Election Math

Note: I have a Thanksgiving themed post up at Taki this week. I have a long essay in my long promised on the subject of the Puritan Question. This a small taste.


An iron rule of the universe is that anything that has value will inevitably be forged or stolen, usually both. This is especially true of elections, because the election promises to bestow the most valuable thing of all to the ruling class. Elections give the ruling class legitimacy. As a result, every American election has had irregularities. Whether it is the Democrats calling out the dead vote or Democrats busing in illegal’s to vote in the suburbs, Democrats have been gaming elections since forever.

This most recent election may set a record for irregularities. It is hard to know if the claims being made by Trump are real. Trump’s track record on truth telling is not great, but even putting his claims aside, this election has more strange angles than any election in American history. Too many states have had ballots magically appear in the middle of the night or last minute rule changes that favor one side. When this happens in the third world, the West demands new election.

Here’s a bit of data that should jump off the page. In the modern era, no incumbent that has increased his vote total from the previous election has lost. Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton and Bush all won reelection by increasing their vote total from their first election victory. Obama saw a slight down turn in his vote total, but his 2008 victory was landslide. Trump increased his vote by 17% over his 2016 total, 73,763,979 versus 62,984,828, yet his vote share declined and he lost.

To call this unprecedented is a wild understatement. A contested election between two new candidates generates a lot of interest. Elections with an incumbent are referenda on the person holding the seat. If people are happy with him, his vote total goes up. The voters now have more certainty about the man. If the voters are not happy, then his vote total goes down, as people who voted for him sit out or vote against him.

What the vote totals are telling us this time is that millions of people who did not vote for Trump in 2016 either came out to vote for the first time in their life in 2020 or switched from opposing him to supporting him. Yet, despite millions being happy with his term in office, millions more were so outraged that they came out of nowhere to vote against Trump. The improbability of this is hard to overstate.

This brings up probably the most absurd anomaly in election history. According to the official narrative, Joe Biden brought in close to 15 million new voters. The last four elections saw the following vote totals: 121,056,394, 129,390,000, 126,035,116,   128,824,246. The vote total for 2020 was 153,548,144. If we net out the 11 million extra who voted for Trump, we are being told that the vibrant and exciting Joe Biden, a man who could not win a primary, added 15 million new voters.

Everywhere else in life, an extreme outlier is a red flag that warrants investigation, because it suggests something unexpected has happened. If a sprinter shows up at an international event and runs a sub-nine second 100-meters, his life will be torn apart on the assumption he is cheating. If it snows in July, people are going to wonder if the gods are angry at us for some reason. When things don’t follow the normal patterns, people naturally wonder why. Can you spot the oddity here?

 Election Year US Population Total Vote % of Population
1948      146,600,000      48,399,989 33%
1952      157,600,000      61,093,955 39%
1956      168,900,000      61,319,768 36%
1960      180,700,000      68,334,742 38%
1964      191,900,000      69,972,432 36%
1968      200,700,000      72,514,998 36%
1972      209,900,000      75,645,594 36%
1976      218,000,000      79,973,609 37%
1980      226,500,000      84,843,024 37%
1984      235,800,000      92,032,260 39%
1988      244,500,000      90,695,171 37%
1992      256,900,000    103,756,701 40%
1996      269,700,000      94,686,514 35%
2000      282,200,000    104,338,854 37%
2004      292,800,000    121,056,394 41%
2008      304,100,000    129,390,000 43%
2012      313,900,000    126,035,116 40%
2016      323,100,000    128,824,246 40%
2020      331,000,000    153,548,144 46%

Now, the claim will be that the public was so outraged over the terrible Donald Trump that people who had never voted came out to vote for Biden. The plausibility of that claim is undermined by the fact that we have no example of this. The pattern is that the unpopular incumbent sees his voters either stay home of vote against him. Carter lost 13% of his vote in 1976. Bush lost 20% of his vote in 1992. We’re supposed to believe that Trump increased his vote by 17% because people were angry?

Compounding all of this is the fact that exactly no one found evidence of this in their polling in the run-up to the election. It is one of the things that pollster try to gauge when doing a poll. How enthusiastic are the voters for each guy? Trump had a big lead in enthusiasm, which was obvious in the final weeks. He was speaking to massive rallies, while Biden was speaking to empty parking lots. Apparently, those enthusiastic Biden voters really went out of their way to conceal themselves.

Of course, the basic vote totals make the post-election analysis about why Trump lost sound rather ridiculous. You cannot seriously claim he failed to appeal to his voters in some way when he increased his vote total by 17%. That means we have to believe that an 80-year old dementia patient inspired millions to vote for the first time, because Trump did not appeal to his base enough. That’s the sort of logic you get from people who want attention, not answers.

Now, we will hear a lot about the “Tucker Carlson standard” where any questioning of the system must include incontrovertible proof. That is just an effort to create a false dichotomy in order to avoid explaining the weird anomalies about this election. Where the facts lead us is to shift the burden of proof. The principle of parsimony says that something very unusual went on during the voting and counting process. It is on the defenders of the process to explain what happened.

Promotions: The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte.

Trade-Offs

Back in the Cold War, one of the unanswered questions that came up from time to time was why did the people in the Soviet Union put up with it? American propaganda said that the living conditions were terrible. They had to stand in line for essentials like toilet paper and meat. The secret police regularly hauled people away, sending them into exile in Siberia or worse. Despite it all, the people, including those in the captive nations never revolted against the state or the communist party.

It is a useful question to ponder now as America and the West slip into the abyss of soft totalitarianism. We don’t have cops busting down doors and hauling away dissidents, at least not yet. We do have ideologues armed with the power of the state pushing people around because they can. The Covid hassles are the result of petty pipsqueaks in government offices dreaming up new ways to torment us. Curfews and bans on alcohol are punitive measures, not palliative ones.

It brings up that old question. Why are people tolerating this? There were some flickers of resistance during the early stages of the lock downs, but governments sent out the cops to harass dissenters and the media revved up the fear campaign. Here we are in a second wave of pointless lock downs, more petty and stupid than the first, but no one is raising hell about it. Back in the Cold War, stories like this elicited oaths about how the tree of liberty needed to be fertilized with the blood of tyrants.

A popular answer, for why people willingly allow themselves to be stripped of their liberty and dignity, is our material prosperity. The Boomers care more about their stock portfolios and their kids care more about the game consoles. The reason everyone goes along with this stuff, according to popular thinking, is everyone feels like they have too much to lose. That material prosperity has made everyone lazy and cautious, so they are easily pushed around by the petty tyrants.

While there is some truth to it, that can’t be the answer for why the people living under communism never revolted. The stories about people waiting in line for bread were no doubt exaggerated by Western media, but there is no doubting that the people in the Soviet Union lived well below Western standards. The Soviets may have had great military gear, but their consumer goods were terrible. Only party members had access to the small luxuries taken for granted in the West at the time.

In retrospect, we now know that life for most people in the Soviet Empire was not the dystopian nightmare portrayed in the West. Once Stalin died, there was a brief period of reform and then communism fell into a long period of conservatism. That is, it was more about maintaining a set of rules and enforcing them. Ideological experimentation came to an end and the focus was on the basics of life. For most people this meant a predictable life, where they had the necessities.

There’s no doubt that material standards of living for people in communism were far below that of the West, but this was not something they saw everyday. They just knew that life was better under communism than in the past. They were also free of crime, disorder and the great uncertainty of the first half of the 20th century. In other words, lacking a plausible alternative that was clearly better, most people were willing to knuckle under to the ideologues in order to get on with life.

We see that in America now. An under appreciated subplot to the Trump phenomenon is that Trump represented disorder and uncertainty, while his establishment opponents became stability and order. They selected the Pretender Biden because no one could possibly see him as a revolutionary. To use the old movie concept, the election was about the blue bill of Biden or the red pill of Trump. Note that the old alt-right greedily gobbled down the blue pill of Biden.

Another historical parallel is important. The captive people of the Soviet Empire were not all willing to go along to get along. The Hungarians revolted in October of 1956 against the party and the Soviet occupation. In November the Soviets sent in the Red Army to crush the revolt. The Politburo was initially open to dealing with the leaders of the rebellion, but changed their mind and crushed the revolt. The reason was they did not want to encourage more rebellions.

In January 1968, the reformer, Alexander Dubček, was elected First Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. This set off what is known as the Prague Spring, which was an effort to liberalize Czech politics and economics. This reform effort did not go over well with the Soviets who sent in half a million Warsaw Pact troops to suppress the reform movement and restore the old order. The scenes from Freedom Plaza last Saturday had a Prague Spring vibe to them.

What the Hungarian Revolt and the Prague Spring showed is that raw power has an appeal that can never be underestimated. There is no question that the people of the captive nations were in support of their independence, but the raw power of the Soviet Empire was more than enough to counter popular support. When the rebels had no answer for the Soviet tanks, the people did what Osama bin Laden observed many years ago. They chose the strong horse.

This is a lesson the Poles learned and put to good use in the 1980’s. The Solidarity Movement was as much about making the Polish communist party look weak as it was about organizing the people. Instead of hoping the party would yield to popular will, they played a game of chess with the party, putting them in positions where they looked weak and indecisive. This allowed the people to trust that the cure for communism was not worse than the disease of communism.

This brings us back to the current time. One obvious failing of the populist movement that put Trump in the White House is it was never able to create a plausible alternative in the mind of the people. Was the goal a return to the past or was the goal the present with specific modifications? Was it some undefined future? Trump was not skilled enough to grasp this and lacked the imagination to articulate a plausible alternative, even if he recognized the historical moment.

This is something that the reformers and rebels in the late Soviet Empire did not fail to grasp when their time came. When the party tried to oust Yeltsin, for example, the public rallied to his side because he represented a clear alternative. The Solidarity movement in Poland had a clear set of goals, rather than a list of complaints. When the party tried to muscle them, they were opposing more than just a rebellious rabble, but a set of specific reforms popular with the people.

Getting back to the central question as to why people throughout the ages have been wiling to submit to the most terrible crimes against their liberty and dignity, the answer is that life is about trade-offs. Instinctively, people make their choices based on the options put before them. They do not rebel against the present arrangements because they fall short of some ideal. They rebel, either because the alternative is misery and death or they see some better option on the table.

This has been the magic of the two-party democracy, which is explicit in America and implicit in Europe. The options before the people are always the two faces of the establishment, Republican and Democrat, Liberal and Conservative. Unless and until that dynamic is broken, either with a third option or the discrediting of the two option system, the status quo remains the strong horse. Nothing will change until the trade-offs presented to the people change.

Promotions: The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte.

The Dead Enders

When it comes to not getting it, there are few that can challenge the modern conservative for his obtuseness and proud indifference to the facts. For going on 30 years now, conservatives have refused to notice that America is rapidly changing in the exact opposite direction they predicted. That’s a remarkable run of wrongness that even the libertarians struggle to match. Whatever it once was, conservatism is now a fantasy camp of escapism, disconnected from reality.

A good example is this recent post on a once popular conservative website called National Review. The writer, like all so-called conservatives, is happily dreaming of the day when the terrible Donald Trump is sent packing. That’s when they can come out of hiding and everything will be put back to the way it was. The Janus Party, one face Democrat and one face Republican, will be back to the way it was before that mean old orange man stirred things up with his meanness.

The writer, like most so-called conservatives, has never thought too much about why Trump won in 2016 or why we have a crisis on our hands in 2020. Somewhere back in the 1990’s, after the end of the Cold War, they imagined what the world would be like in the future and reoriented themselves to it. They have not bothered to revisit that worldview since then. They have not thought much about why they instinctively embraced cosmopolitanism in the first place.

Like a long serving house slave, the conservative pundit never troubles his mind about his arrangements. The role of conservatism has always been the same as Dabny described a century ago. “Conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader.” This is a role the conservative was born into and he resents those who question those arrangements.

That is the atmosphere around conservatism these days. They hope this is finally the end of Trump and what he represents. Like that house slave after a revolt has been put down, they look forward to serving the master of the house again. In this case, it means they have that old 2012 postmortem out, thinking about how they can embrace the new diverse America. That has always been the hallmark of conservatism. They accept what the Left says about them at face value.

Of course, with any post from so-called conservatives, the first thing to do is hit Ctrl+F on your keyboard and start typing the word “immigration.” There are two hits, one for an ad and the other a mention about executive orders. The fact that immigration was what put Trump in the White House, or at least one of the things, has never registered with conservatives. Trump was the first candidate to speak frankly about the subject and it is what legitimized his campaign.

Immigration is also why the Republican Party is headed to permanent minority status in the very near future. Virginia is solidly Democrat because close to 15% of the population is foreign born. That’s the official number. North Carolina is following Virginia for the same reason. It now has an 8% foreign born population. Georgia is at 10% and will soon be a solidly Democrat state. Helping the Left import a new people was a bad idea, but conservatives never think about it.

A search on the words “race” and “white” yields a similar result. White people in America have been subjected to an unprecedented assault over the last year and this does not rate a single mention. Instead, it is blather about being the “party of Lincoln”, a phrase intended to tell the Left that conservatives will not be any trouble. Note too that Lincoln killed many of the ancestors of the GOP coalition. Peddling Lincolnism in the South is like selling Hitler memorabilia to Jews.

Now, the linked post does provide some insight as to why conservatism is a museum piece, sitting next to whiggism and the free silver movement. The writer makes the same call as other conservatives about the future of their thing. They need to be “a coalition of work and probity.” Later, he quotes Lincoln’s Independence Hall address to add authority to the claim. “In due time the weights should be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all should have an equal chance.”

Right there is why conservatism has never conserved anything. Probity requires honestly, which requires a sober minded acceptance of reality. To assert that there can ever be a world in which everyone has an equal chance is to deny the fundamental reality of the human condition. Nature does not distribute her gifts equally, so in the context of the social order, equality is a dangerous fantasy. Probity requires a frank acceptance of this reality of the human condition.

Obviously, in the mouth of the modern conservative, probity simply means adherence to the highest of ideals. In the context of modern American politics, that always means the ideals of the Left. Those are never questioned. As Dabny pointed out a century ago, conservative principles are always yesterday’s Progressive fad. When they say they seek to be the “party of Lincoln” that simply means they intend to be the party of whoever was the last Progressive icon.

Sadly though, conservatism does reflect the sentiments of white people, especially the older generations. Facing the promise of marginalization and possibly extermination, they seek to embrace those promising their demise. That slave’s mindset is so strong, no amount of beatings will break their loyalty to the master. In the case of whites and conservatives, the master is that 19th century radical dream of universal equality and fraternity between all men.

Promotions: The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte.

The Lessons Of Trump

An old bit of wisdom is that you should never try to con a con man. This advice is not aimed at con men, of course, but at honest people. Grifters are intuitively dishonest, which means they instinctively work every angle to some advantage. Normal people are simply unable to think like this, even when they are trying to do it. Their scruples get in the way of their scheming. This is something that Trump should have had in mind when he took office four years ago. It was his first mistake.

Trump came to Washington thinking he was smarter, more clever and more resilient than the people he had mocked for so long from his couch. There’s no question that most people in politics are stupid. Without a government grift, they would end up peddling replacement windows door-to-door. But politics in a liberal democracy does not select for smart people. It selects for clever and ruthless people. Washington is the major leagues for the most clever and ruthless.

To his credit, he did outfox them from time to time, but after a while, they began to get the measure of him and figured out how to out-clever him. The FBI scandal is a great example of how they simply outmaneuvered him to delay the process. More important, they got him to drop it as a campaign item. What should have been a key part of his campaign as a populist champion went unmentioned. Time after time Trump tried to play their game and every time he came up a loser.

Similarly, Trump came to Washington under the mistaken impression that his opponents would follow the rules and abide by their own rhetoric. After all, he won the election, the people have spoken, time for the winner to enjoy the fruits of victory. That’s how it is supposed to work in a democratic society. From the very beginning he assumed these people would play fair, despite the fact he knew they spied on him in the campaign and tried hard to cheat him out of his victory.

This is a great example of the civic nationalist disease. This is a malady that is most pronounced in men of Trump’s generation. The civic nationalist loves rules and fully expects his enemies to play by those rules. In reality, the ends justifies the means mentality of the Left has poisoned the entire ruling class. These are people devoid of honor and virtue. Playing by the rules, especially their rules, is a sucker’s play, one Trump never figured out in his four years.

No matter how many times the political class kicked him in the groin, he refused to accept this reality. The strange thing is he campaigned in the most unconventional way, preferring rallies to the formula popular with the political industrial complex. He was a refreshingly unconventional politician in his campaign, but he was thoroughly conventional in his governance. In office, he played by the rules of Washington, while Washington made the rules up as they went along.

Probably his biggest mistake in office was in not seeing the FBI scandal as a purely political affair, rather than a legal one. He was conned into thinking it should be handled by the courts as a criminal matter, when he should have used it as a political hammer to bludgeon official Washington. By the election, all of the classified information should have been leaked and revealed. This would have kept Washington petrified about what he may release if they got too aggressive with him.

This would have fed into the subplot of his campaign. It was always Trump the reformer against the political class. Instead of working with Republicans like he was one of them, he should have treated them as part of the problem. Trump needed to be Harry Truman running against a corrupt establishment. He would have accomplished more and he would have provided a clear reason to support him 2020. Instead he kept trying to be accepted by people who detested him.

Stylistically, Trump the salesman was an amusing bit of comic relief in the 2016 election that probably won him the benefit of the doubt. The trouble was, he kept selling his voters after he had won. The campaign is about promises, while governance is about delivering on those promises. Trump did some good things in office, but he never spoke of them, instead preferring to keep promising to look into new things and maybe do other things. It quickly rang hollow with his voters.

The great lesson to learn from the Trump era is that winning the crowd is useless if you don’t have a plan to put it to some purpose. Trump is not an ideologue, which allows him to be pragmatic. That’s a great asset in politics, as long as you have the secret list in your head of things you want to do in office. This is what makes the Left so powerful as a social force. They never lose focus on their goal. They know why they seek power, so they adapt and keep moving forward.

Trump never seemed to know what he wanted to do in office. Like all civic nationalists, he has this vague notion in his head of what America should be, but he was never able to translate it into policy. The closest he came was the many administrative changes made to the immigration process. He never spoke of those, because like all civic nationalist, he preferred to dream of the mythological America where everyone happily abides but the rules of the republic.

There are many other things that can be put in the list of mistakes by Trump over the last four years, but the overriding theme is this. Trump never rose above the petty and practical to grasp his historical moment. Like everyone else is Washington, he had no vision of the future. As a result, he got bogged down into the swamp he promised to drain, playing petty politics, squabbling over small issues. The moment called for a man of vision, but instead got a pitchman from Queens.

Promotions: The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte.

The Popular Fanatic

Note: I have a new post up on Taki today about the Church of Covid. Good to see the headline writer finally took my advice. I also have a new post up behind the green door on the 80’s comedy Back to School.


An old criticism of liberal democracy was that the system would inevitably become less stable, as each election would result in a wild swing in direction. The people would support position X in one election and then support position Y in the next election, with X and Y being opposite positions on some issue. We are getting a sense of that now with Biden’s handlers promising a reversal of Trump’s policies, which were allegedly a sharp break from the policies of predecessors.

One reason for this is that liberal democracies are bourgeois societies, in which the old instinct to dress up interests in objectivity and civic virtue remain strong. It is considered immoral for a group to press their interests in a purely partisan way, so everyone insists that science and the public good are the motivations. The deliberate destruction by the elites of the civic life of societies is not just a naked attempt to remake the world in their image, but an effort to build back better.

Bourgeois objectivity, however, does not work as a brake on the partisanship that comes with democracy. Instead, it works to magnify it. Every issue, instead of being a fight between interested parties, is a fight for eternal truth and cosmic justice. Voting for party X is not about where your bread is buttered, but about where you stand in the moral hierarchy, relative to the people in party Y. The polarization we are seeing today is not about practical politics, but about good versus evil.

Of course, in order to arrive at the point of bourgeois partisanship, you first must arrive at a post-scarcity society. When the threat of extinction is no longer obvious, the people are free to indulge in fantasy and leisure items. In the Cold War, the West avoided this state because the threat of nuclear war was real. The sober-minded had the primary duty of keeping the frivolous under control. Once that was removed, the frivolous and insane were free to run wild through society.

The result is a strange paradox. The issues that rise to the top are increasingly trivial and ridiculous, but the partisanship around them becomes more intense. Two men playing house is a fact of life going back to the dawn of man, but suddenly the embrace of this became a defining issue. If that was not ridiculous enough, what followed was a parade of men in dresses demanding we play along with them. Then it was people with a list of bizarre pronouns demanding validation.

At some level, the bourgeois partisan knows this, but instead of acknowledging the obvious, the demand for public judgement becomes more intense. In the Cold War, the Left had get out the vote drives, by which they meant rigging the voting in major urban areas. Otherwise, there was a quiet understanding that voting should be left to those who pay attention. Today, voting is a moral duty and we are endlessly reminded of it in the months before an election. The truth must be decided.

This is probably the only thing about liberal democracy that makes sense. If everyone votes, then the winners can claim a mandate. If Trump voters, for example, realized the vote was being rigged and boycotted the election last week, the winners could not legitimately claim a mandate. This used to be a tactic in low-trust societies ruled by an elite seeking legitimacy at the ballot box. In modern societies, everyone assumes the truth is fifty-percent-plus-one, so everyone must vote.

Here is where we stumble into another paradox of liberal democracy and another source of partisan anger. All human societies have elites and those elites control the institutions of the society. In theory, popular forms of government either check the power of the elites or place real power into the hands of the people. In one variation, the powerful propose and people dispose. In the other variation the people both propose and dispose. Democracy is about the public will.

In reality, voting is entirely meaningless in a liberal democracy, as the elites control public policy exclusively. The winning side in 1992 thought they were getting a folksy John F Kennedy, when they just got a skeevy Bush I. Bush voters thought they were getting a dim version of Reagan, but got Lyndon Johnson. The people celebrating Biden think they will get reeducation camps and proscription lists, but instead they will end up with a less coherent version of Bush II.

As the researchers in this 2014 study found, those elites that are a permanent feature of all societies control public policy in a liberal democracy, just as they do in every other form of government. In liberal democracy, however, the people are blind to this reality, instead believing that the market place of democracy decides. If elite opinion tracked public opinion, no one would mind, but when elite opinion is at war with the public, it becomes another source of partisan rage.

This leads to the final paradox of liberal democracy. The most rational strategy for minority interests is to withdraw consent, as this strips some legitimacy from the winner of the democratic process. Instead, partisans become more intensely partisan after each electoral defeat and every betrayal. In two years, those red MAGA hats will be a bloody shirt inspiring partisans to vote for the GOP, who will promptly betray those voters at the first opportunity. The anger will keep rising.

The reason that the world appears to be going mad is that liberal democracy, without the brake of thermonuclear war, is a runaway train of partisan fury. Instead of disputes being settled at the ballot box, each election intensifies the dispute. Haldane famously observed that fanaticism is man’s greatest invention. That’s because it is his greatest weapon. As partisan fury rises in liberal democracy, the fanatic becomes the most valued participant. It becomes rule by fanatic.

Promotions: The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte.

The Parable Of Bob

Imagine someone living in a typical American city. We will call this guy Bob and Bob lives in the city of Metropolis. Bob is a single man living in the city, working at a job while he enjoys his youth, looks for a mate and figures out what to do with his life. Bob does not care all that much about anything else. After all, he has a decent apartment, enough money to go out on weekends and plenty of friends. Like most people starting out in the world, Bob is just a visitor passing through.

Now, Bob has a steady girl now and he is starting to think more seriously about things like where he should live, or maybe where they should live. He’s thinking about what he should do for a career, rather than a job. He’s also starting to notice the world around him a bit more. For example, the bus he takes to the subway stop is always dirty and it stinks a bit. The subway has bums and the toilets don’t work. The trash barrels are always overflowing, no matter the time of day.

Just as Bob is starting to think more about the world around him, the Mayor of Metropolis, let’s call him Mayor Dick, announces he is going to go on a listening tour around the city. He wants to know what is on people’s minds. Mayor Dick says it is time for the city listen to the people and address their issues. He will hold town hall style meetings in every neighborhood of the city. Bob decides he’s going to go to one of these meetings and tell the mayor about the transit system.

To Bob’s surprise, the first meeting has lots of familiar faces. He realizes that these familiar faces are his neighbors, people he sees every day, but knows little about, other than they seem to be around a lot. Even more surprising, he learns that they are there to talk about the transit system too. Like Bob, they don’t understand why the buses are dirty and why they let bums loiter in the subway station. When Mayor Dick arrives, they all take turns telling him about the problems with the transit system.

Now, Bob feels pretty good. For the first time in his life he is involved in his community and beginning to know his neighbors. He was never much for politics, he never voted, but this feels like a good thing. Bob is not naive though. He knows politicians love making promises, but rarely deliver. Still, this Mayor Dick guy seemed sincere and he seemed to understand what was being said about the transit system. He even said he had ridden the subway to their town hall meeting.

Not long after the listening tour ends, Mayor Dick holds a press conference where he announces changes to the transit system. After talking to the community, he has slashed the budget for cleaning the buses. He has had all of the trash barrels removed from the subway stops and he has given the city’s bum population free transit passes so they can ride the buses and subway as much as they like. The city’s main newspaper writes glowing articles about Mayor Dick’s new initiatives.

Bob and all of his neighbors are outraged. How could this be? He was at the meeting and no one said they wanted more bums in the subway. Everyone specifically said they wanted fewer bums. Bob starts to think that maybe people at other meetings may have confused the message. On the bus to work one day, as a naked hobo masturbates in the seat across from him, he hears on the radio that Mayor Dick, after the success of his last listening tour, will hold another next month.

Talking with his neighbors, they agree that they need to get the word out to the rest of the city about the transit problem. After all, there is no way they wanted things to be made worse with the buses and subway stations. Maybe they don’t use the system that much or had other priorities. They all agree to form a group to raise awareness around the city about the shabby condition of the transit system. They will attend every meeting and make their voices heard by everyone.

Along comes the next listening tour and Bob and his people are set. They show up at every meeting wearing red shirts with their slogan on it. “Bus Reform Now!” is their slogan and they bring hats and buttons to every meeting. To their delight, everyone is receptive and peppers Mayor Dick with questions about the problem. Mayor Dick tells the people he has heard what they have to say and he promises to address it. “Now is the time to build back better” he says.

Bob is feeling pretty good at this point. He organized a city wide campaign to raise awareness on the transit issue. He got people all over the city to tell the mayor they wanted the system cleaned up. Not long after, Mayor Dick holds a presser where he announces that the city’s lunatic asylum will be closed and the inmates released, with free passes, into the subway stations. All cleaning will cease, even inside the stations and the toilets will be abandoned to chance.

As Bob and his neighbors watch this, they are stunned. This Mayor Dick guy is either an idiot or up to something. No one could want more bums and no one has ever said they wanted lunatics in the subway stations. Theories begin to circulate about what is really behind the mayor’s action. Meanwhile, the media begins to talk ominously about a secret conspiracy to undermine the city government. They brand Bob’s organization as dangerous subversives trying to undermine the government.

Bob and his neighbor have had enough. There is an election coming up and they are going get Mayor Dick thrown out of office. They agree that Bob is the right man for the job, since he organized the transit awareness group and people now know him. Bob signs up to run for mayor. To his surprise, he is greeted with big crowds all around the city as he goes to speak about his plans for the city. A keystone of his campaign is to reverse Mayor Dick’s changes to the transit system.

Everyone is feeling pretty good about things. The media has mostly ignored Bob’s campaign, continuing to call him a dangerous subversive, but the crowds at his events say that the people want change. The election finally arrives and not only does Mayor Dick win, he wins rather handily. It was not very close at all. Bob and his neighbors can’t believe it. The media claims that Mayor Dick’s listening tour and transit reform was the key to his victory. They hint that maybe he could be president one day.

Days later, Bob is found dead in his apartment. He has two gunshots in the back of the head, so the media declares it was suicide. Bob’s girlfriend, now his fiancé, tells everyone that Bob was not suicidal and he did not own a gun. The media claims Bob had a serious midget porn problem and was mixed up with Russian gangsters, so even if he did not kill himself, he probably deserved it. It is another example of how democracy must always be vigilant against people like Bob.

–The End.

Promotions: The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte.

The End Of A Story

Note: I have a new post up behind the green door. This is a review of the next film on the top-100 greatest movies, Unforgiven. I’m a fan of Eastwood, so I’ll probably be doing more posts on his work.


One of the things that was debated on the fringes of politics the last few years is whether this period was a replay of the late-60’s and early 70’s or a replay of the early and mid-60’s. Were we heading to some new and much worse phase of radicalism or was this a rear guard action as this spasm of radicalism burned itself out? Put another way, was this the dawning of the age of Jonquarius or the sunset of the radical awakening that was kicked off in the 2000 election?

The outright theft of the 2020 election tells us that we are probably witnessing the end point of a radical phase, rather than a beginning. The reason, to stick with the historical comparison, is that Trump is clearly Nixon in this drama. The Left, which controls both the aesthetic and the cultural norms of official Washington, reacted to Trump just as their analogs reacted to Nixon a half century ago. They were willing to break every rule to get rid of him and finally did it.

The way they have rid themselves of Trump is interesting for a few reasons. One is that they did it in reverse order this time. For a backward age, in which everything is a deliberate attempt to reboot old franchises, running the old Nixon playbook in reverse suggests the cosmic forces have a sense of style. Instead of rigging an election to keep Nixon out and then impeaching him after he got into Washington, they impeached Trump first and then rigged the election to throw him out.

Those old enough to remember Nixon will recall that long after Nixon was gone, the Left still groused about the man. They made movies trying to portray him as worse than they painted him while in office. They used him as a pejorative when assaulting Republican political opponents. Everything that made lefty sad in the 1980’s was called Nixonian, as if Nixon was the face of evil in the world. Nixon was a great enemy that served them so well, they could not bear to let him go.

You can be sure this will be true of Trump. In order to keep their conservative toadies in line they will be calling them “Trumpian” whenever they dare speak out of turn or show any signs of life. Republicans, of course, will fully embrace the term to police their ranks for anyone that questions the oligarchs. For the political industrial complex, the Trump era will be like a brush with death. It will color their perspective on everything and modify their politics long after Trump has left their midst.

To further bolster the analogy is the fact that Biden is a vegetable. Carter came in after Nixon, but exactly no one in Washington respected carter. They laughed at him to his face and treated him like a servant. They were slightly embarrassed by him, but he was a necessary place holder, so he was tolerated. That’s Biden. He was installed as the nominee and now president because the political class does not know where they go from here, so they put in a place holder.

With Carter, the promise was that all the professional hacks would get their jobs back and begin to rebuild an activist foreign policy and continue remaking the post-industrial economy, while the establishment found some better front men. This is why the neocons were all on the Mumbly Joe bandwagon. They expect to slither back into the foreign policy side and begin preparing for war with Iran next decade. The bankers will get their men back in to restart the globalism process.

The thing to keep in mind with historical analogies is they are never perfect and only a fool gets hung up on that fact. They’re comparisons, not replications. The reason they are useful is people don’t change all that much from generation to generation. The people who pushed out Nixon in the 1970’s are not all that different from the people involved in the coup against Trump. Many were around back then. That means they will react to the aftermath in a similar way.

That said, the differences are important. There is no conservative movement brewing this time to be a useful gatekeeper for the establishment. Conservatism has been so discredited; few Trump supporters will be fooled by their efforts to legitimize the shenanigans that have gone on during Trump. They will try, of course, but the result will be a further discrediting of themselves. Too many people are wise to that game now for it to work on anyone but the extremely stupid.

Further, there is no new thing on the horizon this time. The reason Buckley-style conservatism got off the ground is the people in charge immediately saw it would be a useful foil for them in the charade of democracy. Buckley’s over-the-top Brahman act legitimized conservatism. A vulgar little dwarf like Ben Shapiro is never going to be able to pull that off. The fact is, the bench of Conservative Inc. is full of misfits and mediocrities, best suited for parody, not legitimacy.

The point here is this era is probably not the beginning of the end as many disappointed dissidents would have you believe. There will be no internment camps for racists or truth and reconciliation commissions. Instead of the beginning of the end it is just the end of a cycle of radicalism. Just as the New Left spent their last bit of fervor ejecting Nixon from Washington, our woke crazies of this age have spent themselves now. Their reason to exist is about to leave town.

Further, this may signal the end of another story. That story is the tale of the American Empire that began in the middle of the last century. After conquering Western Europe and much of Asia, the American Empire engaged in a long face-off with the Soviet Empire. Just as the Peloponnesian was a multi-generational affair, the Cold War spanned close to three generations. It changed the culture of America and cast a long shadow after it was over.

The first truly imperial generation rose up in the middle of the last century too. They remade the culture and economy in their image. The story of the last 70 years has been the story of that generation, but just as the empire is in decline, so is that generation. The weird backward-looking nature of modern politics, the endless cycle of reboots and remakes in Hollywood, the stalling of technological advance, all suggest we have reached an end point.

The multi-generational cycle that was kicked off with the start of the Cold War and the struggle between two global empires may be reaching its end. All the old purposes that drove that cycle are gone now. There are no communists. There are no Nazis to hunt as a reminder to remain vigilant. Every battle in the culture war has been won. There is nothing left to do, so the imperial generation has been replaying old fights in a politics of nostalgia, but now their time has come to an end.

That is probably what we are witnessing. The generation that made a fetish of free speech, good government and democracy, is now closing the show with censorship, corruption and now the undermining of democratic legitimacy. They are not doing this because of Trump or what he represents, but as one last replay of a drama that has outlived its reason to exist. It’s fitting that the capstone of this generation’s nostalgia politics will be a man who cannot remember yesterday.

Promotions: The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte.

What We Learned

Elections are one of those windows into the nature of a society, like the roads or public transport systems. It is a manifestation of the real nature of society. In the case of elections, it is not about the results, but about how the election is run. Orderly, well run societies have orderly, well run elections. The results are known soon after the votes are cast and no one questions them. In disorderly, low-trust societies, the vote is messy and chaotic and no one takes the results at face value.

You see that with yesterday’s election. Most people voting remember when you stopped off to vote on the way home from work or maybe before work. Office people could vote at their lunch break, because it only took a half hour at most. In most of the country, even big urban areas, it was rare to run into long lines or delays. Today, the opposite is now true. It is rare to experience an orderly, well run polling station. Instead it is long lines, broken equipment and lots of shenanigans.

Of course, those chaotic voting stations are not able to tally the votes in a timely manner, so the count carries on for days in some areas. Back in the days of mechanical voting machines and paper ballots, the vote was counted in hours. If the polls in a state closed at seven, the vote was known by nine. Again, there were exceptions, as nothing is perfect, but they were exceptions. Yesterday’s vote will not be known for weeks and much of it will be decided in the courts.

Now, one big reason for the delay is the people counting the votes need time to rig the results in such a way that makes it hard for the courts to see it. Pennsylvania, for example, is furiously printing up new ballots for people who did not vote. These will be filled out for Biden and other party candidates, then dropped off at post offices around the state so they can be added to the real votes. They now have nine days to make up enough fake ballots to tip the state to Mumbly Joe.

In states like California, general incompetence rules the day. Since most of the voters now are foreign born, the results are known in advance. It’s why no one bothers to campaign in the state. Still, in order to maintain the fiction of democracy they run elections, but it takes them weeks to produce a result. Like everything else about the state, their elections are very third world, which is no surprise as the majority of the population is from primitive societies. Demographics are destiny.

It used to be that America would send international observers to a country to make sure their elections were free and fair. The claim was the government was either too crooked or too inept to manage an election, even if they wanted to do it. A gaggle of experts from the West would be sent in to help organize the voting and make sure everything was done properly. These international observers would supervise the counting so that everyone could trust the result.

Now, the shoe is on the other foot. The UN should probably step in and start supervising American elections, because the government is so corrupt and incompetent, no one can trust them to run an election. Iraq now has more orderly and honest elections than most states in America. Iraq actually requires voters to present an ID and they make voters do the purple finger thing to prevent ballot stuffing. Maybe the Iraqi government can send supervisors to Pennsylvania.

In the coming weeks, as this circus drags on in the courts, lots of people will compare it to the so-called banana republics. That is not fair, as those banana republics did not ask for democracy. It was imposed on them. Left to their own devices, they would have been happy with some form of big-man government. It was Western business that demanded democracy, so they could more easily exploit these countries. It is easier to bribe parliamentary mediocrities than an oligarch or despot.

The United States does not have that excuse. If the people were free of their depots, tyrants and lunatics, they would revert back to moderate self-government. The problems faced today are the result of a crooked and disgusting ruling class. In many cases, the people in charge are genuinely insane. Gretchen Whitmer is becoming a modern day Christian VII of Denmark. Our increasingly bizarre and corrupt elections reflect the nature of the American ruling class, not the people.

It is an axiom of the dissident right that democracies always end in despotism, but that is not really true. After Athens lost the Peloponnesian War and democracy was suspended in favor of the “Thirty Tyrants“, the people still wanted to return to their natural way of governing themselves. Eventually those tyrants were overturned and democracy was restored. The institutions of a people are the product of their biology and their culture. That is the chain of causality.

In 1787, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to the son-in-law of John Adams in which he stated, “The people can not be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty.” Later he asked, “What country before ever existed a century and half without a rebellion?” This is a question for us now.

If those words sound familiar, they should. In that same letter Jefferson wrote the famous words, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.” That is the real lesson of yesterday’s election charade. The time is soon coming when our petty tyrants will be trembling in their homes or slithering across the border. These disgusting piggish buffoons must meet the fate of all tyrants. That’s what we learned yesterday.

Promotions: The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte.

Into The Void

The Great War not only devastated the physical structure of Europe, it destroyed the legitimacy of the political infrastructure as well. Once the legitimacy of the ruling class was gone, their authority was gone with it. After all, the war was not a natural disaster beyond the control of the ruling class. It was a disaster created by a ruling class that could not explain why the war was necessary. When they tried, no one could believe them, because they had lied the world into war.

The people, looking around at the devastation, wanted to understand why this terrible thing happened to them. The trouble was the people they would naturally look to for answers no longer had the trust of the people. They had squandered their legitimacy waging a pointless war. Into the void of authority came the liberal democrats, the communists and the fascists, offering their own narrative to explain the past and define a future better than the present. The rest is history.

This is a useful thing to keep in mind as the current ruling class of America counts the votes in the presidential election. Every election is pitched as momentous, but that is mostly nonsense. The choices put in front of the voters are always vetted by the ruling elite, so the results are known in advance. The exception, of course, was Trump in 2016, which is why we have been subjected to close to five years of shrieking by the ruling class about how Trump is a threat to their system.

This election could very well turn out to be devastatingly important. For starters, this is a rare case where both sides are sure they will win. Usually, both sides know what’s coming long before the vote. The eventual losing side may have some false hope, but when they lose they are not surprised. This time, both sides are not only sure they will win; they think they will win big. This is despite an unprecedented media barrage offering no possible way for Trump to win on Tuesday.

Both sides come at this from wildly different perspectives. The ruling class radicals backing the Biden campaign are sure they are the product of a meritocracy that has earned the right to rule. It is so obvious that no sane voter would choose any other system, but the one that puts them at the top. It’s why they remain convinced that Trump won in 2016 by appealing to the dark forces. There’s simply no way that a legitimate democratic system could have picked Trump.

This time they have used every weapon of the system to make sure those dark forces don’t prevail. They have bullied the pollsters that serve the political industrial complex into giving them useful polling data. They have used their media to flood the zone with fear, uncertainty and doubt. The same tools they use in their color revolutions abroad have been deployed here. If Trump wins, then it means the system, at least the rule-based system, is no longer of any use to them.

Ironically, if Trump wins, the people supporting Trump will conclude that the people in charge are no longer legitimate authorities. The polls, the media, the analysis, will all be viewed as an orchestrated lie campaign. After all, the best and the brightest of the system said Biden was a metaphysical lock. The result of a Trump win will be that both sides agree that the system is rotten to the core. The Left will seek to destroy it while the Right will stand aside and let them do it.

As Stalin said, it is not the votes that count, but who counts the votes and it is the people counting the votes who are the issue on the ballot. If Biden wins, most sensible people will assume shenanigans. Joe Biden has spent the final weeks of the campaign mumbling to empty parking lots, while Trump is speaking to stadium sized rallies in the key states. The same observations that lead people to think the polls are a lie will lead them to think a Biden victory is a lie.

It is heritage America that is the engine of the Trump campaign. These are people who get misty when they hear God Bless America. They believe that they are fighting to maintain the greatest system in the world for the greatest country in the World. All they have to do is vote harder and the bad guys will be driven from the field and the America they love will come back to herself. If their monumental efforts fail, then it means the system has failed. Their America is lost.

The irony of the Left making war on these people is that without these people there can be no Left, as there is no establishment to support the Left. Those huge crowds coming out to cheer for Trump are what makes liberal democracy possible. If they are finally cut off from having a say in how things are run, then the system begins to falter. Many of those people coming out for Trump will simply drop out, but many will look around for an alternative to the corrupt system they now distrust.

One of John F. Kennedy’s script writers said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” This is the subtext to this election, as both sides go all in on this election. For the Left, a Trump win means they are free to make total war on the system and the people who support it. A Biden win and the veil of ignorance drops for millions of heritage Americans. One side will decide that peaceful revolution, even peaceful reform, is no longer possible.

The truth of democracy is it makes everything political. Even the smallest act becomes a moral signifier, indicating which side you are on. This is because politics forces everyone to be a partisan. In order for democracy to work, everyone must participate, which means everyone picks a side. Partisanship turns everyone into the enemy of someone, often people they do not know. A country full of enemies is not a country, but a forest full of dry underbrush waiting for a match.

This is an election where one side will ultimately conclude that the system itself is no longer worth respecting or defending. The Biden camp is much closer to that point, maybe even resolved to it, but still pretending. The Trump side is not there yet, but inching closer. There is no result that can leave both sides satisfied that the system worked as intended. Like the period after the Great War, we are entering a crisis of legitimacy, which begins with the election results.

Promotions: The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte.

The Death of NRx

Note: I have a new post up on Taki. This is a bigger brain essay on the nature of modern democracy. For something smooth-brained, I have a post behind the green door on the movie Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.


A decade ago the left-libertarian, Arnold Kling, coined the term “neo-reactionary” to describe the on-line community calling itself the Dark Enlightenment. These were mostly fans of the blogger Curtis Yarvin, writing under the name Moldbug, but there were others writing about the same ideas. English philosopher Nick Land added some academic legitimacy to the project. He was the first person to use the term Dark Enlightenment in an essay of the same name.

In many respects, neo-reaction was a forerunner of the alt-right movement, in that it made on-line politics fun and interesting to a growing number of young white males dissatisfied with conventional politics. Reading the blogs and participating in the communities turned esoteric topics into a sense of community. Later, the alt-right would follow the same model, drawing in young white males around a more simplistic critique of modern liberal democracy and multiculturalism.

Of course, the alt-right also followed neo-reaction into obscurity. Almost all of the sites and characters from neo-reaction have either moved onto to other things or disappeared entirely. Curtis Yarvin has moved into the nationalist camp, writing for more mainstream sites. Nick Land has moved onto other things, having been exiled from the academy for holding unpopular opinions on taboo subjects. No one flies the neo-reaction or Dark Enlightenment flag these days.

While it is easy to see how the alt-right collapsed, the failure of the neo-reaction movement is a bit of a puzzler. Most of the bigger names writing on those topics were sensible about what they were doing. They avoided the media and did not have delusions of grandeur like so many in the alt-right. They were happy to stick to their blogs and forums. They even tried to practice good optics by avoiding the spicy language that is common in right-wing forums.

The first problem with neo-reaction, the one that probably led it down a dead end, is that they never got to the heart of the problem of democracy. They were good at criticizing egalitarianism and multiculturalism, but those are the leaves, not the roots of the problem of modern liberal democracy. Like all right-wing movements, they made the mistake of thinking that facts and careful analysis would be enough to counter the moral arguments that are the power source of liberal democracy.

Montesquieu observed that the engine of aristocracy in honor, while the engine of despotism is fear. In a republic, it is virtue. The citizen of the republic respects the logic of the political order and the institutions that maintain it. In liberal democracy, the engine is civic morality. Everything must point toward that vaguely understood sense that the arc of history bends toward the perfectly egalitarian society. Anything that opposes this, even reality itself, is assumed to be the enemy of democracy.

Another big problem for the neo-reactionaries is they often sounded like young men who spent too much time playing video games. Their image of aristocracy often sounded like escapism, rather than serious politics. Then you had the writing style of Curtis Yarvin, which gave the movement a cult like vibe. The meandering and cryptic writing style along with the insider language was more about building a cult of personality than trying to fill out an alternative set of political beliefs.

Probably the thing that did the movement in was the embrace of the term neo-reaction, which allowed the Left to define the movement. This is how the Left steals the moral high ground. They assume they are on the right side of history, following the arc to the final destination of society. Anyone that disagrees is a reactionary. The opposition is not based in logic, but in fear and ignorance. This recasts the dispute as good versus evil, smart versus dumb and moral versus amoral.

This is the reason that what we call the Left in America has gone from triumph to triumph since Gettysburg. Holding the moral high ground allows them to frame every argument without having to establish their claims. The choice of the opposition is to accept it and try to find a way to achieve other ends using liberal morality or simply leave the field entirely. The latter is what neo-reaction argued, if not directly, then indirectly through its escapism.

Neo-reaction largely petered out when the big names could not figure out where to go with it. Yarvin dropped out to make money in Silicon Valley and has now re-spawned as a nationalist. Land moved onto accelerationism, while others have moved back to the conventional Right. Much like the right-libertarianism of Hans Hermann-Hoppe and the citizenism of Steve Sailer, these ideas can only work if the Left goes along with them, which can never happen as long as the Left exists.

That said, these failed efforts are useful to anyone working toward an alternative to the prevailing orthodoxy. We learn more from failure than success. What all efforts to counter the Left have in common is the failure to appreciate that they faced a moral framework, not a set of ideas. You don’t talk people out of their beliefs. Instead, you offer a better set of beliefs, a better moral framework, one that allows them to believe they are on the side of angels.

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