The Olden Thymes

I was watching this episode of the Mark Steyn Show on Sunday and they made mention of Casablanca. It occurred to me that it had been so long since I watched these old movies, I no longer remember much about them. My generation was probably the last to grow up seeing these old films on television. They would turn up on the UHF channels at night or on weekends. In the 70’s, black and white movies looked almost as good as the color television shows, so the old films seemed to hold up OK, at least to a ten year old.

I decided to fire up the Kodi and watch Casablanca, while I was catching up on some office work. I was a bit surprised at how well it holds up today. Being in black and white probably makes it work by tricking my brain into viewing it through the eyes of my youth, rather than as a jaded old man. The acting is the part that does not work as well today, as the old films were acted like stage plays, which required the audience to use their imaginations. Modern technology lets the audience drop into a coma while watching a film.

Anyway, Casablanca is a classic film for a reason. The story is well done and even 70 years on, the stars are still stars. Maybe it was how they made the movies back then, but Bogart fills the screen in his scenes. Of course, Ingrid Bergman was a stunningly gorgeous women, but even the lesser stars seemed to have a presence. Peter Lorre has a small role early in the film, but you remember it. It’s probably due to how they made movies back then, but the stars don’t have the same screen presence today.

The funny thing about this movie is the plot is very simple and the imagery is a bit heavy handed. In fact, everything about it is simple and rough-hewn, but there’s a moving depth to it. Watching it, I could easily imagine a 1940’s audience, sitting in the dark theater as the movie ends. The women would be teary eyes, maybe squeezing their man’s arm a little harder than normal. The men would be sitting stiff-backed and stony-faced, enjoying their date getting close, while imagining themselves as the honorable Rick Blaine.

Of course, Hollywood in that age made movies that celebrated the higher values of their intended audience. There were some commie writers trying to work their message into films, but by and large the industry liked its customers and sought to appeal to their better natures by celebrating America and American values. The point of movie making in those days was to get people to the theater. That meant making movies that appealed to the majority population, which meant the native stock. No one bothered with virtue signaling.

There was also a degree of respect for the audience. It was assumed that the people in the theater could use their imagination. They did not need a 20-minute sex scene to know that Bogart and Bergman were having a physical relationship. The audience was treated like adults, rather than teenagers. Hollywood often relied on high-brow culture in their films, even though their audience was mostly working class. People read more and they were expected to know about classic stories and characters from Western culture.

Today, the people making movies largely despise the native stock of the country and they really hate the white men. A remake of Casablanca would most likely have the story set at Ellen’s Place, rather than Rick’s Café Américain. The proprietor would have to be a gender fluid lesbian of color, hounded by white males trying to oppress her. The whole thing would be a carnival of degeneracy intended to rub the nose of viewers in a steaming pile of cultural Marxism, as a reminder of who is in charge now.

The world view of the people in charge of movie making is different too. When they made Casablanca, they knew those honkies taking their dates to see Bogie were going to be relied upon to save Western civilization from itself. The people running Hollywood today are convinced they would be better off if the honkies would hurry up and die off. It’s not just that foreign audiences are so important either. There’s a real visceral hatred that screams through the product pumped out by Hollywood today. They hate us a lot.

What I’m always struck by in the old movies is the maturity of the male leads. Bogart was in his 40’s when he made Casablanca and he looked like it. His character was supposed to be middle-aged. He was an adult. Today, the male leads are cartoons, often literally cartoons. The real flesh and blood male leads are steroidal freaks, who look like float decorations at a gay pride parade. More important, they lack maturity. Instead of playing characters that anchor society, they are emotional wrecks who need saving.

I hate this age.

The Pervgeld

 

A strange example of how not to deal with fanatics is here in this posting I saw on the twitter machine the other day. It is a tantrum about the alleged lack of diversity in the video game rackets. It is comedy gold.

BioWare’s attempt to depict a trans woman character in Mass Effect: Andromeda was a disaster. From a report that emerged about BioWare’s apparent failure to consult with actual trans people, to the developer’s unsubstantiated claim about its “diverse” workforce, its mishandling of the issue is highlighting a massive issue in the gaming industry: We don’t really know anything about the people who make the games we play.

I don’t know about this particular game, but many games have unicorns and elves in them. I doubt that the game makers consult with unicorns and elves about how they depict those characters. So-called “trans people” are just as mythical as elves. A man pretending to be a woman is no different than someone walking around thinking they are a hobbit from the shire. Are game makers required to consult with the people pretending to be hobbits?

To its credit, BioWare is updating the character, Hainly Abrams, to be a more sensitive, realistic depiction of a trans person’s lived experience. But the whole kerfuffle has made one thing clear: If game developers want to show they’re taking representation seriously, they should stop being so secretive about whom they hire.

Why this ridiculous weirdo thinks it is any of his business would make for an interesting interview, but neo-fascists like Tim Mulkerin tend to avoid these questions. They just take it for granted that they have the whip hand as cultural commissars.

Unfortunately, there’s simply not enough pressure on game developers to hire more marginalized folks at the moment — and that’s something diversity reports might kick-start. Right now, it’s easier to just maintain the status quo, to maintain employment devoid of actual diversity — because nobody will ever know the difference. Publishing diversity reports would be a great first step to shaking things up.

Maybe banks and law firms should do the same or perhaps Tim should demand diversity on the Supreme Court of the United States. After all, three lesbians and just one WASP male suggests a strong bias against the majority of the population. How about some diversity in the NBA? Not a lot of the majority population there either. Oh right. Never mind.

And it’s not as though the value of having a diverse staff is up for debate. It’s clear that diverse workforces improve companies and the economy at large. In fact, the benefits of a diverse workplace are evident when it comes to the writing of BioWare’s last game, Dragon Age: Inquisition.

There you go. The fact that there is no evidence that so-called diversity has any value is unimportant. What’s important is it is not up for debate you bigots. The fact that diversity is actually terrible for tech companies is besides the point.

What game companies like BioWare are about to learn is that the only response to the diversity lunatics is a hearty and enthusiastic “Go fuck yourself!” when they show up at the door. BioWare would make more money by having a character modeled after David Duke than they would by catering to mentally disturbed men in sundresses, who also like gaming. There’s zero benefit in paying the pervgeld to the trannies. You just end up with a bunch of perverts and deviants in your ranks.

Or worse. BioWare invested in diversity rather than producing a quality product and the result was a shit product they cannot give away. Lunatics like Tim Mulkerin will claim the reason is the game failed to include enough blue-haired lesbians on the development team or some such nonsense, because that is how the mind of a fanatic works. They can’t change their mind and they won’t change the subject. The reality is there is no market for this stuff. Gamers want to have fun, not be lectured by a lunatic.

 

The Demise of Fox News

News brings word that the SJW’s have bagged their biggest trophy to date. Bill O’Reilly is the most popular cable news talker in the business and he was just fired for making the girls cry. It is all part of what is looking like a well orchestrated effort to break Fox News on the wheel of political correctness. The screeching harpies knocked out Roger Ailes and now they have taken out the top star, all via the same method – powerskirts claiming to have been done wrong by the knuckle-dragging misogynists running the network.

The claim will be that the advertisers demanded Fox fire O’Reilly, but that is complete nonsense. Cable channels, like Fox News, exist on subscription revenues, not advertising dollars. FNC gets $1.50 from every cable home each month. That’s roughly $1.8 billion a year whether people watch or not. Their ad revenue is less than a third of that number. In the case of ESPN, for example, ad revenue is around one billion, and they have an audience about ten times the size of a cable news operation, even Fox News.

An advertiser boycott could certainly harm the bottom line for Fox, but there is another reality to the cable business. Those companies demanding their ads be pulled from the O’Reilly show would still be running ads on other Fox programs. The reason they choose to run ads on Fox News is they believe there are people watching Fox News who will also buy crap they see advertised. Bill O’Reilly could be strangling kittens on his show. If he gets a valuable audience to watch, advertisers will want to get their name on his show.

The reality is Fox could weather the storm and ride out this thing if they wanted to do it, but they probably have another agenda. It’s tempting to assume that Fox is stuffed to the rafters with right-wing ideologues, but that’s not the case. Fox is just as Prog infested as every other media company.This could very well be part of an effort to make the channel more Prog friendly. It could also be the dream-child of someone in management, to remake the network to appeal to younger, gayer viewers.

Logic says that languishing networks like CNN would jump at the chance to land a huge fish like O’Reilly. Put the Big Mic on CNN in his old time slot and CNN would soon pass Fox in the ratings. In fact, they could put some other popular names around him and dominate the cable news wars. People like tabloid news shows and guys like O’Reilly are good at being just outrageous enough to get your attention, but not so crazy as to make you feel bad for liking tabloid news.

That’s not going to happen, of course. CNN has the same economics as Fox News. They can fully engage in whatever politics they choose, because they get paid even if no one bothers watching. They are tax farmers, relying on an oligopoly to enforce their right to skim a buck a month from your cable bill. It’s why cable bills are over $100 per month and it is also why cord cutting is the new thing. If people could pick the channels they buy through their cable subscription, all of the cable news guys would go away.

As an aside, it is one of the ironies of socialism. The economic philosophy that claims to favor equality of outcomes always turns into a vehicle for self-dealing by the advocates of socialism. American media is universally liberal, and financed by the socialism of cable television. Colleges and universities are madhouses of Progressive jackassery, financed by the socialized student debt system.  American health care is looking like a cynical bust-out because of socialist economics championed by the Left.

As a further aside, the companies pulling their ads from O’Reilly were not doing it for economic reasons. The ratings were through the roof and few Americans care about who is playing grab ass with whom at the TV station. These companies were pulling their ads in order to curry favor with the Cult. In many cases, their management teams are infested with Progs and powerskirts too. It’s like a virus for which there is no known cure. It controls the host and will bring about its demise in order to promote the cause.

Anyway, a good lesson to recall in all of this is the story of Time Magazine. Henry Luce founded the magazine, as well as Life, Sports Illustrated and other famous publications. He was also involved in radio, newsreels and eventually television. His company was the first multimedia corporation. In his heyday, he was considered the most influential private citizen in the country. The reason for that is his publications reached almost every American. He was an arbiter of the news.

Luce was also rabidly anti-communist and regularly used his media outlets to do battle with the Progs of his day. He opposed most of what FDR tried to do in office. It was Luce who came to the rescue of Whittaker Chambers, when the the Progs had him at the top of their enemies list. Chambers worked for Luce, not only earning a paycheck, but writing for his publications. Luce helped Bill Buckley get started, thus helping the post-war conservative movement come to life. Henry Luce’s media empire was anti-Left.

It was not, however, explicitly right-wing. After Luce died, his media company was slowly infiltrated by lunatics. By the 60’s it was unrecognizable. By the 70’s it was fully refashioned into a weapon of the Left. Even though its over the top Progressive bias slowly killed its circulation, the people running it did not care. What mattered was promoting the one true faith, even if it destroyed the institution from which it was broadcast. Time Magazine is gone now and the Luce company exists in name only.

That’s the fate of Fox News. Rupert Murdoch was never a man of the Right. He was just a guy who loved tabloid news and was a genius at making money on modern media properties. His kids are Kool-Aid drinking Prog loonies, who will piss away the family fortune trying to buy status within the Cult of Modern Liberalism. As a result, Fox News will slowly be converted into a megaphone for the one true faith. We’ll sooner see a trans gender-fluid lesbian of color in prime time than another Bill O’Reilly type.

Alt-LARP

For weeks, maybe months, the site WeSearchr was raising money to finance another street fight with the black clad Antifa guys. It was pretty obvious that the point of the “rally” was not free speech or to support Trump. It was an effort to have a rematch with Antifa, which kicked the crap out of the normies at the Berkeley Milo event back in February. The WeSearchr guys did everything but offer to drive the Antifa people to the event. It was such an obvious setup, it is surprising that someone did not shut it down in advance.

The social media reports from the event strongly suggest the cops were told to stand aside and let things take their course. That appears to be the style in Berkeley, where they just assume the numbers are always on their side. On the other hand, there’s a protest every day at Berkeley. It’s just part of the culture. It’s entirely possible that the level of cynicism has reached the point where the cops simply don’t care. There’s no way to know, but the Alt-Lite people see to think the cops were told to stand down.

From his secret lair in suburban Washington DC, Richard Spencer declared the resulting melee a win for his team, even though the people who organized it seem to hate Richard Spencer. The various schisms and feuds in the “alt” community have reached the point where it is hard to keep track of the sides. Regardless, the vanguard of the proletariat smashed the other vanguard of the proletariat, resulting in some hilarious video on social media. Judging by the coverage, it looks like Antifa was on the losing end of it this time.

Spencer is completely wrong in his assessment. He really, really wants to jam current events into his narrative of Weimar Germany and the rise of Hitler, but history never repeats itself so neatly. As the old saying goes, “History doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes.” The rhythms of this age have some things in common with the rhythms of past ages, but that’s as far as it goes. Spencer is not Martin Heidegger and there is no young Adolph Hitler lurking in the local art school, contemplating a political future.

More important, the street theater we see going on between Antifa and the Alt-Lite, and it is the McInness wing doing the fighting, is nothing like the street battles that went on in the Weimar days. The Freikorps battling communists were not bored college boys killing a weekend with some live action role playing and a few brews with the bros. The Freikorps were an important German cultural institution that dated to the Seven Years War. These were former soldiers, organized into a civil political force.

Comparing the ProudBoys to the Freikorps is laughable on its face and reveals a fundamental lack of seriousness on the part of Spencer. Comparing these Antifa idiots to the Spartacus League is even more absurd. German citizens after the abdication of the Kaiser thought the two paths forward were socialism or communism. Exactly no one supports Antifa’s political agenda, if they even have one. Similarly, Spencer has a following in the hundreds and no one thinks his ethno-state idea has a future.

To be fair to the Alt-Lite people, and again, it is the Alt-Lite out there doing the fighting, they just want to have their events without being harassed by lunatics. If the adults running the campuses and policing these political events did their jobs, none of this would be necessary. You really cannot blame them for taking matters into their own hands and laying into these Antifa nutters. If the people in charge refuse to do their duty and maintain civil order, then people will do it on their own. That’s an immutable fact of life.

Even so, America is not Weimar Germany. It is not even 1960’s America. The days of hard men enforcing ideological discipline on the streets are long over. The days of disaffected youth upsetting the social order are also past. Ricky Vaughn did more for the disaffected with his twitter account than any of these guys playing make believe on the streets of Berkeley. The bros had a good time beating up on the punks from Antifa and that’s not a terrible result in itself, but it is not the Spartacist uprising.

If there’s any lesson here at all it is that in the current crisis, the old tactics are more for theater and entertainment than advancing a political agenda. Going on campus to harass Charles Murray is not changing minds and it is not intended to change minds. It’s just something to do in order to show off to friends. Its bored children coloring on the walls, even though they know mom will be pissed. Since mom is not going to give them up for adoption over it, the act is just pointless, risk-free theater.

The Right Side of the Left

This post from NRO’s Mona Charen is a good example of how the distance between the Buckley Conservatives and the Progressives has narrowed to the point where it is hard to see any light between them.

The headline was numbingly familiar: “For Blacks, College is Not An Equalizer.” The op-ed in the Washington Post by Ray Boshara explored what he called a “troubling paradox,” namely that so many well-educated black Americans “feel so economically insecure.” It’s a startling fact, Boshara continued, “that blacks with college degrees have lost wealth over the past generation.” White college graduates “saw their wealth soar by 86 percent” between 1992 and 2013, while black college graduates experienced a loss of 55 percent over the same period. I made a little bet with myself as I read the piece: “Two-to-one he doesn’t talk about family structure.”

It’s funny, but the little bet I made with myself while reading it was “A bazillion to one says she dares not mention IQ.” I won that bet, of course, because the subject of intelligence is now a forbidden topic with the so-called conservatives. The subject of group intelligence, or even group differences, causes these people to faint. They have fully internalized the magic of the blank slate so therefore biology is ruled out of any discussion of human behavior or quantifiable group differences. Magic is always the go to move.

The fact is, the efforts to get more blacks into college, and out of college with a diploma, has not changed the fundamentals of group IQ difference. All the affirmative action in the world is not going to change this fundamental reality.IQ is the single best predictor of life outcomes. The lowering of standards at colleges, in order to increase diversity on campus, just means more people with an IQ of 85 carrying around a college diploma. It has no bearing on the earnings gap between those with a 100 IQ and those with an 85 IQ. As everyone in the dreaded private sector knows, the diploma counts for nothing when the employee is being evaluated on their work product. Poor work produced by a college graduate is still a poor work product.

IQ is not the only taboo avoided in this piece. Immigration is also one of the banned topics with the so-called conservatives.

As I feared though, he avoided what I consider to be a key factor in the black/white difference. The great divide in wealth accumulation in America is founded on marriage. Married couples accumulate much more wealth than divorced or never married people do. A study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that the median married couple in their sixties had ten times more wealth than a typical single person. An Ohio State study found that divorce decreases wealth by an average of 77 percent. Jay Zagorsky, the study’s author, counseled: “If you really want to increase your wealth, get married and stay married. On the other hand, divorce can devastate your wealth.” Now consider the demographics of black college graduates. The overwhelming majority are women. Females now account for 66 percent of all bachelor’s degrees earned by blacks, 70 percent of master’s degrees, and 60 percent of doctorates. Women tend to desire husbands who are as educated or more educated than they are, which makes marriage more difficult for black women with higher education degrees. According to an analysis by the Brookings Institution, the percentage of black women college graduates aged 25 to 35 who have never married is 60 percent, compared to 38 percent for white college-educated women.

That paragraph is hilarious for a number of reason. Mona Charen presuming to speak for the tastes of black women in the mating markets is laugh out loud funny. There’s also the fact that she confuses income and wealth. The bigger issue here is the fact that she cannot bring herself to mention the real reason black males have rocket high unemployment levels. That’s immigration. Cheap foreign labor and a willingness to tolerate idle black men, has resulted in lots of idle black men. This is really not difficult material.

The main reason Buckley Conservatism no longer has a constituency outside the ruling class is they have accepted all the premises of the Progressives. They are convinced that all humans are just amorphous blobs that can be shaped at will. Differences in outcome, therefore, must be due to society. That rules out the right answer and leaves them in the same carnival of magical thinking as the Progressives. The only difference is one side has slightly different incantations and abracadabra words than the other.

A Post About Feudalism

In the Middle Ages, feudalism was not thought of as a political system or even an economic system. The people using the term, and enforcing the rules, simply looked at it as a set of reciprocal legal and military obligations among the nobility. The lord or king, granted property, a fief, to a vassal, who then had military or economic obligations to the lord who granted it to him. The property could be land, titles or a right to collect taxes in a certain area of the realm. You’ll note that the peasants were not part of the discussion.

Just because the people ruling over the feudal system had no regard for the peasants, it did not mean the peasants were unimportant. The peasants worked the land, provided men for military service, operated the system of trade and food rents. Modern historians prefer to describe this period as manorialism. This a system that bound the peasants, the nobility and clergy together economically and politically through a hierarchy of economic obligations. Everyone kicked up to someone, in labor, kind or coin.

It’s easy to dismiss this organizational model, but it lasted for six centuries and provided the foundation for later developments like property rights and the rule of law. One big flaw in this system is it transfers the cost of society, and all the risks inherent in the human condition, to the lowest possible level of society. The peasants have to hand over food rents, even when there is a bad harvest or an invasion by barbarians. That’s because the lord of the manor owes his lord food rents or coin, regardless of the harvest.

Probably the biggest defect is it is a zero sum game at the top of society. The king can only have one heir. Similarly, his vassals can only have one heir. Usually, the goal was to have an heir and a spare. The spare served in the military just in case the first born son died or was an idiot. Extra kids and daughters would be sent off to the church. This is good for the church and military as they get high quality people, but the rest of society is locked into a swelling peasant population until nature culls the herd.

In his book A Farewell to Alms, Gregory Clark argues that Britain experienced an extended period where the peasants died off due to disease and violence. At the same time, members of the ruling class precipitated down to take up the positions in the lower classes. Downward mobility raised the mean IQ of British society until it reached an inflection point where it escaped feudalism and developed a market economy, and eventually the industrial revolution. Downward mobility birthed upward mobility.

Historians have argued that the black plague ended feudalism on the Continent because it knocked the foundation out from under the economic pyramid. When a third of the peasant population was killed by disease, the system ceased to be economically viable. Of course, the disease killed a lot of nobles too. Once the peasants were free to move about, they could go work for the highest bidder. The labor shortage caused by the plague gave the peasantry new economic power and that translated to political power.

The mobility of human capital, vertically as well as horizontally, coincides with the collapse of the feudal system. Whether it was the collapse of the system that unleashed this mobility or it was the mobility that undermined the system is debatable. Perhaps some combination of both. As the system became more fragile, mobility increased, which in turn made the system more fragile. The waves of plague that decimated the population finished off the process that started much earlier.

something similar happened in America in the 17th and 18th century. The second and third sons of land owners headed west looking for land. Of course, ambitious and talented men like Ben Franklin could literally go from rags to riches. Similarly, the post WW2 period was a time of high social mobility in America. Ambitious men could move up into the middle class or move west looking for a shot to make their fortune. It’s not an accident that the U-Haul Company started after the war. Americans are not moving much anymore.

Another interesting reality of the feudal system is that it was a rentier system. The people at the top did not make anything or improve anything. They were not particularly inventive or creative. The slow progress in agricultural technology is a good example of the technological stagnation. The nobles and the church lived off the rake. They skimmed from every layer of society. Feudalism was  a pyramid scheme, where each layer paid the layer above a portion of their take. It operated a lot like the modern financial system.

The real key to the system, the point of system, was the protection of asset values, which mostly meant land, but also mines, ports and fisheries. The chief concern of the nobles was the preservation of the asset base. Owning land meant owning rents, which meant a permanent place in the ruling class. Feudalism was, at its heart, a way to protect land from external threats, as well as internal ones. In the modern age, the monetary system works the same way. It’s primary purpose is to protect and promote asset values.

The challenge of the feudal system was not a lot different from the challenges of the current age, at least for those who sit atop the social system The key was maintaining the balance between the social layers of the pyramid. Too many people in the managerial class means too many idle hands doing the devil’s work. They could also start complaining about their economic status. Maybe they would try to rally the lower classes to support their demands for a bigger share of the skim.

The Iron Law of Conservatism

The British journalist, and sometime National Review editor, John O’Sullivan stated that any organization or enterprise that is not expressly right wing will become left wing over time. This observation is conveniently named O’Sullivan’s Law and is based on the observation that non-liberals will hire liberals into their organization, while liberals apply ideological tests. The result is liberals eventually take over non-liberal organizations while ruthlessly defending their own turf.

What O’Sullivan was observing is the natural tendency toward entryism among members of mass movements. It is the corollary to proselytizing. The true believer seeks validation so they are always trying to recruit members to their cause. It’s why Mormons knock on doors offering to show you their magic underwear. This also manifests itself in the inclination toward undermining organizations seen as a challenge, often by infiltrating and co-opting them. When an institution flips to their ideological camp, it is seen as validation.

The irony here is that O’Sullivan and other Buckley Conservatives confused their temporary, ad hoc response to communism, with Anglo-Saxon conservatism. The former existed in the temporary space of the Cold War, while the latter is the baseline of Western Civilization. It’s why Buckley Conservatism is now just Progressivism with a blood lust for Arabs. Once the Cold War ended, their reason to exist ended with it. It turns out that Buckley Conservatism was not expressly right wing after all.

That raises the question of what it means to be expressly right wing and introduces this video from Alt-Lite provocateur, Gavin McInnes. The summary, for those uninterested in watching it, is McInnes putting up a board displaying the various figured on the Alt-Right and Alt-Lite. He has a line dividing the two camps. On one side are those who are Western chauvinist, rallying around a group of ideas. They are “inclusive” of anyone that embraces Western civilization and they are not hung up on race or heritage.

The other side mostly agrees with that, but adds in the fact that those ideas were invented by white people and that matters. The West is the result of white people so to preserve Western Civilization you have to preserve white people. There’s also the “JQ” issue, according to McInnes, where the Alt-Right places Jews outside the white camp and outside Western Civilization. He soft-sells it, but the point is that one side is pro-white and the other side is Pro-West, but both sides largely agree on the philosophical stuff.

That’s fine and maybe it is correct. To his credit, McInnes makes clear that it is more of a continuum, than two distinct sets, but he invests a lot of time talking about a vaguely defined line between the two camps. Richard Spencer is over on the side near the fringe Nazis and Paul Joseph Watson is over on the other side, closer to something McInness never bothers to address. The whole shtick is mostly about distinguishing himself from the bad guys on the Alt-Right so the Left is left unmentioned.

To be fair to McInness, he is still young enough to dream of having a big time job at a big time media operation. He got a taste of it at Fox News and he probably hopes that one day he gets a shot to host a show on some other mainstream cable platform. Frankly, they would be wise to dump one of the Jon Stewart Mini-Me shows they have and give a guy like a McInnes a shot to be the normie version of Stewart, but that’s a topic for another day. The point here is McInness is treading lightly.

The defect with the Alt-Lite is the same problem the Buckley Conservatives had a generation ago. They have no antibodies to resist entryism, because they lack a timeless definition of what it means to be Alt-Lite. Western Civilization, after all, includes Karl Marx and Hitler. Nazism is just as much a part of the West as John Locke. In fact, Hitler currently casts a longer shadow than any of the men of the Enlightenment. On what grounds can the Alt-Lite reject Hitler, but embrace the slave owning Jefferson?

The same is true of anti-racism and egalitarianism. How can these be rejected when they are inventions of the West? Of course, the Alt-Lite makes no attempt to reject these as that would get them in trouble with the Left. That’s what opens the door to, and requires them to accept, the defining feature of the dominant orthodoxy. That feature is the blank slate. As McInness goes to pains to point out, if a hotep brotha is on the Trump Train, he has a place at the table of the Alt-Lite, a cherished place.

That’s the fatal flaw that was the undoing of the Buckley Right. The Alt-Lite has no affirmative argument. Instead, it is a list of things it is not and most of those things are to their Right. That firewall they are building to their Right, just as Buckley did with Kirk and with the paleocons, comes at the expense of any defensible line of demarcation between themselves and the Left. That leaves them open to entryism, corruption and subversion, which is why the leading opponents of Trump are all Buckley Conservatives.

That brings us back to the beginning. O’Sullivan was mostly correct, but he left out the most important part of the rule. That’s the definition of Right Wing. What is it that forever separates the Right from the Left? What is the thing about which there can be no meeting in the middle, between Left and Right? The great divide that can never be crossed, is biology.The Left embraces the blank slate and rejects biological reality. The Right accepts biology, human diversity and all the truths about the human animal that arise from it.

The great chain of causality is Biology→Culture-→Politics-→Economics. It’s why Libertarianism, in its current form, not right wing. The Reason Magazine crowd are sure that all you have to do to fix Haiti, for example, is end the licensing of barbershops and other small businesses. And legalize weed, of course. In other words, they get things backward and end up rejecting the human condition. This is the crack in the foundation of all Left Wing movements. It’s what they share in common.

Therefore, any ideology or political movement that does not accept the great chain of causality will eventually be subverted and become left wing.

Me and TV

I had been a DirecTV subscriber for years, mostly so I could watch sports, which is the only reason I have a television. I’ve gone long stretches of my life without a TV, but it is a nice convenience for when you’re stuck at home with nothing better to do. I do enjoy watching baseball and football. Some of the long form dramas produced by the big cable channels have been good too. Otherwise, I’ve never developed the habit of following sitcoms and serials. I doubt I could name one show popular in prime time.

Back in January I decided to cancel my subscription. The cost had reached the point where it no longer made sense. The game DirecTV plays is they slowly jack up the monthly fee until you decide you’ve had enough and call to cancel. They haggle with you and offer a discount if you stay with them. It is a crazy way to do business, but I suppose it works for them. Most Americans hate confrontations over money and most Americans hate haggling. My Arab friends love DirecTV.

The haggle to finally get free took exactly 25 minutes. I knew what was coming so I was prepared to enjoys it. I allowed the customer retention rep to think he had a real chance to get me to change my mind. We went back and forth for about ten minutes and then he threw me a curve by transferring me to his supervisor. He and I did the dance for another ten minutes and I finally prevailed. The remainder of the conversation was going through a surprisingly long list of details in order to cancel television.

The funny thing about cutting the cord, at least for me, is I’m probably watching more television now than when I had a subscription. I have an Amazon Fire and I have a Prime account. I no longer go to stores, other than for groceries, so I get good use of the Amazon account. I’m one of those people who gets more than his annual fee in free shipping. That also means I have access to all sorts of video content on the Fire. Amazon does offer a lot of video content on their system.

I also loaded the Kodi app on the thing so I have the underground streaming services for just about anything you can imagine. I’m fond of Pakistani cinema so it is nice to be able to get that whenever I want. The Kodi app is to television what Napster was to the music industry. It is a tool to allow the black market to undermine the oligopoly controlling the US television business. At some point, Big Cable will figure out how to shut them down, but the damage will have been done and the cost of winning will kill the cable model.

Anyway, the reason I’m probably watching more television now is that I have more to watch. It used to be that I’d fruitlessly scan the channels looking for anything that caught my interest. Unless a game was on, I’d end up leaving the TV on and wandering off to do something else. Other than sporting events, it was mostly just background noise as I got tired of the process of finding something worth watching. Throw in the excessive commercials and the whole process was more punishment than pleasure.

Now, I have a whole list of programs I’ve queued up so when I want to watch a show, I turn on the show or movie. The fact that it is commercial free makes the experience more enjoyable. I’m binge watching, as the kids say, the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. It’s nice to watch two episodes back-to-back. By the time I settle into watch TV, it is around 8:00 PM so I watch two episodes then go to bed. I usually read or write for a few hours before bed so it works out well, so it works for me to do both.

It sort of reminds me of what television was like when I was a kid. We watched TV in the same way people went to the movies. It was a planned event. After school, we only watched TV when the weather was bad. My dad would watch the evening news on occasion, but usually, the TV was off until after dinner and some popular prime-time show that we watched as a family. In other words, television was not the center of life. It was just one of many cheap entertainments.

It’s not hard to see where it is heading. The days of the cable subscription are nearing an end. Old people will continue to prefer that model, mostly because it is simple and familiar. In time, the on-demand model will figure out how to appeal to geezers who don’t like change. I’m not quite a geezer, but I appreciate that going cordless is a bit of hassle. I had to fiddle with the Fire and load the Kodi app onto it. Just as Facebook is now dominated by seniors, these cordless services will soon be common among the geezers.

The other change on the TV front is I had to get a new XBox. The old one died, mostly from lack of use, I suspect. I’m not much of a gamer, but on a rainy day or when I have people to the ghetto for drinks, it is a nice to have item. I bought a new one and it has a Blu-ray player, which is something I never experienced. Having watched my first Blu-ray disc, I’m not seeing the big difference. It’s a little better, but I suspect you have to have an Ultra-HD TV to really appreciate the higher quality.

The comical part of the XBox was that I had to download 1.5 GB of updates before I could use the thing. I’m old enough to remember when computer storage always had the letter ‘K” in it. Once that was done, I loaded my first Blu-ray only to learn that the  Blu-ray app need to download an update. Then the controller needed a firmware update. I bet it took three hours of prep just to use the stupid thing. A big part of modern life is waiting for your electronics to prepare themselves for your use.

Like a junkie just out of rehab, I’m off TV and I swear this is it for me.

The Wages of Proportionalism

Ethical theories like utilitarianism, say that an action is right or wrong, depending on the consequences it produces. A deed is judged as good if it has a good result. The intentions of the actor are of little or no consequence, because what matters is the final result. Similarly, the deed has no intrinsic morality because the morality is entirely dependent on the results. The most common expression for this is that the ends justify the means. Most of what we think of as the Left falls into this ethical category.

The obvious alternative to this is what Jeremy Bentham called deontological ethics or deontology. This loosely means the knowledge of what is right and proper. A Catholic, for example, acts in accordance with the teachings of the Church. A lawyer conducts himself in accordance with the demands of Lucifer. The act is good or evil intrinsically, regardless of downstream outcomes. What matters is the fidelity to principle or a moral code. The means justifies the ends is the most common formulation of this.

Then there is Proportionalism, which was discussed in this post with regards to how our rulers manage race relations in the current age. That is the ethical theory that says it is never right to go against a principle, unless a proportionate reason would justify it. For example, discrimination is always wrong, unless doing so mitigates some greater wrong. Affirmative action is the policy of discriminating against living whites, based on their race, in order to address the racism of white people too dead to be punished.

The obvious danger of utilitarianism and pragmatist is that it gives license to all sorts of horrible things. A despot, for example, can kill wantonly, claiming it is necessary in order to achieve some greater purpose. Similarly, a pathological adherence to principle, or simply adherence to some bizarre moral philosophy like Nazism, can lead to monstrous ends. Even so, there’s at least a principled argument to be made in order to limit or block the despot and the zealot. There are rules against which they can be judged.

In the modern age, our rulers are quick to point out these things when criticizing whatever it is they are railing against at the moment. They favor Proportionalism because it allows them to make the rules up as they go along, in the moment, in order to take maximum advantage. Proportionalism lets them bet both sides of the wager. When it suits them, they can assiduously apply the rules. When the rules are inconvenient, they can claim that a rigid adherence to principle is not in the public interest.

This moral ambiguity has worked reasonably well, but it is proving to be their undoing as we see with the ongoing spying scandal in Washington. The political class is now faced with an impossible choice. They can pretend that none of this happened and hope Trump stops dumping details about it into the alternative media. That’s pretty much what happened with the Susan Rice story that was handed to Cernovich. That’s an unknowable unknown because Trump plays by a different set of rules and has unknown motives.

There’s also the problem of letting what Team Obama did go unpunished. It sanctions this sort of activity and exactly no one wants the executive having that sort of power. Imagine if a soulless sociopath like Clinton had won the election and had the power to unleash the intelligence agencies on her enemies. On a regular basis, assassins would be gunning down political figures on the streets of Washington. The organized and brazen abuse of power that went on in the last year cannot be left unaddressed.

That, of course, leads to the other unpleasant option. Investigating the former staff of the former president for the crime of domestic espionage and perhaps conspiring to undermine the election is no small thing. After all, that former president is the most precious trophy of the party that runs Washington. That party has been willing to excuse just about anything in order to win political fights. No one knows what sort of dirt Team Obama has at their disposal to use in a bloody political war over this.

That brings it all back to Trump. This latest twist was rather obviously a White House caper. They had the goods on Susan Rice and probably several others so they found a willing outlet. This is one of the oldest political tricks. You find an obscure reporter looking to make a name for himself and you give him the scoop of his lifetime. In this day, a blogger works even better because they don’t have to clear things with a boss. Picking Cernovich is the sort of flourish that a guy like Trump would find amusing.

It’s also a reminder to the political class that Trump is a fast learner and he is willing to play the hardest of hardball. Trump is a leverage guy. He always looks at what he has in order to leverage it to get something else. He’s just turned this Russian hacking nonsense into a weapon he can now use on the political class. The Republicans don’t want to go to war with the Democrats and the Democrats don’t want anymore of their soldiers getting dimed out to ambitious bloggers looking to make a name for themselves.

It is the inevitable end to Proportionalism. In the 90’s, the Left made all sorts of compromises in order to win elections with the Clintons. The Right decided to do the same the following decade with Bush and the neocons. As a result, the political class lost their moral authority. Team Obama had no reason to obey the rules, because no one was obeying the rules. There was always some proportionate reason to justify violating principle. After all, they let the IRS caper pass. Why not some domestic spying?

No Footprints

In the 1980’s, companies like Lotus Development Corp were “growth” companies, which meant they could not sell their products fast enough. The PC revolution was in full swing and Lotus 1-2-3 was the killer, must have, application. If you walked into their Cambridge headquarters, it looked like a bomb went off because no one had time to be tidy. It was all hands on deck to get product out the door. There were not a lot of rules either. The game was to grow and that’s what mattered. All the other corporate stuff was secondary.

That did not last. By the mid-90’s, the desktop computer market was established and the default platform was Microsoft Windows, which meant Microsoft Office. It was around this time that IBM was making a hostile takeover bid, not because they wanted a growth company, but because Lotus was becoming an asset company. That is, its value was no longer in sales of its products, but in the value of its patents and technology. IBM bought Lotus in order to squeeze every drop of juice from it and then, eventually, toss it away.

That’s the modern economy in a nutshell.

The Technological Revolution is often compared to the Industrial Revolution, because of the cultural impact. After the steam engine, people did not just have better stuff. People were different. They lived different and had different relationships to one another and their rulers. A similar process is underway in the Technological Revolution. Mass migration, the elimination of the middle-class and the end of popular government are three obvious examples of changes wrought by the technological age.

One difference between the Industrial Revolution and the Technological Revolution is the trail of breadcrumbs each left behind, as it worked its way through society. Today, Americans still drive over roads and bridges built during the peak of the industrial age. Even though our consumer goods are made by foreigners, they still use the same practices the West developed for industry. Even in blighted cities, you can still find old factory buildings that remind us of the past.

The technological age is a different animal. It tends to erase its own footsteps. Lotus Development Corp is a good example. It was not just that it lost the competition for desktop productivity software. Everything about it was consumed and recycled. Walk around Cambridge today and you cannot tell that Lotus even existed. The tech economy is a soylent green economy. Once the utility of its creations are exhausted, everything about it is consumed, erased from existence, as if people are ashamed of it.

The billionaire, Mark Cuban made his first million selling software. He worked as a salesman for a software store and then started his own company, which he eventually sold. Then Cuban founded  Audionet, which he sold to Yahoo for $2.6 billion. None of the companies Cuban started exist. The companies that bought his companies are all gone now, with Yahoo about to be swallowed up in a fire sale. Even the technologies he championed are now long forgotten.

Unless he uses his billions to have his name carved onto a mountain, Cuban will leave this world with nothing to show for himself, nothing anyone can point to and say, “Mark Cuban built that.” It’s unlikely that Cuban or any of the tech billionaires care about this. It is the way they want it, or at least it appears that way. That explains their zeal to erase our culture and replace it with a throw away version based in nothing but a desire to squeeze a few more drops from the societies they intend to throw away.

 

Whether you call it the technological age or the global age, these are just polite terms for cosmopolitanism, scaled to the supranational. In the city, you don’t build, you hustle. You don’t own, you rent. Nothing is permanent because a stationary target is an easy target. Instead you make what you can and you move onto the next thing. If you can shift the burden onto someone else, all the better. That’s how the game is played because in the city, everyone is a stranger.

That’s the new economy we are experiencing. No one thinks about the long term, because that’s a sucker’s play. The money is in the short hustle, You make your money and move on. The game is to pick the fruit, squeeze out all the juice and then toss away the rest, leaving it for a sucker to clean up later. The housing bubble is a good example. Everyone involved knew it was a grift. They are too smart to not have known. The game was to make money and not be the sucker left holding the bag.

I used to know someone who worked at Lotus in its heyday, so I had an interest in the company from the early days. I recall the owners turning up in local news a lot  and they were brimming with confidence. I wonder if those folks from the glory days of Lotus don’t look back with sadness at what happened to their company. They are rich men and did very well for themselves after Lotus, but still. I bet they would trade a lot to be able to walk past their old building with their old sign still over the door.

I could be all wrong and maybe they have long forgotten about their old firm. Maybe all those people simply made their money and moved on to the next thing. Men have lived their lives in order to be remembered since the dawn of time. Maybe as the Industrial Revolution resulted in different people and different social arrangements, this age is doing the same and the new man of the new economy is just a stranger passing through, uninterested in leaving footprints for future generations to examine.