The Disaggregation

Living at the end of a great historical cycle, we take for granted that the way things are currently organized, is the way they have always been organized. Ours is the natural order of things. One reason we think this is that we can only really know our age. We can read about prior epochs, but we cannot truly know what it was like to be alive in those times. It will always feel alien to us. The other reason is that a product of our epoch is the linear theory of history. All of the events of the past led to this point in time.

The linear thinking of our age is why a guy like Francis Fukuyama could write a book titled The End of History and not be laughed out of the room. The truth is, the West has gone through a number of cycles, that had a beginning, middle and end. The feudal period is the easiest example. It was born out of the ruins of Rome, flourished through the middle ages and then collapsed in the Enlightenment. The period between the scientific revolution and the French Revolution, was the great transition from old epoch to the new.

To flesh this out a bit, think about the natural trajectory of human organization. The trend has always been for larger and larger organizational units. First settlements were a few tribes making up a few hundred people. The first settlements were small, but grew into villages and then towns. The more successful became cities and eventually, the political units we call city-states. The first empires were collections of city-states, but in Europe, that model never scaled up very well, which is why counties were the maximum unit.

This is one of great forces in human history, the natural tendency for human societies to “level up” by getting bigger, taking over neighboring societies. The Han Chinese are a great example of this phenomenon. The Huaxia ethnic group is believed to be the ancestors of the Han, who formed into a tribe and slowly dominated the neighboring tribes. They moved north and south, eventually occupying most of what we think of as China today. Put another way, a bunch of small tribes combined into one big tribe.

We see a bit of this at the end of our epoch. The great industrial wars of the 20th century made war for territory unacceptable. Borders were drawn and respected. Changes to borders were to be negotiated. Then the idea of eliminating borders entirely became the default position of elites. Europe was to combined into a single political unit. Asia would slowly combine into a mighty economic unit. North America was to be the glue, binding it all together. Human organization would be global and managed.

Just as the Bronze Age empires collapsed with the coming of the great migrations and the Iron Age, our commercial empires are showing signs of stress. That’s because of the other great force in human history. Disaggregation is when a large entity breaks into its constituent parts. The simplest example is a big company splitting into a bunch of specialized little companies. Men have gotten very rich figuring out how to break apart large companies into many smaller, more valuable little companies.

In history, the most obvious example is the Roman Empire. The Romans managed to stitch together people from the Levant to Britain, but the cost of holding it together exhausted them and it broke apart into more logical units. First the Britons, then the various German tribes broke free of Rome. Eventually, the Western Empire collapsed into its tribal parts. Even the Italian peninsular broke into its parts. The end of the Western Roman Empire was also the end of a great historic epoch.

Today, the signs of disaggregation are appearing in all over Europe. The Catalonian revolt is one good example. It has deep historic roots, going back to the Roman Empire, but it is boiling over now for a reason. The same is true of the Visegrad Group. There is more history in those lands than the rest of Europe, but that’s not why they are in dissent from the rest of Europe. The reason for the break ups is that the underlying logic of these great combinations no longer makes any sense. The EU is a solution to a problem of the past.

From the Enlightenment through the end of the Cold War, the great debates were about how whites would deal with whites. How would whites organize their lands politically? How would whites describe and maintain borders between groups of whites? How would whites manage commerce in their own lands and between other groups of whites? These were the great questions. The answer was social democracy, separate borders for separate peoples and regulated markets for goods and services.

The end of an historical epoch is not just when the great questions of that epoch are answered. The end comes when new questions arise that the old answers cannot address. The EU is proving to be less than worthless in the face of mass migration from the south. The Yankee Imperium over America has no answers for the demographic challenges facing the white population. It’s why the arrangements of the old era are showing stress and beginning to break.

In the European world, large countries and supra-national organizations are solutions to past problems. The new problems, like how Europe will deal with 4 billion Africans to their south, demand new solutions. If the current social arrangements don’t address the coming problems, then those arrangement will fall apart and be replaced by new ones. That first means tearing down the old arrangements to make way for the new. The era of disaggregation will be about the old organization units breaking into their parts.

Lessons From The Bear

For the last few years, the American ruling class has been obsessed with Russia. The Bear Scare in DC over Trump’s alleged ties to Putin is just one ridiculous element to the obsession.  At some level, even the dullards in the media know it is nonsense, but the Cloud People are convinced that the public shares their hatred of the Russians. China and Israel are much more involved in our elections, but they are not suitable bogeymen, in the minds of our betters. To them, the Russians are the scariest of scary monsters.

The Russia-Trump story is just a sideshow, of course. The neocon insistence that we start World War 3 over Ukraine is much more representative of the ruling elite’s hatred for the Russians. Steve Sailer has done yeoman’s work documenting the neocon warmonger’s efforts to stoke the fires of Russophobia. It’s not just the neocons. The Left has gone down a similar path, accusing Putin of being the new Hitler and claiming he has plans to invade Europe. The public face of the ruling elite is sure that Putin is very bad.

Of course, this enmity toward Putin has had the strange effect of endearing him to many nationalists in America, especially the younger ones. Their minds are not tainted by memories of the Cold War and the Soviet Union. Putin just looks like a strong leader, who embodies many of the qualities the alt-right types admire. Then you have old paleocons like Pat Buchanan defending Putin, mostly because of old scars from warring with the neocons in the olden thymes. This just encourages the neocons to hate Putin even more.

Guys like Steve Sailer try to pin the cause of this irrational hatred for Putin and the Russians on ancient ethnic grudges. It is true that all of the high profile Putin haters fit a certain ethnic profile. They also look a lot like the crew that tumbles out of the anti-Trump clown car whenever is screeches to a halt. It is not unfair to accuse these folks of being haunted by the hoof beats of Tzar Alexander’s men. The neocons were, after all, the ideological force behind the Right’s Cold War strategy for a reason.

That makes for a fun narrative and good way to taunt some of the more unhinged types like Bill Kristol and Max Boot, but it does not explain why the political class is uniformly anti-Russian. John McCain is nuts, but he is not looking under his bed for Cossacks at night. The same goes for most of the permanent war party in Washington. They would much prefer to be killing Muslims, but they have found it necessary to spend a lot of time going on about the threat of Putin and the Russian menace.

Another possibility is a much less mystical one. Instead of epigenetic fear of a pogrom, perhaps the source of this great fear is much higher, in the billionaire class that rules the nation through the political parties. After the fall of the Soviet Empire, Western bankers rushed in to loot Russia and her former client states. Eventually, the locals rallied and a class of oligarchs rose up to seize control the assets and build their own power bases outside the state. Then Putin came along and broke the backs of the oligarchs.

If you are a Sergey Brin, for example, the one thing that keeps you up at night is the thought of the state reasserting its authority over the oligarchs. Not that Trump is going to throw Mark Zuckerberg into prison or have Tim Cook sent to Siberia. The possibility of a modern Teddy Roosevelt, riding a populist message, promising to bring the billionaires to heel, is a realistic threat. Incentivizing the political class to demonize such talk is one way to hedge against that possibility. In that regard, Russian makes for a useful enemy.

It also makes Putin, and to a lesser degree the Visegrad Group, dangerous example. It’s not just their nationalism that bugs our oligarchs. Its that these countries cling to the outdated notion of state power being supreme. Our oligarchs, as we see with Big Tech’s efforts to subvert free speech, think the idea of the state is outdated. Instead, the new managerial state is supranational and subordinate to the people who finance it. The managerial state is to serve the oligarchs, not the people over whom it rules.

It’s probably why the political class made such a huge deal out of Putin cracking down on homosexual agitators and feminist nutters. They were looking for a way to undermine his moral authority. In a better age, politicians would accuse enemies of preferring the company of men. In this degraded age, politicians accuse their enemies of being sexually normal. Regardless, the point is to make the bad guys appear villainous and outside the bounds of human decency. Our politicians are the model our rulers prefer.

The least talked about aspect to all of this is that the West, particularly America, is probable less internally stable than Russian and the Visegrad Group. You don’t hear about widespread protests or dissident movements in Russia. The people of the Visegrad are pretty happy with their nationalistic politicians. They like having a patriotic ruling class. It is the West where we see the increasing use of coercion and top-down subversion, in the form of immigration, in order to keep the plates spinning.

The trouble for our oligarchs is that people will be loyal to a man or a cause. They will not be loyal to a committee. That’s why there are no monuments to committees. There are plenty of statues of great men and shrines to the gods. That’s the lesson the old eastern bloc countries learned. They were ruled by committees for a long time. To maintain order, it required men with guns and willingness to use them. The people of the East learned that a man on horse is a better choice than ten men behind desks.

That’s a lesson we’re about to learn in the West.

The Forever War

The Imperial Government is a lot like a super tanker. It moves slowly, but it is so huge it is nearly impossible to stop and impossible to steer. The best a capable leader can do is nudge it slightly off its current path, a slight course correction, or maybe re-arrange some of the things on the deck. Otherwise, the sheer momentum of the thing makes piloting it impossible. Generations of bad ideas have been loaded into the super tanker that is the American Empire. Only a giant rip in the hull will stop it from plodding along.

That’s what we’re seeing with Trump. He was full of big talk about ratcheting back US commitments around the world, particularly in pointless sinkholes like Afghanistan, where we have been killing people for going on a generation. If you wanted to be precise and date our involvement to when we first put advisers on the ground, We have been in Afghanistan for 37 years now. Operation Cyclone was started under Carter and became the program the Reagan administration used to unseat the Soviet Union.

Now Trump is promising to make sure we are there for a 40th anniversary.

President Trump unveiled his plan for Afghanistan after seven months of deliberation Monday evening, announcing tweaks around the edges of the current strategy instead of a different approach.
He announced five “core pillars” to the approach: getting rid of any timelines for how long U.S. troops would remain in Afghanistan; using all elements of power, including diplomatic and economic; getting tougher on Pakistan; getting India to help more with economic development; and expanding authorities for U.S. forces to fight terrorists.

What the president did not announce was how many more U.S. troops would head to Afghanistan, which he decided earlier this year to leave up to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to determine.

He did, however, say the U.S. would no longer talk about troop levels or drawdown dates, making it unclear whether troop increases would be announced. There are currently about 8,400 U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and the president has reportedly approved of a plan to send about 4,000 more.

The obvious pointlessness of this endeavor is finally admitted. Trump layered on a thick coating of his usual bullshit when announcing this, but the truth is, no one knows why we’re there anymore or what we are trying to accomplish. We’re just going to remain there doing stuff because the generals now running American foreign policy like being in Afghanistan playing warlord. They got Trump to sign off on looser rules of engagement, so they can have some more fun shooting the locals, but otherwise it is more of the same.

That’s the thing we’re seeing that no one seems to be discussing. The civilian arm of the government is no longer in control of American military policy. In the Bush years, it was obvious that Cheney ran the show, with a bunch of generals and former generals, but at least Cheney was a civilian. Obama was just a figurehead in all aspects, but there were still a few civilians in the military policy loop. Trump has turned it all over to dazzling mediocrities like Mattis and Kelly.

The other aspect of this is the decision to hide from the public the details of what is going in Afghanistan. No more troop levels, no more timelines and no more answering questions about what in the hell we are doing there. You see, in the managerial state, you are no longer a citizen with the right to ask questions of your government and they are no longer obligated to explain things to you. It’s above your pay grade. But hey, you’re empowered and encouraged to fulfill your potential in an inclusive, welcoming environment!

Even the military has not escaped the corrosive effects of managerialism. This war is a managerial state war, where no one ever asks hard questions of their managers or even thinks much about it.  Decisions are made, meetings are held, action plans are drawn up and someone does a presentation to a committee. People get to put their participation on their resume. They get to put down that they were on a committee that conjured a program with a ridiculous name like “Operation Enduring Freedom.”

Some people console themselves with the belief that eventually the empire will be bled dry and our rulers will have no choice but to pull back. The trouble with that is our rulers can go on pillaging the middle class to finance this stuff for a long time. There’s nothing the people can do about it, short of open revolt. No matter which party they put in charge, the polices remain the same. Trump was supposed to be the warning shot, but instead he is turning into another kibble thrown into the maw of the managerial state.

America is now committed to being in Afghanistan for a few more years, bringing our engagement to at least four decades. The Brits hung around the place for roughly 90 years. The First Afghan War started in 1839 and the last British expats were evacuated in 1929 after a tribal uprising. Afghanistan had become independent in 1919, but the Brits hung around to “help.” Given that American rulers are much dumber than the old British colonials, it is safe to say that this is America’s forever war.

 

 

Is It Time To Worry About North Korea?

News brings word that the North Koreans finally had a successful missile test, launching what some think was an ICBM, 600 miles into the sea. As is always the case with these stories, the news will be mostly wrong and the “experts” will be saying whatever pays them the most money. All that is known is that it was their most successful missile test to this point. Whether it means more is hard to know, but it could be big.

The North Koreans seem to think it is a big deal. They wheeled out a famous granny to announce the news on state TV. Professional North Korea watchers put a lot of emphasis on this sort of symbolism, but it could simply be counter-signalling. The Norks know the habits of the US media better than Americans, so you can be sure they do things like this, knowing it will trigger a predictable response from the so-called experts in the media.

Whatever the real internal thinking in Pyongyang, they are making an effort to let the world know it was a big breakthrough and they are ebullient about it. National pride is to be expected, but in the context of North Korea, their boasting is assumed to be something more than just a little flag waving. The question no one can answer is whether the boasting is for internal consumption or directed at their neighbors in Asia, including the US.

It would be good news if the Norks were simply poking a finger in the eye of the US and China by continuing on with a pointless missile program. That’s a manageable problem as it would suggest the regime is stable and coherent. There is no good result for the regime in a war with the US. If the Norks are sane and stable, then they will understand this and eventually settle for some sort of cash payment to settle down and play nice for a while.

On the other hand, if this act is aimed at internal elements, then it could suggest the regime is not stable or not acting rationally. No one really knows if Kim Jong-un is mentally stable. Many of the things he has done can be interpreted as either the result of immaturity or insanity. It is rare for a family dynasty to make it past two generations before producing a lunatic or a loser. This Kim was not the first option, so no one knows.

One indication that things may not be good inside the regime is the death of the American student, Otto Warmbier. The kid was either killed on purpose or killed by accident. If it was on purpose, it was done in such a ham-handed way to suggest the shot callers are either amateurs or careless. If it was an accident, it could mean the regime is not in full control of the state apparatus. Kim’s old man would not have made this sort of mistake.

The prior Kim would have had the show trial, but with an eye on using the hostage as a bargaining chip. A nice Jewish boy from a small town is a very good bargaining chip. In prior cases, the regime would grab a US citizen of Korean decent and then release them in a few months. The whole point of the game was usually to get someone back we had grabbed as a spy or that the South Koreans were holding for espionage.

The Warmbier case was bungled from the start and then was bungled further when they killed him in prison. No one believes it was an accident. The US is downplaying the obvious, but Trump now has a bloody shirt to wave around if things get ugly and he decides to pre-emptively attack the Norks. As Derb pointed out the other day, the US cannot tolerate anyone killing our people. Otto Warmbier must be avenged.

This is a massive blunder by the Norks, and coupled with his missile tests, it strongly suggests that either Kim is a nut or he is reckless. If he is a modern day Caligula, then he will not get better at diplomacy. He will get more provocative and unstable and eventually do something that requires action from the US. Imagine a missile test where it lands on Japan or Taiwan. That’s not too far fetched even under ideal conditions.

There is a worse possibility. The killing of Warmbier could be the result of intrigue and turmoil within the regime. These provocative tests are part of an effort by the Kim faction to assert authority over the other factions. Authoritarian regimes are always subject to factionalism and palace intrigue. Strong rulers have subtle ways of dealing with trouble makers, while weak rulers rely of ostentatious displays to intimidate threats.

The good news is that unlike the Middle East, the US has had eyes and ears on the Norks for a long time. In all probability, we have been able to monitor their internal communications for decades. There’s also the fact that the Chinese have an interest in maintaining peace on their border and keeping on good terms with Trump. As much as the swells like to call Trump an oaf, his saber rattling over trade is a great lever in this case.

There’s also the fact that Trump is not surrounded by warmongers looking for a reason to pick a fight. The provocations by the North Koreans can be ignored for now, but also dealt with by more subtle means. The Norks need access to the global banking system and that’s controlled by the US. It’s hard to sell weapons and drugs when you have to do all your dealings in cash. The Bush administration figured this out 20 years ago.

Even so, having a nuclear armed lunatic is never a good result. Even if Kim is not an Asian Caligula, general instability can be very dangerous. Regardless of the cause, the Warmbier case strongly suggests that the current regime in North Korea lacks the professionalism and skill of prior regimes. If they can bungle a simple job like grabbing a hostage and then negotiating his release, they can bungle anything.

Iceland

Iceland is one of the weirdest places on earth. In fact, it may be the weirdest, at least that is what many Icelanders will tell you. Some of their weirdness is made up for the tourists, but some of it is made up for their own entertainment. The belief in elves and “hidden people” seems to be mostly for local amusement. The Icelandic Phallological Museum, on the other hand, is harder, so to speak, to explain. But, when you live on a volcanic rock in the North Atlantic, indulging in weirdness is probably to be expected.

The little island republic came to world attention back in the financial collapse when they went bankrupt. Iceland had managed to become a hedge fund with a fishing village attached to it. Michael Lewis wrote a fascinating and humorous piece on them back in 2009. When I was over there last summer, I mentioned this to locals a few times and they had never heard of it. When I mentioned some of the colorful anecdotes from it, they laughed at me like I was an idiot, so Lewis may have been liberal with the truth.

In addition to the Dungeons & Dragons vibe to the place, Iceland is interesting for biological reasons. It is a small and extremely homogeneous population located on an isolated island. That means it makes for a good place to tease out things about the human genome. The genetics company deCode is located in Reykjavik and has been doing a lot of interesting work for decades. The willingness of the population to participate in this research makes it a great laboratory for this type of work.

Another topic of interest is how the people have organized themselves over the last 1,000 years since settlement. Unlike most places on earth, human settlement on the island is very recent and it has been written down. We can only guess about the waves of humans that settled in the Ruhr Valley or along the Thames, but we have written records about who settled Iceland and how they developed their society. It is, in this regard, an interesting anthropological study.

A Norwegian chieftain named Ingólfur Arnarson is usually considered to have been the first permanent settler in Iceland. His legend says he threw two carved pillars overboard as he neared the island, vowing to settle wherever they landed. He then sailed along the coast until the pillars were found. There he settled with his family around 874 and named the place Reykjavík, which means “Bay of Smokes” due to the geothermal steam rising from the earth. As is always the case, historians are not sure if this entirely true.

Eventually, Ingólfur was followed by other Norse chieftains, who brought their families and slaves, settling all the inhabitable areas of the island in the next decades. The Chieftains were Norwegian, while their slaves were Irish and Scottish, according to the Icelandic sagas and Landnámabók, which is a written history of the settlement. This tracks with the findings of modern genetics. That’s what makes Iceland so useful, We have written records and archaeological findings, that are validated by genetic data.

There are two theories for why the Norse fled Norway and settled on a volcanic rock in the middle of the North Atlantic. Legend says it was due to people fleeing the harsh rule of the Norwegian king Harald the Fair-haired. Norway was undergoing a consolidation of power under one powerful family and the losers were heading off for new lands. It is also possible that the western fjords of Norway were simply overcrowded in this period. The general theory for the rise of the Vikings is simple over population.

Once there was enough people to farm the land and create an economy, they set about organizing themselves. In 930, the ruling chiefs established an assembly called the Alþingi that convened each summer. The representative chieftains made laws, settled disputes and appointed juries to judge lawsuits. Because writing down laws could lead to the use of force to interfere with an individual or individual’s property, the laws were instead memorized by an elected Lawspeaker until the next assembly.

Since there was no central executive power, it meant the laws were enforced by the people on an ad hoc basis. A land dispute, for example, would require hiring some third party to act as the judge. Violence against people or property would require the people temporarily banding together to address the problem. This is the sort of arrangement that results in blood-feuds. Consequently,  the writers of the Icelanders´ sagas had plenty of material. Trial by combat was a real thing when it came to disputes.

Iceland did pretty well into the 13th century when the growing power of a few families led to a break down in the system. Rather than adjudicate disputes the old fashioned way, for example, it was easier to go to the head of one of the powerful families for relief. Inevitably, the ruling families began to resolved things, like land disputes, in a way that benefited them over other rival families. This led to other powerful families doing the same in order to check the power of their rivals and soon Iceland was dominated by a few chieftains.

The start of the 13th century known by the very cool name Sturlungaöld, which means “The Age of the Sturlungs.” Sturla Þórðarson and his sons were one of two clans waging war for domination of the the island. This clan eventually won the support of the king of Norway who was looking to exploit the conflict. Sturla Sighvatsson became a vassal of Haakon IV of Norway in 1235, thus allowing the Norwegian king to exercise authority over the island, by backing the Sturlungs against their rivals.

In 1262 Iceland signed the Old Covenant establishing a union with the Norwegian monarchy. It was a nice run as a transactional society, but they ran into the problem of how to deal with inequality once their society was able to amass excess wealth. The rich were not satisfied with being rich, they also wanted power, which means authority over others. It is the natural human impulse and the ad hoc system of governance was unable to respond to this internal challenge. The result was domination by a few.

Of course, they also had the problem of how to deal with powerful neighbors looking to dominate the island. Norway could use a combination of force and political meddling to create the sort of conditions they could exploit. An iron law of the human condition, and of nature, is that the strong come to dominate the weak. In the case of Iceland, Norway was the strong neighbor determined to dominate the island. They were not going to be talked out of it so Iceland eventually fell under her dominion.

What’s The Point?

The North Koreans launched another missile from her east coast. It is the ninth launch this year. The news says it was a scud missile that went about 300 miles before crashing into the ocean. This is supposed to mean something, so the people who claim to know about these things are consulted to tell us what they mean. In this case, it means that whatever it is the South Koreans are doing is not working. Maybe it means whatever the US is doing is not working. Whatever it is, everyone seems to think it is a big deal

According to Google, North Korea is a little more than 4,000 miles from Hawaii. The coast of the United States, San Francisco to be exact, is 5,500 miles from North Korea. If the Koreans are flying missiles 300 miles into the ocean, they have a long way to go before they are a serious threat to launch nukes against the US. Even assuming these are just tests as proof of concept, it is a huge step from what they are doing now to being able to deliver a nuke from one continent to another.

There may be more to it, but no sane person could think the Koreans are a serious threat to launch a nuke at the US now or in the near future. In fact, they are probably a generation away from being able to deliver a nuke with any degree of stealth and accuracy. Even if they could get one off, the result would be certain death for them. The US would respond with a nuke attack from the air and sea that would eliminate North Korea as an ongoing concern for a few thousand years.

Maybe the North Koreans are suicidal, but there are quicker ways to bring the roof down on themselves. The obvious answer is they are up to something else, something more practical. What that could be is never discussed. The US is willing to give them whatever they want to end their nuke program. The South Koreans would kick in whatever is needed and so would Japan. All the Kim family has to do is name their price and the check is in the mail. Yet, this ridiculous missile dance continues to no obvious purpose.

The other side of this is just as pointless. Trump made a big deal out of cutting a deal with the Chinese to put pressure on the Koreans. He then sent a carrier group to the South China Sea. The point was to let the chubby little dictator know that we mean business. He launched his missiles anyway and nothing happened. At last count, there are three carrier groups in the region, along with some unknown number of ballistic missile submarines, armed with nuclear missiles. That’s a lot of firepower, but nothing changes.

The thing that everyone seems to know, except maybe Trump, is that there is zero chance the US launches an attack on the North. The result of a war on the peninsula would be catastrophic for the South Koreans. There’s a pretty good chance the Japanese would take a lot of damage. Then there is the chance of a conflict with China. No one, including the North Koreans, wants a war. That brings us back to the question, what is the point of all of this? What’s the end game all sides are aiming for?

The answer may be that there is not point to all of it, just a way for all sides to fill up their days, pretending to be leaders of a world that no longer needs leaders. Would the average Japanese notice if his rulers stopped showing up for work? Is the average South Korean concerned in the least about what his rulers are doing? The only reason to care is the prospect that they will do something stupid and set off a pointless war with the North Koreans. Otherwise, the ruling class is a burden, not an asset.

That may explain why the leadership in the West appears to be going mad. Trump was in Europe to meet with the provincial governors and their biggest concern was some new scheme to make Gaia happy.The Western media gets upset at Trump for seeming to question the point of NATO, but when the chief concern of Europe is the weather, a military alliance does seem a bit pointless. Does anyone really think the Russians are going to roll tanks into the heart of Europe? Not even Bill Kristol thinks that’s possible.

Maybe that’s why the Europeans are inviting the Muslim world to invade their cities and create havoc among the native populations. Everyone in charge is bored. They wake up each morning wondering, what’s the point? Being in charge of Germany is rather pointless if you can’t invade the Sudetenland or defend the fatherland against a barbarian invasion from the east. The nations of Europe hardly qualify as countries anymore. All of the important stuff is done by the US or supranational organizations.

In The End of History and the Last Man, Francis Fukuyama argued that the end of the Cold War meant that humanity was moving into the final stage of social and political evolution. The great ideological struggles were over and the world was moving toward a great social democratic super-state. Stuff would still happen and conflicts would arise, but the die was cast. The end point of mankind was a world governed by social democracy and a global administrative state. The world would stop being fun.

Maybe that’s what we’re seeing. The Asian powers are just displaying muscle memory, from a time when being in charge mattered. They go through the motions up to the point when they realize there is no point. The European leaders are doing something similar with the Muslim invasion. It’s Munchausen syndrome by proxy, but the victim is the population of Europe. The ruling class is charged with taking care of their people, but their people are fine, so they are poisoning their people, so rulers have something to do.

Sweet Home Venezuela

News brings word that things in Venezuela, over the last few weeks, have gotten as ugly as a West Virginia tailgate. Instead of people throwing bags of urine at one another, which is the custom in Morgantown, the locals are throwing “poop bombs” at the police. In the age of fake news, this could be a totally made up story, but it is not implausible. For some reason, flinging crap at people is something that comes naturally to people. I guess it is the ultimate sign of disrespect. Or, maybe some people just like throwing poop.

Searching the archive, I see I have never written a post about Venezuela and I have mentioned the place just eight times in three years. Given that I have cranked out 1.4 million words in three years, it is same to assume that Venezuela does not rank very high on my list of interests. The one interesting thing about the place, at least to me, is they have some of the most dangerous prisons on earth. Each prison is a self-regulating island, where the prisoners run everything inside, and the guards make sure they stay inside.

For a while, American libertarians tried hard to make Hugo Cavez a bogeyman worth our attention and Venezuela an example of what happens when you anger the god’s of Von Mises. Chavez tried hard to do his part, but the day of the macho socialist dictator has past, at least for American elites. The ideal leader for the managerial elite is the childless powerskirt or the sexually ambiguous fop. Chavez just reminded the swells of the guy that cuts their grass. It’s hard to make a bogeyman out of Pablo the lawn guy.

Chavez was a ridiculous gasbag, for sure, but Venezuela is not exactly Wellesley Massachusetts either. When Chavez came to power, the per capita GDP was roughly $5,000. The average IQ is 84, which is in the same band as most Arab countries. There’s not a lot of human capital, but they have oil that is easy to access. By the time Chavez shuffled off this mortal coil, per capita GDP was over $12,000. How much of that made it to the people is another story. In all probability, the oil profits were stolen.

This is a familiar pattern in low-IQ countries. The relatively small cohort of smart people have no illusions about their ability to elevate their people. In fact, they are usually taught this from birth. Instead of making their country better, they make their own lives better by exploiting the mass of stupid people around them. The per capita GDP of Equatorial Guinea is the same as Venezuela, but the people live like cavemen, while the Esanguii clan of my good friend Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo live like royalty.

The point is that the ceiling for places like Venezuela is not very high, relative to the West and their capacity for honest government is also limited. Strangely, countries like Venezuela are not made better by vast natural wealth. Instead they are made worse because they have something worth stealing and something worth stealing is worth killing for too. The result is the people running the place will kill as many people as possible to maintain control of the nation’s oil wealth.

It’s not the policies or institutions. It’s the people in charge of the place. It’s not that they are misguided or in error. They know exactly what they are doing. They are big fish and they are doing what big fish always do and that’s eat the small fish, which happen to be the population of low-IQ Mestizos. The fact that they are willing to starve their own people tells you they are not the sort of guys worried about the nuances of tax policy. They are hard men running a rough country the hard way.

The other thing worth mentioning is Venezuelans are not campus snowflakes. The murder rate is twice that of our worst cities. It’s hard to know the exact figures. The government is so corrupt, no one can trust their numbers. Even so, it is one of the most dangerous countries on earth. It is safe to assume that the people are willing to employ rough justice, but somehow they are unable to do anything about their government. There are protests and minor street rebellions, but not at a level high enough to destabilize the government.

Maybe things just need to get a bit worse before the people throw over their rulers or maybe the people in charge have such an edge that the people can never throw over their rulers. Perhaps we have reached a point where technology has allowed even a wildly corrupt ruling class to maintain power in the face of popular unrest. They can use spies, mass media propaganda and control of commerce to keep a lid on things. We may have reached a point where revolution is impossible, even in a craphole like Venezuela.

The news tells us that Venezuelans are eating zoo animals. Again, it could be made up, but there is no doubt there are serious food shortages. If a relatively violent people are eating their pets, yet unwilling to turn on the local officials, what are the odds that the pampered pussies of Western nations will push back against their rulers? Our superiors are smarter and better able to keep us fat, dumb and happy. The lesson of Venezuela is that our rulers can probably get away with a hell of a lot more, if they want.

The French Election

Most people reading this probably have little interest in French politics so the presidential election today is a bit of a non-story. Macron will win with 60% of the vote as he has the full backing of the European establishment and the cosmopolitan class in France. Unlike the US, French elections are basically a collection of city elections. If you can win Paris, you win France. Imagine if Manhattan dictated our election results.

One reason for this is French politics have largely been conducted in a narrow space of post-war cosmopolitan social democracy. Like teenagers who define themselves by their contentious relationship with their parents, European political elites defined themselves by how petulant they could be toward the Americans. As a result, there is a fundamental lack of seriousness in French political culture. They vote for the cool kids, not the smart kids.

Still, it bears watching for those on the Dissident Right as it helps frame the coming battles in the West over the central conflict of our age. European elites imagine a pan-European feudalism where the peasantry has no identity of their own. The resistance imagines a continent of states governed by national populism that corresponds with their unique cultural heritage. The flash point is immigration from the south, particularly Islam.

The last time a non-approved candidate made it to the second round of the French presidential election was 15 years ago when Le Pen’s father did it. He got 18% of the vote in the second round, but his success had a sobering effect on the French political class after what they saw as a close call with fascism. They started to take the Right more seriously, which is why the mainstream parties have largely converged on all issues.

This time, Le Pen is hoping to break 40%, but there is zero chance she will will win or even make it close. It’s not so much that Macron has much appeal as that Le Pen is not a great politician for France. Her cause needs a roguish male to lead the party, someone who has some flare and has had some success in other areas. France has always needed a man on a horse to restore order and national pride.

That’s why the final number will matter. If Le Pen does break 40%, that will open a lot of eyes in the French political class. If you are an ambitious politician, you will now have a base of 40% to work from simply by adopting the immigration arguments of Le Pen. Avoid some of the weird and unpleasant aspects of the National Front and you can become the great compromise that unites France. That’s the hope anyway, from the Civic Nationalists.

It’s also the fear of the globalists who keep trying to make this election look like a horse race. They desperately want a resounding victory for Macron and they want to have a trophy they can hold up, claiming the Far Right is now dead. The obituaries for Le Pen and her issues are all written and ready to go as soon as the vote is counted. By pretending it is close, they can cast any win as a massive defeat for the Right.

The reality is something different. France, as a self-governing political entity, was probably broken in the Great War, but it was most certainly broken in the Second World War. Getting run over by the Huns and then having most of your political class collaborate with them will do that to a country. If that was not enough, being relegated to the kiddie table during the Cold War finished off what was left of responsible French leadership.

It’s why Macron winning is probably a good thing for France. He is an accelerationist, who wants to fling open the gates and invite in millions of Muslims. He wants to hand over to Brussels what’s left of  French sovereignty. Nothing undermines the legitimacy of the rulers like seeing them on their knees, kissing the feet of foreigners. Macron is Marshal Philippe Pétain, without any of the military success on his resume.

If there is any hope for a revival of French culture it will only come through total French humiliation and despair. Once a majority of Frenchmen no longer see any reason to support the status quo, to remain loyal to their betters, then things change and change rapidly. It will not happen through elections and political activism. Democracy is good at driving a country off a cliff. It is useless in pulling it back onto the road. France needs to vote itself off the cliff in order to clear the field for what comes next.

Of course, what comes next may simply be the end of France. There is nothing magical about the land on which the French people live. When Caesar conquered Gaul, he did not conquer the French. When the peasants stormed the Bastille, most people in France did not speak French. The point being, there is nothing permanent about France. Maybe what comes next is the slow invasion of Europe from the south and the death of Europe. It could simply be reversion to the mean and nature is now reclaiming an exception.

South Africa

Back in the 1980’s, “ending Apartheid” was the celebrity cause of the Left. Every Hollywood nitwit was slobbering over the ANC and babbling about how the internal affairs of a country, on the other side of the globe, were the most important thing in America. In many movies, the villain was made to be an Afrikaner, giving work to all the actors, who used play Nazis in the previous era. Eventually South Africa buckled under the pressure and Apartheid was ended in 1991.

Sober minded people made the point that eventually, the blacks would do what they have always done and murder all the whites. It was a process that was well underway in the former Rhodesia. The white farmers were being harassed, having their lands seized and in some cases getting killed for being white. But, the good thinkers in the West claimed it was exaggerated and anyway, Nelson Mandela was black Jesus so nothing but good would come from the end of Apartheid.

Of course, Zimbabwe is a complete disaster under black rule as the white farmers were chased off and the economy then collapsed. Now, South African appears to be headed for a similar fate, maybe worse, as the lunatic running the place declares war on the white population. Jacob Zuma is all but authorizing genocide against the white population and other prominent black leaders are running around, openly advocating war against the whites. The result of this is inevitable. It will be a race war.

Today, whites are about 9% of the South African population. Fifty years ago they were just over 20% of the population. Those are important numbers. A well organized minority that is 20% of the population can defend itself pretty well, as long as they have the intellectual firepower to maintain discipline and a willingness to fight. Once a population falls below 10%, they can only survive by appealing to some faction of the majority for protection or by moving out to the fringe.

Jews in Europe are the most obvious example. They carved out a space on the fringe where they could survive as a tiny minority. They also had the cognitive skills in demand by the ruling elite, so a semi-peaceful existence was possible, despite their numbers and outlier status. Gypsies are a variation on this, except they have to exist even further out on the fringe, as they have nothing to offer the ruling classes. They exist as a semi-tolerated parasite population that is always on the move.

That’s not realistic in Africa, where the moderate black leaders are just a bit less homicidal than Pol Pot. Anyone familiar with sub-Saharan Africa knows that tribal politics still dominate the culture.That precludes peaceful alliance between out-groups. The best you get is a hostile stand-off. The questions for South Africa are a) How long before the blacks decide it is time to kill all the whites, b) How many blacks will the whites be willing to kill in order to survive? and c) How will the West respond?

The most likely answer to the first question is soon. Zuma will follow the Mugabe formula and keep ratcheting up the violence incrementally. Given that he is the moderate at the moment, he will play the triangulation game where he will promise to hold off the more insane elements of the black leadership, in order to get concessions from the white population. This will roll along until Zuma is killed, or decides he has to go for it in order to maintain his position.

Talk to a typical South African and they have a bizarrely optimistic view. Many just assume they will find refuge in English speaking countries if things get bad. That means there will be a large cohort of Afrikaners who will prefer working with Zuma. This is just paying the crocodile to eat you last. The answer to that second question is “no where near enough nor soon enough.” By the time it dawns on the Afrikaners that it’s fight or die, it will be too late to fight. Math and modern morality have sealed their fate.

That’s where the third question gets interesting. Barak Obama, of course, would never have allowed mass migration of whites from South Africa. If anything, he would have shipped arms to the black government along with a wishlist of whites he wanted killed. That list would have had one item, “all of them.” Similarly, a squirrel like Trudeau in Canada would block any escape for all but the trans-gendered Afrikaners. Australia would take them and Trump would probably accept them, but Europe? It’s no guarantee.

There’s a lesson here for the people currently in charge of the West. There are no right answers when it comes to biology and culture. The blacks in South Africa are not going to be talked out of genocide. There is no reasoning with them. They want what they want and it is not about wrong and right. it is about their will to do and their ability to do it. Similarly, the Muslims dynamiting Europe are not motivated by facts and reason. They are doing it because they want to do it and they can do it.

Humans have always been hierarchical, tribal and territorial. That means there is competition within the group for status and competition between tribes for territory. Your tribe does not hold what it has because of some piece of paper or the airy notions of dead ancestors. You hold what you have because you hold it against all challenges. That’s the iron law of life on this planet and we will get to see it play out over the next decades in South Africa. The winner will be the side willing to kill as many of the other tribe as it takes to win.

War In Asia

There is a class of pundit that lives to talk about various war scenarios, almost always involving the United States. In the Cold War, this was a lucrative profession as most people thought war with Russia was an inevitability. Back then, the scenarios were all built around a chain of events that would lead to a nuclear exchange. The big set piece battles in Europe would give way to one side or the other deciding to launch their ICBM’s. In retrospect, the only way that was going to happen was though human error.

Today, the focus of the great game is usually on Asia, particularly China. That’s because the formerly dirt poor Chinese are suddenly rich and spending tons of money on their military. That means they have started to bully their neighbors, most notably Japan and Taiwan. As the patron of North Korea, they also can push the South Koreans around a bit too. The Chinese also have a strange way of being unnecessarily hostile to the US by letting it be known they are ready for a fight, just as soon as they can start one.

The assumption in the West is that China has plans to displace the US as the regional hegemon. That’s not an unreasonable assumption. A civilization with a billion people and 5,000 years of history should swing a big stick in its own neighborhood. The mistake is in thinking they are in a big hurry to confront the US in order to take control of the Pacific Rim. That’s a Western way of looking at things and it ignores a lot of history. China has always taken a long view. They don’t have to rush into anything. Instead, they can wait and let nature takes its course.

There’s also the fact that the Chinese have never been a naval power. They are not a naval power now and even at their current investment rate, they will not be a naval power anytime soon. There’s also the fact that the Japanese can become a naval power by next week if they wish to do it. There’s also the Russian fleet headquartered in Vladivostok and a big naval base in Avacha Bay on the Kamchatka Peninsula, with a major submarine base located at Vilyuchinsk in the same bay. The Russians are a serious naval power.

All of this means that the Chinese are a long way from dominating the region and even further away from confronting the US military on the high seas. Even if they launch a first strike against US naval assets in the Pacific, The US sub fleet is beyond their reach. That means a counter strike that eliminates Chinese naval assets and closes off Chinese sea traffic. It also means the remainder of the conflict happens on Chinese soil. That’s a high price to pay when waiting probably gets the same result.

An important thing about China that Western thinkers ignore is that the Chinese leadership worries far more about internal threats than external ones. The “iron rice bowl” has been a fact of life for a long time in China, despite efforts to break this cultural practice. Closing off sea traffic and access to world markets is the ultimate breaking of the iron rice bowl and no one knows what would happen. There’s also a lot of wealthy Chinese who would suffer if trade is disrupted. Pissed off rich people is always bad for the state.

The bigger threat is from North Korea. They combine the worst elements of a rogue state, a paranoid dictatorship and East Asian technical savvy. Most of the crazy regimes in the world rule over low-IQ populations incapable of sustaining modern economies and the technological products that result from it. The Arabs are a nuisance, but they cannot project power without Western help. The North Koreans are smart and they are building a serious ballistic missile program to go along with their nuclear program.

The best intelligence suggests the regime is fragile. Kim Jong Un is still consolidating power and that is always a dicey proposition in an authoritarian country. There’s always the threat that those who fear being purged will move against him first, but that just makes him more paranoid and more dangerous. It also means the people around him are not the best and brightest, just the least threatening. It’s also possible that Kim Jong Un is crazy, or at least on his way, so the set of plausible outcomes is very large.

Here’s where China and her zeal for stability probably keeps things under control. There are thousands of North Korean escapees in China. The Chinese government repatriates many of them, but not all. The numbers are small now, but any serious instability in North Korea means millions of starving Koreans heading north. That’s a big incentive for the ChiComs to keep a lid on the North Koreans. That means financing whoever promises to keep the place under control and not launch a nuke against the US.

There’s also another factor working against war in Asia. All of these countries are getting old and they have very weird demographic imbalances. Japan is the most well known example of low TFR, but China is undergoing a similar transformation. A very rich country like Japan can manage through this sort of demographic transformation. Relatively poor countries suddenly getting old is a different matter. Chinese per capita GDP is $6500, while Japan’s is $39000. That’s a huge challenge for China that will take priority over military adventurism, assuming any exists.