right to the heart of it. There is no hope and there is no joy, because in Utopia, those things have been banned.

This has always been obvious with the global Left. They have always imagined a world that, at best, could work for a slim majority of people. The rest of humanity was not going to be a good fit. There are only two ways to solve this problem. One is to “fix” those people who can’t seem to go along with the program. The other is to get rid of those people who don’t fit the new society. It’s why re-education camps have always been a fixture of left-wing societies. It’s also why mass murder is where they always end up.

The assumption is that what drives this is an absolute belief in the blank slate. If people are infinitely malleable, then all of those bad thinkers can be adjusted. Since some defects are beyond repair, the only solution is to remove the defective from the population and the gene pool. In reality, the effort at re-education is always ceremonial. The people in charge go through the motions in order to justify the inevitable. There’s also a fair amount of sadism at work. Leftist regimes seem to take pleasure in culling the herd.

In fact, what may be the main attraction to Utopianism is its underlying antipathy toward humanity in general. Human existence is messy, dirty and frustratingly irrational, but this is also the source of its beauty. There is nothing rational about falling in love. There is nothing orderly about laughing at your own stupidity or your screw ups.  What drives the people dreaming up the perfect society is a hatred of this reality. They hate the apparent randomness, the part that makes life worth living, so they seek to eliminate it.

It is why Whittaker Chambers recoiled in horror at the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Chambers had spent most of his life as an atheist and a communist. He fully understood the materialism at the heart of every Utopian scheme. He saw it right away in Randian moral philosophy. The libertarian dream world is one in which everything about the human condition is squeezed out. The libertarian Utopia is one in which everyone is an isolated economic unit with no emotional ties to anyone.

Libertarians deny this because they hate this truth about themselves. It is the one thing that distinguishes them from the other Utopian dreamers. They flinch at the idea of shoving the deviants into the ovens. Instead, they dream of the isolated colony populated by the productive. What drives the Leftist is a hatred of mankind. They dream of a place where anything resembling humanity is gone. Libertarians, in contrast, are driven by self-loathing, so their dream is to be isolated away from humanity, like prisoners.

Libertarians will dispute this, but they are wrong. They think because they have opposite ends than the Left, they must be the opposite of the Left. It is a form of hive mindedness, though, as things can be different without being opposites, just as things can have similarities, without being the same. It is another feature common to all Utopians. That’s a binary worldview. There are those inside the walls and those outside the walls. It’s why libertarianism, particularly Rand variety, is not of the Right.

It is one of the ironies of the Enlightenment. The people who came out of it with a head full of ideas about eliminating the human condition are cast as the friend of mankind, while those skeptical of these schemes are cast as the misanthropes, the reactionaries. The truth is exactly the opposite. The social reformer, the proselytizer and the Utopian fanatic are all driven by hatred of humanity and themselves. The skeptic, in contrast, is motivated by an appreciation of and a love for humanity and the human condition.

Whatever you care to say about the alt-right and the fellow travelers in the Dissident Right, they at least maintain a healthy respect for the diversity of the human animal and the need to respect that diversity. Throwing a tribe of Somalis into Lewiston Maine is not helping anyone. Diversity plus proximity is misery. The Somalis need their place and the Mainers need theirs. It’s why man invented borders and has always been willing to die maintaining them. Only the sociopath dreams of a beige future and what it would take to achieve it.

The Utopian dreamers start out thinking about all the things they hate about humanity, which if often everything about humanity. They have no respect for people, only disgust which is why they are consumed with changing everything about human society, including the people in it. This why Orwell remains the go to guy for dystopia, over more accurate people like Huxley. The Utopian hopes the future is “a boot stamping on a human face — forever”, while the skeptics suspect he may be right.

Late Phase Capitalism

The song we hear from our rulers is that America was built by immigrants. The other version is that America is a nation of immigrants. The latter does not hold up under scrutiny, but the former probably gets closer to the truth. The nation was obviously settled by people from over the sea and that settlement continued into the 19th century. The word “settler” is correct as most people who came over came in search of land, which is why there was a steady march west during the 17th and 18th centuries.

The last couple of decades of the 19th and the first decades of the 20th, on the other hand, were a time of high immigration. These were people headed for urban centers to work in factories. The new industrial barons wanted cheap labor so they imported it. It is probably true that the rapid industrialization of American could not have happened without the massive flow of migrants from Europe. It is certainly true that the newly minted industrial millionaires got rich from the supply of migrant labor.

By the second decade of the 20th century, the great fortunes of the industrial age had been built. Men were still getting rich, but they were not getting rich like Carnegie, Rockefeller or Mellon. There was also a move to reign in the super rich of the day by busting up trusts and forcing competition back into the market. Again, you could still get rich making stuff, but it was mostly by applying industrial techniques to narrow areas of the economy. Of course, the end of the industrial boom saw the boom in global finance.

The other thing that developed in the late phase of the industrial era was organized crime, most notably La Costra Nostra. The official narrative says it was Prohibition that ignited organized crime, but there were gangsters in America before that event. A better way to frame it is that urban criminal organizations were uniquely positioned to flourish in the era of illegal booze. They had worked out most of the problems that come with organized crime and so they had the people and structures in place to be rum runners on day one.

Prohibition era gangsters were cold blooded killers, for sure, but many were quite innovative in the crime business. Many of the techniques they employed to secure their businesses, territories and settle problems in their organizations are right out of the modern business school. The more famous gangsters could have been successful in legitimate business, but by the time they cam along, the big money from industry had already been made and the doors were closed to newcomers, so they went into crime.

It should also be noted that organized crime did pretty well through the Depression and the Second World War. Things got a little tougher in the post-war era, but the Mafia was still going strong into the 1970’s. The wheels came off for the Mob in the 1980’s, at the dawn of the technological revolution. New laws, but mostly new technology allowed the Feds to roll up the Mafia. The state had also taken over their rackets, like gambling and loan sharking, while foreign cartels took over the drug trades. Today, the mafia is dead.

Like the industrial revolution, the technological revolution has created some fantastically rich men. The difference is that the modern billionaire is most likely making his money from all over the world. Technology has allowed him to get rich because it allowed him to easily do business everywhere. The men who made the railroads were constrained by geography. They had to settle for being rich men in one country. Therefore, they took an active interest in their host country, often being very patriotic and nationalistic.

The new over-class lives globally so they think globally and that has brought problems unique to the technological era. But like the industrial age, the great fortunes were mostly made early on as everyone raced to apply the microprocessor to the big problems of society. Men are still getting rich, but the age of the instant billionaire are largely over. The SnapChat people are probably the last guys to hit the lottery with a killer app. The low hanging fruit has been picked. What’s left is the stuff that is harder to reach.

Another similarity to the industrial age is the role of immigration. As Steve Sailer has pointed out, the tech people  were granted an unofficial waiver with regards to labor laws and identity politics. Up until very recent, we have not seen any pressure on Silicon Valley to hire blacks or women. They have relied on an army of helot labor brought over on visas or setup up in camps over in Asia. In many cases, firms have flagrantly violated the laws aimed at curtailing this stuff, without facing much in the way of scrutiny.

In all probability, there will be people in the coming decades who point to the microprocessor revolution and say it was built on the backs of immigrants. Our cosmopolitan grifters already believe this. As with the industrial revolution, it will not be entirely wrong. The more accurate way of stating it is the great fortunes could not have been amassed without cheap foreign labor. The initial work, the groundbreaking work, was done by locally grown pioneers who did the inventing and innovating.

The one main difference between this age and the prior age is we have not seen the growth of organized crime. There are Russian gangsters stealing credit cards and running various financial scams, but nothing like the Italian Mafia. No one has tried to organize tech workers like the mob organized Jewish butchers or the garment industry. The old mob used fear to tax legal business and fearlessness to monopolize illegal business. We are not seeing anything similar, outside of the drug game run mostly by Mexicans.

Part of this is due to the fact that most vice is legal. Gambling is everywhere now, mostly run by the state or state sanctioned enterprises. Booze is everywhere and pornography is on TV. Even prostitution is largely ignored by the state. The only illegal business is drugs and that’s run  by Mexican cartels. There’s also that fact that there are many ways for a clever and adventurous person to get rich in politics or the shadier sides of finance. Crime simply does not pay as well as politics or banking.

That may be the way to look at something like the Clinton Foundation and, coming soon, the Obama Foundation. These are not explicitly criminal organizations, but they certainly play outside the spirit of the laws. Obama is out of office and prohibited from running again, but he still controls the Democratic party. The Clintons would be in charge, if not for the fact that the voters took their under boss out in the Tuesday Night Massacre, otherwise known as the presidential election. Even so, the Clinton Family is still a player.

In other words, the analog to the great mafia families of the prior era will be political organizations and operations that work the fringes of the system to rake in huge piles of cash for the people running them. Right now, the best way for a moderately intelligent person to get rich is to win a seat in Congress. Even a seat in the state legislature can be parlayed into a comfortable lifestyle paid for by insider deals and influence peddling. If you are not the sort to run for office, helping those who do run for office is very lucrative.

In one of histories great ironies, the English speaking world went to war with fascism and defeated them on the battlefield, but ended up adopting most of the fascists socio-economic polices. Similarly the US government went to war with the mob, but is now embracing the same ethos as those long vanquished gangsters. Maybe like the oxpecker, the tiny bird that lives off rhinos, human society will always have a quasi-criminal class that lives off the people at the pleasure of the people in charge.

The Killing Season

Baltimore has the nickname of “Bodymore, Murderville” because of a high rate of homicide and the habit of the locals spray painting the slogan on abandoned buildings. The other “slogan” you see around the city is a re-write of a marketing campaign run by the city a few years back. The pols had the idea of putting the word “Believe” on everything, so the more clever changed it to “Behave” which gets to the heart of the issue. The city has a huge population of people who cannot behave themselves like civilized people.

Currently the city is on pace for over 360 murders and we are just getting into peak killing season. Usually, the winter tamps down the murder rates as it is just not as much fun to pop a cap in an ass when it is snowing sideways. Similarly, the spring has been very rainy and gangsters tend not to like going out to murder people for their sneakers when it is raining. In other words, it’s possible there is a lot of pent up demand for murder that will now be unleashed with the summer weather.

To put this in context, Boston has about 650,000 residents. People think the city is much bigger, but that’s because of the surrounding cities and towns bunched in next to Boston give the feel of a much larger metropolis. Baltimore is around 600,000 people, if the census is correct, which no on thinks is true. Baltimore has a strong incentive to overstate their numbers as they get more Federal money as a result. Boston is on pace for about 40 murders this year, while Baltimore will have 350.

With that in mind, the city has put the cops on extra duty, allowing for overtime as a way to tell the cops they are sorry for the Freddie Gray fiasco. The official position of the politicians and our Progressive masters is that the Obama administration’s war on cops had nothing to do with the explosion of black homicide. People on the streets know better, but no one cares what they think. Either way, the city’s decision to make a peace offering to the cops suggests they are ready to stop pretending.

The precipitating issue was the murder of a white bartender in one of the nice parts of the city. Long ago, Baltimore pretty much invented the idea of gentrification. Mayor William Donald Schaefer had a dream of fixing his city so he condemned a bunch of houses in and around the waterfront and gave them away to urban pioneers. The one condition was they had to fix them up and live in them. The result was some very nice neighborhoods for young professionals and older people who enjoy city living.

The way the city has managed to keep these nice neighborhoods alive is by having the police keep the blacks in their ghettos. No one says it like that, but that’s the way it worked. They used good old fashioned racial profiling to make sure the homies stayed on the West side and the gentry class whites stayed out of West Baltimore. Local whites will tell you that they have been pulled over by cops when they decided to take a shortcut through the ghetto. The assumption being that they were lost or stupid.

Whether or not the cops can restore something resembling order is hard to know. The lesson the Left never learns is that society is a fragile thing. It’s quite easy to destroy the delicate balance that allows for a safe and civilized city. Topple it over and not only does all hell break loose, but restoring order requires a massive effort. It’s pushing a rock up a hill. If all goes well, your massive effort will get the rock to the top, but one mistake and the rock rolls down to the bottom and you have nothing to show for your efforts.

There’s also the fact that the supporting institutions in the city are always a mistake away from collapse making the job more difficult. The city prison system is just an extension of the ghetto. This was an outlandish example, but it is so common that everyone just accepts it. There are services to help black inmates stay in touch with their friends back in the neighborhood. It’s easy to see why cops and judges get a bit cynical about the system. They know that no one really wants to fix the problems.

There is, of course, the ever present issue of race. You would think that a city like Baltimore, and the surrounding environs, would be teaming with racism. After all, the overwhelming majority of the murders are done by blacks against other blacks. Of the 159 murders, 12 victims were white. In a city that is 60% black, 90% of the victims will be black and 95% of the perpetrators will be black. According to the myths of our age, the Backlash™ from the whites should make life a living hell for innocent blacks.

The opposite is true. Most whites have become habituated to the reality of life in this part of the world. Everyone, white and black, knows the reality on the street. The blacks with anything on the ball do exactly like the whites and that’s put distance between themselves and the black ghetto. That does not stop the Progressive maniacs from ranting about racism, but they do it from high up in the towers of their whites-only neighborhoods. As a result, no one hears them and so they can be ignored.

Interestingly, blacks tend to think of Baltimore as a good city for them. Number play a role as the city is close to 60% black, but that just means there is a thriving black social life, which is not the case in most cities. For the well-behaved blacks, there are black middle-class neighborhoods in the suburbs where they can be around other well-behaved blacks. The irony here is that while we have some of the worst blacks in America, we also have some of the best blacks, too. White people like that. it gives them hope.

The Douche Bag Society

Inevitably, whenever I write about the new economy or new technology, I get responses like this one from reader Fred Z, taking me to task for challenging his assumptions about the morality of the new economy. Fred likes the fact he can grind his local vendors into poverty, by ordering his stuff from a stranger in America on-line. No one wants to be thought of as a bad guy, so he has bought into the neo-libertarian moralizing about so-called free trade and globalism. He’s not screwing his neighbor. He’s efficient!

Fred does not think of himself as a bad person for buying on-line, rather than buying locally. No one does. Every day we are told by our betters, through the mass media, that the only thing that matters is that you get what you want, when you want it, at the price you want it. The defining feature of the modern economy is that anything resembling value-added is stripped away, in order to turn it into a commodity. Once everything is just a commodity, then the only decision is price and when you can have it.

This is a big part of the libertarian fantasy. Everyone is a deracinated economic unit. The only engagement between humans is transactional. Fred Z feels no obligation to buy from a local vendor or even buy from a countryman. He’s just getting what he wants, when he wants it at the price he wants. His only concern is himself. If the people he ends up buying from are homicidal lunatics, that’s not his concern. If his decision to buy from strangers means his neighbors fall into poverty, then maybe his neighbors should just die.

The marketplace has always been a ruthless and unsentimental part of the human condition. The ancient Persians looked at the Greek agora as a festival of liars, robbing from brothers and neighbors. From the Persian perspective, haggling over price and quality was just one person trying to swindle the other, by telling lies to the other. The seller lied about the product and what he would take for it. The buyer lied about his opinion of it and how much he was willing to trade for it. They were right, the market is built on lies.

It is also why human societies have always put limits on what can happen in the marketplace. Life is all about the trade-offs. The socialists think they get better trade-offs with a highly regulated state economy where the excesses of the marketplace are constrained. Free market types think the trade-offs are better with much less control over market activity. They are both right to a point. That point is determined by how the people of a society want to live. What they want of themselves determines what they permit.

In the 1980’s, it was often remarked by Progressives that the Scandinavian countries made socialism work. They had high tax rates and very low amounts of inequality. The liberals were careful not to talk about it too much for fear people would notice that these countries were all white. The culture of the white people that made up these countries had a long tradition of egalitarianism and sharing so socialism worked for them. The trade-offs they preferred reflected what they loved and what they hated about the human condition.

That’s the debate we will have to have about neo-liberalism. Fred Z loves that he can get cheap stuff on-line, but he is not thinking about the trade-offs. The rich people who rule over us do think about the trade-offs, which is why they ruthlessly support a system that socializes costs and privatizes profits. The trouble for guys like Fred Z and everyone reading this is that we’re on the other side of the equation from those rich guys. We’re the ones on whom those socialized costs fall. We are getting the bill for all this.

Think about it this way. Law enforcement requires society to employ bad people to deal with the criminal element. It’s why even today, most cops are horrible people and prison guards are sociopaths. Policing deviant humans is an unpleasant task that is best done by unpleasant and cruel people, who take some pleasure in the task. Few of us could work in a prison and most of us would never want to do the things cops do every day. It also means law enforcement people get to do things the rest of us are prohibited from doing.

Even libertarians understand the necessity of having cops and jails, but they will argue that we have gone too far in an effort to make society safe. The cops have too much power and the state abuses the rights of too many people. The trade-offs are not acceptable, so libertarians argue for things like drug legalization. The costs of the police state far outweigh the costs of additional addicts. Whether or not you accept that, you have to accept the premise, that there are trade-offs and they should be debated.

The douche bag is someone that is self-absorbed and has a high time preference. He wants what he wants and he wants it now. At some level, he knows this is at odds with the rest of humanity so he takes some pleasure in annoying others. This feedback tells him he is serving himself and thus living up to his douche bag code. It’s why the douche bag laughs and mocks normal people when they point out that he is being a douche. It’s validation that he is being all the douche he can be. He’s the giant douche.

That’s what is at the heart of the global marketplace. Fred Z can be a colossal douche nozzle to his friends and neighbors, but call it mere consumerism. His friends and neighbors will eventually return the favor. The marketplace, instead of being confined to one area of our life is coming to define our lives and our common humanity. We live in an era when the stepinfetchits of the billionaire class can gleefully talk about killing poor people or deporting them. We are on the way to being a douche bag culture.

The P. T. Barnum Economy

Way back in the olden thymes, when companies were getting on-line to sell stuff, it looked like Amazon picked a strange market to exploit. Buying books on-line was not a great leap forward, but Bezos knew something the rest of us did not. He knew that a business that flattered the beautiful people would have an army of beautiful people promoting it to the rest of us. It was the central insight of Steve Jobs. He was the post-modern P. T. Barnum, selling the glorious future rather than a glimpse of the wolf-boy or the tattooed lady.

Amazon never made money selling books, but before anyone could pay too close attention to that, Bezos moved onto selling other stuff. When that failed to turn a profit, he got into selling music, then it was movies and TV shows. Amazon eventually turned a profit, but the total profit for the firm over its history amounts to what a company like ExxonMobil generates in a good month. Now, Amazon is promising to have drone robots deliver your goods before you even decide to order them. The future will be glorious.

The key for Amazon making it all these years was to keep people focused on everything but their financials. This is not an exception. Faceberg will never have earnings to justify its share price. In fact, it will never have user rates to justify its ad revenue. It’s not unreasonable to think that everything about the business is fraudulent. That should trigger large scale audits and investigations into its business practices, but Facebook is on the side of angels in the cultural revolution, so its all good.

Probably the best example of our carny-barker economy is Tesla. To his credit, Musk has built a real factory that builds real cars. No one is going to say the Tesla is a work of art or even a practical car, but it is a car and the technology is impressive. The trouble is the company does not exist to make cars. It operates as a tax sink, where government subsidies flow into it and some portion of those subsidies turn into payments to the principles in the form of stock repurchases, debt service and compensation.

This only works if people think the venture will either one day turn a profit or the technology that it creates will result in something good down the road. To that end, Musk is regularly out doing his Lyle Lanley act, making all the beautiful people feel righteous by backing his ventures. He’s also telling Wall Street that he will soon be making and selling enough cars to turn a healthy profit, even without massive tax subsidies. The trouble is, that’s probably never happening, at least not with current management.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said last week the company has run out of space at its Fremont, Calif., plant and is looking to build a second factory.

“There’s no room at Fremont,” Musk said. “It’s bursting at the seams.”

But that statement left plenty of industry watchers scratching their heads.

Tesla’s Fremont plant is the old New United Motor Manufacturing plant, otherwise known as NUMMI. The joint operation between General Motors and Toyota began in 1984 and was intended to help the Japanese automaker learn about doing business in America and teach GM the principles of lean manufacturing.

The plant, 32 miles from Tesla’s headquarters in Palo Alto, is large enough to handle around 500,000 vehicles a year in 5.3 million square feet of office and manufacturing space. Tesla, meanwhile, produces about a fifth of the plant’s capacity.

So what gives? Why is the electric-vehicle manufacturer running out of room?

It’s because in this temple of lean manufacturing, Tesla uses far more workers than NUMMI employed to build far fewer cars. In 1985, its first full year of production, NUMMI had 2,470 employees and produced 64,764 vehicles — about 26 vehicles per worker per year. By 1997, it had 4,844 ​ workers and produced 357,809 vehicles — about 74 vehicles per worker per year.

Tesla, on the other hand, had between 6,000 and 10,000 workers in 2016 and manufactured 83,922 vehicles. That puts its vehicle-per-worker number between 8 and 14, about one-seventh the efficiency of NUMMI at its peak.

What we are seeing with Tesla is pretty much what we saw with Amazon. Tesla is a great show so the tax subsidies will not be shut off. Amazon avoided paying sales taxes for years this way. Rich people think Musk is cool and it is currently hip to have one of his cars as a toy, so there will be no push to cut the apron strings. That means Wall Street investors will stay in the game, even though they have people who know there is zero chance for Tesla to profitably make cars anytime soon.

In fairness, this sort of chicanery is not new. The industrial age saw similar rackets, which is how great public works projects were built. The government turned a blind eye to the cost shifting and corruption, as that seemed like a reasonable price to pay for a bridge or a hydroelectric damn. It was not just corruption. Railroads and power companies trampled on the rights of citizens to build out their networks. Despite all that, the people still got trains, electrification, bridges and roads. People can accept those trade-offs.

Whether or not that will hold in the technological age is debatable. The collapsed retail sector has left retail centers looking like ghost towns. Getting cheap stuff on-line is not exactly a great legacy, compared to rural electrification. On the other hand, maybe battery powered, self-driving cars will be seen as having been worth the massive debt and tax shifting that is so much of the modern economy. And, unlike the robber barons, guys like Bezos, Musk and Zuckerberg put on a good show, so there’s that.

The Age of the Two Laws

For as long as I have been alive, I’ve understood that the law does not treat everyone equally. We have the theory, all men are equal before the law, but in practice it is something different. This is the product of growing up poor. A poor man, who gets jammed up on a small crime, is going to get processed. That means he will get a public defender, who will negotiate terms with the state. If he hires an attorney, that lawyer will do the same thing, but maybe pulling in a favor from a buddy to get a better deal.

On the other hand, a rich guy will hire a team of lawyers and put so much pressure on the prosecutor, that the roles will be reversed. The state will cry uncle and take the best deal they can just to be done with the case. Joe Biden’s niece, for example, avoided serious punishment for a crime that would put most people in jail. The thing is, this is not a defect in the law. It is the way the world has always been. The rich and powerful have access to all the resources they need to get the best deal they can from the law.

That has always been tolerable as people have always accepted that human societies are hierarchical. The people at the top are at the top for a reason and being at the top comes with benefits, which is why people want to be at the top. Lately though, a new thing is turning up in the law. Slowly, we are seeing a second legal system, a shadow system, evolve alongside, and in some cases displacing, the old legal system. This new legal system is sort of like what anarcho-libertarians imagine. It’s private and transactional.

Instead of relying on the old law, large social organizations, like universities and corporations, are slowly creating a parallel legal system to adjudicate problems that are unique to them. The college campus is the most obvious example. The imaginary rape culture on campus has spawned a new legal system for addressing it. You see it in this story about Michigan State. The cops are in a secondary role, as the university addresses its more pressing issues, while relying on its own legal mechanisms.

Here we have four players accused of sexually assaulting a woman. Instead of the cops treating this like any other criminal complaint, the school is in charge of the investigation and the cops are on the sideline. The school brought in a law firm to do an investigation, provide the cops with evidence and then conduct a wide ranging evaluation of school policy and senior personnel. They have also tried and judged the players, removing them from campus and kicking them off the football team.

This is not an exception. Baylor University did the same thing when they had a similar issue with the football team. To date, one guy has been charged with an actual crime, but dozens of men have been cast into the outer darkness as punishment, for violating secret rules. The school president was forced into exile and the football coach as been banished. He will never work again, despite having done nothing illegal nor violating the terms of his contract. He was tried and convicted in the private legal system.

What we are seeing develop is a separate legal system for the managerial class. Unlike the criminal system, they are not going to have jails and incarcerate offenders. Instead, the land of the Dirt People will be their prison and you will be the tormentor of the condemned. For now, people accused of real crimes, like those MSU players, will be marched out of the kingdom and handed over to the “authorities” for prosecution, but they have been found guilty by the school and cast back into the land of the Dirt People.

The temptation is to say that the schools are responding to the threat of litigation, but that’s a trivial matter. A sad coed can be bought off for a few hundred grand, less than the cost of a low level administrator. The real issue is culture. The people inside want to enforce their values and will do so ruthlessly. The people sent into exile are a warning to those who remain inside. There’s a code of conduct and violations of those rules, as interpreted by those in charge, can result in the ultimate punishment, exile from The Cloud.

This is what we’re seeing with social media. Our rulers like to pay lip service to civil liberties, but they would much prefer it if they could do away with all of them. To that end, crack downs on political expression have been outsourced to media companies. When Theresa May promised to throw more yobs in jail for being mean to the Muslims, she was sending a signal to the big media companies that they need to crack down on dissent and that means banning people who say unapproved things.

This is anarcho-tyranny refined into a social system. The state is unable to perform its basic functions, but it is adept at working with private business to push around the law abiding citizens. There will now be a second legal system run by global corporations to police the speech of citizens. Instead of putting trouble makers in prison, however, they will put them on mute, making it hard for them to communicate their grievances. Users will not voice their complaints to the law. They will appeal to someone is customer support.

That’s where you see the motivation behind the evolution of this parallel legal system we are seeing with the Cloud People. Like so much of neo-liberalism, it is cloaked in libertarian arguments about private entities setting their own policies, but that’s only so it can avoid defending itself in open court or the court of public opinion. In the old law, the process determined your guilt and then your punishment. In the new law, the process is the punishment and a weapon to enforce conformity and submission.

Like so much of the managerial state, it is not clear if it is sustainable in the medium run, much less the long run. Increasingly, males on campus are using the old law as a weapon against the new law. Falsely accused males are hiring attorneys who will do what the new law is too afraid to do and that’s examine these accusers. Most of these claims by coeds are dubious and some are criminal, abetted by college administrators. Eventually, one of these will become a vehicle for a very big lawsuit and settlement.

On the other hand, the future is not written. Thirty years ago, it was laughable to suggest homosexual marriage was a right. The willingness of the old law to submit to the new law is what will be tested over time. So far, the indications are the cops and prosecutors are OK with handing over their authority to colleges and corporations. Maybe the courts, staffed as they are with Cloud People, will happily go along with this new shadow system and all of us will become serfs on one social media platform or another.

The Irrationality Of It All

A year ago, the life force of 49 carbon based life forms ceased somewhere on planet earth. Memorial services were planned comewhere to let Hate know that he or she, the sex and gender preference of Hate is unknown, that it was not going to win, whatever winning means, in the context of a war against an abstract concept. Media operations have posted stories about the triggering incident along with images of the faithful shaking their fist at Hate, which they appear to hate a lot, but in the good way, not the hateful way.

The “incident” is the mass shooting by a Muslim fanatic at an Orlando homosexual club that resulted in hundreds wounded and 49 dead. Reading the Progressive media, you would not know that. The Washington Post wrote that “49 people died” as if they just fell over from some strange illness. The Orlando Sentinel has the decency to tell us how they died, but then insults everyone’s intelligence by claiming the motive is a mystery. The motive is clear to everyone, including the lunatics working at the Sentinel.

It’s a good reminder that the Progs relentlessly rewrite the past, even the very recent past, in order to fit the current narrative. Right now, they hilariously hold onto the idea of building an anti-white coalition that somehow includes homicidal Muslims and homosexuals, who Muslims hate almost as much as they hate Jews. To that end, they have set about writing out the Muslim antagonists from the stories about Muslim terrorism. Here we are a year after the event and they are blaming guns. In another year, the killer will be a white guy.

This is why it is a fool’s errand to assign logical motives to Progressives. The goofy white woman holding the sign that reads “We Will Not Let Hate Win” in the Post story has no idea why she is there or even what she is saying with that sign. It is not even about a normal emotion like anger or sadness. People attending public memorial services for strangers can at least claim to feel bad for their community or humanity. That woman is there hoping to gain attention from the media so she can gain status among her coreligionists.

That’s the thing about this new religion. It is feminine. Their “war on hate” is more like a popular new diet craze or a fashion trend. The gals get into it because the popular gals are into it. Everyone gets into it more and more, until everyone is doing it to the fullest and it suddenly stops being popular. Some new thing is the new thing and the cool girls are into that and not the old thing. Today’s war on extremism is just the yoga pants craze, but for emotionally unstable single women. It gives them a way to gain attention.

It’s natural for people outside the Cult of Modern Liberalism to think that this weird religion has no future. No one wants to believe that something so insanely irrational could be the winning formula that organizes future societies. Everyone’s beliefs seem weird and delusional until you start to believe them too. The pagans of Europe thought early Christians were a bit nuts and then they converted, as that made more sense than worshiping the old gods. Christianity suddenly was not so crazy after all.

Given that this weird new religion defines the emerging global ruling class, the safe bet is they have staying power beyond what logic would dictate. It’s natural for people to look to their betters for status signals. The entire self-help industry relies on this truth. Tony Robbins presents himself as a wildly successful winner. He will help you emulate him, so you can be a winner too. Mike Cernovich is following this model and has gone far, despite never having actually done much of anything, other than self-promotion.

The passionate embrace of egalitarianism and multiculturalism by our betters is a powerful intoxicant. While it may be insane to think a coalition that includes Jews, Muslims fanatics and homosexuals can last very long, it may not really matter. It is the idea of it that matters and that’s what the new religion is selling. For our betters, they imagine a world that looks a lot like Chevy Chase Village in Maryland, where everyone is from all over, everyone is nice and the dining options are the best. Who could be against that?

On the other hand, there was a time when communism seemed like an inevitability. When I was a boy, most people assumed that in the fullness of time, humanity would sink into the darkness of international socialism. Instead, the cost of making it work exceeded the benefit and eventually, the whole thing collapsed. Today you are more likely to run into a lesbian druid than a communist. Maybe that’s where multiculturalism is headed, like a wave, it will eventually crest and then recede, leaving behind a lot of dead fish.

Still, it is hard to accept. How can people with the ability to manage their own affairs convince themselves that the cause of the Orlando gay club slaughter was evil spirits, rather than the Muslim, who actually did it? How can sane people protest the march against sharia and march in favor of the gay rights at the same event? It defies explanation, other than it is some new form of mental illness that spreads like the flu, causing people to lose their marbles. It really does seem like collective madness.

When I was a boy, I would listen to my grandfather and his brothers tell war stories. Most served in the Pacific theater, against the Japs. They never got over the fanaticism they faced by the Japanese soldiers. They laughed about it, as men of that age would, but looking back I suspect they never could square what they saw with what they thought they knew about the world. Some things just defy all rationality and our current age may be one of those examples.

Prog Kabbalah

One of the weirder aspects of the Cult of Modern Liberalism is the mysticism that underlies so much of it. It’s subtle, but pervasive. You see it here in this bizarre op-ed written by the president of the University of Maryland.

In the early morning hours of Saturday, May 20, a young man was murdered on the University of Maryland College Park campus, a senseless and unprovoked act. Richard Collins III, a student at Bowie State University, had just been commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Army and was within days of his graduation. A promising life was ended all too soon, leaving families and communities to mourn.

The suspect is a UMD student. The state’s attorney of Prince George’s County is overseeing the investigation and prosecution of the suspect, supported by the county police, the UMD Police Department and the FBI. They will examine whether racial hatred was a motive, given the suspect’s association with an online white supremacist group; the victim was black.

National polls show that most Americans believe that expressions of hate are increasing and going mainstream. Sadly, such incidents have affected our campus before.

The point of the op-ed is virtue signalling. This guy is a hard thumping Prog, which is the only way someone can become the president of a university these days. Our colleges and universities are indoctrination centers for the Cult. Practical education is not on the priority list. So much so that students may actually get dumber as they go through their undergraduate training. A guy like Wallace Loh has spent his life proving he is completely given over to the one true faith. He does that by writing op-ed pieces like the one above.

That’s easy to see, but what gets lost in all of this is creepy voodoo that supports the whole thing. The good professor is warning us about “hate” as he believes that could have been the reason for the murder. In this context, he is claiming that “hate” has agency and exists outside of human beings. Replace the word “hate” with “the devil” and you have someone from Colonial New England demanding the witch be burned in order to rid the community of the evil spirit causing people to sin.

The professor is not a random nut-job with goofy ideas in his head. The Prog media is littered with references to evil spirits and dark practices. Racism used to mean acting against someone based on their race. Today, racism is a mystical force that undermines the efforts of the good-thinkers. Just look at his concluding paragraph.

These are fraught times on our campus, across the nation and around the world. It is on all of us to stand up and fight racism, extremism and hate. They are cancers in our body politic.

Prog mysticism is so pervasive that no one bothers to notice the use of words like “extremism” anymore. We just accept that it means whatever is currently vexing the Progs. No one bothers to explain what it means, because it is not really a thing. It is the cause of an emotional state in the same way a demon causes the little girl to vomit pea soup and spin her head around. It is so mysterious, that no one ever says how they will fight it, just that it is their holy mission to fight it.

There’s a tendency to assign logical motivations to the Progs. This piece in the American Conservative where I spotted the Loh op-ed does exactly that. It just assumes the good professor is using this tragedy as an excuse to crack down on dissent, as if any exists on the college campus. The headline even accepts the Prog mysticism about “:hate” being a lesser demon that walks among us, looking for a suitable host. The reality is, the Cult of Modern Liberalism is a mystery cult now. It is a religion.

The other day, Al Gore claimed he was told by God to fight global warming, and make a billion dollars doing it. It is tempting to write it off as a cynical ploy, but all the facts in support of his claim have been there for a while. Climate change is an apocalyptic nature cult. Al Gore had a nervous breakdown during, or soon after, the 2000 election and came back from it believing he was a prophet sent to redeem mankind. He’s not the first guy to snap and develop a messiah complex. He’s now the Ezekiel of climate change.

Human beings are believing machines. It is not inaccurate to say we are designed for the task. In fact, ancient people just assumed that humans were created to worship the gods. It seemed obvious to them. Our modern rulers may have abandoned the old gods, but they still have a desire to believe. They still have a need to think their lives have purpose and their exalted status is for a reason. Even though Christianity may have died out in the ruling classes, they still need a religion, one that provides them authority to rule.

What’s happened over the last few generations is the civic religion of American Liberalism has evolved into an esoteric and syncretic adaptation of Biblical mysticism. They have the old concepts, just re-purposed to exclude explicit references to the supernatural. Instead of God, they have the right side of history. Instead of the devil, they have a collection of evil forces like extremism and hate. They may not know who sent them on the mission, but they know they were sent to fight racism, extremism and hate.

The Coming Boomercide

The warning when you are young is to avoid falling in with a bad crowd. This almost always means staying away from the older crowd as they will talk you into doing things that you are not prepared to handle, like drugs or crime. The peculiarity of my upbringing meant that I spent my youth around an older crowd, that was all bad, but I avoided the worst of it. Now that I am on the down-slope of life, speeding down toward the inevitable, I find myself hanging around on-line with a younger crowd and they are all bad.

I’ve never cared for generational politics so maybe that’s why I have no trouble with the younger generation. In my youth, I was forced to sit through endless lectures by Baby Boomer teachers about how Generation X was a bunch of slackers. By the time I reached high school, I could, from memory, draw maps of the Ho Chi Min Trail and recite the playlist at Woodstock, despite having no interest in either. I’ve always thought that my generation’s disinterest was due to having to sit through so many Boomer sermons.

If you are a Boomer reading this, you are no doubt outraged, scandalized and offended at my comments. Just to be clear, I’m not talking about you. You are an exception. In fact, you are unique, like a snowflake, a special creation that stands in stark contrast to the conformity of your coevals. You’re special! That’s always been the amusing part about Boomer culture. They love talking about themselves, but hate it when others talk about them. Everyone is conservative about what think they know best, as Derb would say.

As I said, I’ve never been into generational politics. When I was a teen in the 80’s, having to hear lectures about Gen X being deficient, always left me wondering what they called the kids who came along in the late 70’s? They were technically Boomers, but they were nothing like the people who came of age in the 60’s. Now I’m told that kids who came of age in the 90’s are calling themselves Gen X, which is probably fine to a point. I suspect they are rejecting Gen-Y because it sounds feminine, as in [lacking] Y-chromosome.

Anyway, hanging around the bad kids on-line, I’ve noted their extreme hostility to Baby Boomers and Boomer politics. It’s not the normal youthful rejection of their parent’s stuff as their parents are not Boomers. In the case of the 20-somethings, their parents are my generation. Their grandparents are the Boomers. This means the so-called Gen-Z and Millennials literally want to push granny off a cliff. I’ve read screeds by youngsters to that effect. They really hate the Boomers and not in an abstract way.

The coming Boomercide, if it happens, is going to be triggered by some portly old guys in comfort waist slacks, showing up at an alt-right rally wearing tricorne hats, preaching “heritage not hate.” It is the Boomer impulse to accept the morality of the Left while pretending to reject the consequence of it, that enrages the youth. Whatever you want to say about the alt-right kids, they have this one thing right. Boomer politics is all about the so-called conservatives swearing that the liberals are the real racists, as if it matters.

A big part of this is the Boomer willingness to trust the media. I know. I know. You don’t trust the media. You know they are just a bunch of socialist liberal pinko Democrats. But, that’s just a way of trusting the media. There’s a big difference, a categorical difference, between thinking the media is honestly “biased toward one side” and thinking the media is just a deeply cynical public relations arm for the administrative state. Almost all Boomers will accept the former, while few accept the latter.

This is part of the great generational divide between the young hate thinkers and the Baby Boomers. The young have no trust in public institutions. This is not a thing particular to the alt-right. Bernie Bros are always moaning about the system. The stupid little girl jammed up on espionage charges acted on the basis that the system is illegitimate and lacks authority over her. That’s why she did not think twice about doing what she did. In her mind, the government and its agents are the enemy, with whom she is at war.

This trust in public institutions among Boomers is natural. Most of them grew up in a high trust culture. When they watched TV in the 50’s, the people making the shows were in love with America and promoted 1950’s values. Even into the 60’s, the mass media was supportive of America. When the culture began to collapse, the media seemed to be on the side of those good hearted Progressives trying to make things better for blacks, Jews, women and the disposed around the world. The media was all about good intentions.

Later generations came of age assuming that what was on television was a deliberate lie intended to have them buy stuff. Today’s youth have come of age in a time when the media is clearly the church choir for the managerial elite. Those who take the blue pill, get jobs in the media, singing whatever is in their hymnals. Those who take the red pill, view the media the same way the IRA looked at the Irish, who worked for the British security forces. As a result, they see the Boomers as gullible idiots.

Another aspect of the generation animosity is the Boomer enthusiasm for punching Right, in order to cozy up to the Left. Bill Mitchell is probably the most obvious example. He has turned himself into a cartoon in order to avoid being lumped in with the people the Progs have labeled “far right.” The other day a person on Gab pulled out this old take down of Bill Whittle by Steve Sailer, as an example of Boomer perfidy. In fairness to Whittle, he appears to have taken the red pill, but we’ll see if it holds when the Progs attack him.

All of this could simply be a bit of cosmic justice. The generally accepted theory is that Western culture collapsed in the 1960’s when the English speaking world allowed their kids to pull down the institutions that made all of it possible. That is certainly true. In fact, the Boomers have been like a wave of locusts, sweeping through each aspect of the culture as they aged, leaving nothing but waste behind them. In the 60’s and 70’s they destroyed social norms. The 80’s they destroyed education. The 90’s is was politics.

As the Boomers head into their golden years, they are prepared to bankrupt Western society by becoming a great financial burden, but the youth have other ideas. It would be amusing if the Boomers are eventually vanquished by a youth movement that is, at its heart, an embrace of everything the Boomers rejected. I cannot find an example of restoration genocide, but there is a first time for everything. The phrase “you have to go back” will become the slogan of this thing for a number of reasons.

Not being a boomer or a youth, I have no dog in this fight. I know, I know. “First they came for the Boomers and I did nothing because I am not a Boomer.” That’s a chance I’m willing to take. My guess is Gen-X will be just as easy for the kids to ignore as we were for the Boomers. There’s a lot of Boomers to push off a cliff, so my bet is they wear themselves out before they get to me anyway. At that point, I may have died from excessive amusement, so bring on the Boomercide!