The Futurism Is Not Bright

When I was a kid, I stumbled upon a book called Future Shock, by someone named Alvin Toffler. I remember the book for a few reasons. One is it was based on the idea that the pace of change was accelerating and that humans were ill-equipped to handle the onrush of the future. The other memorable part of the book was the claim that society was moving from an industrial age to a super-industrial age. The book was written in 1970 and I read it in the early 80’s, when it was obvious there would be no super-industrial age.

The book is close to 500 pages and it could have been boiled down to 50 pages. In fact, it could probably be condensed into a blog post. The main point of the book was that societal change was accelerating. That point was made just about every way possible and then filled out with predictions that turned out to be all wrong. That was something else I learned from the book. Futurists are extremely long winded. That said, he sold millions of copies and became something of a rock star, so he knew what he was doing.

In fairness to Toffler, by 1980 he had figured out that his super-industrial society idea was a flop, so he came out with an updated vision of the future called The Third Wave. This book predicted that the developed countries would move from industrial to technological societies. He coined the term Information Age. In fairness, he was not wrong about most everything like he was in the previous book. For example, he predicted the end of the nation state and the growth of the global entity that transcended the nation state.

That said, he was still wrong about most stuff. For example, he predicted that technology would result in greater democracy with populations exerting greater control of society and instituting more local control. Pretty much the exact opposite has been the result of the technological revolution. I think we can also say that the idea of a managerial class rising out of the technological revolution was something that many conservatives were onto long before Alvin Toffler predicted it. Burnham wrote The Managerial Revolution in 1941.

Anyway, that all came to mind when I saw this posted on Breitbart. George Gilder is a futurist, an economist and an advocate of intelligent design. He is co-founder of the Discovery Institute. It’s probably accurate to describe him as a techno-utopian, one of those guys who sits around thinking about the singularity. He has a book out predicting the end of Google and the rise of a block chain technology as the salvation of humanity from technocracy. The Breitbart piece is an effort to sell books to conservatives.

Gilder is also a rabid philo-Semite. He wrote a book called The Israel Test, in which he credits everything good in the world to Israel. That won him endless praise from neocons and Buckley Conservatives. He has argued that antisemitism is the hatred of capitalism and excellence. The only reason to mention this is that like all futurists, Gilder is a bit of grifter. The futurism game is not any different from reading tarot cards or doing astrological charts. The idea is to tell the mark what they want to hear. Flattery always sells.

That’s futurism’s main attraction. It allows the futurist, as well as his audience, to avoid dealing with present reality or learning much about past reality. They cherry pick from the past to create a narrative that results in the future of their making. When times are bad, the futurist peddles a future that is devoid of the bad things of today. When times are good, well, all the great stuff of today is going to be awesome in the future. There’s never been a futurist that predicts doom. Those guys are called prophets and we remember them.

In the 1970’s when American manufacturing was in trouble, Alvin Toffler wrote about a future of super-industry, where everyone had a super job. In the 80’s when things were looking up, the future was going to be even more super. The futurist is primarily concerned with future earnings and no one is buying a book or paying for a speech about how crappy things are going to be in the future. That’s why Gilder is out with a book claiming techno-feudalism is going to be replaced by a new utopian algorithm that makes everything super.

Now, what about his central claim about Google? That it’s model for skimming off the economy is doomed to failure? The fact that he seems to not have the slightest idea how Google makes money or how it is arranged as a business is not encouraging. Comparing Google’s business model to Marxism is just marketing. It is boob bait for the bubbas that read people like Michelle Malkin. The book is probably littered with the usual abracadabra words and phrases that titillate the audience of Conservative Inc.

The fact is, Google’s business model was a complete accident. Like most tech companies, it was supposed to be a pump and dump. Page and Brin wanted to sell their search engine once it gained popularity. When they could not find a buyer, they figured out how to turn it into a roadside bandit, charging tolls via ad dollars. They correctly saw that the search engine was a bottleneck and the bottleneck is always the best place to skim from the users. Google simply taxes people on their way from one service to another.

Can this model last forever? Nothing lasts forever, but as a state protected monopolist, they will exist until the state decides otherwise. Given that Google has more than enough money to buy every elected official in Washington, no one in politics is in a hurry to break up Google. Throw in the fact that like the state security agencies, Google can spy on all of the elected officials and their aides, Google and the rest of the oligarchs will remain in power until the revolution. But, that’s not a promising future, so futurists ignore it.

House of Cards

The world is probably overdue for a catastrophe. The last war in Europe was 73 years ago. There have been some minor skirmishes like Ukraine and the Balkans, but nothing to alter the political arrangements. It’s been an extraordinary run of peace. Despite the howling by the neocons, there’s little chance of a war breaking out. The rest of the world is unlikely to see a major war anytime soon. Asia is too busy selling stuff to wage war and the Middle East seems to have exhausted itself, at least for a little while.

As far as catastrophes, the best chance for something significant is a plague. The last good disease outbreak was the Spanish Flu, which gets overlooked because of the Great War. That killed three to five percent of the world population. Some would say HIV counts as a pandemic, but that’s a different thing than something like the Spanish Flu. Everyone knows how to not get HIV. There’s no defense against something like an airborne virus or something carried by insects. The normal activities of life spread the disease.

Researchers at John Hopkins University simulated the spread of a new deadly disease, a variant of the flu, using real politicians to “war game” the thing. A doomsday cult releases a genetically engineered virus and the politicians were asked to make decisions based on the rules of the simulation. The result was 150 million dead in less than two years and close a billion dead by the end of the simulation. They modeled the new disease on SARS, just made it more deadly, so the infection pattern was something familiar.

One of the researchers said, “I think we learned that even very knowledgeable, experienced, devoted senior public officials who have lived through many crises still have trouble dealing with something like this.” That’s a very nice way of saying that the people in charge are not very good at this sort of thing. When you dig into the story, the impression is that the result of this simulation was the worst case scenario. Maybe they had their thumb on the scale, hoping to use the result to get research money.

What I did not see in the descriptions of the simulation is the downstream results of a serious plague. For example, the infrastructure of modern life requires a lot of maintenance. Around here, crews are out everyday repairing power lines and communication equipment. If a plague starts, what percentage of that work force has to get sick, scared or die before maintenance falls behind? Just imagine what happens if your power goes out for an extended period. Then imagine it happening during a plague.

Then you have the interconnection of world populations. A serious plague is going to hit a place like India much harder than a country like Canada. The West has come to depend on India for all sorts of services. Imagine a world without Hindu telemarketers and the world’s call centers shut down. In all seriousness, the disruptions to the supply chain would be massive, because so much is outsourced to poor non-white countries with low standards for public health. All of a sudden, outsourcing becomes a liability.

Given the disease rates would inevitably be higher in non-white areas, white intolerance of non-whites would spike. We see signs of this already, as Amerindians bring forgotten diseases like TB and scarlet fever into the US. This would make it impossible for the politicians to continue the white replacement project, at least not without declaring martial law. That assumes the military could or would go along with martial law. A plague would probably hit the military hardest, because everyone is packed onto bases.

That’s another aspect of a plague. Trust in institutions is at an all-time low in the United States. We have a strong economy and the nation is at peace. If all of a sudden food gets scarce and civil unrest is a problem, trust in the state could very well collapse. Decades of stoking hatred among the populace by the current ruling class could easily boil over into chaos. Imagine a dozen Katrina scale breakdowns around the country. The people in charge could not respond sensibly to one city-wide catastrophe. Imagine a dozen of them.

There’s something else. The common argument you hear is that there is a shortage of qualified people in critical areas of the economy. This is the argument for importing slaves from Asia. If an airborne virus starts killing people, those who work in offices will be hit hardest. What if we start to really run out of people able to do important jobs. What if 20% of the medical staff drops dead in the first wave of the infection? The point is, it’s not hard to imagine that a serious plague could cripple some important aspect of the system.

In a lot of ways, the modern society is a house of cards. Everything is dependent on everything else. In the normal course of life, this works as defense in depth, with layers of dependency and redundancy. It’s easy to see how this could be turned into a weakness, due to severe shortages of manpower or one part of the system getting hit particularly hard. The modern economy assumes everything breaks, but only breaks a little and not all at one time. Again, just imagine what happens if the power grid fails for a month.

That’s why the Black Death was so significant. It fractured the feudal system in ways that could not be repaired. Some have argued that the plague made the Renaissance possible, by crippling the old feudal order. That certainly seems plausible. The feudal order was a pyramid scheme of sorts. It required a large peasant population. Once the peasants started dying off, the system became unstable, at least as an economic model. Of course, the plague killed a lot of high-born people too. That changed the ruling classes as well.

The Late Bronze Age collapse is another example of a systemic failure brought on by exogenous forces. The reasons range from diseases, climate change to invasion, but probably a combination of them. The palace system for distributing goods and maintaining order was not able to hold up to these exogenous pressures. Since the relationships between the kingdoms were built around the palace system, one kingdom falling set off a domino effect. The result was a dark age that lasted about 300 years.

That does not mean a modern plague would result in a dark age or the zombie apocalypse, but major resets change the trajectory of human development. All of a sudden, the prevailing orthodoxy is not so strong that no one challenges it. The neo-liberal order of today is fragile and requires enormous resources to maintain. In fact, the cost of maintaining it probably exceeds the benefits. A plague would cause a major reset to the world order and probably force a retreat of the prevailing order, at the minimum.

Old TV Shows

I have been working on some projects that have required me to sit in front of the laptop most evenings. My habit when I have to work in the evening has been to watch some television while working. Without a cable subscription, this means watching something off the Kodi or whatever movies are free on Amazon. I saw they had The Sopranos and The Wire on prime, so I decided to binge watch those two series. I watched them when they were on, but it has been ten years so I figured I had forgotten most of it.

I enjoy watching old movies just to see the culture change. Watching a movie from the 1940’s is like watching a foreign film. There are hints at subversion, as the commies were in deep with Hollywood back then, but they had to be very careful, so it is extremely subtle. A degenerate like Gore Vidal could slip some subtle homosexual stuff into the script, but even in the 1960’s, the degenerates had to be careful. They had to fear old weird America, as whites were still in charge and were willing to fight back.

Anyway, I was a little surprised at having the same sort of reaction watching shows that are just ten years old now. I watched The Wire first, as I get asked about it and I forgot most of the story. There were scenes in the show that would be cut out today, for fear the anti-racist lunatics would burn down the studio. A realistic portrayal of black America is no longer permitted, so I wonder if the show would even get made today. Then there would be the demands from the actors to make it even more black or make the whites more evil.

The fact is, the writers highly glamorized the hell out of black crime in Baltimore. There are no savvy and clever black drug dealers. All you have to do is look at the crime reports and it is obvious. Most of the murders in the city are between knuckleheads over petty disputes. The crime is disorganized and random, because the street gangs are just as disorganized and chaotic as everything else in the black community. The truth is, the smart drug distributors stay far away from the street level drug dealing in Baltimore.

Similarly, there are no smart, but corrupt black politicians. There is plenty of corruption, in fact the entire city government is riddle with hacks. It’s just that they are ham-handed about it. The Feds could lock up every elected official tomorrow, but that would be both pointless and politically impossible. Imagine the reaction to seeing black politicians frog marched out of their offices.Watching these parts of the series, I had the same reaction as I do when watching a 1970’s portrayal of black America. It’s all sadly alien.

The Sopranos is a show that certainly would not be made today. There is a part of the story when the main character’s daughter dates a mixed race boy at college. For starters, the kid is half-Jewish and half black, with his mother being black. No way the today’s writers touch a topic like that, unless the mulatto is somehow made into a Wakandian superhero. Then there are the comments from the mafiosi about blacks that no actor would agree to utter on screen. There’s simply no way it could get made today.

That said, I forgot how good the program was for a TV show. I recall that pretentious phonies preferred The Wire at the time, but the truth is, The Sopranos is a vastly better show. The humor is first rate. That’s the thing that struck me. Our current age is dominated by vinegar drinking scolds, so nothing is funny anymore. Humor is dead, because everything Hollywood makes is saturated in multicultural proselytizing. Much of what makes the Sopranos work is it still has plenty of old fashioned jokes about life.

Keep in mind that these shows were made just a decade ago. In the 1980’s, watching shows from the 1970’s meant adjusting to the lower technical standards and clunky sound tracks. Frankly, I find it easier to adjust to black and white movies than the campy soundtracks of the 1970’s, but maybe that’s just me. The point here is that the damn broke in the culture war last decade. The lunatics no longer feel any restraint, so it is endless poz in everything. Someone from the recent past would not recognize us today.

Something I’ve mentioned before, but really came to mind while speed watching these shows is just how much is crap you can skip. I now fast forward through all sex scenes, as they add nothing to the show. Thirty years ago I could understand spicing the show with some smut, but in the world of unlimited porn, there’s no need for it in a regular adult drama. Maybe they put it in there out of habit, like the car chase in every action film or maybe the actors demand it. They are all vulgar degenerates, after all.

Another thing I find myself doing is skipping past the pointless character development stuff that usually makes no sense. Maybe women like learning about the emotional issues of the fifth guy on the crew, but it adds nothing to the story, so I don’t care. In the Sopranos, I skipped most of the scenes featuring the kids. I get that they are a part of how this mob boss is struggling with life, but that can be assumed. I don’t need to spend twenty minutes watching the daughter interact with the mulatto in her college dorm.

How Not To Be Boring

There are few things worse than being stuck in a conversation with a boring person. I’m not talking about quiet people. A person who keeps his own confidence is often thought of as mysterious or complex. Their silence makes people curious about what they may be hiding. No, a boring person is almost always someone who talks a lot, revealing that they are not very interesting. Boring people are such a menace, that there is a whole area of etiquette about politely getting away from the boring guy at a social event.

So, what makes a person boring?

More important, how can you avoid being seen as a boring person?

The first thing you notice about boring people is they never seem to have a point to their stories and anecdotes. When telling a story in a social setting, you should always have a point. No one cares about what you had for lunch, unless it was something bizarre or unusual. If you had a delicious turkey club for lunch, that’s not something anyone wants to know. Now, if the waiter stripped naked and ran screaming into the street after serving you that delicious turkey club, then you have a story with a point. That’s an amusing tale.

Your stories and anecdotes don’t have to be amusing. Not everyone is a comedian. What’s important is you have some reason for telling the story. This is a courtesy to the listener. By having a point, you are showing respect to the listener, whether it it by sharing information with them or making them laugh with an amusing story. When your stories are pointless recitations of mundane events, you are, whether you realize it or not, insulting the audience. At the minimum, you are wasting their time, which is just as bad.

You should also avoid unnecessary details. That story about the waiter stripping down and running into the street is a good example. If you spend five minutes describing the menu and the turkey sandwich, then thirty seconds on the naked man, you made an amusing tale into misery for your listeners. Sure, a little setup to the big reveal is a good way to create tension, but a little goes a long way. In a social setting, a good story is one that avoids extraneous details and never lasts more that three or four minutes.

The easiest way to avoid loading up your sixty second story with ten minutes of tedium is to never explain the obvious. This is the most common error boring people make when telling a story. For some reason, they think they need to explain what everyone on earth has known since childhood. In the case of our turkey club, the boring person will actually explain what he means by turkey club or maybe even talk about the history of the turkey club. When in doubt, skip it. If people need more detail, they will ask.

Another way to avoid being the boring guy everyone avoids is to never tell a story that requires a back story. Boring people often start a story that should last three minutes, then veer into a long back story that they think is necessary to appreciate the tale. For example, the they will veer into a story about how they met their lunch companion in the turkey club story. The result is a dull story about the lunch companion, plus a dull description of lunch and the details of a turkey club. This is misery for listeners.

The boring also have a funny habit of talking over people. They ignore the little things others do to signal to the the boring that they need to stop talking. The boring are strangely competitive in their dullness. If you notice people starting to speak as soon as you take a breath, that they start looking at their phones or start looking around the room for familiar faces, you are the boring guy. You are not going to improve this situation by talking louder or talking over any interruptions. Take the hint and wrap up your story.

A good way to stop yourself from being that guy is to always invite others to tell their story or comment on the topic of conversation. People will find your turkey club story more interesting if you showed interest in their lunch story. A little active listening goes a long way. It not only keeps you from droning on about the delicious turkey club you had the other day, it makes you seem more interesting to others. Boring people are selfish people, in that they are only interested in their point of view, in far too much detail.

Finally, if it is a story you tell often and the listener is someone you know well, assume you told them the story, because you almost certainly did. Start with “If I told this before, stop me” or maybe, “I probably told this story before…” This gives them the right to stop you from boring them with the 80th retelling. This is not just a courtesy to the listener. It actually makes you seem more interesting, because you are not focused on yourself, but on the listener. This is flattering to the listener and and they will think better of you for it.

The Poz

I don’t have a cable subscription, so the habit of channel surfing is unavailable to me, which means I miss much of what passes for pop culture. If I watch a movie, it is off the pirate system or from Amazon. TV shows I can binge watch off the Kodi, without having to sit through the commercials. Frankly, it is the only way I can watch television now. The commercials are so full of multicultural proselytizing, that I can’t make it through a normal show. That said, there are some shows that are not full of multiculti agit-prop.

Someone told me the TV series 12 Monkeys was pretty good, so I binged the first couple seasons recently. The series is based on the movie, which was a time travel flick staring Bruce Willis. The basic premise is people in the future send people back in time in an effort to find the people who caused a great plague. The idea is to alter the timeline by preventing the plague or figuring out the nature of the plague in order to create a treatment or vaccination against it. In the movie, Bruce Willis was the time traveler.

The trouble with all time travel movies is that they can never figure out how to handle the obvious problem of paradoxes. The writers usually fixate on it, as it makes for interesting possibilities, but they lack the smarts to make it work. Sometimes you have old self going back in time to give young self answers, like what happened with Biff in the Back to the Future series. Other times, the old self accidentally alters something in the past, only to return to a wildly altered future, his present. Then he has to go back and fix what he broke.

In this series, the writers actually do a good job avoiding the hackneyed time travel plot gimmicks and come up with a good plot that respects the “reality” of time travel. I don’t want to give too much away, but it you read the book The Man Who Folded Himself you will appreciate what the writers did with time travel. The show is relatively free of poz. No heroic homosexuals, no super hero women, no magical negros. It’s mostly unknown white actors doing a serviceable job acting out a reasonably well done television script.

Now, no series about time travel can make it to the air without having some scenes about the characters going back in time to Nazi Germany. That’s an unknown part of the secret law that was passed in the 60’s. We get that nonsense in this series, but it is brief, even though they obliquely try to blame the cause of the time travel conspiracy on the Nazi scientists experimenting on Jews. It’s the one bit of subversion that was tucked into the script after it was written, on instructions from the people producing the series.

The relative lack of poz in the series got me thinking about propaganda in movies and when it became so heavy handed. I had the movie Death Wish on my list, the new version, not the 1970’s version, so I watched it along with the original last weekend. I had not watched the original with Charles Bronson is decades. Frankly, I had forgotten just how bad he was at acting. Then again, the 1970’s featured a lot of really bad acting in popular movies. Maybe the audience just liked the stilted dialogue and clunky style.

For those unfamiliar, the original Death Wish was made during the last Progressive inspired black crime wave, which they started in the late sixties. By the 70’s, most cities were unlivable because feral blacks were running wild in the streets. Death Wish is about a normal middle-class white guy who loses his family to home invaders and decides to become a vigilante. The original makes the killers three Jewish guys, one of whom is Jeff Goldbloom, so even in the 70’s, movies were poz’d up on the race issue.

That said, the woman issue is where you see the difference. In the opening to the original, Bronson is at the beach with his wife, who is portrayed as a normal traditional wife. She likes looking like a women and being complimented on her looks. Bronson’s character enjoys her being a women and acts like a normal man. Throughout the movie, women play normal female roles. Whenever I watch an old movie and see how women were cast in their roles, I realize what a great mistake it was giving into the feminist harpies.

The new version does the same thing with the race issue, of course. We’ve reached the point now where it is forbidden to portray blacks as anything other than noble victims or admirable heroes. That means we have to pretend the nation’s crime problems are the fault of white street gangs using out-dated slang from the olden thymes or conspiracies operated by evil white men. Otherwise, the remake is a decent version that is free of the usual multicultural junk that makes most movie watching miserable.

I’ve developed an interest in 1970’s pop culture, mostly because it seems so alien to me, even though I was alive to remember some of it. I was too young to notice most of it, so seeing it through old man eyes in the current age, it feels like another world. But, it also reveals that the multicultural assault on our society did not start last week. This is a long term, multi-generational war on us that started before most of us were born. This scene from the 1971 Dirty Harry movie is a warning from the long gone past.

Never Newark Nights

I cut out of my meeting a bit early, so I could catch the train into Manhattan. I had never been inside Newark Penn Station. I was not entirely sure how to get to it, so I left some extra time to feel my way through. For some reason, I never do well in big metropolitan transit systems. It’s not a thing that comes naturally to me. Since I was expected to meet John Derbyshire on 34th Street at 6:30, I gave myself an extra forty minutes. Unless I ended up in Trenton, that would be enough time to correct for any mistakes.

I worried for nothing. Penn Station was a ten minute walk and despite the near total lack of signage inside the place, I figured out the correct track for the train into the city. For some reason no one asked me for a ticket, so I could have ridden the rails like a hobo into Manhattan, but I was happy to pay the $5.40 fare. The trains run every few minutes and it only takes 20 minutes to get into New York Penn Station. I had more trouble getting street side in New York than I did navigating the New Jersey transit system.

If one wants to understand why city dwellers have a peculiarly statist politics, spend time in a big city subway system. For the people in the city, government services are essential for living. They depend on the subway, the trash collection and the police department. The city depends upon this organic relationship between the state and the citizens. That does not exist in the suburbs or the country. There’s a comfort that comes from the daily interaction with the state. Anyone who questions that relationship is suspect.

It has been a few years since I was in Manhattan, so I needed a minute to get used to the rush of the city. In that part of the town, the sidewalks are a crush of worker bees heading home or headed to dinner, along with the summertime tourists. That makes for a carnival vibe, except no one is having a good time. I had some time to kill, so I went to Starbucks to use the bathroom, but it was locked. I went to a bar and had a beer, while listening to three very large Dominican women loudly complain about the lack of men in their lives.

I met John Derbyshire just outside the entrance to the Long Island Railroad station and he recommended we head over to a place called the Tick Tock Diner a block away. I must admit, I’ve met John several times now and socialized with him at events, but I’m still a bit intimidated by it all. I’m getting used to the reality of what I’m doing here, but there will always be a sense that I’m playing way above my league. I’m grateful that he invited me out and took the long trip in from his estates on Long Island to have dinner with me.

Of course, I am the worst possible dinner guest. I think I started talking about thirty seconds after we sat down and I did not shut-up until we parted. I can and will dominate a conversation if you let me. Worse yet, I have no filter, so I will ramble on about the many eccentric ideas and interests in my head.  When I explained to John my idea of creating a new moral philosophy based on a rational understanding of human nature, a refutation of the Enlightenment, he had the look of a man suddenly finding himself with a lunatic.

Luckily, John is a very gracious dinner companion, so he was not only willing to let me ramble on for hours, he picked up the check. When I let him get a word in edgewise, he mentioned that he was recording his novel into an audiobook, He is about halfway through the process. If you can’t wait for the spoken word version, you can buy it here. For those new to all of this, his book We are Doomed is a good place to start understanding the roots of the Dissident Right. John is the man who coined the term Dissident Right.

After talking his ear off, we parted company and I headed down to Penn Station, wondering if I would get on the right train. The thing that struck me about the area around the station was just how nice it was compared to Newark and Baltimore. New York is now a middle-class city, in that the people, for the most part, are urbanites with bourgeoisie sensibilities. It is not a city of gritty neighborhoods run by ethnic coalitions. It is a place for the ruling class, the young strivers of the managerial class and their non-white servants.

The train ride back was uneventful, but it did offer one glimpse of the past. Two guys with Knicks jerseys were sitting up front, drinking tall boys out of paper bags, while talking loud about something. A black guy was walking up and down the car reciting street poetry about his love for the baby Jesus. He was panhandling, but willing to work for it. I did not give him any money, but I appreciated the effort. These were the kind of people you expected to see on trains and subways, but they are being gentrified away too.

Back in Newark, the area around the Penn Station is slated for major development, but now it is mostly abandoned. I saw signs for a condo complex and it looks like they are building several of them. The hockey arena is there, along with the Prudential building, but I saw zero people in the walk back to the hotel. The plan is to gentrify the area, but it reminded me of efforts to do the same in Hartford years ago. It’s really hard to inject a cultural life into a dead city, but maybe Newark will be different.

The Book Of Spite

When I read Jonah Goldberg’s book Liberal Fascism, I was a bit surprised that it was popular. I think the main reason for people liking it was the claim that the liberals were the real fascists. The book itself was a bit of a slog and as David Gordon noted, it was riddled with factual errors. I’m not an expert on historical fascism, so I did not take the fast and loose treatment of the facts personally, but the people who were knowledgeable on the subject treated the book as an insult. Paul Gottfried has never forgiven Goldberg.

When I saw that Jonah Goldberg’s next book was titled “Suicide of the West” I was reminded of that reaction by the old paleocons. The title is, of course, a deliberate reference to James Burnham’s classic text. Then there is Patrick Buchanan’s classic book, Suicide of a Superpower. Of course, it is also hints at Oswald Spengler’s classic The Decline of the West. For a neocon lightweight to pick such a title and topic, well, it suggests it is another deliberate swipe, by Goldberg, at an ideological enemy.

To make matters worse, the entire tribe of neocon grifters have tumbled out of their clown car to promote the book. David Brooks calls it “Epic and debate-shifting.” Yuval Levin says, “More than any book published so far in this century, it deserves to be called a conservative classic.” The Weekly Standard treats it like a newly discovered part of the Torah. I get how the commentary rackets work, but this degree of rumpswabbery is unseemly. This is why the old  paleocons were angry at Goldberg the last time.

That said, I decided to give the book a read and write a review, fully expecting to use it as a segue into some points about Burnham, Buchanan and the state of the Right. The rest of the book’s title sums up the entire neocon argument since Trump came down the escalator.The rather mild push-back against cosmopolitan globalism we have seen the last two years has been treated like the end of the world. My assumption going in was that it was going to be the long play version of every Weekly Standard editorial since 2016.

I was wrong. This book is terrible in ways that I did not expect. The terribleness starts in the introduction, which is written in the jocular style you would expect from a short blog post about a television show or a movie. In fact, he relies on quotes from movies to make his points. When you pick up a book with the pretentious title “Suicide of the West” it better read like a serious book. I was reminded of the German word fremdschämen, which loosely means the shame you feel when seeing someone humiliated or embarrassed.

Added to that is a superficiality that you see when someone is uncomfortable with the material. The introduction is a rambling and shallow discussion of religion and human nature, which somehow veers into a discussion of the movie The Godfather. When he gets into his discussion of human nature, it’s obvious that he is way out of his depth and he knows it. Frankly, it reads like something submitted by a freshman coed. If he had dotted his i’s with little hearts, it would have been more authentic.

The book is really three books. The first part is just rambling nonsense about human nature that would embarrass anyone on our side of the great divide. The second part is a grammar school social studies book. The third part feels like it was written by a committee of people not on speaking terms with one another. Big chunks of it undermine his claim that the revolt against cosmopolitan globalism is the end of the world. Even accounting for my own deep skepticism about his motives, it is a surprisingly weak argument.

Goldberg is a good example of the defects of the American commentariat. There is an army of mediocrities, hired to sing the praises of the managerial state, perched on media platforms in New York and Washington. They are close to being an inherited class. Many of them are handed titles like “senior fellow” or “scholar” by think tanks, so they start thinking they are academics. Instead of relying on people who know the material, they pick up a few things and start thinking they are the experts. That’s how this book reads.

The other odd thing about the book is he tries to frame current events as a war between populism and capitalism, nationalism and democracy. He makes no effort to explain how un-elected supranational organizations are democratic or how global oligopolies are capitalistic. What it reveals is the neocon ideology, whatever it was, is now just a defense of soulless transactionalism and materialistic score keeping. American society is just a deracinated collection of economic units, who exist to keep the machine running.

In all candor, I found myself skimming about midway through it. I kept wondering why he picked the title, given that his product falls far short of his ambitions. Then I remembered the old paleocons and how they responded to his first book. My hunch is he picked the title out of spite and then started writing the book. At some point, he either got lazy or realized he was in way over his head, so he reverted to goofy pop culture references and superficial banter. The result is a dull book by an equally dull writer.

Old Aliens

When I was a kid, smart adults still believed that humans would be visiting other planets sooner rather than later. That was mostly a carry over from the previous generations, who managed to get from zero to the moon in roughly a decade. If you were into this stuff in 1968, it was hard not to think that the next stop for man was Mars and then from there the rest of the solar system. By the time I was becoming aware of the world, this was fading, but there were plenty of optimists and romantics, with regards to space travel.

It really was a generational thing. By the time my generation was noticing things the space program had stalled and there didn’t seem to be a point to it. The competition with the Russians had decayed into a fight over the mundane and pointless. My guess is beating the Russians in hockey counted for more to most Americans than the space shuttle managing to take off, go to space and come back in one piece. Subsequent generations are simply too self-absorbed and self-indulgent to care much about space travel.

Of course, a big part of it is the self-inflicted wounds from previous generations that continue to tax us to this day. If Boomers and their parents had not decided to violate the rules of human nature in the 60’s and 70’s with a laundry list of social programs, things may have been different. The money spent on “fixing race relations” could have financed several trips to the stars. Our ruler’s endless fights with observable reality is like a leash keeping us from doing much more than squabbling over our own destruction.

Putting aside the Spenglerian interpretation of the recent past, there is another way to understand the technological stall. This post the other day by Steve Sailer had some interesting stuff in it, but the space travel stuff is what got my attention. Freeman Dyson is of that generation that thought we would be much further along in exploring the universe than we are today. He still assumes it will happen, despite the obvious decline in overall human capital due to changes in demographics and social mobility.

What occurred to me reading it is humanity probably needs to go through a different period of technological advance, before we can make the great leap to exploring the stars. If you look at the generation of geniuses who took us from propeller planes to rocket ships, peaking with the moon landing, it all happened in about one generation. It really was a remarkable run. In the 1930’s, the concepts of rocketry were being worked out and 30 years later a rocket was hurling men to the moon. That’s a great career.

That’s what it really is, one career. The sorts of people who work on these types of projects are not starting as teenagers. They go through years of education and apprenticeship, before they get on the big project. A career making project is going to be one that happens within the normal span of a human career, which is about 30 years for a cutting edge scientist.  A guy like David Reich, who is doing groundbreaking work in ancient genetics, is never going to do much of anything else. This is his peak.

Well, if you are an ambitious guy looking to do space work and be part of a great project, you’re not picking one that will take 50 years to finish. Some people may be fine toiling away at some small aspect of the 50 year project, but most people, especially the people funding it, are not going to find it appealing. If Elon Musk is going to bankroll a trip to Mars, he wants it to happen in the next decade, so he can take credit for it. The same is true of the scientist he would recruit. They want to get it done before they retire or die.

What this means is that space travel, beyond orbiting the earth or maybe revisiting the Moon, is going to first require extending the human life span. A mission to land people on Mars and return them to earth is probably 30 years away. Getting propulsion technology to traverse the solar system is a fifty or sixty year project. Figuring out how to survive longer periods in space is an even longer project. Before humans figure any of this out, it is going to mean living much longer lives so that a person can have a 50 or 60 year working life.

Think about it. If a person could reasonably assume a working career that started in the mid-20’s and goes strong to 100, with a slight decline at the end, that’s roughly a 60 year prime working life. With twice the time, you take more risks and you take on different career objectives. Suddenly a twenty year project to put men on Mars is not that big of a deal to the financiers or the scientists. Stretch the lifetime out further and the much more daunting projects can be chipped away at by a team expecting to finish in their lifetime.

Logically, it means the same would hold for some alien species that eventually comes to visit us on earth. Those aliens we have stored in Area 51 are probably very old, as their species had to unriddle problems that would take hundreds of years to solve, not to mention the fact that it was an extremely long trip from their home planet. The nearest habitable planet outside out solar system is roughly four light years from earth, which means it was a very long trip for our alien visitors. They must have been extremely old.

The other aspect of this is a longer life would mean more experience. Our IQ may be fixed, but we have an infinite capacity for screwing up. The longer the life, the more trial and error a person would endure. Someone living 500 earth years is not going to be any better at math, but they would be much more prudent. That would mean at the upper limits, the species would become less rash and less prone to error. Those dead aliens in New Mexico are an outlier, because their kind rarely misses its intended target.

Speculative Speculation

Pat Buchanan wrote a book contemplating alternatives to war with the Nazis. One implication of Buchanan’s alternative history is the Nazis never would have existed. A more sensible policy toward Germany after he Great War would have short circuited the process that created the Nazis. His other assertion is that even if Hitler came to power, his ambitions would not have been magnified by the humiliation resulting from the Treaty of Versailles. This means the Nazis would have followed much different trajectory.

In one of Dan Carlin’s podcasts, he speculated a bit about what would have happened if the Nazis had survived World War II and continued to rule Germany. Instead of war, the British had struck a deal with the Germans so they could have a country for all German people, but not dominating the continent militarily. The result being something similar to modern Germany, in terms of territory, but run by the Nazis. The point of his thought experiment was to imagine how Nazism would evolve as a peacetime ruling ideology.

Usually, these sorts of thought experiments just assume the Nazis would have remained the evil Hollywood version we have all been trained to imagine. The rest of the fantasy has them doing awful things to all of the usual suspects. In reality, the Nazis evolved into what they were partially in response to war. Germany was turned into a munitions factory in order to wage war and that altered the nature of the Nazi party. A party ruling a complete nation, at peace with its neighbors, would have been a different party.

One outcome of the Buchanan scenario of a Germany at peace, but ruled by the Nazis is there would not have been a Holocaust. That sounds counter-intuitive, but the choice of mass murder was not the first option for the Nazis, when dealing with unwanted minority populations. War made it the default option. In a peaceful world, the most likely scenario would have been the traditional one, where Jews, gypsies, slaves and anyone else deemed undesirable would have been exiled to lands at or beyond the border.

Another probable outcome is Hitler would have been deposed at some point after peace with the rest of Europe. His personal style was appealing in the economic and political crisis of pre-war Germany and tolerable in the crisis of war. Megalomaniacs tend not to do well in stable periods. Eventually, the various classes and interests of German society would have decided they could do better than Hitler. That and the leadership of the party was full of ambitious and aggressive men willing to hatch a coup against the Fuehrer.

That means the most likely outcome of peace would have been turmoil in the party and either a collapse of authority or a series of purges similar to what happened with the Soviets. Germans are not Russians, so a period of turmoil would most likely have resulted in a some sort of stable ruling committee at the top of the party. The unbalanced lunatics and sadists would have been purged in favor of the more practical. There were a lot of Albert Speer types in the junior ranks, who knew how to run a proper society.

There are a lot of assumptions there, but that’s the nature of alternative history. If things were different, they would not be the same. Assuming the Nazis could have negotiated peace to a willing Europe and managed to get through the decade or so of intra-party squabbles to emerge as a stable ruling elite, what would the “new” Germany have evolved into as a society? It’s not something anyone thinks much about as it does not further the narrative. The Nazis are the forever black hat in the mythology of the present orthodoxy.

In all probability, the Great War veterans that founded the party would have been pushed aside, in favor of the inter-war generation from upper-class families who joined the party in the 1930’s. A guy like Albert Speer was able to rise quickly because he was smart, well educated and cultured. That means the party would have become less militaristic and more corporate. That also means German society would have evolved away from a martial order to something like a corporate order. Something like modern Europe, in fact.

Economically, the Nazis were ad hoc socialists, in that they embraced command economics as a practical solution to present problems. Ideologically, they had no economic plan. Again, Albert Speer provides some insight into what the post-peace Nazi party would have done. Companies like Mercedes, Siemens, Krupp, BASF, Deutsche Bank and others that profited doing business with the Nazis during the war, would have emerged as the dominant companies under the imaginary peacetime Nazi Germany.

It would have been the sort of corporatism we see emerging in America, where private firms get narrow monopolies and in exchange for enforcing the cultural norms desired by the ruling elite. Corporations are not supporters of civil liberties and they certainly don’t like market competition. Wherever big business prevails, freedom declines and markets collapse. Instead of being turned into a massive munitions facility, the peaceful Nazi Germans would have been turned into a national corporate conglomerate.

The point of this sort of speculation is not to better understand the past, but to better understand the present. The first half of the 20th century in Europe was the result of a great economic paradigm shift. Europe had moved from an agrarian, trading society to an industrial and urban one. The result was the great concentration of wealth and the rise of corporatism. It was not just in Germany. The Italians, Spanish, Portuguese and even the Americans saw a lot of merit in fascism. The New Dealers loved Mussolini, for a while.

When looked at from the current age, where global corporations are enthusiastically enforcing moral codes and partnering with the state to impose an order that benefits the managerial class, it suggests corporatism is inevitable or a default arrangement. The democratic state prefers dealing with a few dominant actors, so popular government encourages the concentration of capital. Eventually, those concentrations of wealth become rival power centers and then they join the state as partners in power.

Interestingly, what the Nazis imagined for Europe, where Germany sat atop a unified continent, is pretty much what the EU is today. What we have come to call globalism is taking the same concept and scaling it up to include all of the modern economies. A guy like Albert Speer, if he were alive today, would recognize what was evolving. It also means that the balance to this would be some sort of organized labor component, that includes everyone outside the managerial class. The third leg of the stool, so to speak.

March Miscellany

My twitter account was suspended for violation of their rules. The specific violations were that I was threatening to post personal information about someone and that I was contemplating suicide. Neither of those things are true, but that does not matter in these issues. What I think happened is some anti-Semites, who support the deranged loon Paul Nehlen, took issue with me saying Nehlen is a nut. Soon after, a lunatic started spamming me on Twitter and then my account was permanently suspended by the twitter police.

I’m not all that upset about it. I have been thinking about cutting out social media from my internet life. I was never into Facebook. I never saw the point of it. I’m not that interesting and neither are my friends. If I need to see cat videos, I have a cat at home. I never really liked twitter all that much, but I figured it was a good way to promote the site. It was mostly just a time waster. The increase in traffic from my activity was pretty much zero. My readers know where to find me, so twitter added nothing and just took away.

I’m still up on Gab, but I’m done posting there. Frankly, I’m tired of “white nationalist” types that have made Gab their home. I probably have muted two times the number of people I follow. It’s a free country and I think those people have a right to speak their mind on-line, but I just don’t want to hear it or see it. I’ve reached my limit on that stuff. It’s like being chained to a lunatic. No matter how hard you try to ignore it, you can’t help but notice the lunatic. The solution is to divorce myself from the whole scene. Goodbye lunatics…

Speaking of Nehlen, I take some pride in having spotted him as a nut early on. There are some men, who lack internal restraint, and need social prohibition to keep them from rocketing off into lunacy. Once Nehlen found he could say naughty things on-line and get applause, he quickly went from boring suburban guy to crazy rage head. The same thing happened to Chris Cantwell, who went from libertarian crazy to Nazi crazy. Taboos are the leash to keep the lunatics from running wild in the streets…

I went to opening day of the local sportsball team here in Lagos. I’m not a fan of the local team, but I like baseball. Camden Yards is one of the nicer ballparks in the country. If the weather is nice, it is one of the best things to do in the city. The funny thing about Oriole games is that the crowd is at least 90% white and maybe higher. The city is 70% black, but the ball teams rely on the suburban population to fill seats. It’s one of those things that everyone knows, but no one says. Baltimore is an urban reservation with a tourist area…

I’ve been thinking about the alt-right a bit over the last month. They have a real problem and they seem to know it. They have allowed themselves to be linked with too many crazies and losers. When they were mostly internet personalities, they had the image of being smart white boys who embraced biological reality and were in dissent from the orthodoxy. Now, after a year of bad decisions, they look more like the freak show that is the libertarian party. They are on the cusp of becoming a punchline now.

Spencer seems to get that at some level. The TRS guys, well, I’m not sure where they are going as a thing. Read their forums and it is pretty much just the young version of Stormfront. Maybe that’s the future, but I’m skeptical. Some of the others have splintered off into their own hives. Maybe this is just an adjustment period for them, but it could simply be that they shot their load and this is the end phase. This summer will be the proofing for them. Elections are when a movement can flex its muscles, if it has them…

I’m thinking about doing something different with the blog. Traffic has leveled off, which I expected, but I’m also feeling a bit stale. I started going through old posts, looking for the good ones to put on a greatest hits page, and I found a lot of topics I’d like to expand upon. That got me thinking about shifting gears from a daily short post, to maybe a couple long posts per week. That will free up some time for my other projects, but allow for some writing on more complicated topics. A change of pace is good for the soul…

Speaking of good for the soul, in addition to changing the frequency and length of posts, I’m going to start taking some time off. I’m super black pilled about everything and I’m finding my productivity is at all-time lows. I’m thinking about killing the podcast or perhaps just going once a month through the summer. The audience has slowly ticked up, but I’m not sure I’m cut out for being a media personality. I have not settled on anything, but if the podcast goes away, you’ll know why. I need some time off at the very minimum…

Because sites like this are getting blocked by corporate firewalls and shadow-banned by Google, it’s harder for people to read their favorite heretic. I’ve had many reports that this site is blocked at people’s work or at airports and public WiFi spots. One solution is to make posts here available by newsletter. There’s a plugin for it and it is just a matter of formatting to make it work. I’m looking into it now. That way, if you want to read the site at work, you can subscribe via e-mail and get around the thought police…

One of the things I accept is that the world does not change very much, but my perception of it does change. People often make the mistake of thinking that whatever they’re into is what the world is into. I was at the ballpark and it occurred to me that I’m no longer a sports fan. I have no passion for it. I watched the game, not caring who won or lost, mostly a bit baffled by the excitement of the fans. I still follow the Red Sox and I’ll watch other sports if they are on TV and I have nothing better to so. Otherwise, I have no interest.

I’m not sure why that happened. I used to enjoy college football and college basketball on weekends. I’d go to games and talk about the results with friends. Something happened in the last decade and my interest has collapsed. I mostly follow sports through the stat sheets and much of that is just for old times’ sake. The weird thing is that I don’t remember why I cared about sports in the first place. I was never a fanatic, but I got into the games when my team was playing. Now, I’m indifferent and I can’t remember why I cared…

According to Google, it is Aunt Jemima’s birthday…