The Day At The DMV

My driving license had expired so I was forced to head down to the local motor vehicle office to get it renewed. The state offers a “service” for renewing by mail, but this requires getting a separate eye exam, filling out some forms and hoping that the postal service does its job. Having had my state tax returns lost the last two years, my confidence in that link in the chain is not very high, so I elected to do it the old fashioned way. That meant standing in lines and dealing with surly functionaries of the state.

When you enter the place, you are “greeted” by a functionary that asks you for the purpose of your visit. You are then assigned a number or directed to a kiosk. More on that in a bit. The numbers are assigned in a way that almost seems random. The person in front of me got “G23” and I was given “B80.” The idea is to make sure no one waiting truly knows who is next in the queue. Maybe they had riots in the past or perhaps people sold their place in line. Maybe there is no reason for it.

The office near me is not in the ghetto, but serves the ghetto so that means lots of vibrancy in the waiting area. One of the first things I noticed was that many of the people there were trying to pay off violations, mostly parking tickets. The angry greeter at the front desk barked at those people to get in the line for the “self-service” kiosks against the wall. He had that look of a man irritated that these people had interrupted his work, even though his work was to greet people entering the facility.

Of course, these kiosks could be located all over the malls and shopping centers around the state so people could do this task anywhere and at any time. For that matter, this could be a phone app, but that’s not how the government works. The kiosks are not for your convenience. They exist for the convenience of the government workers. In all probability they were sold to the state as a way to make life easier for the clerks, who had to haggle with citizens over unpaid fines. Given the color of the place, it is not irrational.

Of course, the lines for those machines were long as most of the machines were out of order. Then you have the fact that the diverse community is not very good at following instructions. You see this in fast food joints where they struggle to order from the menu. A system that requires someone to select from a menu of options, with no modifications, is never going to do well in the diverse community. The result is a struggle of diverse man versus machine, with outbursts and demands for service from the staff.

I spotted a Muslim women in a trash bag shuffling up to one of the counters. Two swarthy men were hovering around her. They guarded her virtue as she exposed her head for the license photo. From what I saw, they have no fears of rival males carrying her off. Everyone in the place was intently watching the scene, even the surly functionaries. For a minute, all of us were plugged into the collective consciousness, wondering why our rulers are doing this to us.

This is an example of why open borders will end in disaster. In a world without government, people will sort themselves out, one way or another. In the custodial state, everyone is dealing with the state. That means the interface has to accommodate all comers. In a world where the picture ID is critical, a people who think photos steal their soul or make Allah angry with their women is doomed to failure. The DMV can handle Mexican fruit pickers, it cannot adapt to Bronze Age barbarians.

The funny thing about the diverse community is they will sit forever, waiting for government service. Honkies get impatient with lines and expect the government to work like the private sector. The diverse are much more reasonable in this regard. Everyone had head phones so they could listen to their music while they stared at their phones, doing whatever it is they do on their phones. They came prepared to entertain themselves for the day. Maybe it is from habit or maybe it is from nature. Regardless, these are not people who will be voting libertarian.

That’s the other thing you see in a government office. Libertarianism works fine as long as your society is composed of high IQ sociopaths, who can manage on their own. Once you have people like those working for the state, and getting services from the state, libertarianism collapses. The people in the waiting area not only need rules, they need help following the rules. That’s not going to happen through voluntary association. Unless you have genocide in your heart, libertarianism cannot survive outside the lab.

The other interesting thing is that the motor vehicle office no longer issues a license. It is mailed to you. I did a little sleuthing and discovered that the selling of ID’s was a problem. No one admits it, but the rules they have in place now are clearly aimed at preventing insiders from selling your information. Allegedly, they now account for each blank that is used for a license. By mailing it, they insure the person applying for the license is at the location they claim.

This will not work so the next step will be bio-metric ID’s where you provide a thumbprint or some other biologically unique credential. All of our credentials will eventually be multi-factor authentication. That means you will present the physical ID, some sort of randomized PIN that is linked to the ID and a password. Secure facilities do this for system access. Adding a thumbprint or DNA sample is the logical next step once the costs are low enough to make it practical.

That also means all of us will be in the government database. Our medical records, credit history, internet pornography interests, will all be tied to our official government issued citizen ID. It’s not unreasonable to think that people will have a chip implanted at birth that links to the ID and other items that require authentication for access. It’s not happening tomorrow, but you can see where it is headed when you look at things like Real ID. Like a fungus, this is slowly growing on us and will one day feel like a normal part of life.

Of course, it will still require us to stand in line to get our license renewed.

The Future Stinks

Try to imagine living as a hunter-gatherer 25 thousand years ago. Naturally, you’ll think about the cavemen you recall seeing on TV or in movies. Museums used to have life sized figures of early humans in their exhibits to give visitors an idea of what it was like to be a person in the Stone Age. Maybe it sounds appealing, maybe not, but most people focus on the material differences. Living in a cave, wearing a loincloth or bearskin, depending upon your locale, would not be fun after a few days. Modern man likes his modern things.

If you think not having cell service would be terrible, imagine a total lack of privacy. Humans in that period did everything in full view of everyone else. They ate together, slept together and did all the other things together. Of course, the lack of complicated shelters made this necessary. It’s hard to have privacy when you don’t have walls. But, there was also the fact that people had no concept of privacy. They did not think of it because it had never existed.

In fact, privacy in the way in which we think of it is fairly new. The Romans famously had public baths and public toilets. Very public toilets. Everyone has probably seen pictures of the remains of Roman public toilets. Here’s a recreation of what it was like to pinch a loaf with your pals. Well into the 19th century, outhouses were common in the West and some of them were two-holers. Abe Lincoln had a three-holer, which was the height of luxury for his day.

The point of all this potty talk is to make the point that personal privacy is relatively new. It is the consequence of wealth and leisure. It’s not just things like flush toilets and indoor plumbing. People’s attitudes about personal privacy changed. We expect our financial affairs, private correspondence, personal foibles, private appetites and so forth to be off-limits from scrutiny. Health companies are required to go to great lengths to guard your medical data, even though no one knows why it matters.

The technological age is promising to change that and maybe do so in a hurry. The roads are now littered with cameras to monitor you as you drive. Street cameras are increasingly common in cities. In the UK, CCTV cameras are everywhere. Big Brother is literally watching you. Of course, big tech companies track your internet habits. The cable companies track your viewing habits. The “internet of things” means your house will be reporting on you to Google, Apple, Amazon et al.

The unwanted gaze is not just at the personal level. Retailers are encouraging people to put themselves into the big database voluntarily. This story about how sports teams are “offering” easy access as long as you let them scan your eyeball on the way in. Of course, they keep track of what you buy and probably how often you cheer. The new payment services are letting our overlords connect your shopping to your mobile phone, which links to all you internet habits.

It does not stop there. The FBI pays computer repair shops to dig around your stuff and report you to the Feds. The tactic is very old school, but the concept is very modern. The combining of our corporate overlords with our government overlords is a handy way around our remaining constitutional protections. How long before your Alexa gets a guilty conscience and reports your drug taking to the Feds? How long before your copy of Quicken starts talking to the IRS about your cash deposits?

This is not a libertarian vision of hell, but a plausible reality that faces us in the technological age. High speed communication, massive data storage capacity and sophisticated search algorithms means all of the particulars of our daily existence, even our private correspondence, can be easily assembled to provide a pretty good picture of our life, without much effort. If the Eye of Sauron falls on you, the authorities will have no problems knowing everything about you but your thoughts. Even those can be surmised by the facts of your life.

So far, people seem to be OK with living in a fishbowl. Maybe they don’t think about it much, but there have been no protests or movements to arrest this trend. Go into any retail shop and customers gladly offer their discount card so the store can put their buying habits into the database. Most people cheer the implementation of video surveillance, in the name of safety. Even the reports of wholesale government surveillance have not been met with much pushback from the public.

Assuming there is no turning back and the surveillance state is inevitable, the question is how does this change how people interact with one another. If you know your most intimate thoughts and deeds could be made public, will you be more careful in your private dealings? Or, will you simply care less about who knows and also stop caring about the private things revealed about others? Hollywood stars live out their lives in public and it has no effect on their conduct. It may even make them less prudent.

Up until fairly recent, people were disgusting. They blew their noses on their sleeves, they farted in public, they went to the bathroom in communal toilets and were generally foul and disgusting. Public manners developed alongside personal privacy. The line between what you would do in public versus what you would do in private, was only possible when privacy was possible. As the material wealth increased, the available privacy increased and good public behavior became enforceable.

If everyone sees you at your worst, there’s no point in hiding it so in a surveillance state, where all our secrets are made public, maybe people will just stop caring. Hollywood always imagines the future to be sterile and clean, a land of stainless steel and glass. Maybe the future will be the opposite. Instead of tidy androgynous people in Lycra jumpsuits, its people with bed-head wearing sweats, scratching themselves in public.The glorious future will be people with nothing to hide and nothing you want to see.

Cars

This post on Sailer’s site the other day struck a chord with me. I’m beginning the process of buying a car so I have been thinking a lot about cars of late. I truly hate the car buying experience for a number of reasons. The biggest one is that it feels like a waste of time. The dealership model is a carryover from a bygone era when a man would spend a lot of time on purchases. Most of us buy on-line now so walking car lots looking for the right car just feels like a time suck to me.

That last bit reveals a bit of reality with regards to how societies work. The car selling business has been immune to change and it has a lot to do with the political power of car dealers. Tesla found that out when they wanted to sell cars in New Jersey. The state had a law requiring car makers to have a dealership in the state in order to sell cars. Tesla finally got the state to yield, but they had to bribe half of Trenton to do it. Car dealers are a powerful lobby in every state and they use their influence to make life tough on anyone with new ideas.

That Sailer post reminded me of something I have noticed among my friends and acquaintances, as I have got into car shopping. It is a very emotional subject. For instance, I’ve asked people for their recommendations and to a man they have refused. I always get something like “You need to test drive them and pick the one you like.” The alternative to this is to just change the subject entirely. It’s as if there is a taboo against giving anyone advice on cars.

I think the reason for the reluctance is two-fold. One is people still view their car as an extension of themselves. If they recommend a car and you reject it, it is as if you told them they have bad taste. On the other side of it, thinking it is an emotional experience, people don’t want to talk you into something you may come to hate. Alternatively, the people I know may not give a damn about my new interest in cars or they simply don’t like me very much. You can never be sure about these things.

The other thing I see, something that turns up in the comments of car posts like the Sailer one, is the car scold. Whenever someone starts showing enthusiasm for buying or owning a car, car scold comes along to tell them he thinks owning a car is a great burden that he suffers through for the good of mankind. This guy has a lot in common with TV scold and music scold. It’s as if enjoying life is such a great sin that the righteous must always be letting everyone know they are in constant pain.

There are, needless to say, a lot of these vinegar drinkers on the right. It is an affectation and a silly one in my opinion. You have but a short time on this earth. Making the most of it, including the fun bits, strikes me as the heart of conservatism. It is the ultimate acknowledgement of reality. Every man has his tastes, but if owning a snappy car brings you pleasure, best of luck with it. I may not share your passion, but I do share your desire to make the most of our time on earth. What’s wrong with that?

The root of this, I suspect, is the dominance of the Left in American culture. The neo-Puritan hags have been screeching at us about how form must always follow function for so long we have lost our sense of style. You see that in cars where the goal of designers is to make them more aerodynamic and pack them with useful functions. The result is a fleet of well-built cars that look like they came from East German film noir during the Cold War. Our cars are ugly because inside, we have become an ugly people.

If you doubt this, look at pics of parking lots from 40-50 years ago. They were a carnival of colors, shapes and sizes. A person’s taste in cars said something about him, a form of advertisement. A people embracing life and its potential were out buying all sorts of cars in all sorts of colors. We are now a people marching to the inevitable end of our miserable existences so we buy cars that are suited for the task. The top three car colors in America are black, grey and white, with dark gray the top interior choice.

Now, one aspect of this self-loathing has been a focus on the engineering of cars and that has resulted in some fantastic options. The cars of my youth were better looking, but they were in no way better built or better engineered. I test drove a Camaro SS the other day and it was like flying a jet. It was fast as hell and so packed with technology it is not accurate to call it a car. It is a transportation platform. Last year I rented a Cadillac on a trip and I needed ten minutes to figure out how to operate it. It is an amazing age.

Even so, we have become a cautious and frightened people, like herd animals waiting to be processed. The sports car buyer in 1965 was looking for risk. He wanted to rocket down the road in something that was probably not entirely safe, but that was part of the thrill. Today, sports cars are packed with safety features intended to let the buyer know he can have the kind of fun that is permitted today. It is part of the overall feminization of the West. Engineers today care about you like a mother.

I saw the other day that a company now sells an add-on for cars that allows parents to spy on their kids and even take control of the car, from their smart phone. The ad is not all that clear on the particulars, but it appears to be a GPS system that also provides some ability to disable the car, sound the horn and flash the lights. That way, if your son is out enjoying himself, you can put an end to it from your couch. Nothing says freedom like having mom watch you as you make out with your girl in the backseat.

The ultimate expression of this is the self-driving car. The quest to take all the fun out of life, and all the risk, leads inevitably to the nanny-state providing a ride service so that you not only get to your destination safely, you get to the correct destination. People naturally think the surveillance state will be Orwellian. No, it will be run by Google and Apple, sold as a market solution to public safety. After all, when it comes to your safety, we can’t let things like freedom, pleasure and privacy get in the way. You’re too important to us!

In the end, that’s why I will be buying some sort of hot rod in the coming weeks. I look around and see that the fun cars are only for the Cloud People, while the rest of us will be stuck with the dreary conveyance units. There are not many mid-priced sports cars on the market. Toyota does not even have a fun car on offer. Neither does Honda. I figure I better get a sports car before I’m too old and the before the state decides, for my own good of course, that they are no longer safe for Dirt People.

 

 

New Solutions

The generally accepted theory among archaeologists is that humans began to settle down and transition to agriculture about 15,000 years ago. It did not happen all of a sudden nor did it happen everywhere. The first large scale settlements arose in places that were the most hospitable to people just mastering agriculture. The region between the Yellow River and Yangtze River, Mesopotamia and the Indus River Valley are thought to be the first places humans developed large scale settlements.

The big challenge for the first settled people was how to pick leaders. Hunter-gatherers had an easy solution for this. The best warrior or most senior male would be in charge of the group. Since the groups were small and composed of related males, disputes could be worked out at the personal level. If Trog turned out to be a bad leader, Trog would fall off a cliff or have a hunting accident. Once the group got too big for this to work, cousin Grog would lead his kin off to form a new clan somewhere else.

Once groups of humans began to settle down in close proximity with one another, conflict was inevitable. That’s most likely why the first settled societies happened in the fertile river valleys. They were good for human habitation, so populations grew. Before long the population density made group conflict inevitable. In time, one group would come to dominate and absorb other groups. The old Grog clan from above would take over the Trog clan and maybe some others. The result was a tribe distantly related people.

Picking leaders to rule over unrelated people required different habits and different rules than picking a leader for the small group of related people. Once you get past second cousins, family relations are not all the close. Then you have the habit of marrying off women to other groups in order to broker peace and cement agreements. Governing can no longer be personal. You need a system to develop and select leaders, adjudicate disputes and delegate authority.

There are many ways to pick leaders, but the real challenge is how to deal with a bad selection. The Roman Republic solved this with what amounted to term limits. The Roman Empire relied on assassination to solve the problem. The Chinese never have figured out how to remove defective rulers, but they did come up with a very good way to filter them out before they gained power. Mao remains the best example of what happens when their filtering fails. The Great Leap Forward killed between 30 and 50 million people.

The European method that developed after the fall of Rome was feudalism. The king had to rely on the large land owners for money and soldiers. Those large landowners often relied on lesser nobles to collect food rents and conscript men for soldier work. This system put limits on the power of rulers, so a tyrant or lunatic could be controlled until he fell off his horse or got some bad wine. It was not perfect, but it protected the landowners from a predatory tyrant or a dangerously ambitious monarch.

The other unique thing about Europe that effected the evolution of governance is the fact that no one group was ever able to dominate the rest of the continent. The Qin unified China over 2000 years ago. Various Arab tribes dominated the Near and Middle East for very long periods. The Romans dominated Europe, of course, but that domination was their undoing. The cost of holding the Empire together exceeded the benefits of keeping it, leading to the collapse of the Western Empire. The fact that the Eastern Empire held on is not an accident. Europe is not built for unification.

Europe’s governing structure where rulers were limited and ethnic groups competed with one another, but were never able to fully conquer one another, was probably the recipe that eventually led the West to race ahead of the world economically, militarily and technologically. There’s more to that story, but things like the rule of law and property rights were essential ingredients for the Industrial Revolution. Without property rights and limits on the state’s ability seize property, there’s no reason to save and invest.

The sudden changes in governance that swept Europe coincided with the Industrial Revolution. One way of looking at the French Revolution is that the old governing model was built for an economic system that was being replaced by a new economic system, one that would require a new governing model. Liberal democracy has only flourished in nations with merchants and manufacturing. Industry does not automatically lead to democracy (China), but in order to have self-government you need a market economy.

The point of all this is that social structures like liberal democracy are not the product of inevitable historical forces. The Chinese form of government is the product of the evolutionary history of the Chinese people. Pluralism, openness, self-government, the rule of law, all the things we associate with liberal democracy, are the product of the unique history of the people of Europe. It is why they have proven to be impossible to transplant to other parts of the world. The rest of the world is not built for Western social structures.

That’s a lot of book length material summarized into a few paragraphs, but it is an important lesson of history. The people of the West have unique organizational structures because they have unique histories. As a result, they have different human capital, because the people evolved with those social structures. These small differences on the individual level, roll up to be rather large differences when expressed in customs and social institutions. Just as important is the fact that it is ongoing. People and their societies continue to evolve.

With that in mind, what we call liberal democracy is the product of the industrial age when making and selling things was the core of European economies. The challenge every ruler in Europe faced in the 17th century was how to get the most of the available human capital. That not only meant getting everyone working, it meant increasing each worker’s productivity. If you are going to have a big standing army, for example. your farmers have to produce lots of surplus food and supplies for that army.

The technological revolution is going to lead to a different economic model. Instead of one that gets the most from the available human capital, the new economy will be one that gets the most from technological capital. The robot revolution is oversold, but the future will require fewer people to produce the goods and services we demand. It is not just labor being replaced with machines. It is intellectual capital being replaced with technology. The future is about how best to organize society when technology is handling the bulk of work.

The so-called populist uprising in the West, seen through this prism, takes on a different color. For instance, the reason Hillary Clinton lost is that technology allowed for a different type of campaign and new way around the government controlled media. The establishment showed up in its 1960’s muscle car and the challengers arrived in Teslas. In 2016, the twitter account of thousands of alt-right types carried as much weight as the pages of the New York Times.

This post is going on too long, so let’s wrap this up. In 1789, no one in France could imagine what was coming. That’s in part because they had not noticed the demographic and economic changes that had been going on for generations, which led to the Industrial Revolution. The modern West has been in a post-industrial phase for at least a generation, maybe two. Yet, the organizational model we have is still an industrial one. Consider this. Who has more power? Congress or Google? Your PM or Tim Cook?

It may not be 1789 all over again, but these populist uprisings that are vexing Western leaders could simply be the tremors that precede the earthquake of social upheaval, as the old organization system falters in the face of new challenges. Ours is a less violent age so Madame Guillotine will not be making an appearance, but systematically altering the governance model is not out of the question. Our constitutions were not handed down by God. They were always temporary solutions to immediate challenges. We have new challenges and maybe social democracy has run its course.

Bloody Democracy

One of the more abused words in the English language is the word “democracy” which has come to mean just about anything. Our politicians love talking about the glories of democracy, especially after they have won an election. When they lose, as we are seeing with the Left these days, well, it is an assault on democracy! The word has become a Western version of Juche, the North Korean state ideology. It is not a form of government, but a mystical spirit that is the essence of the people’s goodness.

For Progressives, democracy is one the of the primary abracadabra words in their book of incantations. Whatever they want, it is almost always decorated with the word democracy or some reference to it. It’s not that they have any respect for the will of the people; it is that they truly believe their whims and causes are imbued with the magic they associate with the word democracy. Democracy is what they call that supernatural force that guides history and carries the righteous to the promised land.

This article from the Progressive site Jacobin is a good example. America, of course, is not a democracy. It is a representative republic. In fact, what we have come to know as liberal democracy in the West is explicitly not democracy. Instead, Western nations employ various forms of representative government. The reason for that is experiments with democracy have been disastrous. It turns out that mob rule is not a great way to run a country. The usual result is a blood bath followed by a tyrant.

Of course, the Left is not all that interested in democracy as a form of government. For them, it is trolley they ride from where they are now to the place they wish to be. That place is where they have an iron grip on society. Naturally, while they are waiting for that trolley to take them to the promised land, they sing the glories of the trolley system they call democracy. If things don’t work out as planned, well, the system is not democratic and the proof of that is they lost. After all, the spiritual goodness of the people is on their side.

The linked article is interesting and entertaining for a number of reasons beyond the less than credible claims about the glories of democracy. What’s fascinating about it is what it reveals about the Left. The author, after detailing what he sees as the facts of the undemocratic outcome, falls back on the example of revolutionary France. Appropriately enough, for a site called the Jacobin, the author wants some sort of National Constituent Assembly, where the people can fashion a new constitution.

The National Constituent Assembly lasted two years and can only be viewed as a failure, as it led to the radicalization of the Paris mob and eventually The Reign of Terror. Roughly 16,000 people were sent to the guillotine and another 25,000 were hung, shot or beaten to death by mobs. All of these murders were done in the name of the people. After all, what is more democratic than murdering people in the name of the people? Most of those killed were in no way opposed to the revolution. They either got in the way or failed to do what the radicals expected.

Nowhere in that long piece does the author mention Maximilien Robespierre, Les Enragés (“the enraged ones”) or Madame Guillotine. He later celebrates the Marxist revolts of the 19th century and then the glories of the Bolshevik Revolution in the 20th century. No mention in those cases of the bloody outcomes. That would require either a reconsideration of the glories of radical democracy or the celebration of senseless murder by angry mobs. It’s better to just skip past those problems.

That’s the revealing bit in the piece. The Left has learned nothing from the past, even their own past. The Right is often accused of being captive to a romanticized past, but it is the Left that is trapped in a permanent time warp. The first radicals of the Left followed the logic of Rousseau to its natural conclusion, murdered a bunch of people and then gave way to a tyrant. They keep repeating this pattern without ever having learned from past results. The Bolsheviks, for example, looked to the Jacobins as examples.

Part of this is explained by the radical fixation on the future. The Left has always been blind to the past as they put all of their energy into reaching the glorious future. The bigger issue is that radicalism is an intellectual dead end. When the only acceptable answer to the natural inequality of man is more democracy, you eventually end up with pure democracy, but the same natural inequality. That leaves enforced equality as the logical next step. With coercion naturally comes political violence and then terror.

Girrrrl Power!

One of my friends mentioned the other day that he had seen the movie Rogue One, the latest Star Wars offering. He said he liked it, which I thought surprising. From the commercials, I was under the impression that it was another Girrrrl Power! movie telling us that girls can do anything they set their pretty little heads to, even if the evil white men try to stop them. Put another way, it looks like another movie that has a tiny little female in a role that was traditionally played by a tough guy leading man.

He said it had a lot of that nonsense, but the shoot ’em up stuff and special effects were good enough to let you ignore the preachy garbage. My friend is a movie goer so he has developed the ability to filter out the proselytizing so he can enjoy the entertainment portion of films. Maybe that is a skill you acquire after sitting through a certain quantity of movies or maybe it is a natural personality trait. I know I lack it, which is why I don’t watch many movies. If it is going to be preachy, I’ll just skip it.

There’s also the Star Wars element. For good or ill, the franchise has a become Star Trek for the fake nerd movement. Women who “fucking love science” seem to be big into Star Wars. I liked the movies as a kid, but I was always a Star Trek guy. I also tended toward real science fiction, the stuff you had to read. Even as a kid, Star Wars struck me as a bad western with good special effects set in space. It’s why I only got around to watching the “prequels” earlier this year when they were on free cable.

Star Wars is a good reminder that pop culture is aimed mostly at women and kids, so it is no country for old men. Peddling movies to young people is made easier by the fact they don’t know a lot. They simply have not been alive long enough to notice that this year’s blockbuster is the blockbuster from five years ago, just with different actors and explosions. They don’t know that Big Bang Theory is just Friends, with nerds instead of hot looking Manhattanites. This stuff is all new to them so they eagerly buy it up.

Women are also easy targets for pop culture because women are hard wired to notice what other women are doing. It’s why the fashion industry exists. Most men wear the same styles their whole life. Women change every year. That’s because of biology. Hollywood has figured this out so they put out films with female leads in the newest styles and fashions. Since the New Religion says all girls are really kick-ass ninja warriors, we get lots of films where 90-pound pixie ninjas with adorable haircuts.

The odious John Podhoretz claims that Hollywood figured out that action films would always attract male viewers so they decided to cast females in the lead to bring in the females. Podhoretz is an example of reversion to the mean, his father being an exceptionally smart man, but he may be correct here. This sounds like the sort of thing a corporate studio would do, thinking it is brilliant. Whether it works or not will never be tested because the committee said it was brilliant and the matter is closed. It strikes me as plausible, at least.

No matter the reason, the thing about modern movies is the habit of putting females in roles that should be played by men. Unlike the habit of casting a black guy in the smart guy role, this feminizing of the male lead never works as intended. There are smart black guys in the real world. There are no 90-pound females beating up full sized bad guys using nothing but ninja moves. That’s never happened. It’s never going to happen either. No one comes away thinking it will ever happen, other than the crazies in the cult.

The other day, I watched a movie called Sicario, which is about Mexican drug dealers and the US efforts to catch them. The movie is well done and a good two hours of entertainment. The one problem is they put a tiny little nymph in the lead role. The viewer is supposed to accept that this tiny little girl is not just a member of a tactical team, but recruited to be part of what amounts to an off-the-books Seal Team. Most of her screen time is her brooding and crying over the fact the boys don’t play by the rules.

Of course, the writers, directors and producers of our entertainments have to work within the rules the censors give them. We’re supposed to believe the censors were all sent packing, but they never went away. It’s just that they were replaced with ideological enforcers from the Cult. Instead of a prim faced Christian lady editing the scripts, it is a vinegar drinking lesbian from the Womyn’s Studies Department. The people making a living in Hollywood like their jobs so they play along as that is the path of least resistance.

The result is a paucity of male leads in movies these days. This probably has something to do with the collapse of the male audience for movies. Guys are not all that interested in Girrrlll Power!. Young males are spending their leisure time blowing stuff up and killing people in video games. It’s why the lunatics have been making war on gaming. They will not sleep until the last pale penis person is hunted down and forced to submit to the New Religion. Given the results thus far, it does appear that the effort has failed.

Maybe that means the Girrrrl Power! era is coming to a close. Movie makers need to make money so they may be forced to bring back the normal male leads. Maybe the next big thing in movies will be men who are not sobbing pussies, but old fashioned tough guys doing the hard work of being men. I hope so as I’m getting old and it will not be long before I’m spending my days in the movie theater with the other geezers, before we head to Denny’s for a 4:00 PM dinner.

The Face of Modern Antisemitism

In a speech delivered Wednesday, that was supposed to be the pièce de résistance for one of the dumbest men to take up space in the political class, John Forbes Kerry declared himself an anti-Semite. He was not that polite about either. If he had simply said, “I hate Jews” that would be better than what he actually said. Specifically he said, “Israel can either be Jewish or democratic, but it cannot be both.” In other words, he hates the very concept of Judaism, not just a particular manifestation of it.

The implication, the only way to interpret it, is that he thinks Judaism is incompatible with liberal democracy. There’s never been a time when he has hinted at the same argument with regards to Islam. He has not even said this about Christianity. That would be laughably stupid, but Lurch is a laughably stupid man. No, he specifically singled out Judaism for this argument. Judaism is incompatible with democracy. Presumably, he would argue that Jews can either be Jewish or citizens of a democracy, but not both.

Sensible people have pointed out for years that Islam is incompatible with modern liberal democracy. The reason we say this is Muslims regularly say that Islam is incompatible with Western liberalism. Logically, Imams and Muslim scholars are good authorities on these issues so taking them at their word is a good idea. The fact that everywhere Muslims get to vote they go for theocracy confirms these claims. Muslims are not fond of democracy and they really hate modern liberal democracy.

Israel is a Jewish state and a liberal democracy. Christians and Muslims are free to do their thing, as long as they abide by the laws of Israel, which are written by the Israeli parliament. In theory, Israelis could vote to fling open their borders and let the Muslims pour into the country. They can vote for all sorts of things, because it is a democracy, but they choose to be a Jewish state that preserves itself as the homeland of world Jewry. As a sovereign people, that is their right and consistent with western liberal democracy.

John Kerry disagrees. He does not thinks Jews have a place in a liberal democracy, even one of their own. The modern Progressive sees national and ethnic identity as obstacles to the glorious future. It’s why they embrace open borders and multiculturalism. They truly believe that obliterating ethnic and national identity is the key to the lock. Jews are the most stubborn of ethnic groups because they combine race and religion into a single, immutable identity. That simply cannot work in the glorious future.

It was always just a matter of time before American progressives got around to Jew-hating. Once you go down the road of multiculturalism, you eventually end up trying to erase anything resembling cultural identity. Now that you-know-who is far enough in the past, no longer in the rear view mirror for most people, taking on the tree stump of ethnic identity was inevitable. For 2,000 years, Jews have kept their thing going in the West, despite every conceivable attempt to erase them. Now it is the Left’s shot at them.

The Abuse of Sexual Assault

The other day, I ran across this story in the sports pages. The sporting news often resembles the police blotter, so this is not a unique news item. I usually skip these stories, but something about it peaked peeked piqued my curiosity. The accused in this case is a college football player charged with “sexual assault” along with some other crimes. Like most people, I hear the word sexual assault and I think rape, but then I remember the mountain of rape hoaxes on the college campus and I’m immediately skeptical.

In this case, the player is charged with two counts of fourth degree sexual assault, crimes resulting from the cops trying to arrest him and underage drinking. Sandbagging is the standard procedure these days so even the smallest crime ends up in a litany of charges. Because cops and prosecutors are mostly incompetent, they use the sheer mass of the system to bludgeon those caught up in the system.  The idea is to bully the accused into taking a deal, which makes life easier for the cops and prosecutors.

Of course, the charge that will ruin the kid’s life is the sexual assault charge. Looking at the news story from when it happened, you get to see the absurdity of the charges. In Michigan, fourth degree sexual assault is basically aggressive touching, at least when it is between adults. It is always leveled at males, who get into some sort of beef with a female. Two fully clothed people on a city street are not engaging in anything sexual, but that does not matter. It is the go-to charge against young males in an altercation with a female.

Common law defined rape as unlawful intercourse by a man against a woman who is not his wife by force or threat and against her will. These days, rape is legally defined as unlawful intercourse against the will of the victim. In other words, the sex of the parties and the use of force are no longer relevant. Attempted rape, of course, is a failed attempt to commit rape. These are concepts that everyone understands, with deep roots in western legal tradition. They don’t require further explanation as the definitions are clear.

Assault is a bit different. Most people think of assault as physical contact where one person causes bodily harm to another. That’s not the legal definition of assault. In the law, assault is an intentional act by one person that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent harmful or offensive contact. Put another way, assault is when one person does something to cause another to think they are under threat of harm. What most people think of as assault, the law defines as battery, which is why you hear the phrase “assault and battery” in crime stories.

The point here is the law has had, for a very long time, a definition for forcible sex, assault and battery. A reasonable person, particularly someone on a jury, could review the facts and testimony and render a judgement. That should have been enough to cover what happened in this Michigan case and all others like it. Maybe the accused was threatening the woman and she had a reasonable concern for her safety. That’s assault. It is patently absurd to attach sex to it, raising the specter of rape in the minds of the public and a potential jury.

But that is where we find ourselves in the modern age. We have expanded the definition of a sex crime to include anything that may give a woman the blues. The lunatics in charge encourage young women on the college campus to scream “fourth degree sexual assault” whenever they feel bad about a random hookup, which they are encouraged to do by the same lunatics. Inevitably, these cases end up dismissed, but you still have the waste of money and the ruination of reputations.

The fact is, there is no such thing as a sexual assault. The law often conjures terms, from commonly understood words, that have meanings well outside of the component words. It is almost always a hangover from the past. In the case of “sexual assault” it is a modern attempt to alter the relationship between the sexes. When was the last time you heard a woman charged with sexual assault or a man charged when the victim is another man? The answer is most likely never as it almost rarely happens.

It is yet another example of how the Left carves out authoritarian safe spaces, so it can run wild against its enemies. The war on men would not get very far in a fair fight, because as Hitler said, there’s too much fraternizing with the enemy. The expansive use of the phrase “sexual assault” in the laws allows every deranged co-ed in America a free shot at a male that vexes them. It’s how the mentally unbalanced young woman at Columbia was indulged well past the point where it was clear she needed psychiatric help.

Rape is a very serious crime, which is why we send rapists away for long stretches in nasty prisons. Attempted rape should be similarly punished as we know that sex criminals can never be rehabilitated. This is where penal colonies make a lot of sense. Sexual assault, on the other hand, is a made up crime that is entirely political. It is a weapon used by deranged feminists and lazy cops to bludgeon young men for the crime of having a penis. It’s also why these cases have such a startling low conviction rate. It’s also why so many young women put themselves in dangerous situations.

That last bit is the worst result of the expansive use of sex crimes in the war between the sexes. Young women are led to believe the law is a force field around them, insulating them from their idiotic decisions. That leads young women to going out, getting knee-walking drunk with strange men and then waking up with regrets, if they are lucky. You can bet that some portion of the “rape” problem in Europe has something to do with unattached young woman staggering around wasted at all hours of the night.

For just about forever, humans understood that boys and girls were different, requiring different rules for both. Women need to take care to protect themselves from men and men need to take care of their women, so they are not assaulted by strange men. That is biological reality and the only way our species survives. The abuse of sexual assault is just one of many examples of what happens when the Assemblywomen becomes a law book, rather than a comedy.

The Company Men

Since the major news outlets are run by the Cult, all of the focus has been on how the Cult is dealing with the calamity of November 8, 2016. Even two months on, members of the Cult are throwing tantrums in order draw attention to their grief. For example, two degenerates had to be removed from a plane because they objected to Ivanka Trump riding on the same plane. Unfortunately, the plane was still on the tarmac when they were removed. Then there are the daily hoaxes, which are part of their grieving process.

Less noticed is the ongoing collapse of the Conventional Right into irrelevancy as it copes with the sudden realization that no one cares what they think. National Review, for example, has seen its traffic collapse since they went NeverTrump. The ridiculous person they have running the joint these days is out begging for money to redesign the site again. The implication is that bad technology is the reason no one reads National Review. The fact that they publish nonsense like this gets no mention at staff meetings, I bet.

While it is amusing to watch silly people like Charles Cooke struggle with the reality of his situation, there are some intelligent and thoughtful people in the Conventional Right trying to make sense of things. They correctly see the rise of Trump, and the emergence of a counter culture on the Right, as a dire threat to their thing. After all, why bother consulting the grovelers at National Review when they are always wrong and there are alternatives out there getting it right?

This long piece by Matthew Continetti the other day is a good read for a number of reasons. Continetti is married to a daughter of Bill Kristol and he is a true believer in the neo-conservative faith. Take that however you like. This is the first bit of interest.

I have been thinking about Gavin lately because his life and thought so perfectly capture the conservatism of Donald Trump. When you read Gavin, you begin to understand that the idea of Trump as a conservative is not oxymoronic. Trump is a conservative—of a particular type that is rare in intellectual circles. His conservatism is ignored or dismissed or opposed because, while it often reaches the same conclusions as more prevalent versions of conservatism, its impulses, emphases, and forms are different from those of traditionalism, anti-Communism, classical liberalism, Leo Strauss conservatism in its East and West Coast varieties, the neoconservatism of Irving Kristol as well as the neoconservatism of William Kristol, religious conservatism, paleo-conservatism, compassionate conservatism, constitutional conservatism, and all the other shaggy inhabitants of the conservative zoo.

Like most of the box-tickers in the managerial class, Continetti is largely unaware of what constitutes conservatism in English speaking countries. For men of the Conventional Right, conservatism is a list of policies and poses that define their relationship with Progressives. The idea that conservatism is a temperament, rather than a laundry list of policy proposals is alien to these guys. They are men of the multiple choice exam. Their options are always bounded by the number of choices provided to them.

Moving along, this bit offers a glimpse into the mind of the neo-cons as they face the dustbin of history.

Trump has always been careful to distinguish himself from what he calls “normal conservative.” He has defined a conservative as a person who “doesn’t want to take risks,” who wants to balance budgets, who “feels strongly about the military.” It is for these reasons, he said during the campaign, that he opposed the Iraq war: The 2003 invasion was certainly risky, it was costly, and it put the troops in a dangerous position, defending a suspicious and resentful population amid IEDs and sniper attacks. The Iraq war, in this view, is an example of conservative writers and thinkers and politicians following trains of logic or desire to un-conservative conclusions.

One of the things that never gets discussed is just how spectacularly wrong the Conventional Right was about the response to 9/11, particularly Iraq. Everything the neo-cons said about the Muslim world in the Bush years turned out to be wrong – disastrously wrong. There was a prohibition on pointing this out for a while, but Trump said it, in South Carolina of all places, and paid no price for it. Pretty much the only refuge for the neo-cons is to pretend that everyone was wrong and that Trump was just lucky in his opposition to the “invade the world” portion of neo-conservatism.

This bit is comical because it highlights the foreignness of the neo-cons and the Conventional Right.

The conservatism of Donald Trump is not the conservatism of ideas but of things. His politics do not derive from the works of Burke or Disraeli or Newman, nor is he a follower of Mill or Berlin or Moynihan. There is no theory of natural rights or small government or international relations that claims his loyalty. When he says he wants to “conserve our country,” he does not mean conserve the idea of countries, or a league of countries, or the slogans of democracy or equality or freedom, but this country, right now, as it exists in the real world of space and time. Trump’s relation to the intellectual community of both parties is fraught because his visceral, dispositional conservatism leads him to judgments based on specific details, depending on changing circumstances, relative to who is gaining and who is losing in a given moment.

What he is alluding to here is the deeply held belief, among Conventional Conservatives, that the true leaders of society are the men who manipulate ideas, not the men who manipulate other men or manipulate things. The great revulsion for Trump among our betters is they see him as a man that makes his way managing people things. He is not a man who operates in the realm of ideas. Therefore, he is disqualified from leading society. Continetti sees himself as Trump’s intellectual and moral superior.

This bit is laugh out loud funny.

His is a blunt and instinctive and demotic approach arrived at after decades in the zero-sum world of real estate and entertainment contract negotiations. His are sentiments honed by immediate, knee jerk, and sometimes inelegant reactions to events and personalities observed on Twitter or on “the shows.” And the goal of his particular conservatism is not adherence to an ideological program so much as it is to prevent the loss of specific goods: money, soldiers, guns, jobs, borders, national cohesion.

Guys like Continetti would not last five minutes in the world of real estate or the world of fast food, for that matter. If he were to get a job with Trump’s organization, it would be as a doorman or desk clerk. Maybe in a decade or so he could be in a position to make a decision, like selecting a cleaning contractor or a building maintenance vendor. The reason the Conventional Right is in crisis is that normal, conservative people, have grown weary of the smug condescension from useless know-it-alls like Continetti.

In fairness to Continetti, he does seem to be figuring it out a bit.

It is this specificity of attachment rather than adherence to a program that explains the divide between street corner conservatives and their political brethren. Many of the conservatives in Washington, D.C., myself included, arrived at their politics through study or experience at university, by encountering a great text, the coherence of natural law, the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, or the economics of Smith, Ricardo, Friedman, and Tullock. That is not the case for the street corner conservatives.

Continetti cannot bring himself to contemplate how the people he labels “street corner conservatives” arrived at their positions. That would require a degree of self-awareness that he lacks. He is far too concerned with distancing himself from these people, because Conventional Conservatism is nothing more than a buffer between the dominant ideology of Progressivism and the rest of us. In their heads, they are standing athwart history yelling “stop”, but in reality they are standing in front of you yelling “stop.”

I’ve gone way too long so I’ll circle back to this another day, but the whole vibe from the Conventional Right is of a collection of middle managers after a takeover. They are still wrapping their heads around the fact that the guys coming in are now in charge. The old company men will have to demonstrate their worth or be tossed out like obsolete furniture. In the end, they will come around, because they have no choice, but there will be plenty of moaning and complaining along the way.

Europe’s Bloody Future

One aspect of the continuing crisis in Europe that is never discussed is why the people allegedly responsible for the welfare of their people, continue to act so irresponsibly. Closely linked to this is why the people in these countries have been so passive toward their ruler’s flagrant disregard for their duties. In any previous era, the terrorist attack on the Berlin Christmas market would have led to a swift response from government, because doing anything else would have the people in the streets building a scaffold for their rulers.

Germany continues to have a reputation for effective and efficient government administration, despite the fact all the evidence suggests Germany is now run by a collection of thumbless boobs. As someone on Sailer’s site noted, this is not a new thing. Germany has been operating like a drunk on holiday for quite some time. Angela Merkel’s decision to import a million violent low-IQ barbarians is just the most egregious example of the reckless disregard for their duties by the German rulers and the indifference of the German people to it.

It’s not just the Germans, either. The French have been tolerating the importation of useless savages from North Africa for decades. Paris is now a small tourist area surrounded by Bronze Age cavemen. Every election, the French people come out and vote for the guy promising to murder more French citizens, because the alternative risks being called a racist and that’s worse than death. The fact that millions of otherwise sensible people can vote in favor of suicide like this speaks to the power of belief.

The Europeans, at least a great many of them, are infected by the same virus that has infected many Americans. They have embraced the most extreme forms of multiculturalism, where opposition to racism is the highest calling. In America, this results in finding the nearest black guy and parading him around the streets or putting him in the White House. Secondarily it has meant an embrace of open borders and the celebration of degeneracy, but the primary focus is always on race. In recent times, it’s been black history month twelve months a year.

In Europe it is a bit different as they don’t have the long shadow of  the English Civil War and slavery. Instead, the afflicted become convinced that there is no difference between people. Since difference is the sole reason for borders, any hint of a border is tantamount to bringing back Nazism. The result is open borders above all else. Even the small steps they have taken to control the flow of barbarians into Europe were done reluctantly and after many public proclamations about how awful everyone feels about defending themselves from the hordes.

How this has happened is not a topic discussed in polite company or by the chattering classes. Read through all of the news accounts and commentary about the Berlin attack and no where do you see any questions about whether it was wise to import a million barbarians. That’s just assumed. Instead, the speculation is over how the natives somehow drove this poor barbarian to fulfill his purpose as a barbarian. The European media reads like the patient newsletter at an insane asylum.

One cause of this is the Cold War. For close to fifty years, Western Europe was America’s daycare center. Americans did all the heavy lifting with regard to the defense of Western Civilization both militarily and economically. European elites were allowed to play dress up and pretend to be in charge, but everyone knew the Americans were in charge. If something broke, America fixed it. If someone got an ouchy, America would salve their boo-boo. The Pax Americana allowed the West to remain in a state of perpetual adolescence.

The result was at least one generation of leaders lacking any training in responsible government. They dress up like proper rulers, but they have no idea what it means to defend their people. In fact, they don’t even think about the hoi polloi as their people. They are just the great unwashed, an undifferentiated mass of greedy mouths and grasping hands. They were free to evolve this way because the Americans were always there to make sure nothing bad happened. As the protective bubble is removed, all of this being exposed.

At some point, people get tired of being murdered. The young German with a taste for politics is going to start to question why he is loyal to people, who show more concern for foreigners than they do for him. A lesson of the French Revolution is that once people begin to question the legitimacy of the system, everything is soon up for grabs. The reckless disregard for their duties, by people like Merkel, is planting the seeds for something much worse than the monthly Exploding Mohamed we see in the news.

Whether or not it is too late to save Europe is open for debate. It is also possible that more sober minded politicians will rise up, push aside the reckless and begin the task of rebuilding their countries. The future is not written and there is no such thing as the tide of history. Even so, it appears Europe is headed for a very ugly and perhaps bloody reckoning. No society can last when its rulers are perpetually at war with its people and that is what Europe is today. At some point, the people will join the war.