Prog Taqiyya

According to Islamic scholars, taqiyya is “is a precautionary dissimulation or denial of religious belief and practice in the face of persecution.” Muslims are forbidden to deny their faith, but there are exceptions and one of them is when the Muslim is living in a place where persecution of Islam is common. In order for Islam to spread, the adherents have to be alive, so allowing for this exception makes sense. The implication here is that the faithful Muslim works like a fifth columnist, recruiting in the shadows, while hiding his faith.

Of course, this doctrine is open to interpretation, so some sects have interpreted it to mean that all lying is acceptable, if it can be argued that the lie is in service to Islam. If the faithful Muslim can use deception to help the faith, then lying is not only acceptable, it is admirable. The effect is Islam can easily become an ends justifies the means political and cultural movement. This is what we see with Islam in the West, where Imams preach against their Western hosts in the mosque, but go on television and say the opposite.

This habit of mind is something we see with modern Progressives whose hive mindedness has evolved to the point where lying to outsiders is not only acceptable, but a goal in itself. Every election, Progressives fill the airwaves with things they know are lies. In fact, they tell lies that they know everyone else knows is are lies. The practice of lying in the election process has become something like a religious practice for them. The point of the lying is not to conceal or deceive, but to demonstrate their worthiness to the cause.

The academic quality to the lying turns up in all of the Progressive fads. We saw that in the madness of the Kavanaugh hearings. The definition of sexual assault, a nonsense term in itself, has been stretched to mean just about anything, by people who seem to take pride in making the language meaningless. When you see a young feminist loon howling about being assaulted, the look on her face usually suggests she is proud to have found some way to stretch the meaning of the terms to include some new nonsense.

The thing is, the sheer volume of lying has had the effect of concealing in plain site the fact that the Progressives never speak the truth about anything. In fact, speaking the truth has become a crime of sorts. Professor Amy Wax is thinking about suing her school, because they accused her of making up what is a plainly obvious fact. If the school is correct about what she said, they could release the data and show that she is wrong. Instead, they lie, refuse to produce the data and then accuse her of lying about the data.

It used to be that the Left either exaggerated to make their points or used clever euphemism to obscure the truth. For example, the illegal immigrant was an undocumented worker. This sort of soft, fuzzy language was the result of modern managerialism, where garbage men became sanitation engineers and janitors became facility management specialists. Applying the same sort of rhetoric to political discourse was natural, but at least there was some connection to reality, even if it was tenuous.

Where they are now is that the lie is the point. This became obvious when the Clintons arrived on the scene. They would lie for sport. Even their allies were baffled as to why they would lie when the truth would serve them better. It’s not hard to imagine a person like Hillary Clinton ordering a turkey sandwich for lunch and when it comes to the table, swearing she ordered something else. There’s no purpose in the lie other than to do it and be seen doing it. Clever lying is now an end in itself with the American Left.

This cult of mendacity is not without antecedents. The Frankfurt School was a series a clever intellectual constructions that advanced a political agenda by scrambling the relationship between public policy and observable reality. From it was born the notion that the point of academic activity is to disrupt, overturn and challenge anything that resembles accepted policy. Read through the stuff coming from the multicultural rackets and the whole point of it is to turn being a public nuisance into an academic specialty.

The permanent revolution of Marxist radicalism became a permanent assault on reason by cult-Marx intellectuals. In politics this then became a game of shameless lying to not only advance an agenda, but to increase the status of the liar. The more absurd and ridiculous the fabrication, the greater the applause from the Progressive crowd. In fact, it is no longer possible to identify a Progressive agenda. It is a dadaist performance that is rapidly becoming an anti-agenda. It’s mendacious nonsense as a  public display of piety.

Invasive species are a danger because the ecosystem they invade is not prepared to deal with the foreign threat. The oriental logic of the Frankfurt School may have had the same effect in the liberal tradition of the West as the presence of Burmese pythons has had in the everglades. Instead of being taken over by this alien mode of thought, the Western liberal tradition has been driven mad by it. The result is an intellectual movement that celebrates complex dishonesty and fabrication for no purpose other than for aesthetics.

Open Thread: Voting Day

20:00: The internet tells me the polls are closing and both sides are sure their dreamed of result is coming true. I’m listening to the extremely racist and clearly “not who we are” guys at The Right Stuff cover the results. I may flip over and watch Jean-Francois Gariépy and extremely racist and clearly “not who we are” guests. There’s also a strong possibility that I watch a movie or read a book on Puritans I have in the queue. I’m getting the same vibe I had in 2012 when normal people hoped the polls were wrong.

15:00: Someone asked me what I was doing tonight. By that they meant where I would be watching the election results. The answer is, I probably won’t bother watching much of it and may not watch any of it. Getting a pirate feed from one of the cable channels is a hassle,e specially on a big news night. That and the talking heads they have in the studio are offensively stupid now. It has probably always been this way and it is just more obvious now that I never watch the stuff. I’m just not used to it anymore.

Still, it does feel like the quality of public affairs television has dropped significantly since when I started paying attention in the 1980’s. I recall there being a line about public discourse aiming at a ninth grade level audience. I forget the details, but it was soemthing like that about the intelligence of TV news. Admittedly, I’m not around many ninth graders, but I suspect the target IQ of TV these days is in the 80’s. It’s aimed at the sort of people our rulers think will be running America in the not so distant future.

Anyway, I’m not sure how I will track the results. I have to workout, eat dinner and then work on the podcast for this week. Jean-Francois Gariépy will be hosting a live show with some alt-right people, so maybe I’ll watch some of that tonight. The FTN guys are doing a live show, but I have no idea how they are hosting it or where they are hosting it. If I figure that out I’ll post a link here. I should probably figure out how to do live shows, just for events like this. I do have the NPR guy radio voice. May as well use it.

12:45: A great post by Audacious Epigone on the midterms with some good links and a prediction for the outcome. Since I have not offered a prediction, I’ll go ahead and say the GOP ends up with 55 Senate seats, to 45 for the Democrats. I ignore the fake independents, as that’s just a Prog lie. In the House, I said way back that the result will be much closer than Team Brown has been predicting. I’ll go with the Democrats getting 220 seats to capture a razor thin majority. This will set off a circus like we have never seen.

Something that does not get mentioned is there are a dozen or so Democrats running who promised to vote against Pelosi for Speaker. That means anything other than a brown wave results in an ugly leadership fight. The bet made by the leadership was that they could wish themselves into a big majority and vindicate their decision to stagger on long after the expiry date. Anything less than a 20-seat majority is going to call that bluff and lead some of the young non-whites to demand a bigger slice of the leadership pie.

12:30: Someone suggested I re-post this.

11:40: I was a little late getting out of the office to vote. It’s raining heavy today, so that probably tamps down the enthusiasm. This morning I saw a lot of hens that are typically associated with the pink hat nonsense, but when I went back it was mostly blacks and old white people. If you want to see why I oppose democracy in all of its forms, come stand in line to vote in a Lagos election. It’s not just the people voting. It is the circus atmosphere of the people running the polling stations. They will not survive without us.

The one normal person working the station told me the turnout was very light thus far, so I’m a bit more encouraged about what will happen. There’s no logic to it. I just feel better when I know fewer people are voting. The conventional wisdom has always been that the bad guys need high turnout to rig an election. I’m not sure that applies in a place like Lagos, but I don’t know. There’s nothing happening locally to get the native angried up, so maybe this is just a normal turnout on a raining midterm election day

I voted for the Democrat for governor. I know nothing about him, other than he is black and he sounds remarkably stupid. The sitting governor is a white guy and a Republican, but Lagos deserves a king of their own. That and the current governor is a gun grabber, who signed off on a red-flag law that has already led to one murder by the cops. There’s no chance the Nog King will overturn that law, but sometimes the only thing you can hope to do in the voting booth is send a message. I’ll vote for a black moron over a gun-grabber.

08:40: Maybe it will not be a brown wave, so much as a twat wave. I stopped to vote and the place was jammed with middle-aged hens. It is raining here, so I was not about to stand in the rain to throw my vote away. I don’t recall it being that busy when I voted in 2016, but I would not trust my memory. Come to think of it, I went in the mid-morning last time and stood in line for an hour or more. I’ll go over around ten to see what it is like and that will be a better comparison. Still, seeing all of those hens was ominous.

07:00: Every once in a while, I get a request for an open thread on a topic, inviting commentary from the readers. Famous blogs like Star Slate Codex and Steve Sailer do this with some frequency, so it has been suggested I give it a try. According to the people who rule over us, the prophesies have foretold that today is when we are cleansed of our sins by the great brown wave. If this is indeed the end of the honky hegemony, we may as well enjoy it with a bit of running commentary. Perhaps today is the end of the world.

For those looking for some nitty-gritty analysis of the House and Senate races, here is a deep-dive on the former and one on the latter by Ethnark and McFeels at FTN. I have to say, I don’t watch or listen to any mainstream political chat shows these days. I’ll catch clips from Tucker once in a while, but otherwise I skip all of it. I make an exception for the FTN shows, because they do a very good job analyzing the news of the day in a format that is not openly hostile to my existence. I recommend their shows to the curious.

I’ve been puzzled about this midterm for a while. For starters, the Senate is going to swing to the Right this year. No pollster questions this. It is mostly due to so many Democrats up for re-election. In other words, when a Democrat cannot hide in the pack, like in a House race, they are in trouble. That’s why the predictions for a brown wave in the House strikes me as unlikely. A reader pointed out that the one election in modern times to be a split decision was 1970. Usually, both chambers move the same way in a midterm.

The thing about 1970 that makes it salient is the Left back then was going through a spasm of self-destructive lunacy similar to what we see today. They were also sure Nixon was Hitler. The big difference though is the Democrat leadership back then was not insane and the Democrats were in firm control of politics. They were the majority party with control of the House and control of most state houses. They also had 57 seats in the Senate prior to the election. In other words, beyond the superficial, there is no comparison.

Back when this brown wave stuff started in the media, I did a post on the House races, just looking for the number of seats that were legitimately in play this year. The most generous estimate is about 35, with a handful that are new due to redistricting. Incumbents just don’t lose very often and gerrymandering has made 80% of the House seats safe for one party or the other. Can the Dems win the House? Sure, but it is going to be very close and their majority will be very thin. Narrow majorities in the House are unworkable.

The funny thing is Trump will be guaranteed re-election in 2020 if the Democrats take the House, especially if Pelosi is the Speaker again. That ridiculous old bag is a great reminder of why no sane white person should ever vote Democrat. Trump does his best work when he has a foil and the Democrats in the House are a great freak show for him to use as props for the next two years. Given how quickly whites are figuring out the changing demographics, having anti-whites running the House is manna from heaven.

Learning From The Past

Over the weekend, something that kept popping into my mind was that the paleocons have never spent much time thinking about what they did wrong during their long struggle with the neoconservatives. They spend a lot of time rehashing old fights and discussing the things they fought, like the Civil Rights Act or the Reagan amnesty, but they always seem to stop at the water’s edge when analyzing these things. It’s almost as if they agree with the Left that these policies were inevitable, due to the tides of history.

Part of it, of course, is the losing side never wants to spend a lot of time dwelling on their own failures. Even the humbling experience of being hurled into the void is not enough to overcome ego. We see that on our side of the great divide, where some alt-right figures simply cannot come to terms with the fact that they screw up a lot. This reality does not prevent others from being objective about these things. History may be written by the winners, but the great lessons are almost always on the losing side.

One lesson that was more obvious in the past, than in recent days, is that the paleocons always assumed the other side would be bound by an agreed upon set of rules. They were plenty suspicious of Progressives, but they could never bring themselves to think of them as outside the set of rules that decent people applied to themselves. You see this in their willingness to participate in politics by the rules established by the Left. Read old paleo-conservative writing and they never question the basics rules of the game.

The one exception is Sam Francis. In Beautiful Losers he wrote about the difference between what he called the Old Right and the New Right. For him, the former was the conservatism of the 19th century, which was legalistic and theoretical. The latter was the Buckley style conservatism he saw flourish in the Reagan years. This was a conservatism willing to engage in the nuts and bolts of politics. He predicted that their embrace of the liberal rules would eventually lead them to embrace liberal ends.

He was right about the Buckley crowd, but the paleos escaped that fate, only to be hurled into the outer darkness, spending their time either trying to maintain their orbit around the Progressive sun or lamenting their fate. The paleos were not good at building alternative institutions and as a result they were always living like outlaws in a kingdom run by the Left, with so-called allies willing to act as sheriff. It is an inescapable fact that the people hurling paleocons into the void were always their friends on the Right.

That’s one of the more obvious truths about the past failures, but another less obvious mistake remains unexamined. Some time ago I was sent a link to this post by Thomas Fleming, about how to begin the fight again with the Left. It is a well-written post by a great writer, so it is worth reading simply on aesthetic grounds. It has one flaw, however, and that is it repeats the same mistake paleos and others always seem to make when plotting an alternative to the prevailing orthodoxy. That is, the obsession with principles.

A point I have become fond of making, particularly at secret handshake societies, is that principles are the things winners create after they win, to justify their winning. Winners always create an origin story for themselves that suggests their dominance is the product of the moral order. The fetishization of Lincoln, for example, happened after the winners at Gettysburg were firmly in control of the conquered. The spasmodic hooting about unity we hear from the modern Left, is an aspiration they rejected when they were the rebels.

A mistake paleos and others often make is to assume that having a goal requires a well reasoned set of principles, by which they mean morals. Some goals contain within them all the justification they need., For example, Jews want their promised land to be an explicitly Jewish country. Similarly, White Nationalists want a land of their own that is the exclusive domain of whites. In both cases, the goal is the principle and the principle requires no further explanation. To do otherwise suggests the goal is negotiable.

Similarly, paleos were prone to negotiating with themselves. The endless debating over principles is really just an excuse for not moving forward. It may not be intentional, but that is the result. When the conqueror sets out to sack a city, the one thing he never does is wait until he has a detailed administrative plan for managing the city after the siege. The winners of life never lose sight of this truth. Principles are the things you create after the victory to lock in your gains and give the people a reason to celebrate your dominance.

Another thing that all forms of conservatism in the democratic era have struggled to understand is the role of the pseudo-intellectual trimmer. These are the sorts of people who attach themselves to right-wing movements, and immediately begin working to turn them into useful losers. A good recent example of this is Ross Douthat, who thinks the goal of his tribe is to infiltrate populist movements and then purge them of anything useful, turning them into a uniform that poseurs like himself can wear in the morality play.

This is exactly what happened with the Tea Party. What started out as an authentic white middle-class revolt was quickly hijacked by charlatans. In fact, the grifters arrived so quickly it looked like the Normandy invasion. These types of people operate in the same way English pirates operated in the age of sail. That is, the people in charge give them a free pass, as long as they meddle in the affairs of dissidents. The Right has never figured out how to defend itself from this attack or even tried to understand it.

Finally, the thing that got many paleos in trouble is they could never figure out how to keep the lunatics out of their thing. I’m talking about the people who cannot control themselves and say nutty things in public. The Buckelyites just purged anyone they saw as bad for their racket. In fact, it is what defines them. Paleos hated this about the Buckleyites and the neocons, but they never found an alternative. As a result, they were often put in the position of defending people who maybe should have been reprimanded instead.

The alt-right is a good recent example of this. What started as an edgy internet movement was plagued by old school nutters from the white nationalist subculture, as well as by loons who simply lack self-control. As a result, they became defined by guys like Chris Cantwell, instead of people like Mike Enoch. An outsider movement can only be successful if it offers a respectable face to the skeptical public. Policing the ranks for lunatics and subversives is a requirement, but one past movements never mastered.

Mencken 2018 Diary

Last year was my first time at the Mencken Club event, which is held every year here in Lagos. I knew about it for years, as John Derbyshire has been a regular there since the beginning and he has written about it every year. Not being an intellectual or an academic, I just assumed it was not for me. A few years ago, a famous person in dissident politics suggested I give these events a try, as I might enjoy it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, so I attended Mencken and AmRen last year, as well as some other lesser known events.

The Mencken Club conference is organized like an academic conference and it is populated with smart people, many of whom are intellectuals and academics. There are plenty of normal people there as well. Academics and intellectuals like to socialize as much as normal people, so even if you don’t play in that space, you can still enjoy fraternizing with these folks over drinks. The social element is what makes these things worthwhile. That’s why our enemies try so hard to shut them down…

This year the event went off without incident and it was a good crowd. Mencken is a smaller event than American Renaissance, mostly because it unabashedly appeals to an academically oriented crowd. Paul Gottfried, the man responsible for it, has written a dozen or so books on politics and political theory. The speakers are all big brained people, who read and write about big brained topics. It’s also an older crowd. I scanned the room and maybe a dozen people were younger than me and I’m no spring chicken.

Last year, I noted that there was a strange nostalgia in the room. It was what I imagined it was like when Confederate soldiers got together after the war, to reminisce about their experiences and the what might have been. There was a lot of talk about old lost battles and old lost friends. There was some of that this year, as it is just part of the deal with an older crowd. There was also a new embrace of the new fight and the new battlefield on which it will be fought. I heard a lot of alt-right-ish stuff from people this year…

It occurred to me that one reason the sober side of the Dissident right is becoming more radicalized is the fact the Left is now otherizing them. When CNN demanded the White House hurl Darren Beattie into the void, it was a Fort Sumter moment for a lot of the paleocons and their fellow travelers. They could live with being purged by the Buckley Conservatives, because they could still live and work in the above ground intellectual economy. The Left is now demanding that end and I think that was a wake up call…

I met a famous legal scholar on Saturday. I’ll not name her, just to be safe, but she is a dedicated reader! In fact, she told me she recommended one of my podcasts to her students, which was quite flattering. It is another benefit, at least for me, of attending these events. To be around members of our intellectual elite is quite humbling and a good reminder that I can always get better. There were people in that room, like the legal scholar, who have forgotten more about these topics than most of us will ever know…

I got to sit next to the great John Derbyshire at lunch. I don’t have to worry about naming him as he has not only been hurled into the void, he is now the pit master. He gave a talk on how the future was most likely going to resemble Brave New World and most people would be happy with it. This rankled more than a few people in the room. A woman from Tennessee stood up during the Q&A and said something to the effect that her people would fight to the last man to prevent such a future. I love mountain culture.

I think John’s talk rankled, because he was mostly right. Look around and you see the signs of the looming World State. People are never vexed by a distopia they know is a fantasy, but they do get upset about a distopia that is possible. I pointed out to John, however, that his vision has one flaw. Utopia always implies genocide, as no perfect world can include the full range of humanity. Marxist relished this truth, but our rulers, like libertarians, lack the guts to face this reality. Therefore, they will lack the will to impose it…

On Friday, I met someone who is in government. He heard I was at the event and came to meet me. I can’t say any more about him, but let’s just say he works for a famous politician. We had arranged to meet in advance, so his name would not be associated with the event. This is not the first time this has happened. I get e-mails form “our people” who work in the system, trying to undermine the enemy from within. I jokingly call it the secret handshake society, but that’s the way it is and it is what I find most encouraging.

You see, people in power don’t waste time and resources hunting down the harmless or harassing the easily frightened. They target the people, groups and ideas they see as threat to them. That has the strange effect of making heresy more appealing to the sorts of people who oppose the prevailing order. The Left’s paranoia is not unjustified, but it is probably our greatest asset. Their lashing out at heretics is making heresy cool. It is the new counter culture and that alone draws support to our banner…

Finally, I sat at Paul Gottfried’s table at dinner on Friday. I have had very little interaction with him to that point, so it was a great treat to finally get to spend quality time with him. He is a wonderful person and exactly what one would expect a college professor to be like, in that he is willing to indulge those striving to learn, but willing to correct in order to facilitate the process. He’s also got a great sense of humor too. Like everyone at the conference, I am grateful that he has created a place for subversives to meet and socialize….

The Cancer of Fanaticism

In my school days, teachers would often say that historians remained puzzled as to why so many good Germans stood silent as the Nazis took over or how Russians just allowed the Bolsheviks to go on a murder spree. The point was to have us think about these events as something other than just a good guy versus bad guy thing. The lesson of history was that the forces of good had to be active, not passive. Otherwise, the people seeking to exploit and subvert society would not meet any resistance.

Perhaps for school kids, it was a fine exercise, but it was the sort of thinking that motivated the Nazis and Bolsheviks to murder. These were not people who thought of themselves as evil or on the wrong side of history. To the contrary, they saw themselves as the champions of light, fighting the forces of darkness. As such, they were duty bound to use any means necessary to win. Maybe the people at the top were more cynical, as is usually the case, but the rank and file were the truest of true believers.

The only person I have read, other than myself, who bothered to contemplate the mindset of the typical Nazi, Bolshevik or Progressive was Eric Hoffer. His classic book, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements, is the field guide to understanding the mind of the political zealot. Over the years I have referenced it many times, when posting about the American Left. Hoffer’s book is not the definitive work, more of a skeleton key to unlock a mode of analysis. It is a starting point in thinking about the Left.

For example, the conventional way of framing politics is the old Left-Right scale, where Hitler is on the Right and Stalin is on the Left. This scale was useful during the Cold War as a rhetorical device, but it never made any sense, as a way to describe the modern political universe. It’s why stupid people and the historically ignorant argue that the Nazis were actually leftists or that fascism exists today. The demands of that political scale require everyone to seek the undefined to middle, to avoid being Hitler or Stalin.

A better scale, especially in the current age, is probably one that has the true believer at one end and the non-ideological skeptic at the other. Unlike the old Left-Right scale, there is no one at the either end to point to as the most extreme example. Instead, it is impossible to be entirely free of belief, as humans are not robots. Therefore, there are no pure skeptics. At the other end, there is always some way to be just a bit more pious than the most pious, or at least appear to be, so it is a line that extends out indefinitely.

Another way to think of it is the skeptical end is zero, the complete lack of belief or faith, if you will, and the total acceptance of observable reality. No human is built with a desire to reach zero. It’s like looking into a blast furnace. No matter how beautiful it is, the closer you get the more intolerable. Just as no one can walk into and experience the purifying flames of the furnace, not one can ever fully embrace reality. As a result, the most cynical among us are clustered at some safe distance from the point of absolute reality.

At the other end, the next point on the scale is like the next step on the road to paradise and each step is more inviting than the next, at least to those built to seek it.  Unlike the other end of the scale, there is no intense resistance, so the only thing that can keep the believer from seeking greater purity is a leash of sorts, either internal or external, that limits their ability to seek the ultimate goal. In the post-Christian West, we are learning that some men lack that internal governor and will go as far as they can to reach paradise.

That is, of course, what lies beneath the great ideological struggles of the Western world since the French Revolution. They may not be explicit, but that is what lies beneath all of them. Communists of various stripes thought they could create the worker’s paradise in the industrial age. The radicalism of Robespierre became a secular religion, in which men were gods. The fascists were a utopian reaction to the utopian radicals of their age. They simply had a different vision of paradise, which is why they embraced the same methods.

We see this today with the America Left, which has, in fits and starts, become increasingly radical and increasingly untethered from reality. Into the 20th century, it still carried with it the Christian restraint of accepting that paradise, if it exists at all, is in the next life. That’s all gone now and the believers are filled with the passion of the zealot. All that matters to them is the next step on the path. Whoever is the most pious, the furthest along on the journey, is the standard until someone else can prove to be pious, further along the path.

That explains the dog-piling we see from these fanatics, whenever they discover a heretic or obstacle. They lack anything resembling human compassion, so the heretic serves only one role for them. That is as a point of comparison. The more outraged and exited one is about the heretic, the more pious they are. The heretic, becomes point zero on the graph, so the further one is away from the heretic, emotionally and spiritually, the further along they are on their journey to paradise. Thus the endless piety contests.

It’s why someone like Howard Dean feels righteous in calling for the imprisonment of Andrew Torba, for the crime of existing. Dean is not a bright man, but he is filled with the passion of the true believer. For him and the rest of his cult, the point of shrieking at Torba is not a practical one. It is spiritual one. They are showing how far along the path they are away from the sinner and toward the land of milk and honey. Dean probably would have called for Torba’s murder, but he did not have to in order to show he was the most pious.

That is the great challenge of the post-Christian era. The limiting principle of Christianity, that grace was for the next life, is gone. That means all of the lunatics are off the leash and society has no intellectual framework for putting them back on the leash. As a result, the West is afflicted with a metastasizing cancer in the form of increasingly deranged true believers, determined to extend their quest for self-abnegation to the whole of society in order to bring about the end times. Either the cancer is removed, or the host will die.

Kept Men

In a series of tweets yesterday, someone calling herself Emerald Robinson announced she had evidence that at least one “conservative” magazine was taking payola from a tech giant. The implication was that the magazine was taking money in exchange for countering the stories about the tech oligarchs censoring dissidents.The woman works for an outfit called One America News, which is a small operation that has made a name for itself during the Trump phenomenon. Here are the tweets in case they vanish.

The most likely candidate, before examining the hints in the tweet, is National Review, which lost its moral compass when Rich Lowry took over the operation. It’s also the one conservative publication with any influence, at least before it hurled itself onto the NeverTrump bonfire three years ago. If you are going to bribe a conservative publication, you may as well bribe the biggest one. It’s not like any of these operations are making so much money that they would say not to a bribe. It’s their reason to exist.

Of course, the clue about the subscriber base evaporating adds to the speculation that the culprit is National Review. When you look at the tax filings for the 501(c)(3) they use to launder contributions, it appears their donations shriveled up during the campaign. Their ugly smear campaign against Trump and his voters turns out to have been a costly blunder. That is if the tax filings tell the whole story. It is possible that the tech giant or some other wealthy patron is paying writers directly or using another vehicle.

I speculated during the campaign that Dan and Farris Wilks were buying support for Ted Cruz and funding the NeverTrump lunacy among so-called conservatives. The two are members in good standing of the donor class and the guys bankrolling people like Ben Shapiro, Dennis Prager and Glenn Beck. My suspicion was they were spreading cash around on the side to the various pens for hire at operations like National Review and the Federalist. It would explain some rather obvious patterns we saw in the campaign.

Now, in fairness to National Review, we don’t know if the person tweeting this stuff is legitimate or correct. Her name suggests she should be swinging from a pole, rather than covering the White House, but these days, the differences between the two professions are microscopic. In fact, it would be a relief to learn that the mass media is simply singing for their supper, delivering what a handful of billionaires demand. Otherwise, it suggests a systemic failure that can only be addressed by madame guillotine.

Still, even if the rumor is just that, it raises an important point. The media in America has never been objective or bound by a code of conduct. Into the twentieth century, everyone understood that the newspapers were owned by rich guys with an agenda. There were newspapers for the parties and for the factions within each party. What happened in the Cold War is the bias was concealed in an effort to fool the public into supporting the struggle against the Soviets. Suddenly, reporters became journalists and priests.

When you dig through the tax forms of the various not-for profit operations used by Conservative Inc., you find that their stars are living lifestyles that would make the people who read them faint. Jonah Goldberg is a great example. He’s gets 200 large from the National Review Institute. He gets a similar figure from American Enterprise. Then he has a cable deal from Fox. He writes books that no one reads, but the not-for-profit system buys these books in bulk. Add it all up and he lives like royalty for doing very little.

Of course, this explains why the so-called conservative opposition is unwilling to oppose or conserve anything. They are afraid to bite the hand that feeds them. To wander off the reservation and possibly anger their pay masters, means leaving a life of extreme luxury for, at best, a middle-class life. It’s not as if a Jonah Goldberg could replicate his earnings in the dreaded private sector. The life of a kept man is one of trepidation. They live in fear that the fads will change, they will be deemed heretical and ejected from the hive.

At the human level it is somewhat understandable, but when you look at the whole, it means the whole system is a massive scam design to fool the public. Just as campaign finance laws are designed to obscure who is bribing your politicians, the labyrinth of 501(3)(c) operations that finance the commentariat are designed to conceal who is controlling public opinion. Even if we never get the full story about which publication was taking the bribes, the truth of it is slowly bleeding into public consciousness.

In the meantime, the kept men glance furtively at social media, wondering if it will be their publication that gets outed or if maybe their name will turn up in the story. Maybe some are reaching out to their friends at other media operations, just in case they need to find a new landing spot. It’s the whore’s life they chose, so no one should feel pity for them. In fact, these people deserve nothing but scorn. They choose to play an active role in the decay of our society, by undermining social trust. They deserve what’s coming to them.

Zero-D Chess

The old paleocons were right about most things, particularly about the growth of the managerial state, but they were not right about everything. There were things they simply could not imagine, much in the same way sci-fi writers cannot imagine the cultural implications of technology. No matter how smart you are, you can only think so many moves ahead. One thing the paleocons got wrong about the managerial state is just how corrosive it was to the people inside the managerial class. It makes them weak and stupid.

This post about the scheming of Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller is a good example of how weakness is viewed as strength by people inside the system.

In court filings last week the Department of Justice deployed what could be the nuclear option in its latest effort to prevent President Trump from declassifying information regarding FISA warrants used to spy on his campaign aide Carter Page: It is claiming that such a move would interfere with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

This is the first time the DOJ has explicitly made this argument implying personal peril for the president, since interference could open Trump to charges of obstruction of justice. Until now, the department has argued that declassifying the documents threatened national security.

In the 178-page court document, DOJ officials said they had “determined that disclosure of redacted information in the Carter Page FISA documents could reasonably be expected to interfere with the pending investigation into Russian election interference.”

That rationale has heightened suspicions among congressional investigators that the special counsel is being used to prevent the disclosure of possible FBI abuses and crimes committed during the Russia probe. Opened by the FBI in July 2016, the Russia investigation was taken over by Mueller when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed him special counsel in 2017.

By the DOJ’s logic, according to one source, the fact that the investigation is ongoing protects it from scrutiny, including the president’s.

The post goes on to explain that the reptilian Rod Rosenstein has constructed an elaborate trap for Trump. He can allow Mueller to investigate his administration to death, while covering up the subversion and possible treason committed by members of the FBI and DOJ. Or, he can go public with these facts and be charged with obstruction and impeached by Congress. The writers of the post no doubt think this is brilliantly clever and they are probably correct about what the subversive Rod Rosenstein is plotting.

It suffers from one glaring defect. That is, it is a great example of “creating elaborate, plausible, and intellectually very challenging systems that do not, in fact, have any truth content.” There’s no doubt that the subversive Rod Rosenstein is covering up his own crimes here. He signed off on a lot of this stuff and he fears being turned into the fall guy in this caper. His natural inclination is to assume he is the outsider and that the rest involved, who do not share his loyalties, will somehow pin the blame on him.

This is a great example of the core flaw of managerialism. It turns everything into a cheeky parlor game, in which the winner is the one to come up with the most verbally clever solution. The people inside the system come to believe that is actually how the world works. Because their world is a one governed by words and gestures, they start to assume the outer world functions the same way. It creates a false sense of superiority in a class of soft men, wholly unprepared for the harsh reality of the outer world.

There’s no doubt that the bureaucrats inside the system think they really outfoxed Trump this time, but they are mistaken, because this is not how the real world works. Trump is the President. He has real power. For example, he can declassify those documents and release them to the public. No one else can do that with the stroke of a pen. Rosenstein can conjure all the cheeky word puzzles he likes, but Trump retains that power. In fact, they may be playing into his hands with this effort. Now, they look guilty.

That’s the real fight here. Rod Rosenstein can threaten obstruction of justice all he likes, but he has not power. Trump has real power. He can address the nation one night, reveal the secrets Rosenstein is trying to hide and then fire all of the people involved in this subversive plot and its cover up. Congress, even one run by Democrats, is not going to impeach Trump for exposing corruption. They will make the ritual noises and rush to their media outlets to complain about how Trump is a tyrant, but nothing will come of it.

That’s probably why Trump has been sitting on this stuff until after the election. He has no fear of twerps like Rosenstein. He just needs to get through the election and then figure out the new game board. If the GOP keeps the House, then maybe he lets Congress work this case. If it is the Democrats, then maybe he calls their bluff and releases these documents to the public during the lame duck session. The one thing he will not be doing is worrying about what silly men like Rod Rosenstein have to say about it.

The End Game

A popular topic on the Right for a long time has been the looming economic trouble that everyone agrees is inevitable, due to the spiraling debt. The political parties lost interest in the debt during the Obama years, but the problem remains. The Federal government adds another trillion or so every year and we’re just at the start of the great Baby Boomer retirement, which promises to bankrupt Social Security and Medicare. All of the things Reagan warned about, and did nothing about, are still there and getting worse every day.

Now, as I mentioned in the podcast last week, one reason no one cares about this stuff anymore is nothing every happens. The politicians never do anything to address the problem and the warnings about the disaster never come true. The 2008 mortgage meltdown can probably be blamed for the public’s indifference to these issues now, and maybe the politicians too, because the disaster was averted. That problem was worse than the predictions, but the consequences were nothing like predicated.

For the Right and increasingly for the Left, the hand-wringing over the looming financial troubles has always been a proxy for the general angst about democracy. After all, the primary driver for the debt trouble is the public’s insatiable desire for free stuff and the politicians need to give it to them. The creative ways in which the U.S. government finances its spending is driven by the need to feed the beast that is democracy. They say necessity is the mother of invention and we see that in our fiscal situation.

The thing is though, a financial crash, even a debilitating one, is never enough to bring down a nation. For example, the Long Depression lasted in the United States from 1873 to 1896, with the most severe portion being the first decade. The Great Depression lasted for over a decade and was followed by world war. There was never a fear of revolution in these economic disasters because the public trusted itself and the institutions of the nation to work through the problems. People just kept working the problem until it got better.

Revolts come when people no longer trust their rulers. The king bungles a series of issues and the people decide they need a new king. The ruling class gets reckless and lazy and they find themselves on the run. Revolutions come when the system itself is no longer trusted. The economic crisis that triggers it is just an excuse for doing what people have been thinking about doing for a long time. The radicals were able to overthrow the French monarchy because no one could think of a reason to not overthrow the system.

That’s the dangerous waters we seem to be in today. Now, elites love to confuse the institutions with the people occupying them. Despite being replaceable and often replaced, they see themselves as indispensable. That’s just their arrogance, not a sign the public has lost faith in the system. After all, no one trusts Congress, but the voters can replace all of the congressmen with more trustworthy people in a series of elections. Is that a loss of faith in the institution or just the normal process of democracy?

Still, there is a growing distrust of the system and it is something you see in the Progressive coalition, Trump voters and the Dissident Right. The reasons are different, but all around, people are losing faith in the system itself. Team Brown wants to begin the great replacement today and they see the system as a hindrance to their efforts. The MAGA-pedes see the system as an impediment to Trump’s reform efforts. The Dissident Right sees the system as part of the cancer that is destroying white society.

Cultural discontent is not a new thing, so it is temping to think that we are reliving the period from the 1970’s into the 1980’s. Smart people in the Nixon years thought the country was headed for civil war. By the middle of the 1980’s everyone was happy again due to the robust economy. Trump’s approval rating is his highest as the economy is finally showing that old dynamism again, but people are even more angry now than before the election. Maybe this time is different and a good economy is not enough.

Of course, the troubles half a century ago were different than today, despite the similarities. The culture war of the 60’s and 70’s was between white people in a country that was 90% white. The fight today is between whites and non-whites in a country rapidly moving to majority-minority. Then we have the brown waves of migrants washing up on the southern border, that serve as a daily reminder of what the future holds for white people. This is a very different crisis than we saw in the 60’s.

History buffs like to look at the French Revolution for clues as to how the American experiment ends. The alt-right thinks the interwar period in Germany is a good model for what comes next. Of course, the Roman Empire is always a handy example. All of that is probably wrong. In fact, the alt-right is laughably wrong about what comes next. The better example may be the Holy Roman Empire. The slow disintegration of that political construction is a less glamorous story, but it may be a more relevant one for us

After all, America has always been a multi-cultural empire. It was just confined to this continent and composed of white people. Even today, the cultural difference between the people of New England and those of the Midwest are obvious. The whites of the west coast are wildly different in temperament than the whites of New York. When someone from the Northeast visits Texas for the first time, they almost always say that they feel like they are in a different country. That’s because Texas is a different country.

Since Gettysburg, American has been a collection of cultural regions held together by the Yankee hegemony. The rest of America has functioned like Puerto Rico to the winners of the Civil War. That is, they retained some local autonomy, but were never allowed to have a say in the big issues. A fun way to see this is to to examine the list of President before the Civil War and after the Civil War. Heck, the GOP is a party based in the South and Southwest, yet the President is the quintessential New Yorker.

Maybe instead of a dramatic collapse or a great revolution, maybe the future for this empire is to just stagger along from one crisis to the next, losing a little bit of influence here, a little bit of land over there. A long, episodic process where the American Empire slowly disintegrates, returning to its natural parts. A generation from now, America will be out of Asia. Another generation and Europe is free. All the while the role of the central government recedes domestically as the local cultural regions re-assert their authority.

Killing Lincoln

One of the unmistakable features of modern conservatives is their not-so-veiled hostility toward heritage America. Some attribute this to ethnic hostility, given the infiltration of the Right by neoconservatives. Initially, these people made the journey from communism to anti-communism and were never conservative in temperament. Of course, the royal lifestyles of many conservatives has made them into unpleasant snobs. All of that is true to one degree or another, but it obscures an important point about modern conservatives.

The Official Right has a different interpretation of American history than most normal white people. Blacks, of course, fixate on slavery and segregation, so their view of American history is through hostile eyes. Whites generally accept the conventional narrative. If you ask a normal white American to tell the story of America, he will start with something about how the Puritans came to America to escape religious tyranny. Once the colonist got things going, the King tried to tax the colonists, so there was a revolution.

The Official Right has a different view of American history. They look at the Founding as an imperfect result. First and foremost, they view the tolerance of slavery, and the enshrining of it in the Constitution, as a great sin. Rather than embrace the principle of liberty for all, because all men are created equal, as expressed in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution created a compromise. While all citizens were free and equal under the law, slavery created a class of people who were not citizens.

In the view of the Straussians, the intellectual movement based on the writing and teaching of Leo Strauss, the Constitution was not just a flawed document, but an immoral one, because it violated that core principle of equality. From this perspective, the Civil War was a purification of the country, removing the origin sin of slavery and forming a new Union, based in equality and universal liberty. For the Official Right, America was reborn in the Civil War and Lincoln was the Moses who ushered in the new republic.

This is why the Official Right has a Lincoln fetish. For example, Rich Lowry, the dull-witted editor of National Review, wrote a Lincoln book. The neocons treat Lincoln as if he is an Old Testament prophet. Jonah Goldberg regularly writes about Lincoln as if he is a god on Mt. Olympus. For the Official Right, Lincoln is the Founding Father. Those guys who wrote the Constitution are not entirely dismissed, but they are secondary figures in the story. For the Official Right, the American story starts with the Gettysburg Address.

A big part of this is due to a guy named Harry Jaffa, who became something of a cult leader for the neoconservatives. His framing of the Civil War as the second founding, allowed the neocons to see themselves as proof of the concept. The original founding excluded them from the narrative, while the second founding not only included them in the story of America, it made them proof of its righteousness. Lincoln’s America was not just for the founding stock. It was for whoever could get control of it.

Of course, the old WASP side of the Official Right was also willing to embrace this notion of the second founding. Since northern conservatism was mostly just a clean up crew that followed Progressivism around, the story of the second founding made their unwillingness to oppose the Left seem noble. Since Reconstruction, the role of what passes for conservatism has been to fill the void after every great spasm of Progressive activism overturned the old order. The Official Right’s job was to make it all work again.

The problem with this telling of history is it assumes a core immorality of the founding stock and the institutions they created. It also locks in the notion that it is the role of Northern reformers to be the guardians of civic morality. The Left need only appeal to the notion of universal equality and liberty and their opponents were disarmed. After all, the party of Lincoln, if it stands for anything, stands for universal equality and liberty. The conservatism of Harry Jaffa is nothing but a complex apologia for Progressivism.

A fun gag is to talk to the grandees of the Official Right about Lincoln’s actual views on race relations. The quickest way to get hurled into the void by angry Buckleyites is to quote Lincoln on the issue. The fact is, Lincoln was a man of his age, when it came to race, despite his zealous opposition to slavery. Like all abolitionists, he did not care about the slaves, he cared about the slave holder. That was the soul he sought to save. The slaves themselves were just props on the stage of the morality play that was abolitionism.

The Official Right can never accept this. One of the criticisms of Harry Jaffa on this score was that he was not a scholar of Lincoln, so much as the chief polemicist for the cult that formed around him. His telling of history left out anything that contradicted his concept of the second founding. This is true not only from an academic perspective, but also from a human one. This telling of history leaves out most of the country. For anyone outside the northern alliance, their ancestors are either villains or non-entities in the narrative.

That’s the source of the low level hostility toward heritage America that has been a feature of the Official Right and that is now its face to the rest of us. Since Gettysburg, the story of America has been the story of northern hegemony. On one side are the reformers and fanatics, always looking for a reason to put the lash to the legacy population. On the other side are the so-called conservatives, who hold most of the same views, but see their role as making the latest fads work, so the overall American project can move forward.

The Lincoln fetish that blossomed among so-called conservatives in the middle of the last century was a form of Stockholm Syndrome. Unable to conjure and sustain a moral opposition to the Left, they embraced Lincoln as their Moses. Their acquiescence to the Left was the result of deeply held principles with roots in the founding, the second founding. They were champions of “a new birth of freedom — that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

This is the great challenge in attempting to overturn the Judeo-Puritan orthodoxy that defines the America ruling class. It requires more than just defeating present day arguments over public policy. It means restoring large chunks of history that have been systematically erased by our zealous overlords. Killing off the cult of Lincoln and the political movement it animates, means telling a better story to the people charged with tearing it down. That inevitably means killing Lincoln as the founder of the nation.

The Leverage President

One thing about the Kavanaugh drama that did not get much attention, but warrants some attention, is how Trump leveraged the event to transform the Republican Party into his party, one that is looking to him for leadership. Just listen to some of the things GOP senators are saying now and it is as if they have gone through some sort of religious experience. Not only are they operating like a real political party, they are standing up to the Left’s morality play. It’s a remarkable transformation in just a few weeks.

Two moves by Trump seem to have set all of this in motion, as well as making it possible for Kavanaugh to get confirmed. One is Trump did not take the bait and get into a media fight with the Left over the fake charges. In fact, he remained remarkably quiet, even as the media tried everything to goad him. Maybe it is just his natural inclination to not go through the door his opponents open for him, but he seems to know that was part of the trap Feinstein, Katz and Bromwich had cooked up over the summer.

The other thing he did was put the whole thing on the Senate GOP, particularly Mitch McConnell. This was the key move. By explicitly saying he was leaving the issue to the Senate to resolve, the focus shifted from him to the Senate. More important, it put the Republicans in a bind. They could either face the wrath of the Left or they could face the wrath of their voters next month. Trump correctly figured out that survival still counts for something in the GOP, so McConnell had no choice but to get tough with the Left.

What this says is Trump is getting better at being president and better at using his brand as a weapon in Washington. I’ve said since the beginning that Trump is a very rare guy, who instinctively knows how others view him. He uses your perception of him as part of the sales pitch. It’s why many people find his boasting to be so amusing. When he does it, his supporters feel like they are in on the joke. They get that he knows it is boast and that it irritates the Left. He turns what his critics call a character flaw into an asset.

That’s the thing with understanding Trump, something a brilliant observer pointed out three years ago. Trump operates like a famous real estate developer. He is always looking to leverage his assets in order to take advantage of whatever opportunities that may present themselves in the future. In the case of the Kavanaugh hearing, his best play was to stand aside and let Mitch McConnell handle it. If the nomination failed, Trump had a card to play against his party. If the nomination went through, Trump could take credit.

This is not the 4-D chess nonsense the BoomerCons used to say. Trump is not a master strategist, in the sense that he is four moves ahead of everyone. It’s that his inclination is to always play the game, any game, in order to maximize his options when it is his next turn. That’s how the world of commercial real estate development works. You can never know what opportunities will present themselves next, so you make sure you are in a position to seize on whatever pops up. Trump’s applying this to Washington now.

You see this with the Rosenstein situation. The thorn in Trump’s side right now is Mueller, simply because he has the power to be a nuisance. Mueller is supervised by Rosenstein, who is clearly compromised in the FBI scandal. When Congress demanded the FBI documents be declassified, Trump was ready to leverage it. That gave him the excuse to review all of the requested material, without anyone claiming he was meddling in the investigation. It also forced Rostenstein to address what was in those documents.

At that point, Trump had leverage on Rosenstein. It’s why days after Trump decided to hold off on declassifying the documents, the left-wing media was running stories about how Rosenstein was going to be fired. Those stories most likely came from the camp of the conspirators. They just assumed that once Trump knew the facts, he would fly into a rage and fire the crooked Rosenstein. Instead, Trump put a saddle on him and is now riding him around Washington. Trump now controls Rosenstein and Mueller.

That’s unlikely the end game. I’ve always thought that Trump is waiting until after the election to make his next move in this thing. Instead, what he has been doing for the last year is maneuvering so that he has options no matter what happens next month. There’s a very good chance that what Congress has uncovered, what is in those secret files, implicates former Obama officials and maybe a few high ranking Democrats. That’s pretty good leverage for Trump if he is suddenly faced with a hostile House and Senate.

The other play if the election goes poorly is to simply dump all of it out during the lame duck session after the election. At which point he can fire Mueller and Rosenstein, while demanding Sessions appoint a second special prosecutor to handle the FBI scandal, including the role of Mueller and Rosenstein. That assumes there are some real bombshells hiding in those secret files. Given the panic in the FBI and DOJ about the effort to declassify them, it is a safe bet that there is some bad stuff in those files.

Of course, it is now looking like the brown wave the liberal media has been predicting is not going to happen. Left-wing outlets are now talking about maybe a very narrow House win and losses in the Senate. Given how the Left has fallen into a depression over the Kavanaugh loss, it is not out of the question that the GOP holds the House. Winning has a funny way of motivating the winners and demotivating the losers. If this momentum carries the GOP to victory next month, then the options for Trump multiply.