Angels and Demons

The general consensus among physical anthropologists is that religion co-evolved with language. By religion, they mean belief, not the highly complex and abstract stuff we now think of as religion. Early humans probably started with supernatural ideas about the forces controlling the parts of the natural world they could see. Then maybe more abstract ideas about what happens to people when they die and the need to properly handle the dead. This is all speculation, but that’s where the evidence seems to point.

Whether or not belief is baked into our genes is debatable, mostly because we don’t know enough about the human genome. The news makes it sound like science has unraveled the mysteries of human DNA and we’re on the verge of creating super babies, but nothing could be further from the truth. There’s also the fact that people continue to insist that believing in Progressive mythology is rational while being a committed Christian is delusional. Once again, Progressive orthodoxy hinders science.

When religion is treated as a subset of mass movements, then the genetic argument for belief becomes more promising. The person who is always caught up in one cause or another is well known. It is not unusual for someone to start out in one thing and end up in its opposite. The Christian, who gets into radical politics and ends up as a spiritual gluten free vegan into hot yoga. Some people are highly prone to getting caught up into mass movements, while others are disinclined to join anything, even when they agree with it.

The true believer latches onto a cause, in part, because of a deep belief in magic or the super natural. The crazy cat lady into aroma therapy will have a long list of wacky reasons why certain smells have magical powers, but it’s still just magic. She does not know. She believes and she gets satisfaction, a psychic reward, by exercising that belief. Half of Iceland believes there are invisible elves on the island, even thought no one has seen an elf. They are invisible, after all. It just feels right to believe they exist.

The ruling class of America seems to be particularly prone to belief in the supernatural, despite their alleged love of science and reason. You see this in their obsession with racism. Our betters talk about racism as if it is a demon spirit. The anointed, invested with the spirit of good-think, are tasked with exhorting the rest of us to resist the Dark Lord of Racism. You see it in this post the other day by VD, regarding the hysteria at Duke Divinity School. Anathea Portier-Young sounds like she is organizing an exorcism.

“Racism is a fierce, ever-present, challenging force, one which has structured the thinking, behavior, and actions of individuals and institutions since the beginning of U.S. history. To understand racism and effectively begin dismantling it requires an equally fierce, consistent, and committed effort” (REI). Phase I provides foundational training in understanding historical and institutional racism. It helps individuals and organizations begin to “proactively understand and address racism, both in their organization and in the community where the organization is working.” It is the first step in a longer process.

Puritan ministers use to talk like that about Satan. Racism is no longer just normal clannishness based on race. Now it is a magical, almost indescribable, force that creeps up on little cat feet to possess the soul of those who are not vigilant. These seminars all have a revival quality to them. The participants are inducted into secret rights that allow them to resist the Dark Lord of Racism and all his works. The exhortation to go forth and preach against the temptations of racism is right out of 17th century Salem.

The late great Eric Hoffer observed that mass movements can get along without a god, but they must always have a devil. Modern Progressives have only a muddled sense of a deity, but they have a devil, as well as a list of lesser demons that do his bidding. Racism is the arch demon in the cosmology of the Left. It is why everything they don’t like is associated with racism. Trump, for example, is one of the least racist guys in public life, but they swear he is the soldier of the Dark Lord of Racism.

The ruins at Göbekli Tepe are interesting for a number of reasons, but one of them is what they suggest about the nature of man. It was assumed that human organization was either out of self-interest or out of a sense of cooperation. It was homo economicus or homo reciprocans. The fact that pre-settlement people came together to build what looks like a religious site, suggests that neither is true. A desire for purpose, beyond the material, may be the force that drives human cooperation beyond the bounds of kinship.

Our ruling class has the same desire for a purpose beyond their extravagant lifestyles as Cloud People. These are people who fully committed to the meritocratic, managerial system. They are true believers. Having abandoned Christianity long ago, the ruling class lurches from cause to cause, looking for a reason to cast themselves as on the side of angels, in the great moral struggle that is the human condition. Lacking a deity, a light to give them purpose, they settle for demons they can slay.

The Power of Theocracy

Living in a Progressive theocracy means the framework of civic debate is always going to be a Progressive framework. The Prog mullahs establish the premises, set the rules and dictate what is and what is not permitted. They police the debate to make sure no one is coloring outside the lines or questioning the official orthodoxy. In Iran, they allow debate until it bumps into heresy, then they start shooting people. In America, the Progs will ruin a few careers to send a message to the others that may have heretical thoughts.

It should be noted that the two most successful Middle Eastern countries, in terms of stability and world influence, are both theocracies, Iran and Saudi Arabia. If you throw in Israel, which is a Western implementation of Levantine theocracy, the three most successful Middle Eastern societies are theocratic. You’ll also note that the machinations of these three countries are at the center of great power politics. Russia, China, Europe and the US Empire are fixated on the Middle East. Theorcracy is not without its merits.

Anyway, the Prog theocracy of America is a hybrid creation that evolved over the last century into something that relies on the tools of an official religion to exploit the institutions of a modern social democracy. Progressives control the normal public debate that occurs within a social democracy by declaring a wide range of topics off-limits on moral grounds. This narrows the range of possible answers, funneling the public debate into the cattle chute of their choosing, thus resulting in a policy the Prog mullahs prefer.

A good example of this is race. It is largely assumed that Progs use race as a political lever to win elections or as a cudgel to beat the bad whites. That’s part of it, but the real utility of race for the Progs is to maintain their position as the moral authority, the arbiters of what is and what is not acceptable public discourse. As long as they are the ones determining the line between good and evil, they control pubic debate. There’s no argument you can craft that can overcome their moral superiority.

You see that here in this story on the collapse of black entrepreneurship. It’s a long emotive ramble not worth reading, but the gist of the article is that the collapse of black business is due to the magic of invisible discrimination by big business and banks. No evidence is provided, but good thinkers don’t need it. The bulk of the piece is the writer establishing his credentials as a friend of the black man, thus providing him with the moral authority to call out the heretics. Unsurprisingly, it is The Man!

As Steve Sailer pointed out, there are explanations for this collapse in black entrepreneurship that don’t involve magic. Immigration is one explanation that leaps out on a ghetto tour. In Baltimore, for example, Koreans and South Asians go into tough neighborhoods and open cash businesses like liquor stores and food stands. Their willingness to do business through bullet proof glass allows them to complete in these neighborhoods. Their clannishness allows them to dominate.

This is not the result of magic. It is the result of Progressive polices over the last thirty years. Similarly, is the Prog desire to decorate corporate enterprise and the academy with non-white faces. Instead of the Talented Ten Percent staying in the black community, building businesses, providing discipline and leadership, they are out in honkyville. Diversity hiring is a form of colonialism that skims the best and brightest into the dependency of corporate life, leaving behind the squalor of the rest.

There are certainly other reasons why black enterprise has collapsed, like the financialization of the American economy via credit money. There’s no doubt that the concentration of wealth, as well as the lack of restraint by the political class on its use, has severely disrupted the American middle class. There’s a lot of material there if someone is genuinely curious about what is happening in the black community. That’s not what matters to the Progressives. What matters is establishing their moral authority.

When the Iranian youth decided it was time to take on the Mullahs at the start of the Obama administration, they just assumed they had the numbers to force change on the regime. The regime, on the other hand, knew they possessed the moral authority to enforce order. That’s the real power of possessing moral authority. It’s not that it intimidates enemies of the regime. It’s that it sidelines the uncertain and motivates the true believers. When you get to draw the moral boundaries, you always win.

That’s the challenge to any movement that seeks to displace the Progressive authorities in America. It’s not about winning elections or getting the numbers in legislatures. It’s about stealing from the Progs their moral authority and their ability to frame the debate. If they have to rely on facts and reason, they are doomed, but as long as they get to set the terms of the debate, facts and reason don’t matter. That’s why the medieval House of Saud still stands and why the Mullahs in Iran are still with us. They define right and wrong.

The Skins Game

There’s a popular quote from Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, where one character asks another character how he went bankrupt. The response is “Gradually and then suddenly.” It’s funny because it is true. The great upheavals in human affairs seldom happen without warning. They are always part of a long process that was plain to see, but people preferred not to notice it so it rolled along until a crash or revolution.

A generation or two from now, people will look back at America and wonder how racial conflict broke out after what many thought were years of social progress. After all, the good whites had atoned for all the bad things done by bad whites. In reality, those years of “progress” were just accumulating bad habits and bad decisions, disguising an underlying rot. American society is headed for a bad place and you can see it here in this story.

Outrage has grown at Walter Reed Middle School in North Hollywood, as the school faces layoffs and increased class sizes due to a law limiting funds for schools with a higher white student body.

The Los Angeles Unified School District provides more funding for schools where the white population is below 30 percent.

In a letter to parents, the district noted the highly regarded middle school had been above the percentage for the past couple years.

The racial formula was a condition imposed by court decisions dealing with desegregation in the 1970s.

Los Angeles has a form of misery sharing in their school system. Since people vote with their feet, they naturally tend toward self-segregation. This means the schools tend to reflect this as kids go to the schools closest to where they live. To remedy this, the good schools are punished as a way to “even the playing field.” It’s an insane effort to implement the Kurt Vonnegut story Harrison Bergeron.

A look at the makeup of this particular school offers a glimpse of the future. The first thing you see is the school is 47% Hispanic, which in Los Angeles is going to mean Mexican, with a sizable chunk of Central Americans. It is roughly 30% white, 11% Asian and 7% black. The test scores, across all races, are above average for the city. This means the school can have a decent basketball team, but still do well in the math bowl.

The North Hollywood area is not a slum, but it is slightly downscale. The demographics, as of 2000, were Hispanics 57.7%, whites 27%, Asians 5.7%, blacks 5.6%, and others at 4%. Gentrification is underway so those numbers will begin to change as the renters are priced out of the market. In other words, the local schools will either have to import diversity or build private schools. Otherwise, they will be de-funded by the city.

The sound you hear is the ratchet clicking. As these sorts of incidents happen, everyone begins to think in terms of race. The honkies can accept writing checks to the blacks, maybe, but the Hispanics? The Asians, of course, see no reason for cutting checks to anyone. The Hispanics are in a bind as they try to work out whether it is better to be on Team Honky or Team Black, but they are not going to cut checks to the blacks.

The Cloud People imagine a world built like a sports league. The rich successful teams write checks to the poor, unsuccessful teams. That works in baseball as the Yankees and Red Sox need opponents for their games, so they agree to pay Tampa to field a team. In real life, people don’t think that way. The Asians are never going to think they need a really good hoops team, so they will hate writing checks to Team Black.

As the racial spoils system settles into society, new types of response develop for each group to maximize their slice of the pie. One example is gentrification. This is where rich white liberals buy up parts of the ghetto and then drive the hues away with high rents and heavy policing. This way they can have nice urban playgrounds for their kids to enjoy the cosmopolitan lifestyle, without being stabbed by a junkie.

What we have going on is a racial undertow, where the current at the top appears to be flowing in, but underneath, a stronger current is flowing out. In a society with one defined minority group, the majority will go along with helping the minority. When you have nothing but minority groups, which is where America is headed and where LA is now, you end up with the skins game and that is always a zero sum game with winners and losers.

A popular quote in the hate-think community is from this interview with the Lee Kuan Yew. “In multiracial societies, you don’t vote in accordance with your economic interests and social interests, you vote in accordance with race and religion.” That is the example of history and it is why Singapore has always been an authoritarian society. It is the only way to keep peace. Men with guns have to supervise the skins game.

It is why humans across the globe instinctively reject multiculturalism and diversity. Even the lunatics preaching this nonsense avoid diversity and multiculturalism. They always live in rich white neighborhoods and send their kids to private schools. They like diversity and multiculturalism from a safe distance. Humans know another thing that is popular in the hate-think community. That is, Diversity + Proximity = Violence.

 

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.

Back To Black

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Progressives and Race

I was googling around for something the other day and ran across this provocatively titled blog post from a dozen years ago. Being unfamiliar with the blogger, I was expecting it to be a white nationalist/supremacist thing. Reading it, I could see that it was entirely fictitious, so I then thought it was some sort of gag. I read the rest and there was no payoff. I went to the front of the blog and saw that it is still an active site run by a guy who believes he is famous. Maybe he is famous, but I’ve never heard of him.

Anyway, the blog post in question was complete nonsense. It’s the sort of thing that liberal nutters imagine happens all the time when they are not around to see it, but it never happens. No black person would tolerate such a thing as described. No black person would have tolerated it fifty years ago, much less in 2005 when the post was written. It sure as hell would never happen in New York City. But, the demand for racial injustice vastly outstrips supply so they invent these tales to make up the difference.

One reason for this is the Left has always defined itself as standing between an imaginary bogeyman and some imaginary victim group. It’s why calling them “socialists” is a category error. The American Left’s attraction to socialist economics was always in the context of the struggle mythology at the heart of their thing. When the most profitable victims to defend were working class ethnics with actual jobs making stuff, defending them from the privations of capitalism fit the psyche of the Progressive Borg.

Defending the working class lost its value a long time ago which is why you never hear the Left do it these days. They still use the phrase “working families” but everyone knows that means non-working families. It’s single women on welfare with children from an array of strange men. Otherwise, economics no longer plays a role in Progressive ideology, other than as a defense of the globalist billionaires who bankroll the American Left. The working man is now an enemy of the faith and treated as such.

Race, however, has always been a reliable avenue to create the preferred narratives because blacks are easy to paint as noble victims in the glorious battle against the forces of evil. The people opposed to identity politics are almost always white men, the bad whites. They are more often than not living out in the suburbs, which Progressives imagine as being hotbeds of Klu Klux Klan activity and the home of the Nazi Party. Of course, blacks have lagged behind everyone else in every measure so they are ready and willing to sign onto the role as victim.

The trouble is the calendar. That post was a dozen years ago. Up until a decade ago, the skins game worked flawlessly for the Left because no one bothered to challenge them. In fact, it had become custom to leave the issue of race to Progressives. They got to define the morality and the required public policies to fit the moral framework. But then Barak Obama got himself elected and then re-elected. He also accomplished very little in his time in office. It’s hard to argue that America is a racist country when a black guy gets to be in charge, despite not being very good at anything.

What everyone has noticed over the last decade is that it is no longer 1968 and black people are no longer the victims of white racism. In fact, if you are black and have anything on the ball, being black is an advantage. The demand for competent black people at colleges and corporations vastly outstrips supply so the competition is fierce and prices have soared. This has been true for a long time with Obama being an obvious example. If you examine Obama’s college career, it can only be explained this way.

Most Americans seem to have figured this out. The cries of racism over Trump and the alt-right are falling on deaf ears. That’s why the Left is screaming even louder, causing a fuss and demanding our attention as they throw public tantrums. It’s not really about race or the condition of black America. It’s about the Messiah Complex that has always been at the root of the American Left. They are here to save society from sin. If there is no one that needs saving then there is no need for the Left. The whole thing comes unraveled.

Then there is the problem of science. The mounting evidence from genetics, the cognitive sciences and population statistics undermines the central claim of the Left with regards to race. They argue that racism is immoral because race is a fiction. If race is a biological fact then racism could also be a biological fact. Birds fly, fish swim and humans self-segregate along racial, linguistic and ethnic lines. That’s what you see going on in this article about the biology of race. How can we maintain anti-racism when race is real?

This brings up a related dilemma for Progressives. The Europeans Left embraced “scientific socialism” as its source of legitimacy in order to avoid calling itself a civic religion, as well as to distinguish itself from Christianity. The American Left was slow to do this, but eventually embraced the idea in the last fifty years. Science has replaced God in their rhetoric as the authority from which they get their legitimacy. After all, only primitives with their boomsticks and sky gods reject science.

As science undermines the central claims of the Left and relegates blank slate ideology to the same dustbin as phrenology and astrology, something else will have to provide legitimacy for the Left. If being mean to homosexuals is wrong because gays are born that way, how can it be wrong for black guys not to want to live neat Koreans. After all, science says people naturally self-segregate along racial lines. Why is one form of nature wrong and the other cerebrated?

Perhaps the Left will once again turn to the heavens as their source of inspiration. The fact that the mainline Christian churches are siding with the open borders people opens the door for all of those secular Progressives to rediscover the social gospel. How they incorporate Jews and Muslims is a mystery, but to the believer, all things are possible. If saving the struggle narrative means rewriting the Bible, then they will rewrite the Bible, just as they have rewritten history. If Lady Liberty can wear a hijab to defend open borders, the Left can go to church in order to nail themselves to the cross.

The Ghost of Robespierre

Maximilian Robespierre is mostly remembered as the man responsible for the Great Terror. Progressives, of course, remember him fondly for this. Killing enemies of the revolution is the thing they fantasize about the most. It is why they are always trying to instigate violence. Normal people think of him as an example of what happens when fanatics gain power. He’s the example of the guy who started out with good intentions, but he eventually grew mad with power and ended up worse than what he opposed.

He was a much more complicated person than is remembered, though. For example, he opposed the death penalty, but then championed the execution of the king. He opposed the indiscriminate use of terror, but ended up claiming it was the necessary tool of democracy. He defended rivals branded as traitors, but then turned on close friends and saw them off to the guillotine. As a result, he remains one of the more famous and most controversial figures in the French Revolution.

The thing that was his eventual undoing was the fact that he could never work out the limit of civic virtue. At what point was a man deemed sufficiently virtuous? Where is the line between traitor and patriot? It was a problem for all of the revolutionaries and a problem that has haunted the Left ever since. Radicalism always starts as a rejection of something. It never ends at a clearly defined point. There’s no limiting principle. No matter how much you oppose something, there is someone else who opposes it more.

That was the problem the revolutionaries faced when they toppled the king. The old order was orderly, even if it was unjust. It set limits on behavior. The new order, such as it was, had no limits as it was entirely based on the rejection of royalty and the royalists. Revolutionary virtue was one’s opposition to the old system and one could ever be too opposed to the old order. At least, that was the thinking until the members of the National Convention figured out where it was heading.

That’s the inherent problem with radicalism. It lacks a limiting principle. Christianity, for example, solved this problem early on by turning the problem around. The concept of sin makes virtue the passive position. Heresy is the active state, while grace is the passive state. As long as you did not actively commit sins against the faith, you were sufficiently virtuous. Even though you were born with original sin, baptism into the faith cleansed you of that sin. From there, it was up to you to maintain it.

Political radicalism has never found anything similar and thus has been condemned to repeat the life of Robespierre. There is not point at which one clearly passes from the state of sin to the state of virtue. Instead, virtue is the running from sin, which is always running after you like a monster in a horror movie. It’s why the Left today obsesses with leaning forward and looking ahead to the future. Virtue is an active state, the act of running from the past, like a frightened animal trying to outrun the slowest of the herd.

We’re seeing this with anti-racism. The recent Martin Luther King holiday provided an opportunity for the members of the One True Faith to display their piety. When the holiday was created a generation ago, it was sufficient to say some nice things about the man and leave it at that. Most people simply ignored it entirely. Today, you have to come close to demanding the death of all white men or you risk being called a racist by the Cult. The day is filled with one anti-racist after another signalling their virtue.

This column appeared Monday in USA Today.

I’ll let Ta-Nehisi Coates boil it down for you. White society was not achieved through “wine tastings and ice cream socials, but rather through the pillaging of life, liberty, labor and land.” In short, through three centuries of kidnapping, torture, murder and rape. Broken teeth, broken bones and broken spirits. Families ripped apart. Children taken from their parents. Men humiliated in front of their wives. Women brutalized within earshot of their husbands. Lash after bloody lash on bare backs. Then, sleep on a bare wooden floor. No doctor, no dentist, no nothing. Just non-stop misery with a few hymns on Sunday.

The whole column boils down to a blood libel. If you are white, you are born with a sin that can never be cleansed. You are forever outside the light of salvation. That means there is no limit to your misery, which is why honkies, like the idiot who wrote that piece, write columns where they condemn themselves and others for being white. There can be no limit to how much one hates their ancestors, and therefore themselves, as there is no outrunning the mortal sin of whiteness.

Anti-racists are the modern version of the Flagellants. During the black plague, the allegedly virtuous would go around whipping themselves as a form of mortification of the flesh. Put another way, just being alive made them, and everyone else, sinners. The willingness to destroy their own flesh was supposed to show their rejection of sin. Initially these people were viewed by the authorities as harmless lunatics, but then the Church eventually did the wise thing and condemned the movement.

This is where anti-racism is right now. You cannot be anti-racist enough. There is no limit so anyone can come along and be more anti-racist than the current most anti-racist guy. If one is not constantly racing to be even more pure, they risk being accused of heresy, which in the modern age means being a racist. It is why Trump is called a racist. It’s not just a political taunt. The lunatics of the anti-racism movement see anyone not racing toward virtue as an enemy of their cause.

This is the natural end of all radicalism. It is why it appeals to the hive minded. The anti-racists would merrily round up white people and kill them, not for any crimes they committed, but as a form of human sacrifice. That is what the regular executions in Paris became during the Terror. They were purification ceremonies, not punishments for the guilty, but purity was always just one more head in the basket away. It’s the inevitable end of all mass movements when there is no limiting principle.

Robespierre eventually went to his demise in what we call today the Thermidorian Reaction. The sensible people of the revolution figured out that putting lunatics in charge was going to get everyone killed so they did what had to be done, which was kill the lunatics. It is a lesson that has had to be relearned time and again since the French Revolution and one that will have to be learned now with the anti-racists. There’s no reasoning with them so the only solution is to eliminate them.

It raises a larger question though. How does a modern society keep these radical lunatics from coming back with some new cause? Christianity used to be a handy brake on this sort of thing. The overthrow of Christianity as the transcendent moral authority has opened the nuthouse doors to these sorts of movements. If you look at the history of the West since the Enlightenment, it has been one blood thirsty movement after another trying to replace Christianity as the moral authority of last resort.

Good Riddance

President Obama is about to shuffle off the stage next week as his term finally comes to a close. He has been spending the last weeks of his presidency celebrating himself. This has included giving himself some awards and giving a farewell address that no one bothered to watch. He and his old lady have been popping up on every liberal TV chat show, and sitting with even minor reporters, for farewell interviews. All of which is supposed to be a victory lap, but it feels more like last call at a local dive.

All of this is being done while members of his cult rend their garments and cry out to the void where God used to exist, asking for deliverance from what they imagine comes next. Moonbats from around the nation have been doing what they can to draw attention to their grief over the end of the age of Obama. The last week has been a weird celebration of what will be remembered as an unremarkable time in the nation’s history. In the long run, putting an exotic weirdo in the White House will not seem very significant.

Naturally, the press is feverishly working on their hagiographies about the Obama age, but they are finding the material to be resistant. Obama’s signature achievement is a big bureaucratic nightmare that most people see as a mistake. Everyone in Washington understands ObamaCare has to be removed, root and branch, but the debate is how to do it without hurting the feelings of The Cult. The political class knows they have to do something about the spiraling insurance costs set off by ObamaCare, so it will eventually be repealed.

The rest of the Obama record ranges from the narcissistic to the pointlessly petulant. Normalizing relations with Cuba is probably the only thing he can point to that makes any sense. The Cold War has been over for 25 years. No one is putting missiles in Cuba so there’s no point in maintaining the embargo. The Iran deal promises to be a fiasco in the long run, but for now it is just a big giveaway to his coreligionists in order to spite the Jews. US oil companies also got a big giveaway as they are now allowed to do business with the mullahs. Otherwise, it changes nothing.

Modern presidents get too much credit and too much blame for what happens in their time. To be fair to Obama, he inherited a mess from his predecessor. The Bush Klan blew up the Middle East and left the economy a smoking ruin. You can debate the last part, as that seems like a disaster created by the political class in general, rather than the work of just one party. But, Bush started too unwinnable wars and left them for Obama. The best you can say about the Obama foreign policy, though, is he did not start a third unwinnable war.

Even so, Obama will not go down as the worst president in the post-WW2 era as his legacy is mostly nothing. Like the disco era, this will be a time that people describe with, “You really had to be there to understand why it was important.” Once the people who lived through are gone, no one will have any reason to talk about the first black president, other than on whatever day his cult venerates him. That’s the funny thing about being the first to do anything. Most of the time, being the first is the only thing you did worth mentioning.

The reason Obama was a do-nothing President is he was always just a symbol, rather than a man with his own ideas and agenda. The Cult selected him because he ticked all the boxes, with regards to their fantasy of the perfect black guy. He was black, but you know, not really black. Most important, he confirmed all of their opinions about themselves and their ideology. The Cult of Modern Liberalism never cared much about Obama the man, they only cared for as a symbol on their coat of arms.

Obama came to power with an extraordinary opportunity to pass his agenda. He had a huge majority in the House and a 60-seat majority in the Senate. His first big act was to let Nancy Pelosi pass a massive package of freebies for the Democrat Party supporters. Then he sat by and let them turn health care in to a circus of incompetence. His party’s leaders made clear from the onset that his job was to be their pitchman. They had no interest in what he had to say. His job was to sell their plan to the public.

That’s something the liberal media will skip over as they write their re-imagined histories of the Obama years. The other thing they will skip is the very superficial appeal of Obama. He was always just a black guy. Liberal whites and blacks supported him because he was a black guy, not because of anything he said or proposed to do as President. It’s why no one ever quotes an Obama speech. He was always the smiling black guy on the brochure. His efforts to promote Democratic candidates failed because that narrow charm is never transferable.

All of this belies a greater problem with the Left in the technological age. It is mostly just symbolism and ritual. It has nothing concrete to offer in the digital age because it is an ideology crafted in the industrial age. In 2008, the Left promised an anxious public that this gift to the void where God once stood would usher in the glorious future. Instead it was eight years of a stagnant economy, terrorism and droning speeches from a man who, in the end, had only one thing to say that mattered to anyone.

Good riddance.

The Cult of Anti-Racism

The ridiculous lecturing of Mike Pence, from the cast of Hamilton the other day, is a good reminder that religions are highly adaptive. The Progressive nutters quickly went from smug triumphalism the day of the election to declaring themselves the new Freedom Riders, fighting the segregationists. Within hours of the result, race hustling grifters like Jamelle Bouie were spinning fantasies where he and his hotep brothers were spontaneously organizing a black underground resistance movement.

The musical Hamilton is flypaper for moonbats, because it titillates their fantasies about race. Progressive don’t actually like real flesh and blood black people very much, which is why they avoid them. Take a look at the liberal bastions of America and you always find urban reservations for the folks who likes to keep it realz. It’s why big cities are using housing gimmicks to ship their blacks to the suburbs. Gentrification is just Progressive ethnic cleansing.

No, Progressives prefer their black people to be like the ones in their fantasy version of America. These are blacks like Obama. Black but, you know, not really black. As Steve Sailer put it, Obama is the nation’s first black wigger. It is one of life’s great ironies that the ideal black man on the Left is an exotic mulatto, who acts and sounds like an Oreo. Most people would have preferred President Camacho, but in the Progressive paradise, everything is drained of color, even the black guys.

Half a century ago, Progressive radicals adopted anti-racism as a tactic. It let them lever themselves into positions of political authority by first establishing their moral authority. The old honkies on the Left, who wanted economic justice for all Americans, were pushed aside by the New Left, who promised racial justice. In the 60’s and 70’s, these new anti-racists took over the Left and when the Cold War ended, they came to dominate it.

The trouble with moral causes like anti-racism, is there is no limiting principle, so it quickly went from political expedient to religious tenet. You can’t really be anti-racist enough. How does one define the anti-racist paradise? It’s why they are always chanting about the “more work needs to be done.” It’s also why they have developed a fetish for miscegenation. The only way there can be no racism is if there are no races and the way to achieve that is inter-breeding.

It’s why the genetic test kit companies like doing ads where the customer discovers she is not what she was told. No one in these ads learns they are 100% pure honky. Instead, the person always learns they are a beef stew of different ethnic tribes. There’s even one with a middle-aged cat lady type learning that she has some American Indian in he blood. You can be sure she went right out and bought some dream catchers and started talking about her spirit guide.

The one exception is a white man delighted to learn he is not German. instead he is a mix of groups from the British Isles. He was, of course, thankful to learn he was not a Nazi. The message being sent in these ads is that even though race and ethnicity are biological reality, inter-breeding makes it unimportant. Most likely the people running these firms know better, but they also know they are on dangerous ground. They make these ads to keep the anti-racist wackos off their back.

Progressives may have built the still and cooked up the anti-racist moonshine, but the Official Right is just as drunk off the concoction as the Left. This post on the Federalist is a good example of how people, thinking they are conservatives, buy into all the anti-racism stuff. The author of that piece is sure that race relations were just fine until Trump and his voters broke some deal we are just learning about now. It’s as if the author is unaware of the last decade.

The other day, National Review editor Rich Lowry had a piece up begging the Left to not cast him and his fellows into the pit reserved for the racists. Despite the fact that Trump is the most diversity celebrating President in American history, the boys and girls of the Official Right™ accept the Left’s claims about his racism, simply because Trump does not attend the Church of Anti-Racism. It is how the hive mind works. You’re either inside the walls or outside the walls. There are no gray areas.

Steve Sailer is convinced this is just a conspiracy to reclaim the urban landscape. To some degree he is right, but that’s a downstream consequence. As anti-racism has become a defining feature of the Progressive sense of self, these schemes to hide away dis-confirmation have become a natural defense mechanism. Shipping the ghetto out to flyover country is just a way to hide the problem from the new modern hipsters in gentrified areas.

Beyond Left and Right

The late great Eric Hohher observed that a mass movement can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil. This is often misread, but what Hoffer had in mind was that the movement needs an enemy. It can live without a great cause, but it has to have an enemy. The struggle against evil allows the movement to create its own origin myth and justify its failures as sacrifices. It is why the Progressives have been so good at inventing new monsters to slay. Without monsters, they have no reason to exist.

The modern American Right, in contrast, was never good at inventing bogeymen, because it was always a Progressive heresy. By that I mean the Buckleyites eventually came to accept all the assumptions of the Progressives with regards to the human condition. The difference was they had a different devil to confront. Theirs was the Red Menace and the its Soviet sponsors. What kept movement conservatism moving was the fight against the commies, even when they ceded all the important philosophical turf to the Progressive.

An example to see this is the recent column by National Review editor Rich Lowry. National Review is the flagship publication of the American conservative movement. In theory, at least, they describe the boundaries of what is and what is not conservative, by defining the principles of modern conservatism.

President Barack Obama won’t explicitly say that Donald Trump is on the wrong side of history, but surely it is what he believes.

The president basically thinks anyone who gets in his way is transgressing the larger forces of history with a capital H. During the 2008 campaign, he declared that John McCain “is on the wrong side of history right now” (the “right now” was a generous touch — allowing for the possibility that McCain might get right with History at some future, undetermined date).

Obama has returned to this phrase and argument obsessively throughout his time in office. It is deeply embedded in his, and the larger progressive, mind — and indirectly contributed to the left’s catastrophic defeat on Nov. 8.

The notion that History takes sides ultimately traces back to the philosopher G.W.F. Hegel and borrows heavily from the (genuine and very hard-won) moral capital of the abolitionists and the civil rights movement. Obama is given to quoting Martin Luther King for the proposition that the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice. Whoever is deemed to be on “the wrong side of history” by progressives is always loosely associated with the opprobrium directed toward the Southern Fire-Eaters and the defenders of Jim Crow.

Now, Lowry is no one’s idea of a deep thinker so he can be forgiven for not seeing the the ridiculousness of the highlighted section. If Progressives have all this moral capital from their past fights over race, then they are by definition on the right side of history. How could it be otherwise? That’s the logical end point of Lowry’s assertion that the Left was on the side of angels in the great moral crusades of the last two centuries. It would be bizarre for Progressives not to use such a thing as a weapon. They see it as an obligation.

There’s something else there. Lowry goes out of his way to kowtow to the Left on the issue of race. What he is doing, even if he does not know it, is signally his submissiveness to his moral superiors. These are the words of the loser letting his betters know he is not going to be any trouble. Lowry is letting his alleged adversaries know that he agrees with them on the big issues and that there is no need to question his belief in orthodoxy.

The orthodoxy is the New Religion with its three pillars of egalitarianism, multiculturalism and anti-racism. The only real quibble the Official Right has with the people in charge is how to go about turning the New Religion into public policy. It is probably why they are obsessed with restarting the Cold War and waging a Crusade against the Muslims. Official Conservatism™ needs a devil. Otherwise, it becomes just another school of thought among Progressives.

There’s always been a problem with the New Religion and that is it clams run head long into objective reality. The sort of spiritual egalitarianism preached by the intellectual forebears of Progressives was perfectly sustainable as it was impossible to disprove. The modern version of it is hilariously absurd. Boys are not the same as girls. Nature does not bestow her gifts equally and this scales up to group differences. People tend to notice that the NBA is all black and the best lawyers have a precious metal in their name.

This is the central issue of our age. Our betters insist that all men are equal, full stop. Filling up Cologne with Arabs changes nothing about Cologne because people are the same everywhere and culture is a myth. Everyone else recognizes this to be dangerous nonsense. Thousands of generations of evolution have resulted in a planet full of people with different skills, culture and attitudes. Sweden is the way it is because it is full of Swedes, instead of Arabs.

The determination of our rulers to stamp out large parts of observable reality is what is eroding their legitimacy. This is why Official Conservatism™ has failed. It has no response to the ongoing crisis that is the inevitable result of the New Religion. It has become a mass movement afraid of offending anyone, therefore it is left with gooey platitudes about principles and its role in public life. It’s why it is difficult to tell the Right from the Left these days. They believe all the same stuff now.

The great fight that is shaping up is between one side that insists, despite all the evidence, that all humans are equal in every way. it is only the differences in culture that result in differences in people. For our purposes, economics is in the culture bucket. The other side says man is naturally hierarchical and that groups of humans have unique attributes suited for where they evolved over thousands of generations. This means that different people will have different cultures, different gifts and different liabilities. This is why people naturally self-segregate.

Observable reality is on the side of the latter.