Denmark Diary I

I’ve always thought you can tell a lot about a people by their airport. I’ve been in a lot of airports and while they all of them follow a similar design, form follows function, no two are the same. For example, the Reykjavik airport reflects the utilitarian sensibilities of the people, but it also has the funky charm of a people who spend a lot of time in the winter darkness. That’s what probably explains the weirdness of Iceland. They are way out their where the winter nights are long and the people have lots of time kill. The results follow.

Copenhagen airport is the most trusting place on earth, I think. I saw little in the way of security and the staff is extremely nice. For example, I did not have to go through customs despite coming through Iceland, which never checked my passport either. I did get checked at BWI before getting on the plane, but the basics of security say you first eliminate single points of failure. It appears the Danes trust their brothers in Iceland who in turn still trust the world is a sane place. There is something appealing about it…

My first day in Copenhagen was uneventful. I don’t speak Denmarkian, as our former president would say, but I sense the language is easier to acquire than Icelandic, which is close to impossible, unless you have some foundation in Old English or Norwegian. It does not matter as English seems as common as the native tongue. In fact, the buses have advertisements in English on the sides of them. Even commercial companies use English on their business signage. English is the lingua franca now.

At the airport, I bumped into an old acquaintance. Another reminder that it is not a small world, It is a claustrophobic one. A half dozen years ago we worked a job together. At the time, I was working with a client and I noticed something unusual about their exchange accounts. By unusual I mean they did not add up. It turned out that the CFO was running a scam on the owners using the foreign exchange accounts. It was the old game of stealing a penny from a million different places a thousand times a year on a regular basis.

It was enough money involved that they called in guy who did corporate security. He had worked for a government for a dozen years and figured out that companies would pay much better for the sort of things he enjoyed doing. With corporate fraud, the companies often prefer to settle things privately, rather than bring in the government. This guy’s service was to put together the information so the other party in the situation was willing to make a deal. That meant he spent his days spying on the servants of rich people.

We hit it off while working together, mostly due to our shared realism about the modern age. It’s been a year since we spoke, so it was good to see a familiar face and to have a drinking companion. There really is nothing better, in my opinion, than drinking beer and talking shop. It’s like a poetry slam for people with a purpose in this world. My advice to those thinking they can steal from their corporate masters is to stay off of social media and never discuss your dealings in public places. The walls have ears…

When you live in Lagos, you get used to the urban landscape. No matter how hard you try to keep your mind right, your mind becomes habituated to the day to day. For example, I’m jotting this down at midnight and it is stone silent here in Copenhagen. In Lagos, it is never quiet. On a Friday night the sound of sirens are the lullaby of the just. When I was in Newark over the summer, the people I was with struggled with the cacophony of the ghetto. They were all suburbanites, so they were not used to vibrancy of the ghetto.

That does not mean Copenhagen is not without its vibrancy. Most of their vibrant are North Africans, with some blacks. I had a great cheeseburger from a place called Bash that was run by Moroccans. The cook was Danish, so maybe it does not count, but the staff was all Moroccan. One of the bartenders we experienced was from Bangladesh. He was glib in both English and Danish and said he had married a Danish women, which is why he lived in Denmark. Everywhere, the door to vibrancy is opened by women…

Tomorrow I meet the secret handshake society. I have no idea what to expect. Frankly, I doubt I will meet any of them. It is a mysterious lot. Of course, this is a necessity of nationalists everywhere. The hotel where I am staying is hosting a Muslim wedding tomorrow, but people who think Denmark should be a country for Danes has to meet under a bridge in the middle of nowhere, lest they be accused of being un-Danish. I don’t speak the language, but I’m sure the rulers here have a phrase for “it’s not who we are.”

Conspiracy Theories

The TDS guys did a show with someone calling himself Ryan Dawson, who is something of a conspiracy theorist. That’s not entirely fair as he does not seem to be pushing a theory, as such, but more of a systematic skepticism of the prevailing narrative on issues like the Iraq War and 9/11. Questioning the official narrative is often lumped in with the conspiracy stuff, because all conspiracy theories start with the argument that the official truth is, in fact, a well orchestrated lie to cover up the real truth behind whatever.

Conspiracy theories, of course, are wildly popular, despite the fact most people swear they don’t believe in them. There’s a reason the people who make movies often use the conspiracy as a plot devise. Even the most skeptical people enjoy following the plot as the real power behind the scenes is revealed. Still, most people have been programmed to say they don’t believe in this stuff. You’re cast as a weirdo or a nutjob if you think the CIA killed JFK, for example. Yet, most people believe JFK was the victim of a conspiracy.

The funny thing about the conspiracy theory stuff is that the official narrative that spawns the conspiracy theory always relies on the same probabilistic flaws as the conspiracy that seeks to discredit it. For example, the official JFK story strikes most people as laughably implausible. Basically Oswald pulled off a one in a billion effort and then was killed by Jack Ruby, who also pulled of a one in a billion long shot. The theory the JFK was killed by Joe DiMaggio, who was a CIA sleeper agent, is really not that crazy in comparison.

Similarly, both halves of a conspiracy theory follow the same set of rhetorical rules, in that they don’t make the affirmative case. Instead, they rely on all other explanations being seen as less plausible. The people who think Mr. Coffee killed JFK and RFK don’t have a lot of evidence, but they can explain in detail why the official story is bogus. Of course, the people who think Oswald was the lone gunman don’t have a great argument either, so they rely on the fact that no one saw Joe DiMaggio in Dallas with Ted Cruz’s father.

The thing that makes conspiracy theories popular is not their amusing leaps of faith and logic, but that they satisfy our need to know. JFK was most likely not killed by Lee Harvey Oswald, at least Oswald did not act alone. Whoever helped him either got very lucky, which is always a possibility, or they were very good at covering their connections with Oswald. Either way, we’ll never know, because the people who investigated it were never able to solve the riddle. Some crimes go unsolved and as humans, we truly hate that.

Something similar will probably happen in time with 9/11. The neocons expertly used the event as a propaganda tool to get their war plans passed. We know guys like Richard Perle were scheming about remaking Mesopotamia for a long time. That does not mean, however, that the neocons pulled the 9/11 job. It means that the official story is mostly bullshit to cover-up gross incompetence and to promote the forever war. In time, people will stop believing the official story and most people will think 9/11 was a conspiracy.

Of course, just because the official version of events is nonsense, it does not mean there is a conspiracy. In the case of 9/11, gross incompetence is the most likely issue being covered up by the government. We see how this works with the current FBI scandal, where the DOJ and FBI are feverishly trying to hide the fact that senior people in both agencies were ham-handedly running a domestic spying ring. The same clowns running the Trump spying operation were the ones who bungled 9/11 and the aftermath.

There are actual conspiracies, of course. Just type the word “Itanimulli” into your favorite search engine. Then read the word backward. On a more serious side, the FBI was running a spying operation on the Trump campaign. The IRS did conspire to keep conservative groups from participating in the 2012 election.The Gulf of Tonkin incident was faked. Gamblers did fix the 1919 World Series. Whoever plotted the 9/11 terrorist attacks obviously pulled off one of the great conspiracies in modern history.

Logic suggests that there is a correlation between the public’s willingness to indulge in conspiracy theories and the degree of trust in the society. People in a high trust society that thinks their government is generally honest should be less inclined toward conspiracy theories than people in a low trust, high corruption society. On the other hand, there is some evidence that the more confident you are in your understanding of politics, the more likely you are to believe in conspiracy theories. Dunning-Kruger strikes again.

The funny thing about America, versus other countries, is our conspiracy theories always sound like a Hollywood script, thus they tend to the ridiculous. Americans are strangely naive about the reality of government power, for example, but willing to indulge is crackpot beliefs about corporations plotting to spike the water supply. Yet, the story of civilization is the story of people conspiring together to seize power, overthrow the king and advance their political agenda through stealth. Government is nothing but a conspiracy.

Finally, even the smartest people can be let down by their own bias. Greg Cochran is pretty sure the Soviets weaponized small pox against the German Army in the war, but this has been covered up for decades. His evidence is not conclusive, but he makes a pretty good case. The events during the war suggest something very strange happened and his answer would explain the data. It also means there has been a multi-generational conspiracy, involving multiple countries, to conceal this truth from the public.

On the other hand, he thinks the official Holocaust narrative is a precise telling of history and that the skeptics are succumbing to insane conspiracy theories. This despite the fact there are a lot of problems with the official narrative. It’s pretty reasonable to think that maybe there has been some exaggerations. If it is is possible to conceal the use of germ warfare, exaggerating the details of German war crimes as a propaganda weapon should be easy to accept. Social pressure and belief are powerful motivators.

That’s the thing with conspiracy theories. There really is no definition of what separates the conspiracy from the skeptical analysis or even genuine speculation. Wondering why the 9/11 hijackers went undetected, despite multiple warnings to the FBI containing very specific information is often called a conspiracy theory. On the other hand, Progressives are still certain that Bush lied about chemical weapons so that Dick Cheney’s friends at Haliburton could make tens of billions rebuilding Iraq after the war.

People will believe anything and doubt everything.

Asked And Answered

Since I am about to slide into an extra long weekend and this is the unofficial end of summer, I thought a little housekeeping was in order. I get questions and suggestions on a regular basis via the various ways to reach me. Time is the one thing I do not have in abundance, so responding to queries is something I do when time permits. I’ll go through e-mail once a week or so, for example. I also accumulate questions and suggestions that I get frequently. Individually they may not be worth a post, but cumulatively they will.

Question: How come you don’t take donations?

Answer: I get some version of this regularly. It has become normal for bloggers, podcasters and social media characters to solicit donations, so it is weird when someone does not solicit donations. There’s also the fact that people in our thing understand there is no billionaire support for our people. A guy like Steve Sailer needs the generosity of readers to keep doing what he is doing. It’s fairly obvious that if /ourguys/ had the same access to media as the Left, a lot of our guys would be wealthy media stars.

In my case, it is mostly sloth. All of this is the result of accident, so I never thought about making a business of it or doing it full-time. I have been approached by some people about doing exactly that, but it has not gone beyond the discussion stage. I am starting to think about making this my job, so figuring out how to make money at it is something I’ll need to do. There are examples to follow. Some people sell stuff, like mugs and t-shirts. Others do the crowdfunding route. Sailer, of course, does the quarterly fundraisers.

I’m not sure what would be best for me. I’m not even sure if it is possible to make a living as a gadfly. It is one of those things that I simply have not thought about much, so I don’t know much about it. People manage to do it, but that does not mean I can do it, so there’s that aspect. I’ve been a micro-business man for long enough to know how hard it is to keep the lights on in any business. That means it is hard being a professional internet solo act and there are a lot of tricks to the trade. I need to learn some of those first.

Question: Why do you live in Baltimore?

Answer: Serendipity, for the most part. A dozen years ago it was convenient for work, because I could get to Philly and DC via highway and I was close to one of the better airports. I never expected to be here more than a few years, but one thing led to another and moving was just not in the cards. That and moving is a huge hassle. When you’re young, it is not that big of a deal, because you don’t have much stuff and moving is just a thing young people do. That and helping friends move. When you’re old, moving sucks.

That said, I’m growing increasingly disillusioned by diversity. It turns out that vibrancy is not as vibrant as the Cloud People in the all-white areas say. The other day, I saw a local had been evicted. One of the males was guarding the furniture on the sidewalk. That night, a brawl broke out as other natives tried to haul off the furniture. I decided that I’ve had enough vibrancy, so my time here will be coming to an end. I’m too busy this fall to make moving plans, but spring is a good time, so I’ll start looking for a new house soon.

Question: What will you be doing in Copenhagen?

Answer: I made mention of my trip to the land of the midnight sun in the last podcast and to my surprise, I got a bunch of e-mails from Scandinavian listeners and readers. I’m always surprised by having an international audience. I guess that makes me a cosmopolitan globalist. Most of my audience is in the US, with the UK number two. Interestingly, I get more readers from northern Europe than from Canada. It turns out that Justin from Canada is the typical Canadian male. All Canadian men are like Justin from Canada.

Anyway, it turns out I have an audience in the Nordic lands. I will be in Denmark for a secret handshake society meeting. I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to say about it at this time, but I will report on it after the fact. That will take up most of my time, but I will, I hope, have a chance to get out and enjoy the city a bit. I’ll visit their ghetto and maybe head over to Malmö to see their version of a no-go zone. I don’t want to sound boastful, but I’m guessing it cannot hold a candle to what Lagos on the Chesapeake offers.

Question: What is your opinion of Jordan Peterson?

Answer: I get this one a lot. I did a post about him six months ago, but I don’t find Peterson all that interesting. Frankly, his Kermit the Frog voice is unbearable. Otherwise, he strikes me as just another edgytarian. Strip away all the hand waving and prestidigitation and he is just another guy who accepts the Progressive moral framework. He’s a good example of a certain type we see, in that when he gets to the water’s edge, his instinct is to find a reason to retreat, rather than keep going. You see that in this clip a reader sent me.

Question: What is your view on White Nationalism?

Answer: This is another popular question. The other day, a reader sent me this video, which argues against white nationalism. Firstly, I don’t care for the term, as it conjures an image of toothless hillbillies bitching about the darkies. I’m just not a fan of rehabilitating words and terms that the Left has successfully demonized. As I’m fond of pointing out, even if you manage to rehabilitate Hitler and the Nazis, all you end up with is an airport named after him. You will still be living as a minority in your own country.

On the other hand, I had the opportunity to read a draft of Greg Johnson’s new book, which will release next month. It is titled, The White Nationalist Manifesto. I will post a full review of it once it is released, probably around the time of my trip to Denmark. Greg does an excellent job explaining what he means by white nationalism. It’s one of those things where my own bias toward the term may be misplaced and it is a useful shorthand to cover a lot of what gets discussed on our side of the great divide.

Now, as far as the concept of a white ethno-state that Richard Spencer promotes, well, I’m skeptical. There is a reason Europeans fought thousands of wars. Historically, race is not a great unifier. It is useful as a short hand when starting to sort human populations geographically. It’s not the primary identity people have, even in America which has a small former slave population that is entirely of African origin. Caribbean and African immigrants refuse to see themselves as in the same tribe as the former slave population.

Ethnicity is a much stronger bond, especially when it is combined with geography. It’s why, despite the efforts of successive conquerors, Europe is a land of many people with many identities. Even America, a land of white mutts, breaks down regionally. Southern whites see themselves as distinct from the Northern whites. That said, the rest of the world sees American whites as a unique ethnicity. It’s also becoming clear to whites all over America that we are a new identity group within America.

In summary, I think what will happen in Europe is the evolution of a national populism that is rooted in local ethnicity. Poles will work with Italians to oppose globalist and Eurocrats, but will see themselves as primarily Poles and Italians. Localism will make a comeback in a big way in Europe. In the US, the Cold Civil War will eventually give way to an acceptance of demographic reality. America will become a majority-minority country and stop being America, at least the version sold to us at patriotic events.

Question: How is the site doing?

Answer: Because I have not done a site update in months, I’ve gotten some form of this question recently, which is the genesis of this post. Traffic took a slight dip in the spring, more like a flattening of growth, but then it has taken off over the summer. July was up over 10% year-to-year and August is looking about the same. Comments have also gone up considerably. As I mentioned at the start, I’m seeing more European traffic now, so I suspect that someone has discovered me and has promoted the site to his readers.

The podcast has seen a steady increase in listenership. That’s much harder to track, because I can only see the Spreaker and YouTube numbers. I have no idea how many people listen on other formats like Spotify and Google. Using what the alleged experts say about popular podcasts as a guide, I’m doing better than most. Lacking a media megaphone means growth is organic. That and my unwillingness to promote the thing means a slow growth curve. Still, the numbers are way ahead of what I expected.

All that said, it seems that all dissident sites are experiencing a rise in traffic. Others have seen his numbers rise and his comment volume spike. Steve Sailer has had record traffic over the summer. Look around at Conservative Inc. sites and you see tumbleweeds in their comment sections. A rising tide lifts all boats and, to borrow a phrase from our enemies, history is on our side. That means the spike in activity here is most likely just the result of being on the side of Team Future, rather than Team Yesterday.

Have a great weekend. I shall return on Tuesday.

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.