Follow The Money

By the time this is posted I will be somewhere over the Atlantic on my way to Iceland. I will then move onto Ireland where I will spend a few days with the bog monkeys. Since there is some chance I may be tricked into having an adult beverage or two and thus be rendered unable to post, the following has been pre-recorded.

–Z

One of the benefits of reading lots of history is you often see the same catalysts, causes and dynamics turning up in the story. The Roman Empire had a lot of problems toward the end, but a big one was their financial structure. Their lack of money led them to do things that made their situation worse. Similarly, the French Revolution had a “want of money” angle to it. The crown was broke and did a lot of very stupid things, as a result of being broke, that compounded the many social problems brewing in the country,

It’s tempting to wonder, for example, what would have happened if Louis XIV had been a bit more prudent or showed a bit more foresight with regards to the financial system of his country. Alternatively, what would have happened if his heirs had better advisers, who would have pushed for mild steady reform in order to slowly bring the French financial system into line with the emerging modern world. Heck, what if Louis XV had simply avoided the mistake of hiring economist John Law.

The best historians, I think, look at the men of the time and ask why were they unable or unwilling to do the necessary things to avoid catastrophe. In almost all cases, there were plenty of people advising the rulers that were making a blunder. In many cases, the rulers knew they were blundering, but events constrained them from acting. In the decades leading to the French Revolution, many smart and influential people knew reform was necessary. They just did not know how to go about it or what they were able to do, within the limits placed upon them, made things worse

Anyway, that’s the vibe I get when reading these stories about the Fed and their deliberations on the economy. Due to the sensitive and precarious nature of their positions, they tend to speak in riddles, but if you are careful, you can tease out some meaning from their public statements. They are very guarded and they reserve their more candid opinions for private conversations, but they rely on the broader financial public to put pressure on policy makers. These staged events are an esoteric form of lobbying.

The United States has a Federal debt that rivals what we had while fighting two empires in World War II. Current debt is close to 100% of GDP and that was the peak during the war years. The difference is we are not battling two empires in a shooting war. Now we are maintaining a global empire. The financiers understand this difference and they certainly recognize the danger it poses. The costs of fighting Hitler and Tojo were temporary and extraordinary. The cost of empire is permanent and ordinary, at least for a while longer.

These debt levels are only possible in the artificially low interest rate environment created by the central bankers. The trouble is they appear to have gone beyond the point of diminishing returns with interest rate policy. We are effectively in a no-growth economy now, despite historically low borrowing rates at all levels. The West is not in recession nor is it facing collapse, but it is exposed. There are no financial tools left in reserve to face the next unknown financial calamity and the bankers know this.

The trouble is the cost of reform is so frightening, no one is willing to face up to it. Interest on the Federal debt is about 6% of annual spending. If borrowing rates returns to historic norms, debt service will grow rapidly. Some estimates say it would exceed 20% of the annual budget within a decade. That’s based on the assumption the economy would not collapse, but rising rates would throttle real estate, tip over bank balance sheets and send the equity markets into free fall. All the attempts to keep the plates spinning have made artificially low borrowing rates the norm. Everything is now based on it.

The Federal government is not about to go bankrupt anytime soon. Federal outlays are about 20% of GDP right now, which is more than manageable. State and local government account for another 20% or thereabouts. Government spending in Germany is at 44% at the moment. It is 44% in Britain and 52% in France. In other words, the US has the same problems we see with all social democracies, but we’re not Zimbabwe. The US dollar is also the world’s reserve currency so that gives the US a much bigger margin for error.

Still, there is a sense you get from theses statements from central bankers is that they know these artificially low borrowing rates cannot go on forever. The longer they continue, the worse it will be when they finally return to normal. It’s just that no one knows how to fix it. The political costs of inflating our way out of debt are too high. Letting rates go up means recession and political panic. A continuation of debt monetization limits the freedom of action of central banks when the next crisis arises and there will always be another crisis.

That is what most likely worries the more sober minded bankers. A decade of 4% inflation would be unpleasant politically, but not end times bad. A slow rise in interest rates would not collapse the world economy either, but it would usher in a long recession similar to the 1870’s, where asset values tumbled for a decade as the Second Industrial Revolution came to an end. The real danger is the unknown crisis that does threaten the foundations of the system and the central banks have no tools to face it.

That’s where the West is at the moment. Things are plodding along, but there’s nothing in reserve in case of a crisis. The US economy is stagnant at the moment, but if it falls into recession, there’s nothing the Fed can do about it. Negative rates are unlikely and probably not effective anyway. The Fed balance sheet is already bloated so further monetization is going to be hard. The financial system is a citadel whose walls need rebuilding, but no one has a clue as to how to go about do it.

The Tan Man’s Burden

When I was a young man I had a job washing cars for a car rental place. Mostly the job was two or three guys vacuuming up the inside, shooting it with the deodorizer and then hosing it off. It was part-time work so there was a gang of part-timers working in shifts. For a young honky in the big city, it was an interesting experience because most of my colleagues were from the third world. There were a few other honkies and some American blacks, but most were immigrants from the third world.

One lesson I learned was that outside of America, the world is not black and white. In the States, race was always about blacks and whites. In the rest of the world, there are a lot of shades in between. There’s also a fair bit of tribalism too. The African guys had a low opinion of American blacks. One guy from Ghana used to tell me that only the stupid were caught by slave traders and shipped to the new world. The smart Africans stayed in Africa. West Indians also had a tough time with American blacks. They put a great deal of effort into separating from them.

The one guy I always remembered was a guy named Maurice, who was from the Caribbean and of mixed race. He was obsessed with his mixed race too. He never stopped talking about it. If he did not tell you he was mixed race, you would have assumed he was Spanish or maybe Cajun. In parts of the South like Louisiana you run into guys who are white, but they have some Indian mixed in or maybe even a black or two way back in the family tree. They used to tick the white box, but now they tick the black box.

The thing about Maurice is he talked about his mixed race all the time because he was a man without a race. The blacks did not accept him as black and he just assumed the whites did not accept him as white. In all likelihood, no one cared. I know I did not care, but he cared very much. At the time, I just thought he was a guy with hangups, but looking back, I see now that being a mulatto is a strange curse. While it has no real social drawbacks in the modern age, especially for women for whom it is an asset, the person of mixed race imagines it is a huge burden.

It may be a burden too. This story about Rodney Harrison calling out Colin Kaepernick for not being authentically black is a good example. Until this controversy, my guess is exactly no one cared that Kaepernick was half black, except Kaepernick, who appears to obsess over it. So much so he went overboard trying to prove he belonged in the black world, by affecting everything we would associate with black culture. His wigger act really is over the top and most likely the result of feeling like he has to be extra black in order to pass for black. He is a tanned and tatted Vanilla Ice.

It has been noted that Obama’s closest advisers are mixed race people who identify as black. Obama, of course, is of mixed race. He also has the added burden of having been raised abroad. His connection to the black American experience is theoretical, at best. Yet, he puts a lot of effort into being not white and one could be forgiven for thinking that maybe he nurses a grudge against whites. He did dedicate a book to his delinquent father, but has never had much to say about his white mother and white grandparents who raised him, other than a disparaging remark about them being typical white people.

Being black in America has its own unique challenges. Being white in America is no guarantee of happiness either, but black people have some special challenges that are made easier on an individual basis by black solidarity. Talk to black professionals and one of the things they lament is the lack of black middle class institutions. The cookout with Ned Flanders is nice, but they want to be around other black people who share their outlook. It’s why the black middle class has struggled to cut off the black underclass. Racial solidarity is powerful stuff.

Mulatto man does not have anything like that as the mixed race people are roughly 3% of the population. The black-white portion of that is less than a third so the number of people with a black parent and white parent is very small. There’s never been an identity group for mulattoes so there’s no history or shared experience around which to build a racial identity. The result, at least for now, is a class of people with no tribe to call their own. They are not authentically black and they don’t believe they are accepted as white. That disengagement probably feels like a great burden to the person carrying it.

What Comes Next

I was listening to the James Miller interview of Greg Cochran the other day and at the end, Miller stated that he would not post an unedited version of the interview for fear of repercussions. The unedited version was six hours, but Miller cut it down to two hours. Cochran is not a PC guy and he says what he thinks, which can get you fired these days. Miller is a young man, who needs his job, so he has to be careful. It was an act of bravery for him to do the interview. Miller works on a college campus and there you can be declared a heretic simply by association.

A hobbyhorse item around here is the comparison between modern America and theocracies like Iran. In both countries, the ultimate authority is in the hands of a class of people charged with maintaining public morality. In both countries, those rules are arbitrary and capriciously enforced. In Iran, someone accused of heresy cannot appeal to the law. They must appeal to a cleric. In the US, someone accused of hate think cannot appeal to the courts or the ordinary rules of society. Instead, they are reduced to groveling at the feet of social justice warriors, hoping for leniency.

America is not a theocracy, of course, but it is a useful comparison. The PC enforcers on the college campus or in the corporate HR department are filled with the same self righteousness as the enforcers of Islamic law in Iran. In both cases, they feel they are entitled to commit monstrous acts, because they do so in the name of some great cause. The PC enforcers are not acting in the name of an anthropomorphic deity, but their justifications are just as supernatural. The endless war on abstract concepts like racism, sexism and so on is just as mystical as making war on lust or greed.

The reason to contemplate this is that at some point, people get tired of being pushed around by lunatics. Much of Donald Trump’s appeal is due to his dismissal of the PC piety that has come to dominate politics. A vote for Trump is really just a vote for the big old middle finger to the people in charge. The reason the alt-right was so happy to have Clinton engage them was so they could tell her and the rest of the Cloud People to go fuck themselves. There’s a lot of pent up “fuck you” out there after decades of preaching and scolding from our betters.

The thing is, Trump is probably going to lose in November. It’s not because the majority of voters are not down with the middle finger movement. It’s that most people are afraid of risk. Trump is a wild man and that makes him a wild card. Most men prefer the certainty of slavery than the risk of freedom, so rolling the dice on Trump is a lot to ask of voters. That does not change the fact that most people are sick to death of the PC enforcers. It’s just that they can’t quite bring themselves to defy their masters. Staying home, voting third party or knuckling under and voting for Clinton is safe, for now.

This brings me back to Iran. In 2011 protests erupted after the government rigged the elections. Students mostly, went to the streets and within days a full fledged revolt was underway. Given what had been happening with the so-called Arab spring, there was a hope that the mullahs would be forced out and something close to sanity would be restored to Persia. If you are going to pick a country that can join modernity, it would be Iran. That’s not what happened. President Obama came to the defense if his coreligionists and the protests were eventually crushed.

It is an important lesson. It is assumed that the reactionaries always lose and maybe they do in the fullness of time, but in the case of Iran, there’s no sign of that happening just yet. The reason is they have a firm grip on all of the social and political institutions and they are willing to do what they must to maintain power. In America, the Progressives have a similar hold on society and they are every bit as ruthless as their counterparts in Iran. They may not yet be sending trouble makers to labor camps, but they are willing to ruin careers. Has anyone seen Milo Yiannopoulos or Robert Stacey McCain on twitter recently?

The point is the Persian Awakening fizzled out mostly because the people in the streets were unwilling or unable to do what was necessary to break the will of the rulers. When the Soviet Union collapsed, it was because the people in charge had lost the will to fight. In Iran and America, that will to fight must be broken before the enforcers begin to yield to the people. Simply voting for Trump is not enough. Even putting him in the White House will not be enough. Twitter memes and mockery from comment trolls is not going to break the will of the lunatics.

In April 16, 1963 Martin Luther King wrote an open letter that came to be known as The Letter from Birmingham Jail. The letter addressed the particulars of the protests going on at the time, with regards to the Civil Rights Movement. The contents of the letter are no longer relevant, but the lesson is relevant today. What King was up to was giving the white majority a choice. They could go to war with the black population or negotiate a full integration of blacks into American society. The white world deal with King or the guys setting cars on fire and smashing windows.

Whether they know it or not, that’s the choice facing the ruling class. There is no doubt they nurse fantasies about crushing the hate thinkers after the election. Corpulent gasbags like Sloppy Williamson and Jonah Goldberg have written extensively about their desire to run people like you out of the country. The Left, of course, is chomping at the bit to stack the courts with authoritarians, who will vaporize the Bill of Rights and anything resembling citizenship. There were plenty of Bull Connors 50 years ago too.

Just as the Persian Awakening was crushed, the alt-right will probably be crushed, but these things don’t go away. They go underground and regroup. They learn from the defeat and come back better and more prepared to take the fight to the enemy. What comes next is always worse than what the ruling class imagined the first time. In retrospect, they always wish they had taken the first offer and loosened their grip every so slightly. Whether of not the Cloud People recognize what is on offer is hard to know, but the way to bet is they invest everything them have in crushing their opposition.

What comes next, however, will be much worse.

Science and the Alt-Right

One of the stranger aspects of some corners of the alt-right is the hostility to science. I don’t want to say it is a rejection of science, but something like an extreme skepticism about it. I was reminded of this reading Vox Day’s 16-point manifesto the other day. The part that jumped out to me is this one:

The Alt Right is scientodific. It presumptively accepts the current conclusions of the scientific method (scientody), while understanding a) these conclusions are liable to future revision, b) that scientistry is susceptible to corruption, and c) that the so-called scientific consensus is not based on scientody, but democracy, and is therefore intrinsically unscientific.

Vox seems to be trying very hard to declare himself the Pope of the alt-right so perhaps he is just getting carried away with himself with these posts, but he has made a big deal about being an anti-evolutionists that regularly kits himself out in the Don Quixote suit and runs around tilting at imaginary concepts. Usually, people opposed to evolution are coming at it from the perspective of self-styled Christians¹. That’s not the case with Vox as you see in this post titled The Crisis in Science.

There is no crisis in science. The soft sciences like psychology and sociology are certainly in trouble, but people have known that for a very long time. It’s not just the bogus studies either. It is the hard sciences, particularly biology, that are collapsing soft sciences like psychology. Once you arrive at a biochemical explanation for mental illness, there’s no need for guys in turtlenecks, smoking pipes and asking about your mother. Genetics is rendering many of the soft sciences meaningless, by exploding blank slatism.

The replication crisis that is bedeviling the soft science is not a problem in chemistry, physics or even biology where speculation is more common. The reason there is a replication crisis is the empirically minded from the hard sciences grew tired of the bullshit coming from the sociology department, showing up in the news as real science. It is science policing itself by enforcing the rules of science on those who seek to appropriate science for their own ends. This is a normal part of the scientific process.

What’s puzzling about the anti-science elements on the alt-right is they are not really motivated by religion, like we see with most Progressives. Rejecting science because it violates your deeply held beliefs is not irrational. It may be wrong, but it is not irrational. The anti-science people in the alt-right seem to be responding to the identity politics of the Left, which often waves the flag of science to justify their crackpot ideas. Since it takes too long to refute the Progressive pseudo-science, some on the alt-right simply reject science, or at least large parts of it.

This is to some degree understandable, as the alt-right is mostly a reaction to the extremism of the social justice movement. The unhinged assault on normalcy is often dressed up in the language of science. A degenerate in a sundress, who wants to watch your daughter pee, is excused as transgender, as if such a thing exists. People with Ph.D’s step forward to tell us how biological sex is a social construct and that there are unlimited number of “non-binary identities.” It perfectly understandable that normal people will get a little skeptical of scientists.

The interesting part of this is that big part of the alt-right is rooted in the growing fields of genetics, evolutionary biology and the cognitive sciences. Guys like Steve Sailer and John Derbyshire have been intellectual heavy weights of the movement for two decades, largely due to popularizing research in the cognitive sciences that contradict the Progressive faith. More than a few evolution guys have been “Watsoned” for promoting ideas from evolutionary biology.  Frankly, there would not be Vox Day if not for the science guys and their wild tales about evolution.

That’s the other interesting strangeness about the thing the press is now calling the alt-right. There’s a wide diversity of opinion within it and a wide diversity of opinion about what it is. Greg Cochran, I’m guessing, would laugh off the assertions of Vox Day, but guys like Richard Spencer would dismiss people like Razib Khan. Yet, there would be broad agreement among all of them when it comes to critiquing the prevailing orthodoxy. That suggests the anti-science stuff is just a way to make magic fit reality. Self-delusion is powerful stuff and not always a bad thing.

¹I’m sympathetic to creationist because they are harmless and their beliefs tend toward the sort of positive outcomes that make for a healthy Western society. You can be a great engineer and still believe Adam and Eve rode around on dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden. On the other hand, I have no tolerance for intelligent design people. They paganize the Christian concept of God, turning him into a fickle teenager, who alters the laws of nature for no reason. Intelligent design is not just anti-science, it is anti-Christian.

I Want A Thank You

News brings word that one of the hyper-violent meat-heads the NFL hires to entertain us on fall weekends is making a nuisance of himself over the custom of playing the National Anthem before games.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has willingly immersed himself into controversy by refusing to stand for the playing of the national anthem in protest of what he deems are wrongdoings against African Americans and minorities in the United States.

His latest refusal to stand for the anthem — he has done this in at least one other preseason game — came before the 49ers’ preseason loss to Green Bay at Levi’s Stadium on Friday night.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Kaepernick was born to a destitute black white mother¹ in Milwaukee, who put him up for adoption. His father was a deadbeat from the neighborhood. In other words, he was born into the typical black environment, but unlike most black children, he was saved by a nice white couple who adopted him and raised him as their son. This got him into good schools, sports and a middle-class lifestyle. Later, nice white coaches helped him with his sports career, first at college and then in the NFL. Jim Harbaugh made Kaepernick a legitimate NFL player.

Kaepernick has decided to respond to this amazing run of good fortune, almost exclusively the result of generous white Americans, by giving his middle finger to his fellow Americans. Specifically, he is his flipping the bird to white people so he can pretend to make common cause with the black people from whom he was saved as a baby. You would think that someone living this wonderful life would be grateful to the country and the people who make it possible, but that’s not how things work in a grievance culture.

The 49ers issued a statement about Kaepernick’s decision: “The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”

There are people paid lots of money to come up with statements like this. They sound pleasant, but say nothing. Exactly no one is saying this guy should be forced to stand during the anthem. No one thinks he should be barred from staying these stupid and nasty things about his countrymen. It’s a another way to shift the focus from the front lash to the backlash. Let’s not notice that Kaepernick is an ungrateful d-bag. No, let’s fret over some imaginary people who seek to oppress the ungrateful d-bag.

The people in charge think this type of response is safe and they may be right. To come out and say, “Our player is an ungrateful, spoiled meat head with the IQ of a goldfish” would be accurate, but probably cause more trouble than it is worth. Everyone would know it is true, but everyone also knows you can never say anything bad about the black guy in these cases. To do so gets every bean pie eating black media guy howling for your head, calling you a bigot.

No, the honkies are expected to just wait it out. Eventually, Kaepernick will have his big interview where the black interviewer will yuck up it up with him, cause you know, they’re brothers in the struggle and all that. This is why TV networks hire guys like Steve A. Smith. These two-person performances are intended to send a message to the honkies at home. “See, we can be reasonable, but we can also be unreasonable so you get to choose. Either go along with what we reasonably demand or else.”

Like a lot of people, I suspect, I’m going with “or else” this time. Bring it on. Black people have some legitimate complaints, but they need to be directed at their fellow blacks. Whites in America have been incredibly generous and accommodating to blacks over the last half century. It has not been perfect, it never is, but there’s nowhere on earth you would rather be black than in America. There’s a reason the Back To Africa Movement has no members. I don’t want to hear any more complaining. I want a thank you.

¹I mistakenly thought his birth mother was black.

Misinformation Age

In the olden thymes it was much more difficult to be misinformed than it is today, simply due to the fact that information flowed much more slowly that we see today. That meant stupid ideas and nonsense passed from person to person at the speed of foot, not the speed of light. Festus could truly believe that eating cow dung cured gout, but he was not at a university writing papers on it. Those papers were not being spread around the internet. He was simply boring his family with his crackpot ideas and maybe some neighbors.

The flip side of this, of course, is people were much less informed about the world than today for the same reasons. Literacy rates rocketed up with the advent of cheap printed material, but information still moved slowly. You can pack a lot of information in a book, but it still must be toted from one reader to another. It’s entirely possible that the newly literate of the 18th century were not much more informed about the world than the illiterate of the 15th century. Farmer John in colonial Virginia would know more about the Bible and local politics than Farmer Aethelred in the 15th century, but maybe not that much more.

We don’t think about mass misinformation very much today, but maybe we should think about it. That came to mind what I stumbled upon this posting the other day.

Women are predisposed by their genetics to have affairs as “back-up plans'” if their relationships fail, according to a research paper.

Scientists at the University of Texas say they are challenging the assumption that humans have evolved to have monogamous relationships.

The team’s research has put forward the “mate-switching-hypothesis” which says humans have evolved to keep testing their relationships and looking for better long-term options.

The senior author of the research, Dr David Buss, told the Sunday Times: “Lifelong monogamy does not characterise the primary mating patterns of humans.

“Breaking up with one partner and mating with another may more accurately characterise the common, perhaps the primary, mating strategy of humans.”

For our distant ancestors – when disease, poor diet and minimal healthcare meant that few people lived past 30 – looking for a more suitable partner was necessary, researchers assert.

Despite anecdotal claims about cheatng, no study has shown that humans are predisposed to monogamy or non-monogamy.

A study carried out by Rafael Wlodarski and a team of researchers at Oxford University looking into infidelity found a correlation between the length of a individual’s ring finger and the likelihood that they would cheat on a partner.

However, they stressed that they could not find a causal link.

I looked up the lead author and he is not a quack working on TV so this is supposed to be accepted as legitimate science. Just in case the reporter got the facts wrong, which is often the case, I looked up the source paper. The highlighted parts of the quote are the important bits. There have been studies using real science that strongly suggest humans in Europe are predisposed to monogamy. Genetic testing reveals that a tiny percentage of children are the result of adulterous relations and this is data going back centuries.

One could argue, and the paper does leave this open, that women scheme to have a ready replacement in case their husbands get eaten by a saber tooth. That’s not implausible and it would certainly show up in the gene pool as a heritable trait if it were in fact an adaptation.You could also claim that women secretly scheme to have an in-ground pool or a vacation to the beach. This sort of “research” is no longer science and well into idle speculation and propaganda.

This is also the sort of nonsense that is pleasing to the managerial elite because their religion tells them that monogamy and stable families are bad for the peasants. They may live like Victorians, but you people should give up your quaint notions of family, fidelity and morality, cause science!. This ties in with the assertion by feminists that women should have unlimited sex partners. A new movie called Bridget Jones’s Baby, which features a pregnant woman with three potential fathers of her baby, is the sort of idealized woman our betters imagine for your daughter.

That brings us back to where we started. In an age when information was scarce, misinformation was scarce. In an age where information is voluminous and moves at light speed, the same is true of the nonsense, which is much easier to produce in volume. The result is a misinformation age that erodes trust in authority because over time even the most naive grows cynical about what they see in the media. How many junk science stories like the one referenced here get posted before people think science is nonsense?

It’s not just science. The news media has collapsed under an avalanche of nonsense they created. No one believes anything they see reported. Government has approval rates in the teens. We are well into becoming a low-trust society that can only be held together by force. A big cause of that is the daily barrage of nonsense we get through the media. There used to be a time when the responsible made an effort to stem the flow of nonsense, but that’s no more. Instead, we live in a misinformation age.

It’s not going to end well.

The Hater’s Ball

I got an e-mail from someone asking me questions about the alt-right. At first I thought it was a joke, but a little research revealed the person to be a reporter for a legitimate media site. Some guy from the Washington Post did a story on the hate think community the other day and he followed up with a primer for the good thinkers.  Hillary Clinton is planning to bravely take on the alt-right in a speech somewhere, assuming they can sober her up and keep her from toppling over. Now that the Cloud People have a label, they plan to demonize anyone that opposes them as members of the alt-right.

I’m not sure of the protocol on these things so I’ll leave the identity of my correspondent out of this, but the query had the feel of an e-mail blast hoping someone would respond. One question was “When did you join the Alt-Right?” It’s the sort of question asked by people who have spent their life accumulating credentials in order to advance in the bureaucracy. “Comrade, I joined Party after leaving University, where I got degree in ideology and policy.” Managerial class types just assume everything works like the exam system of the managerial class.

I don’t consider myself in the alt-right, but I suppose that depends upon how you define it. If memory serves, Richard Spencer coined the term Alternative Right and his thing is white identity and white nationalism. I have no interest in those things and I don’t write much about race. I’m a biological realist and I think most of what we are as humans is in our genes, but I think forming a white ethno-state is about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. The only thing dumber is the blank slate nonsense that comes from the managerial class through the mass media.

On the other hand, big foot journalists are now applying the label “alt-right” to anyone outside the government approved Left-Right orbit so maybe that does place guys like me in the club. John Derbyshire coined the term “Dissident Right” which is probably a better label. I don’t dream of a honky paradise. I just want one of the political parties to be slightly to the right of the Democrats of 1960. Half a century of cultural lunacy is enough. Let’s go back to what used to work for the bulk of the citizens.

None of that is important. What is important is the people in charge feel they need to do something about the growing hate-think community. Having Clinton waddle out in front of other humans is a high risk stunt, given her brain injuries, but having her take on the alt-right suggests the Cloud People are worried. As Hitler said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Maybe it was Gandhi who said it. I get the two mixed up all the time.

The reason the Cloud People are suddenly concerned about the hate thinkers is the numbers. In the 1980’s, Official Conservatism™ included people like Joe Sobran, Sam Francis, Peter Brimelow and Steve Sailer. The people outside the sphere of acceptable opinion were the sort of people who handed out literature on street corners extolling the virtues of the Albanian political system. The hard core racists and radicals were small in number and comfortably outside the tent so no one paid any attention to them.

Over the last thirty years or so, one group after another has been cast out of the increasingly narrow sphere of acceptable politics. Conservatism is basically low-tax liberalism now. It’s not just on the right either. Old school progressives like Bernie Sanders are now outside the realm of the acceptable on the Left. Cesar Chavez would be a hate thinker today, simply because he strongly opposed illegal immigration on economic grounds. The difference between the Left and Right today is over patronage and how often to bomb the muzzies.

The result of several decades of purges on the Right is that the “alt-right” is now bigger than the Official Right™ and it certainly is where the cool kids are hanging out on-line. The hate thinkers are also younger, on average, than the old farts in the mainstream media. One of the strange things about the alt-right is it is populated with young guys with everything to gain from a rebellion and old eccentrics with nothing to lose from a rebellion. The young guys are clever and funny, while the old guys are brilliant at noticing patterns in society and human behavior.

The safe bet is the increased attention to the hate thinkers will result in a holding of hands and chanting of lines from the liberal catechism. Howls of racism and antisemitism will echo through the halls of officialdom. We got a taste of this in the primary when guys like Jonah Goldberg tried to slime Trump as a closet Klansman simply because David Duke said nice things about him. Among the Cloud People, being called a racist is the worst thing imaginable, so it is their most powerful abracadabra word.

The trouble is the hate thinkers really don’t care and they seem to relish this sort of attention. The gag you often see is “When I was a conservative they called me a racist. When I was a libertarian they called me a racist. When I was a Tea Partier they called me a racist. Now that I’m alt-right I don’t care what they call me.” Often, the response to the charge of racism is mockery. It’s really hard to shout people down when they are laughing at your efforts. That and the old guys have been called these things so often they don’t pay any attention to it now.

Welcome to the Hater’s Ball Cloud People.

Ruling Class Madness

I ran across this tweet and I was struck by the one entry in the thread where Noah Smith says supply and demand do not apply to labor markets. It does not have a place in the discussion, but it is an example of something the managerial class types believe, in spite of everything we know about the world. Noah Smith, from what I gather, is one of the new breed of libertarians, who embrace central planning and the custodial state. I’m not a reader so I may be misjudging him, but I really don’t care all that much either.

What struck me is how common it is to hear economists and pseudo-economists make the claim that the laws of supply and demand do not apply to labor markets. In fact, they regularly argue that the axioms of their field don’t apply to all sorts of things that cause trouble for the orthodoxy. In that twitter post, it appears that some Progressives are now saying it is bad idea to build more housing in their favorite cities, because that will magically make housing more expensive. It’s nonsense, but how long before some economist offers a supporting study?

It is easy to pick on economists for stuff like this, because they deserve it. The managerial class is shot through with guys toting economics degrees, offering up statistical justifications for their favorite policy. Today the libertarian economist Tyler Cowen argues for more currency manipulation, which one would think is something libertarian economists would oppose. They routinely argue against manipulating the supply of goods and services, but for some magical reason it is good for the state to control the supply of money.

I’ve often compared economics to astrology because it is almost as empirically sound as astrology and it holds a similar place in the ruling class today as astrology did in the olden thymes. The rulers today bring in the court economists to read their figures and predict the possible futures. In the olden thymes the court astrologer was brought into to read the stars and tell the king what the omens meant. In both cases the ruler was simply looking for confirmation so that’s what he got from his trusted magician.

It’s not just the economists. Security experts are always on our televisions telling us about the need for government surveillance of the public. After all, it is a dangerous world out there and if we’re going to invite the world into your towns, we have to have cameras on every corner. If that bit of thinking is not crazy enough, none of them ever talk about what happens when someone we don’t like gets that massive data trove collected by the surveillance state. They just pretend that can’t happen, even though it always happens.

An axiom of data collection is that the easier it is to collect, the harder it is to protect. An axiom of life is that anything worth stealing, gets stolen. For a long time, liberals argued against the state collecting data on citizens for exactly this reason. If they can get it, they will misuse it and then someone will steal it. But, all the alleged experts on these issues tell us that the NSA is an exception so no one will ever steal this stuff or misuse it. One has to wonder how many times we have secret data stolen before they stop insisting it can’t be stolen.

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you will know I have walked through the impossibility of open borders, self-government and individual liberty working together. If we do away with citizenship via open borders, there is no reason for anyone to have loyalty to the government. Things like patriotism and national loyalty stop making sense in a world of open borders. That means the state cannot rely on people “doing their duty” as they no longer have a duty to the state. How else will they get people to obey the rules?

The open borders types never bother to explain how their new borderless society will work or what would happen if it turns out to be something other than paradise. When anyone bothers to ask them, they respond like it is obvious, but to date no one has tried to explain how a world without borders could possible work. The best they can muster is something about “who we are” which is ridiculous in a world without borders,  as there is no “we” for us to be. It’s madness dressed up as morality.

Guys like Steve Sailer think all of this is deliberate. The people at the top not only understand the factual realities, they understand the implications of their preferred polices. They know the currency manipulation we see cannot last. They know open borders is doomed to failure. They know the surveillance state cannot work. They are just cashing in while they can. Wealthy interests pay them to keep the lie going as long as possible. It’s not a ridiculous possibility. To get to the top of the power structure, you have to be pretty clever, but also spectacularly devious and dishonest too.

Alternatively, they could see everything everyone else sees, but they have no answer for how to square all of these circles. Building more housing in major cities is what is needed, but the entrenched interests see no advantage and they have prominent spots in the managerial class. Running a surveillance state is a terrible idea, but no one knows how to put the genie back in the bottle so they just make peace with it as best they can. The libertarian economist knows the truth about policies like open borders, but he likes his job at the university too.

Sometimes, societies evolve down a dead end. Study the French Revolution and you begin to see that it was not so much a revolution as a collapse. The old order had reached a point where reform was impossible. The cost of maintaining it exceeded the benefits so it broke apart in big chunks like a building falling over in an earthquake. Perhaps that’s the issue faced by America. The current arrangements are unsustainable, but the cost of reform seems prohibitive, so all efforts are put into keeping the plates spinning, not matter how absurd.

There’s another possibility and that is our betters have been gripped by some sort of collective madness. This used to be the reason people gave for why the Germans went nuts and backed Hitler. Germany was the most advanced and sophisticated culture on earth and then within one generation it veered into barbarism. That’s not an answer that explains much, but to date no one has ever explained why the Germans turned to Nazism. Similarly, there’s no good explanation for why our rulers indulge in the madness we see on a regular basis now.

Something Has Gone Wrong

“The ordinary modes of human thinking are magical, religious, social, and personal. We want our wishes to come true; we want the universe to care about us; we want the approval of those around us; we want to get even with that s.o.b. who insulted us at the last tribal council. For most people, wanting to know the cold truth about the world is way, way down the list.”

–Known Hate Thinker John Derbyshire

I’ve always liked that formulation. The term “magical thinking” is overused, mostly by people prone to it, like feminists and Gaia worshipers. Even so, the whole thought expressed above is a good starting point for understanding the other meat sticks around us. Most people invest their time in the social and personal, but a small number of people spend their time looking at the world, trying to understand it. Many of these people are insane, but highly functional.

The thing is, those modes of thought are manifestations of other features, more primal aspects of humans. These are qualities that can be observed in people everywhere. One of those features is the willingness to believe. We tend to think of belief as religious belief, but 20th century communists were the truest of true believers.The Nazis were pretty much a secular cult organized around a Utopian belief about the Aryan future. The Amish are entirely harmless, but true believers in their brand of Christianity.

The willingness to accept the assertions of others is not the same in all of us and it is not always tied to intelligence. It may be tied to intelligence, but criminals often have low levels of belief, despite having below average intelligence. College professors often fall for nonsense, despite having a very high IQ. Look at the number of physicists who were also communists.The great mathematician Blaise Pascal was a deeply religious Christian, who put his life at risk for his faith. This guy actually write a little paper on the subject.

A related quality is the thirst for perfection. Social justice, broadly defined, is the pursuit of human perfection. You never hear social justice warriors promoting half measures. Theirs is the pursuit of the perfect as they think things like crime, racism and immorality can be abolished. They are not just seeking a perfect society. They think they can make perfect people. The absurd and dangerous habit of policing the space between people’s ears with hate crimes and speech crimes in an obvious example.

Another basic feature of humanity popular in some HBD circles is altruism. The alternative being clannishness. This is one of those individual traits that is best studied in groups. Some people are less trusting of strangers than others and some are more willing to cooperate with others not in their kin group. In order to have a modern economy, you have to have a certain degree of trust between strangers so that people will plan for the future, take risks and so forth. You cannot have a modern economy in a low-trust society.

Despite the best efforts of the people in charge of our countries, it is the actions of millions of anonymous people doing the right thing for millions of anonymous people simply because they believe it is the proper thing to do. It’s not just the willingness to help others but it is the desire to be seen as honest and trustworthy by total strangers that makes a modern economy tick. By modern economy, I mean modern in the post-agricultural era modern. There’s some argument that technology is driving us toward the habits of a pre-modern economy.

Finally, the willingness to embrace the supernatural is defining feature of man. All of us, to a certain degree, believe in ghosts. Like altruism, the embrace of the supernatural is not universal. The women I see at the tarot card reader have a much higher acceptance of the supernatural than someone like me. There are people who are sure voices from the spirit world help guide their decisions. The concept of luck or fortune is basically another name for the supernatural. I’ve known computer programmers to prattle on endlessly about their luck at the casino.

Progressives accept all sorts of supernatural explanations for natural phenomenon. For instance, male college students will take advantage of drunk sleazy coeds because of a mystical force called “rape culture.” Progressives are convinced institutional racism keeps NAM’s down, even though Progressives control all the institutions.”Institutional racism” can be replaced with the word “ghosts” and their protests make more sense. Many people are absolutely sure Hitler will come back at any minute and restart the Third Reich.

The funny thing about all this is a proper human society needs a balance of these things as no one would want to live in a world of transactional, highly skeptical cynics. Vulcan is a nice science fiction construct, but it probably could not exist. We need the desire to improve in order to make society better. We need to trust one another in order to conduct large scale public works and organize for self-defense. Belief in the form of Western Christianity carried humanity forward for a thousand years or more.

Even the belief in ghosts has some value. It keeps people from violating social taboos, the logic of which is too complicated for most people to understand. The supernatural was a useful tool in public safety. Telling people that the bog was full of monsters kept people, especially kids, from going into the bog and getting lost. Many people live moral lives because they truly believe God is watching their every deed and taking notes so they can be judged in the after life. the excuse of bad luck helps sooth the effects of failure.

The trouble is that all over the West we see that these qualities have swung well into the range of dangerous. The willingness of the EU to fling open the doors to Muslim hordes is what HBD’ers call pathological altruism. Everything we can observe about people from these lands tells us that they cannot make it in a modern Western society. Yet, an overwhelming desire to help strangers is driving the mothers of Europe to sacrifice the inheritance of their sons to help the Muslims.

The American college campus is under the control of ideological fanatics, who believe in their causes so deeply they are willing to ruin friends and family on behalf of their cause. Thought crimes have become so common, we take them for granted. Readers of this blog take steps to make sure their employers are unaware that they read sites like this one, for fear the morality police will come calling. Supporting a candidate like Trump has become a private act of rebellion.

The only thing missing from this toxic stew is an excessive believe in the supernatural, but the hunt for hate thinkers is really just a modern form of witch hunting. Everywhere you look, the dials are all turned to eleven. The best qualities, at least the best mix of qualities, that allowed the West to rocket past the world are now in abundance and threatening the whole enterprise. Whatever governor or brake that was in place in the past has been lost and the engine is revving into the red zone.

Something has gone wrong.

Elite Catharsis

There’s a column in America’s newspaper of record explaining how in this election the major media is committing suicide in an attempt to stop Donald Trump from winning the White House. This is a bit of a hardy quadrennial as some element of the press complains about the media in every presidential election. Usually it is the so-called conservative media doing the complaining, but you get some of the professional concern trolls wringing their hands over the bias. Whether or not they are more biased this time around is hard to know as it is hard to know if they can be more biased.

Even so, it does feel different this time. In past elections, the liberal media started attacking the Republican after the conventions, but their tactic was to appeal to the voters. That meant selling the themes of the Democrat and making sport of the Republican. In 2008 they kept reminding voters that Obama was dreamy and from Illinois just like Lincoln. In 2012 they reminded voters that Romney was in a weird desert cult and believed in magic underwear. In both cases the “reporting” was intended to sway the voters.

This time is different in many ways. The obvious difference is the so-called conservative media has locked shields with the liberal media in opposing Donald Trump.  The two big conservative journals are fanatically opposed to Trump. Fox News inadvertently made Trump’s campaign by having their attack poodles ambush Trump at the first debate. Even the usually reliable talk radio has been reluctant to back Trump. That’s changing as they figure out which way the wind is blowing, but guys like Glenn Beck are still waving the rainbow flag of #nevertrump.

The other way that things are different is in the tone of the coverage. The major media is not talking to us or even lecturing us. They are talking to one another. A very good example is in this bizarre editorial from a little paper in New York somewhere.

Donald Trump is heading to November like a certain zeppelin heading to New Jersey, in a darkening sky that crackles with electricity. He is fighting crosswinds and trying new tacks — hiring the head of Breitbart News to run his campaign, trying on a new emotion (regret) in a speech on Thursday night, promising to talk more this week about immigration, his prime subject. There’s still no telling what will happen when the gasbag reaches the mooring.

It could be that the polls are right, and Mr. Trump will go down in flames. But while that will solve an immediate problem, a larger one will remain. The message of hatred and paranoia that is inciting millions of voters will outlast the messenger. The toxic effects of Trumpism will have to be addressed.

The sneering tone is crude, even by the smug standards of the New York Times, but it has a strange feel to it. It reads like the bargaining of someone promising to be a better person, if they manage to escape the dangerous situation. You don’t say those things for anyone but yourself and maybe your maker. It’s a form of bargaining where you think having had a revelation, you deserve a second chance at life. That’s how this editorial reads. The Old Gray Lady is promising to be more responsible if she can somehow escape the horror that is Donald Trump.

I think what we’re seeing here is the result of decades of insularity of the political class. The people occupying positions in the media have been divorced from the rest of us for so long, they are truly revolted by us. All of the scary campfire stores they used to tell one another about how the people in flyover country are just a bunch of racist mouthbreathers has become their reality. They really think they are under assault. All those times they called the Republican a Nazi is feeling like a prophecy to them now. It’s the 1932 Weimar elections all over again.

That’s the other thing that seems different about this election. It used to be that the beautiful people were nice to our face, but they privately looked down on the hoi polloi. In many cases, they felt sorry for the normals. For better or worse, many of their social projects were well intended, even if they ended in disaster. That’s not the case today. The beautiful people really and truly hate the average American. They barely tolerate us. It’s why the Old Gray Lady is writing these revenge fantasies for after they have destroyed Trump.

This election is often cast as a revolt by the plebs, but it is really a revolt of the elites. It’s as if they have used the rise of Trump as an excuse to open up about how they really feel about traditional America. They finally have an excuse to let those hillbillies speaking “frontier gibberish” know exactly where they stand. You really see this on the Right. All across elite conservative media we see spasm of hatred toward those they used say they represented. Kevin Williamson at National Review even wrote a weird fantasy article about how poor whites should die.