The God’s Must Be Crazy

Half a dozen years or ago, I had a Facebook page at the insistence of female friends, who told me I had to have a Facebook page. It did not last long as my life is not interesting and the lives of my friends are not interesting either. What killed the idea for me was that I kept seeing posts for “I Fucking Love Science!” and they were always from people with no math or science. The posts themselves were never really about science either. Instead, they were usually about confirming some belief bubbling up on the Left.

In other words, they were just using science as a placeholder for a transcendent authority that allegedly validated their preferences. Instead of claiming that God commands us to put more women and blacks into STEM fields, we’re to believe science is happier if we put more women and blacks into STEM fields, because, science!  I dropped Facebook a long time ago so I have no idea if it is still a thing, but I see there is a website for it now. By the looks of it, it is the same act.

For as long as I can remember, the Left has been claiming that science confirms their beliefs and preferences. Not that long ago they use to claim that socialism was based in science. Today it is multiculturalism. At least once a week, someone, not knowing the difference between statistics and science, makes a claim that science demands we fling open our borders to the gathering hordes. You see? Science says open borders is good, so only a science denier would oppose wholesale immigration and those people can be dismissed.

Science is not the only stand in for God that we have today. Libertarian economists worship at the altar of Castor and Pollux, or as they call them, Efficiency and Productivity. No matter the policy, they demand it be sent off to the druids of the local economics department so they can read the goat entrails and then forecast the policy’s impact on efficiency and productivity. For instance, clamping down on immigration is a bad thing because it lowers worker productivity and that makes the gods cross. Handing off trade policy to global planners is a good thing because it pleases efficiency.

The most stunningly absurd manifestation of this came from the libertarian economist Alex Tabbarok, who claimed the mystery cult of economics demanded open borders. He argued that your preferences are invalid unless you can please his gods and he was the guy who would decide if the gods were pleased. This is Bronze Age oogily-boogily and it exposes a truth about the Left in the modern era. While they may appear to have abandoned the Christian concept of God as a moral authority, in reality they just gave him some new names. They still point to the heavens and demand you submit.

That’s the thing you see with all of these sects within the Progressive hive. They maintain that old Puritan instinct where they assume to have special insights into the desires of the heavens and therefore they have a right to push everyone around. This is clear when you look at the campus war on whites. When the nutters demand the blanco check his privilege, they are claiming to speak for some mystical force that has decided that the honky hegemony must be eradicated. They assume the gods are on their side and the accused must justify his actions or else.

It’s not just a mysterious supernatural authority that animates their morality. They have a list of demons and sub-demons they believe are at war with the forces of light. Racism used to be a white guy refusing to hire a black guy. Now, it is this thing called “institutional racism” which you can’t actually see or describe. It’s this dark force that results in the IT department being staffed with pale penis people, rather than looking like the multicultural paradise we all know is the natural destiny of man. We must fight institutional racism!

Feminist have also conjured a monster, the opposition to which has become their rallying cry. Campus Rape Culture™ is not a real thing in the sense that it exists. Instead, it is a metaphysical concept that causes all sorts of bad things. The result is we have a line of hungover coeds at the rape counseling center blaming the campus rape culture for why they woke up with their underwear on their head. The rarity of actual rape on campus is held up as proof of the insidiousness of Campus Rape Culture™.

Eric Hoffer said, “Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil.” This is true, but the latter always results in the creation of the former. Once the great evil has been identified and described, there has to be a moral code in response to it and that requires a transcendent authority to animate. Otherwise, the moral code is just a list of preferences that can be disputed or discarded. If those preferences have the color of authority, one beyond the reach of man, then it has power.

That’s what we see with the various utopian tribes in the modern age. Modern Progressive have “the right side of history” as their spirit god. Libertarians have Efficiency and Productivity. The open borders crazies have “it’s who we are” and Buckley Conservatives have “conservative principles.” All of which serve as a supernatural authority whose word trumps any argument made by men in opposition. It also gives the adherents license to use any means necessary to impose their morality on the rest of us.

The Department of Nice

The other day, I was at the Department of Nice. It is in the Imperial Capital area and while it is not a very pleasant commute, once you are there, it is very nice. It’s still technically winter here, but the weather was very mild, in the 60’s with a gentle breeze. Many of the nice people, who work in the Department of Nice, took advantage of the nice weather and were out enjoying a walk around campus. It’s nice that they call it a campus. It has that same feel, like an oasis, where you see none of the coarseness of the adult world.

Walk around any big city and you see the full range of human society, from bums to businessmen. Everyone seems to have a purpose and everyone looks a bit hurried. Even the bums will have an urgency to their panhandling. It’s also noisy out in the regular world, even when you get away from the big city. The cars, the car horns, the construction and usually, in most cities, young people being loud. This usually means urban youth shouting and boasting or maybe hardhats yelling to one another.

It’s rarely noisy on a college campus. Maybe if there is an organized event with a PA system it can get noisy for a while. In good weather, the kids will be out playing games, but that’s not the noise of the outer world. Those are the noises of the schoolyard and no one can be vexed by them. It’s not like a car alarm going off or a jackhammer tearing up the sidewalk. Young people having fun or laughing as they enjoy the weather on a bucolic campus, just reinforces the beauty of it, the niceness of it. The campus is nice.

At the Department of Nice, I had some time to kill so I sat against my car, eating my lunch, watching people saunter around, enjoying the nice weather. The quietness is what struck me. In my neighborhood, it is only quiet in the dead of night and even then it is not very quiet. Outside the campus walls, in the Imperial Capital, it’s not quiet. The other thing that struck me was the relaxed look on the faces that wandered past. Nowhere did I see anyone with a worried look about what comes next. Everything is just nice.

On the ground floor of the building where I was needed, they have a nice little coffee shop, like you see at an airport. It’s not quite a shop and not a kiosk. It’s a counter with some couches and chairs scattered in front of it. I saw some young people, maybe in their late 20’s, hanging out and socializing, like you would see on any college campus. One of them was a skinny, hippy looking guy with a pony tail. He reminded me of a guy I knew in college, who would bring a guitar to parties. It was his hook to charm girls.

Spend any time at a government facility and you quickly see, if you are the noticing sort, that it is a different world. The Department of Nice is pretty much an adult daycare center, like every college campus. Except it is not a college campus. It is a government facility allegedly doing necessary work. Trying to find anyone who can tell you what it is they do and why it is necessary is not recommended. It’s not that anyone will get upset at your questions. It’s that no one in government land is defined by what they do. They are defined by their credentials.

The people who find their way onto the college campus, or the government campus, are not there to confront life. They are there to escape it. Once on the campus they quickly forget about the rest of the world. They become institutionalized, like convicts that spend decades in the penitentiary. The government never fires anyone and there are never tough times, requiring the bosses to make hard decisions. For the career civil servants, death is the only thing that can get them off the payroll.

It’s why everyone is so nice and relaxed. When you don’t have to worry about hard times, you can spend all your time enjoying the good times. There’s plenty of office politics, of course, and the stress that comes with it, but the people in the Department of Nice are secure in their positions. They know the check will be deposited every two weeks into their account. They know their job will always be there. They know that no matter what happens out there in the world, everything will be fine on campus.

The director of the Department of Nice was a pleasant fellow, described to me by his subordinates as a visionary. He presented me with his card, which had two lines of letters indicating his credentials. Other than PhD, I had no idea what the letter combinations meant. Similarly, I could not figure why he was considered a visionary. Maybe he described to his subordinates the world outside the campus. Maybe he told them of his plans for expanding the Department of Nice. Maybe visionary just means really nice.

The other thing about the director that stood out to me as that he was very aware that I had no reason to be there and we had no reason to meet. It was all ceremonial. Everyone else carried on as if it mattered, but the director was the exception. Maybe that’s why they see him as a visionary. He’s the one guy who knows there is no real purpose to the Department of Nice other than to perpetuate the Department of Nice. Maybe they admire him because he visionaried his way to a position where he could afford a Mercedes.

The reason the managerial class is in revolt since last November is not that they hate Trump or the people who voted for him, at least not in a specific way. It’s that we are alien to them. The people on campus live different lives than the rest of us. They are vaguely aware of the world of the Dirt People, but they no longer feel what we feel. They have no fear of failure. They no longer feel angst. They no longer worry about the ground under their feet. Unlike the bulk of America, the people in the Department of Nice, know what tomorrow brings. In their world, everyone is nice.

Coming home, I saw a cop I know checking out a now familiar set of bums. The bums were dumped in our slice of heaven by someone, maybe the city, maybe the state, I don’t know. They just turned up the other day. They spend their days camped out by the Food Lion or wandering the streets making a nuisance of themselves. For some reason I began to think of what it must have been like for Alaric and the Goths to burst through the Porta Salaria and see the Eternal City for the first time. I bet it was nice.

Free To Not Be Around You

Talk to a real estate agent, who deals in mid-sized suburban properties, and they will tell you that the local schools sit atop their client’s list of concerns. A great house in a bad neighborhood usually means bad schools and no one will choose that on purpose. Instead, families will pay extra for a not so nice house in a great neighborhood because that means good schools. You can fix up your house, but you cannot make the local school better, if it is full of misbehaving knuckleheads or headed that way because of the neighborhood.

People instinctively understand a basic truth about education. That is, the quality of product coming in dictates the quality of product coming out. Despite generations of lectures from our betters, we still know that the apple does not fall far from the tree. If the parents are low-IQ losers, the kids are most likely going to be low-IQ losers. The schools are not correcting this. In fact, it is the opposite, because the other old saying about apples is also true. One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch.

Everyone, including our hypothetical real estate agent, is too polite and too afraid to say what this means as a practical matter. For instance, I knew someone who lived in a mostly Jewish suburban neighborhood of starter homes. These were townhouses and ranchers. A black family moved in next door and they got along well with everyone. Then another black family moved in, but it was ghetto time, with parties into the late hours. Suddenly, the neighborhood sprouted “for sale” signs and the demographics changed within one summer.

In a prior age, this problem was mostly solved through free association, home owner associations and covenants. People in that neighborhood would have prevented the threat to their property values by prohibiting the sale of houses to people who did not belong. It was not entirely fair, of course, but it allowed people to protect their property rights without having to resort to lying. As is always the case, there were trade-offs, but at least their was a natural way for people to guard their rights as property owners and citizens.

Similarly, in a prior age the neighborhood association would have cracked down on the troublemakers. Even the “progressive” neighborhoods policed their ranks and used the rules to enforce standards. A couple generations of myth making have convinced everyone that these rules were used strictly by racists, and they often were, but they were more often used to maintain public order without having the government send in the police. With enforced diversity came the police state and that is not a coincidence.

Free association is illegal now. If a real estate agent is too obvious in how they handle these things, they face disciplinary action from the real estate board. A homeowner, who refuses to sell or rent to whoever shows up, can easily find themselves in front of a judge. Freedom of association is no longer a right in America. Everyone has to seek permission from the state before they can make these decisions. That means finding a place to live has become a game of cat and mouse for middle-class families.

It’s yet another example of the worthlessness of modern conservatism. They rolled over for this stuff long ago, accepting the Left’s assertions that discrimination was the vilest of sins and therefore required an extraordinary remedy. Once you accept that people don’t have a right to say with whom they will associate, addressing things like crime and the schools means begging the Left to make exceptions to their moral code in order to enforce anything resembling civic order. That’s where school choice and voucher programs come in. They are an appeal to the Left for an exception.

Of course, the Left hates the middle-class so any appeal on their behalf is denied. Instead, these appeals have to be decorated in such a way that appeals to the vanity of the Left and allows them to benefit. So-called charter schools that are for the “gifted and talented” are marketed to Lefty as a way to cull from the ghetto, all of those bright and creative minds, otherwise left to be raised by their parents. In realty it means those self-righteous progressive women get to send their kids to schools that are not so diverse.

School voucher programs attempt to expand on this by playing the Magic Dirt game. “If only those poor mothers can get their kids off that tragic dirt and onto the magic dirt.” They muster statistics and education studies to buttress the claims. It’s all nonsense, but it is the only way modern conservatism can frame the issue. They are begging the Left for an exception to the moral code. No one is fooled by it, which is why school voucher programs have gone nowhere. The Left will not tolerate them.

Freedom of association is not just forbidden. You’re not even allowed to talk about it anymore. Imagine what would happen if someone went on TV and said they don’t want to live next to Koreans or Somalis. They would have their life ruined. It’s why all those principled conservatives we keep hearing about were nowhere to be found when the queers started attacking bakers. Even libertarians sprint from the room when the topic of free association is raised. It’s the result of conceding the moral high ground to the Left.

It’s why the so-called Right is in a panic over Trump’s immigration talk. If it is acceptable for Americans to say “no” to Muslims on the grounds that we don’t want any more Muslims, then we’re back to discussing the limits, if there are any, to the freedom of association. Put another way, if we don’t need a reason to say “no” to Mohamed, then we don’t need to ask for permission in order to say “no” to diversity. That’s not a fight, or even a discussion, the so-called conservatives want to have with the Left.

It’s also why the hand-wringing over free speech on campus is a pointless distraction. You cannot have free speech without freedom of association. That’s the obvious lesson from the confines of the academy. Put a bunch of people in close quarters and you have to police what they say and where they go. Otherwise, you have violence. The same is true of all other rights. All natural rights are premised on freedom of people to live apart from those they do not wish to associate. Self-segregation requires little policing.

Bring back freedom of association and all the other rights follow.

Which Side Are You On?

Last week Charles Murray went to the Middlebury College to give a talk about his latest book and other subjects. For those unfamiliar with Middlebury College, it is a very preppy private college in New England. It is one of the “Little Ivies” and ranked in the top-10 of national liberal arts colleges. For those unfamiliar with Charles Murray, he is most famous for The Bell Curve, a controversial book 20 years ago that described the mountain of data on IQ and its relevance to social outcomes. He’s also a fixture at the think tank AEI.

I’ve never met Charles Murray or been in the audience for one of his lectures. I’ve seen him on television a few times and he seems like a nice person, but for all I know he could be a monster. I do know he was cravenly dishonest about the last election. Like the rest of the NeverTrump loons, he refused to acknowledge that the election was a choice between two options, not a choice between Trump and the model of perfection. He believed that gave him a free pass to work on behalf of Hillary Clinton, by working against Trump.

Anyway, Murray went off to Middleburry to give his speech and the campus lunatics shut down the event. They even managed to assault one of the professors, who sponsored the thing. Murray wrote up his reflections on the event, as if it was a seminal moment in the history of the republic. Normies have been getting the business from the lunatics for a long time, but no one cares about them. When Ann Coulter gets screamed at on campus, guys like Murray just shrug, because after all, Coulter deserves it. She’s a bad thinker.

That’s the thing with these guys. They don’t care about free speech or the open exchange of ideas. They care about their free speech and their access to the marketplace of ideas, which means staying in good with the Left. When a John Derbyshire is shut down by the campus lunatics, Conservative Inc is silent. To defend Derb or anyone else the Left has ruled out of bounds would risk their standing and that can never happen. The only core principle of these so-called conservatives is to remain on the good side of the Left.

This is not supposed to happen to good thinkers like Charles Murray, so it is a big deal to the people who pretend to be on our side. It also offers another opportunity for Conservative Inc. to pretend they are on the front lines fighting the Left. As I pointed out the other day, these guys are looking for a way to insert themselves at the front of the movement they claim to lead, at least until things get serious. You just know that one of them will be declaring himself the “respectable” version of the Dissident Right.

The incident is a good reminder of Official Right’s worthlessness. Murray’s piece reads like an apology. That’s because it is an apology. The boys and girls of Conservative Inc have always worked to position themselves at the edge of what the Left considers the respectable Right. Twenty years ago, the Bell Curve was right at the edge. Now, the Left considers it heresy and Murray knows it. It’s why he invested so much effort into advertising his opposition to Trump. It’s part of the long apology for his past heresy.

Murray is fond of the label Establishmentarians to describe his peers. While it is true that they are forever defending the establishment, they have no say in what is and what is not the “establishment.” That’s decided by the Left. Since that is always changing, most of these guys spend their days trying to justify the latest movement of the Overtone Window as conservative. It’s why a Jonah Goldberg was out declaring homosexuality a core conservative principle  It’s why a National Review is pro-tranny.

It’s also why the most important project of the Dissident Right is discrediting those palace guards of the Progressive establishment. Guys like Charles Murray are useful opponents for the Left and not just because they are always willing to take a dive. Like the tomato cans that fill up the fight card for a weak champion, Conservative Inc insulates the Establishment from a real challenge. Instead of having to face off against people who are willing to punch back, the Left likes these journeyman who are just happy for the payday.

Yeah, its a shame Charles Murray got heckled in preppy-ville, but it is important to keep in mind that these guys never do anything about it, other than complain. If Murray, or any of the others, gets an invite to speak at Middleburry tomorrow, they are volunteering to jog there if that’s what it takes. It’s why they deserve no sympathy and no support. I have more respect for Based Stick Man than any of the cowards of Conservative Inc. That guy is willing to fight back. That’s a guy who deserves support, not Charles Murray.

It’s All Fake

Back in Obama’s first months on the throne, Rick Santelli, a TV personality, was “reporting” from the floor of the stock exchange. He responded to a question about Obama’s housing plan with a rant about socialism, finishing it off with a call for a new Tea Party. Whether it was spontaneous or choreographed is hard to know, but at the time people took it to be entirely spontaneous. Santelli is a carny barker prone to getting carried away on the air and his rant had the feel of an old fashioned stem winder.

Regardless of the intent or the execution, the rant went viral and the Tea Party Movement was born. Middle America was ready to be pissed off due to the terribleness of the Bush years, so Obama’s poor start put the normies in a fighting mood. Before long people were showing up at town hall meetings, dressed as Samuel Adams, giving their congressman the business about reckless government behavior that had made a hash of things. Since the Democrats were the majority, they got the brunt of the abuse.

It did not take long for the moonbats to declare the whole thing a racist conspiracy cooked up by the twelfth invisible Hitler in league with the eternal cyclops of the KKK. This was when the fake hate crime stuff got its start as a daily phenomenon. It was also when it became apparent to a lot of people that the news is mostly fake. The increasingly deranged Nancy Pelosi, slurring about “Astroturf” was so weird, it begged a challenge, but the news people carried on like it was manifestly true.

The claim that middle aged suburbanites, dressed in tricorne hats, were paid agents of a nefarious conspiracy was so nutty that the response from the press should have been laughter and then derision. After all, it has been known for decades that the Left uses rent-a-mobs. They pay people to show up and hold signs. Unions have been doing this since the days of Jimmy Hoffa. For the Democrats to clutch their pearls and call the Tea Party inauthentic should have been too much of a farce for even the very liberal press corp.

I’ve often wondered if that was when a lot of people started to think the corruption in Washington was worse than they imagined. The corruption of the Tea Party by Conservative Inc surely turned a lot of people to the dark side, but the priming agent may well have been the AstroTurf stuff. It was so obvious that the media was coordinating their coverage with the Left, it was hard not to notice it. The game was rigged and nothing in the media was on the level. It was not just bias, it was collusion.

The question is, how fake is it? The answer may be, more fake than you think.

A majority of online and social media defenders of Obamacare are professionals who are “paid to post,” according to a digital expert.

“Sixty percent of all the posts were made from 100 profiles, posting between the hours of 9 and 5 Pacific Time,” said Michael Brown. “They were paid to post.”

Since so much of the mass media is now intertwined with social media, the authenticity of social media is a useful proxy for the authenticity of the mass media. It’s right to assume that social media is mostly fake.

The largest network ties together more than 350,000 accounts and further work suggests others may be even bigger.

UK researchers accidentally uncovered the lurking networks while probing Twitter to see how people use it.

Some of the accounts have been used to fake follower numbers, send spam and boost interest in trending topics.

On Twitter, bots are accounts that are run remotely by someone who automates the messages they send and activities they carry out. Some people pay to get bots to follow their account or to dilute chatter about controversial subjects.

“It is difficult to assess exactly how many Twitter users are bots,” said graduate student Juan Echeverria, a computer scientist at UCL, who uncovered the massive networks.

Mr Echeverria’s research began by combing through a sample of 1% of Twitter users in order to get a better understanding of how people use the social network.

However, analysis of the data revealed some strange results that, when probed further, seemed to reveal lots of linked accounts, suggesting one person or group is running the botnet. These accounts did not act like the bots other researchers had found but were clearly not being run by humans.

This would explain the strange disparity in followers you see in Twitter. I’ve had people with tens of thousands of followers post a link to this site and the traffic was a few click throughs. On the other hand, a Ricky Vaughn tweet would net thousands of hits in minutes and it would last hours. That told me real humans were reading his timeline. It also suggests that those follower counts for allegedly famous people may be fake. We know people have bought followers for social media, but the scale has never been examined.

That may be changing. ZeroHedge used on-line traffic tools to figure out that major news sites have most likely hired Chinese click farms to help them game their traffic numbers, even though these sites are blocked in China. These sorts of solicitations come through the contact page of this site on a daily basis so it is nothing new. If the big major sites have succumbed to temptation in order to fraudulently boost their traffic counts, it is safe to assume all of them are doing it.

None of this surprises those who turned to the dark side when Darth Vader was still in knickers. The JournoList scandal was thrown down the memory hole, but the hate thinkers still remember it. The rampant fraud on Facebook with regards to their advertising is starting to impact on-line ads. That was entirely predictable if you have been following these things. But now, the general public is noticing that not only is the news fake, the people behind it look a lot like people our betters have been warning us about for years.

What may push everyone over the edge is the mother of all fake news stories, the entirely fictional Russian Hacking™ scandal. There is nothing about this that passes the laugh test. No one can even explain what it is the Russians supposedly did. No one can explain how Trump people talking to Russians is different from everyone else who regularly talks with Russians. It’s as if the media has been infected with a rage virus. Of course, it’s obvious that the hysteria is part of an orchestrated campaign to undermine Trump.

In other words, it’s all fake.

And it will end poorly.

The Battle of Preferences

The other day, Tucker Carlson had Nicholas Eberstadt on to discuss his most recent column on the economic causes of the turmoil we see in the culture.

The column is well worth a read, as Eberstadt loads it up with facts and graphs to make his points. The shocking statistics on the un-working population should be a national scandal, but as he points out, the economic data fed to politicians disguises these realities. Relying on the unemployment rate, for example, hides the legions of people, particularly men, who have dropped out of the workforce entirely. If you are not looking for work, you are not counted in unemployment figures.

Again, it is a great piece and worth reading. He has a book on this topic as well. Eberstadt is a guy worth reading, mostly because he has one of the more impressive biographies you will see.

Eberstadt was born on December 20, 1955 in New York City. His father, Frederick Eberstadt, was an author and photographer. His mother, Isabel Nash, was a novelist. His paternal grandfather, Ferdinand Eberstadt, was an investment banker and co-founder of the Central Intelligence Agency; his maternal grandfather, Ogden Nash, was a poet. His sister, Fernanda Eberstadt, is a novelist.

Eberstadt graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1972. He then earned his A.B. magna cum laude in Economics from Harvard College in 1976, and his M.Sc. in Social Planning for Developing Countries from the London School of Economics in 1978. He completed his M.P.A. at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in 1979, and his Ph.D. in Political Economy and Government at Harvard University in 1995.

Anyway, one of the great mistakes made by conventional conservatism was to adopt the sterile, transactional view of culture favored by libertarians and Progressives. In fact, their view is often anti-cultural, as it treats humans as if they are moist robots. Culture is about tastes and preferences that are embedded to a great degree in human biology. Just as every person is the sum of decisions made by his ancestors, the culture of any society is the sum of all those individual sums. In other words, culture is tied to human biology.

Let’s pretend that, through some special magic, economics comes up with a way to put most everyone on welfare, at a rate that allows for a middle-class life. The robot revolution leads to a world where hardly anyone works, but everyone has access to all the goods and services we associate with the comfortable middle-class life. In other words, we have lurched into a version of the future imagined by H.G. Wells, where everyone spends their day in leisure, but no one is eaten by Morlocks after sundown.

While it is impossible to know how humans would respond to such a world, we do know something about how humans relate to one another. For instance, we know that men compete with one another for access to females. Not too long ago, men would engage in battle with one another to establish status within the group. Today, status is established by income, academic titles and profession. A lawyer has more status than a sewer worker, for example. A small business man has more status than a middle manager.

In a world without work, figuring out these relationships is impossible. It is not entirely ridiculous to think that in such a world, humans would bring back things like jousting and trial by combat, as a way to settle disputes and figure out the pecking order. In fairness to Eberstadt, he does seem to get that men without work prospects lose something essential to being a man. Men without purpose are men without a reason to live. They will also be men looking for a way to fill that void, be it drugs or some great cause.

The trouble with the economic explanation is that it assumes the current rumblings are only due to the want of material goods and social status. That people would embrace the multicultural paradise our betters plan for us, as long as we have meaningful work and lots of cheap goods. The men and women of the managerial class are incapable of viewing the world through any other lens but their own. They are blinkered to the fact that theirs is a culture now alien to the rest of us and as such they cannot see the world as we see it.

Further, underlying all of the recent analysis attempting to explain the Trump phenomenon, Brexit and the cultural rumbling across the West, is the conceit among the Cloud People that what is driving the revolt is something they would call shame, if they possessed such a quality. They imagine the unrest is the result of  a great army of men ashamed of being losers in the new super wonderful global economy. That shame is turning to envy as they seek out causes and candidates to exact revenge on the Cloud People and their attendants in the managerial  and political classes.

All of the analysis of Brexit, for example, was seasoned with this view. The savvy cosmopolitans of London voted against Brexit, of course, because they have long interesting lives ahead of them in the multicultural paradise. The people who voted for it are old country rubes being left behind. Similarly, the Trump voters are always described as white working class losers angry at having been left out of the new economy. You cannot help but get the sense that the analysis on offer is less about a search for truth than it is a justification for defending the status quo.

Men are not moist robots. The reason most white men don’t want to raise their kids next door to former tribesmen from Somalia is they don’t like Somalis. It is not personal, they just strongly prefer the choices of their ancestors over the choices made by the Somalis. They like their culture. They like remembering their ancestors by maintaining their traditions. They don’t want to toss what they are into the great blender of multiculturalism. It’s not about economic data or the tides of history. It is about preferences. They prefer their own over strangers.

That’s what our masters cannot comprehend because at their heart of what drives their thing is self-loathing. They hate their ancestors and the culture they built, because they hate themselves. Our betters want the featureless gray slurry of multiculturalism because it is the nullification of culture. Multiculturalism is no culture. It is the bland formality of rules and check lists. It is a world where no one remembers the past, because no one wants to be remembered. The great unrest is not about economics. It is about men not wanting to leap into the void. It’s about men not wanting their name erased from the book of life.

The reason the focus is on the white working class and the economic plight of men is the people doing these analysis cannot bring themselves to face this truth. They insist that anything that cannot be measured does not exist, because that eliminates any consideration of alternative viewpoints. There are lots of people who voted for Trump who have done quite well in the new economy. Lots of Brexit voters suspect that they will pay some price if England breaks from Europe. They voted the way they did for more than base economics. They did it for cultural reasons.

For a long time, the political battles in the West have revolved around an agreed upon goal. Fighting the Soviets or improving human rights. The coming battles are not about agreed about ends or transcendent truths. These are not battles over things that can be measured. They will be about preferences. What sort of society will be left to the next generation? How do we wish to be remembered and who will remember us? There are no right answers to these questions. In a war over preferences, it is not enough to be right. It is that everyone else must be made wrong.

The Cycle of Life

The other day I was listening to this interesting podcast from Keven Grace and Kevin Steele, two hosers from some place called “Canada.” Both had careers in the media and now they don’t, presumably due to the local blasphemy laws. I’ve listened to a number of their interviews I found on YouTube. For those interested in hate-think and the haters who founded hate-thinkery, their interviews of Gottfried, Sailer, Taylor and others are a good introduction to the hate. They ask good questions and get good answers.

The podcast on music is interesting if you enjoy thoughtful discussion of the business side of popular culture. If you are under the age of 80, you just assume that pop music is a feature of society. It’s hard to think about a time when there was no such thing as pop stars or hit songs played on the radio. The music business did not exist a hundred years ago, at least not in the way we think about it today. It was after the war that cheap radios, cheap record players and a prosperous middle-class birthed modern pop music culture.

If you read a book like The Wrecking Crew, you see that much of what we think of as rock and roll lifestyle was manufactured. The early years of pop music were dominated by old experienced guys from the jazz and big band scenes. They wrote the music, recorded the songs and made the hits. The acts that turned up on TV and radio were often just front men, hired to be the face of the act. From the very beginning, music was a business designed to make money, not music, for the people who owned the music business.

One of the things I found interesting from the podcast is that the music industry, the people involved in the business end of things, is about half the size it was at its peak. A couple of years ago I did a post on the state of music. Per capita music sales have collapsed from their peak 15 years ago. That peak was largely a bubble created by the advent of the compact disc. Everyone went out and repurchased their music collection in the new digital format. A lot of old stuff was remastered for the new format and that boosted sales too.

We are now in a time when selling songs is no longer very profitable. Often, bands will put their new releases on YouTube free of charge. The song itself is a form of marketing for their live shows. In my youth, the opposite was the case. Bands went on tour to promote their latest album. The tickets to the show were often cheaper than the album. Now, anything you want is on-line so trying to monetize the songs has become a lost cause. As a result, the focus is on making money from the live shows.

In many respects, pop music is back to where it was before the great wars of the 20th century. In the 19th century, sheet music was the item of value in the music business. Many of our intellectual property laws, in fact, come from efforts to protect the owners of sheet music. The main source of income for musicians, however, was the live act. They went around performing for customers. It is where the expression “sing for your supper” started. Often musicians were paid, in part, with a meal.

There are some important lessons in the history of pop music. One is that cultural phenomenon have a life cycle. They come into existence, blossom and then die off. The music business is never going to go completely away. There’s still money to be made marketing acts and managing the production of recorded music, but the boom times are over. It is, as they say in business, a mature sector now. It’s not a business attracting wild men looking for adventure. Instead it attracts MBA’s moving through the corporate system. “This is Josh, who came over from the petro-chemical division.”

Pop music’s impact on the greater culture is also largely over. There will never be another Beatles or Rolling Stones. That’s because “American culture” is over. Prior to the two great industrial wars of the 20th century, America did not have a unified national culture. It was federation of regions. New England may as well have been a different country from the Deep South or the Southwest. The South was very different from Appalachia. There was no unified “American” culture to which all the regional cultures submitted.

The great national project of conquering Europe and Asia opened the door for the flowering of an American culture after the war. Into it was drawn anything that could be sold as celebrating this new world power. It is why what we think of as American pop culture blew up after the war. In music, for example, producers scoured the land looking for authentic American sounds to package up and sell, in order to meet the demand of this new growing thing called Americana. It even went global, in search of spice to ad to the mix.

Like the music business itself, the great unifying national culture that blossomed in the 20th century has run its course. America is, to a great degree, falling back to its natural, regional state. Just look at the popularity of movies and TV shows by region and you see old weird America emerging again. Live acts now setup their tours to reflect the fact that they have greater appeal in some regions than in others. If you are a country act, for example, there’s no point in booking a lot of dates in the north, outside of the one-off festivals in the summer that feature a variety of acts.

That’s another lesson from pop music. The past is the actualized, the present is the actualizing and the future in the potential. Culture is that middle part, standing on the past in an effort to realize the potential that lies in the future. Once culture attains its natural end, it dies. What’s left is what it created. The grand unified pop culture of the Cold War era is now like an old factory building that has been renovated to be lofts, shops and boutique restaurants. It’s influence on what comes next is purely utilitarian.

 

It’s Good To Be Bad

The other day I spotted this on the legacy website PJ Media. I expected to be a recitation of the hate thinkers they think they have “purged” from their thing. PJ Media is not as bad as many others, but it is still firmly locked into the old mindset of the “respectable Right”, which is to say they are not in business to challenge the prevailing orthodoxy. They worry more about the trouble makers to their Right than they do the supposed enemies on the Left, because they never want to get in trouble with the Left.

Instead, it was something entirely different. It was a list of mostly Conservative Inc sites allegedly being targeted by social justice warriors. The gist of the piece was to assert that the poodles of Conservative Inc are now being accused of blasphemy just like the toughs over on the alt-right, because, you know, they are just as hip and cool as the bad boys over at Breitbart. It is a fine use of the associative property to claim credit for things they have spent the last two years opposing, but failed to stop. Now they want in.

It’s not just PJ Media. National Review, noticing the collapse of their traffic, has decided they better figure out a way to get in on the action. They have been holding a mock debate among themselves about the role of nationalism, even giving the Tribe the needle a little over the issue of Israel and borders. Rich Lowry is clearly trying to figure out how to get the magazine back in front of the people they pretend to be leading. He has even warmed to Trump, saying nice things about his C-PAC speech.

None of this is shocking. So-called Movement Conservatism is a zombie movement, shuffling along until someone has the decency to put it out of its misery. That does not mean the army of people who have made a living peddling it over the last few decades are going to retire. They are looking for some way to weasel their way into the new thing. They look over at the cool kids raising hell on-line, building their own thing and the old guys of Conservative Inc are naturally jealous and want to be a part of it.

This is not an easy task. Buckley Conservatism was revealed to be nothing more than the candy coating to the Progressive nut inside the prevailing orthodoxy, when they went all in on the NeverTrump nonsense. It’s not that the cool kids will not forgive them. It is that there is no point to it. These are yesterday men with nothing to offer. National Review is one of those abandoned houses in Detroit. It’s only purpose is as a reminder of past mistakes. Otherwise, it can be plowed under and not one will care.

The current relationship of this new thing on the Right to the old conservative movement is a lot like what David Horowitz described as the relationship between the New Left and the old reds from the previous generation. When the New Left got going in the 60’s and people noticed it, suddenly every old commie in the country was trying to get in on the act. They were rejected not because they were old, but because they had nothing to offer.

The Reds of the early 20th century were all about communist orthodoxy and economics. It never made it too far away from being a parlor game for middle-class intellectuals, a hobby to add some spice to their lives. The New Left wanted to smash things, flip over tables and freak out the squares. They were a cultural phenomenon with a vaguely defined political agendas. The old Left was about party discipline and rules, while the New Left was about freedom and action.

That’s why the New Left of the 60’s could not borrow from the old commies and why they could not include them in their thing. Part of what defined the New Left was its rejection of the Old Left. That’s what’s happening today. This new thing going on is a break with the conservatism of Bill Buckley and the Reagan Mystery Cult. The young guys getting banned from twitter are not interested in hearing about how Dutch gave Tip O’Neil the business. They don’t care.

That’s the one thing that the new kids have going for them. They don’t care about the tastes and sensibilities of the people defending the status quo. There’s a delight in getting tossed from social media and an energy to the alternatives. This comes from being outside the rules. There’s a counter-culture vibe to what’s happening because the alt-right, or whatever you want to call it, is a cultural movement lead by young guys with everything to gain and old men with nothing left to lose.

Women’s Sports

The other day, Steve Sailer had a post about the WNBA and various ways to make the sport more attractive to sports fans. I pointed out that the main issue is spatial awareness, as men are more abstract in modeling their environment, while women are more concrete. Knowing where the herd is going to be when going on a hunt is different than remembering where the berries are when going on a pick. The part of the brain, which controls the perception of speed and the mental ability to rotate 3-D objects, is larger in men as well.

Anyone who has tried to watch women’s basketball understands that it is terrible in just about every way imaginable. Basketball is about speed, jumping and obviously shooting. Fans go to NBA games to see freaks of nature, who can leap from the top of the key and dunk the ball over some other freak. The women’s game is described as low and slow, meaning the style of play is pretty much the opposite of what fans of basketball want to see. The girls look like they are nailed to the floor most of the time.

Of course, in a sane world we would not demand that girls do all the same things men do, but we no longer live in a sane world. Even with the lunacy, there used to be popular TV sports for women that got good ratings. Women’s figure skating used to be a big deal, often put on against football and basketball. The logic was that men would watch football and their wives would watch skating, which was usually the case. Twenty years ago figure skating had better ratings than the NCAA basketball tournament, head to head.

Skating used to be a ratings monster for TV, but that’s no longer true. Today, not even the big events get on TV. Not only have ratings collapsed, but interest in youth figure skating is at an all-time low. Something similar has happened to gymnastics. It used to be that everyone knew the name of the top female gymnasts. Every Olympiad there was an American ready to take her place in the long line great female gymnasts. Today, Simone Biles would have to rob a bank in order for people to know her name.

You can even extend this decline in women’s sports to tennis and golf. The former was huge into the 90’s, but it has fallen on hard times. Women’s golf was never wildly popular, but golf junkies would watch the big events. The big stars were known to casual fans. Tennis still has the William’s sisters, but their popularity is based solely on their value as props in the culture war. Golf has no stars that anyone can name. The top US player is Lexi Thompson, whose name in a google search generates less than a million hits. Sandy Leon, a backup catcher, generates 17-times that number.

Now, all of these sports can point to various reasons for why they have fallen off the map in our culture. Figure skating and gymnastics has been plagued by weirdos and a culture that makes beauty pageants seem mild mannered. Women’s basketball was never popular and sports like golf and tennis have been in decline for a generation. There’s also a demographic issue. Popular female sports tended to be popular with boomers, who had kids. As the Boomers age off, their interest in these things has declined.

Even so, there’s no getting around the fact the female sports are at their lowest in terms of spectator interest. It could indicate a decline in women participating in competitive sports. It is impossible to get reliable numbers on this as the Title IX crazies are worse than the climate change nuts when it comes to fake data. Youth participation in sports has been in steady decline for decades so perhaps the declining interest in sport among the young is showing up first in the least popular spectator sports.

There’s also the possibility that biology is returning serve in the multicultural war on reality we have witnessed the last few decades. Women are wired to compete with one another in order to gain the attention of men. Our competitive sports are designed by men for men. It could simply be that the long war against femininity is coming to a bad end for the culture warriors. The girls would rather watch other girls be catty with one another in a TV drama than watch sweaty lesbians fight over a ball.

That would not explain the the decline in things like figure skating and gymnastics, but perhaps those were just early casualties in the feminist war on reality and as the fever breaks, these sports will make a comeback. These things also go in cycles so as the more reactionary Generation Z reach adulthood and start having families, perhaps sensible activities for girls will make a comeback. This is something you notice when looking at the social media of young alt-right types. They appear to be attracted to more traditional sex roles, despite the howling from their parents.

Essential Knowledge: Part VI

One of the challenges that arises when trying to list the things an educated man should know about the past is that the past keeps happening. By that I mean we keep expanding what we know about the past and updating our views about what is important. It used to be that the period after the fall of Rome was the Dark Ages, meaning that nothing much happened that anyone needed to know. Now, the early Middle Ages gets a lot of attention because it helps explain why the West came to dominate the world.

The fall of the Western Roman Empire used to be thought of as a collapse of civilization, leaving a great void into which swarmed barbarians. Out of the rubble, the people of Europe slowly rebuilt civilization into what we think of as the Middle Ages. The reality is the fall of Rome was a process. Roman rule was replaced by something else, something local and indigenous. A good way to start thinking about this is with The End of Empire: Attila the Hun & the Fall of Rome.

The first significant, post Roman, population to cast a shadow on our time are the Franks, who can probably be credited with the Christianisation of Europe. That’s debatable, but they played a large role in spreading the new religion. The Franks also gave us an important legal tradition. Frankish law was overwhelmingly concerned with the protection of individuals and less concerned with protecting the interests of the state, a sharp departure from Roman legal tradition, which was focused on the state.

The required reading when it comes to the Franks is Gregory of Tours. If you want something a bit easier to read, then this is a pretty good book for the casual reader. It’s short and covers the important bits. Reading up on Germanic tribes almost always means references to the Goths. While they did not leave much of an impression on the West, beyond the name, this is an interesting book on them that is worth reading. Of course, you cannot know the history of Europe without knowing about Charlemagne. This is the best book I’ve read on the subject.

Once you get to Charlemagne, you get to his British analog, King Offa and the history of Britain. For the general reader, this is a great book on the topic. Free of endless footnotes and scholarly jargon, it covers the material and makes it fun. This is a great time to introduce an excellent podcast. The British History Podcast done by an American lawyer, if you can believe it, is well done and entertaining. He plans to carry on until the present, but he does a great job with the early, post-Roman history of Britain.

The text most commonly used for learning about the Vikings is the Gwyn Jones History of the Vikings, but it is more than a little dry. It was written when acquiring knowledge was supposed to be painful. It does cover everything, without the PC claptrap you get from modern histories of the Norse. A more readable book that is good for an airplane ride is The Sea Wolves: A History of the Vikings. The truth is, the Norse were not all that interesting, but their impact on the West was very interesting. They changed Britain and northern Europe in very important ways.

In a similar way, the Mongols are not all that interesting as a civilization, but their impact on the world is interesting. Like the Norse, they also did some outlandish things, that still characterize them to this day. Everyone has heard of Genghis Khan so it is a good idea to know something about him and the Mongols. I know of no book that is as good as the Dan Carlin podcast on the Mongols. For $10 you get more than twenty hours of great entertainment and a great lesson in history.

It is impossible to know anything about the history of the West without knowing the history of the Catholic Church. In Part II of this series I suggested Paul Johnson’s History of Christianity, but for a history of the Catholic Church that is specific to this period, How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization is a great read. If you are more ambitious, you can take on the three volume The Founding of Christendom: A History of Christendom, but it is a bit of a slog, unless you are a faithful Christian with a strong interest in the subject.

Of course, you cannot study the history of the Church without learning about The Crusades. A pretty good podcast is on iTunes conveniently called The History of the Crusades. Strangely, there are not a lot of good books on the subject. Most are multicultural nonsense polemics against the Church. The best book I’ve read on the subject is The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land. It is a big book that covers a lot, but it is free of the nonsense and it is written to be read.

One of the most important events in the medieval period is the Hundred Years War, because it is the first flicker of nationalism in the West. The idea of a nation that transcends tribal identity was born in the war between the English and the French from 1337 to 1453. The start of the war featured multi-ethnic armies, led by kings, facing one another in what is now France. At the end, it was Frenchman versus English, two nations at war. The best book on the subject is The Hundred Years War by Desmod Seward.

Similarly, the Thirty Years War is one of those great events that still casts a shadow today. It was one of the deadliest conflicts in European history and arguably began the process of de-Christianization in Europe. It also gave us the Peace of Westphalia, which established concepts like national sovereignty, balance of power diplomacy and the prohibition against intervening in the domestic affairs of other states. The definitive book on the subject is C. V. Wedgewood’s The Thirty Years War.

Finishing up, it is a good time to mention the History of Germany podcast. It is the only podcast I know of that covers the early history of German tribes. Like the British History Podcast, it covers much more than this period, but it is one of the few that bothers with early Germanic history. If you really prefer to get your history via audio, this series is supposed to be one of the best. The Great Courses series is mostly for adults, who want to learn something about the topic, so they are excellent introductory resources.