Too Stupid To Rule

Talk to anyone in law enforcement and they will tell you that the stupidity of criminals is a key part of solving crimes. The crooks leave clues and make huge blunders that allow the cops to catch them. Ray-Ray decides he has had enough of Peanut disrespecting him so he walks up to him at a party and starts shooting. Not only are there a million witnesses, Ray-Ray leaves the gun with his fingerprints and brags to his buddies latter that he just dusted Peanut at a party. It’s not a hard case to solve because Ray-Ray is a moron.

That comes to mind when reading the stories about the Clinton secret e-mail caper. We have enough of the details at this stage to have a rough idea how we got to this point. They wanted to have a secret communication method that would be not be subject to government security and Freedom of Information Act requests. They also figured that this secret system would be free from Congressional oversight. After all, if no one knew it existed, then no one could ask any questions about what was on it.

It’s not hard to imagine the conversations leading up to the decision to go with this plan versus using Google or Yahoo accounts. They figured that the reason guys like General Patraeus got caught using Gmail was that the government IT people were able to tell when people were accessing these systems via their work computers. Alternatively, they just assumed the government had access to these system like they do in the movies. Either way, they determined that using these options for personal stuff was a bad idea.

Hilariously, it appears they came to the conclusion that having their own e-mail server meant that all the e-mail was magically hidden in the box in Hillary’s bathroom. Their subsequent attempts to erase the hard drives suggests they did not know that e-mail travels across networks and is also stored on the receiver’s servers. Those servers are usually on a network not controlled by the recipient. They started to realize this at some point, which is why they smashed their phones and laptops.

The most amusing part of this caper is they started sending e-mails from this domain to people outside the domain. If they had kept this as a tight internal communication system, they could have got away with it. Highly secure e-mail systems actually work this way. You cannot send or receive mail from outside the domain. That way people cannot forward mail off the system and the system is not exposed to outsiders looking for an open window. In some government facilities, access is only through terminals in the facility.

Once e-mail was sent from the domain to outsiders, it was only a matter of time before the secret was out. They were lucky that most media people are remarkably stupid so they lack the wherewithal to wonder why Hillary Clinton did not have a State Department e-mail account. Watch the cable channels and you come away thinking that the people on TV just learned about e-mail last week. Eventually the Romanian cab driver unearthed the whole thing and the enterprise came crashing down.

The other bit of interest in the area of technical competence is how they responded to FBI requests for their e-mail. They printed them off and turned them over as paper documents. These are lawyers and they just assumed they could bury the government with paper. After all, how can they possibly organize 50,000 pages of e-mail? This is an old trick. In discovery one side asks for everything so you give them everything plus a mountain of junk they have to sort through to find what they want.

What they failed to understand is that the FBI digitized this stuff in a day or two. Modern high speed scanners can process 50 pages a minute. OCR technology can turn the paper into a machine readable document. Content management systems let you store millions of documents so they can be searched and sorted based on content. I have this on my laptop so I can stash all of my documents in a database, rather than file folders. The Clinton people were as ignorant of this as they were of how e-mail worked.

There are a lot of angles to these Clinton scandals, but the thing that transcends all of it is the rank stupidity of the people involved. There were safer and more secure ways to establish clandestine communications. Even with their setup, a modest amount of discipline would have prevented most of this from happening. All they had to do was limit mail going out of the system. When the time came to burn it down, they only had to destroy the server entirely and no one would be able to prove anything.

The argument from Team Trump in the closing days of the election is that Hillary Clinton is too corrupt to rule. He’s painting her as the face of the larger problem, which is the metastasizing corruption of the ruling class. It’s a good closing argument and it resonates, but the reason Hillary should not rule is she is dangerously incompetent and she surrounds herself with outlandishly stupid people. A society can survive crooked rulers, but it cannot survive stupid ones. Hillary Clinton is too stupid to rule.

Hamlet at the Bureau

Thinking about what comes next in this most bizarre of campaign seasons, it occurs to me that this is a good lesson in how nothing exists in isolation. Every decision has consequences. Those consequences may not be obvious and they may not show up until much later, but no action exists without a reaction. It’s the old gag about the time traveler going into the past, stepping on a spider, only to return to a world ruled by super intelligent insects. It is formally known as the Butterfly Effect.

In the early days of the Clinton administration, Team Clinton hoped to put a fellow crook in the job of attorney general. That way, they could make sure they had a member of the family blocking the inevitable criminal probes that follow the Clintons around like an odor.They tried Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood, but both failed to get confirmed. They settled on Janet Reno, a dull-witted bureaucrat just happy to have the work. They put her in the job for the same reason crooked southern politicians install their retarded brother in-law as sheriff. She was too dumb to get curious.

It mostly worked, but her stupidity also kept her from blocking cases that would prove to be embarrassing to the family. A real pro in the job would have headed off the intern problem, for example, before that got to Ken Starr. In fact, Kimba Wood is clever enough to have quashed the whole special prosecutor thing entirely. In other words, putting a stupid person in the job worked up until they needed a clever person in the job. You can be sure that Janet Reno does not get Solstice cards from the Clinton family.

Team Obama tabbed James Comey to the job of Director of the FBI primarily because he was harmless. Republicans had no problems with him and Democrats were not afraid of him. That’s not to say he is a crook. He’s just one of those careerists, who make a point of doing no more than the job requires. You run into thee guys all over government because they never get curious and ask too many questions. Politicians love these guys because they look like Boy Scouts, but they never cause any trouble.

For most of what the FBI does, having a straitlaced guy like Comey at the top works just fine. He’s an able administrator, who will be respected by his staff for being fair and sticking to the rules. His lack of political ambition means he can get along with the rank and file. So much of what the FBI does is just process, they need process guys to make sure the processes are followed. The Bureau has not been the swashbuckling crime fighters we see in TV for generations. It’s mostly bureaucrats processing paper.

The decision to put him in the top job looked like a genius move until last week. Having a go-along-to-get-a-long guy handling the Clinton problem made it easy to push him into a favorable decision. The trouble is, he is an honest guy with a conscience and apparently his conscience finally got the better of him. The same qualities that made it easy for the politicians to push him around, made it easy for his subordinates to push him to take on the Clinton Crime Family in the most spectacular way imaginable.

My bet is more than a few people in the Obama White House are thinking they should have found a crook to put into that job. If not a crook, at least someone with ambition for a life in DC after his term at the Bureau was up. That’s the kind of guy who would look for a way to make everyone happy, because he wants friends in town, not enemies. Comey is looking a lot like a guy who will be happy to retire to some small college job teaching law, after he finishes up his public service at the Bureau.

Now the Democrats have the worst possible problem. When they want to train all of their weapons on Trump and his defects, they now have to peel off a few divisions to attack Comey and the FBI. The trouble with that is it means this story stays on the front page. The Clinton campaign is about focusing everyone’s attention on Trump’s flaws so people don’t notice her corruption and unpleasantness. Now they have to choice but to talk about her corruption and everyone gets reminded of her unpleasantness.

What makes this even worse for Clinton is the subtext of this election is the systemic rot in the form of lying and rule breaking. The reason Trump’s line about the system being rigged resonates is most people think the pols are lying and the media is covering for them. This is the sort of story that presses on that wound. In the fullness of time, the face of this era of corruption will be Hillary Clinton. She is everything that is wrong with politics. This e-mail caper and the current drama over it just reminds everyone of why they’re pissed off.

My Heart is an Alligator

The meteor that just slammed into the Clinton campaign thanks to the FBI is one of those events that is both wildly entertaining, but also a bit baffling. The FBI director is not a moron so he had to know that this was an unprecedented act. He’s not just putting a new story into the political bloodstream, but he is putting himself and the FBI into the presidential election in an unprecedented way. In other words, he knew before he sent the letter that he was setting off the mother of all shit storms.

The question then is why has the FBI Director taken this step?

Assuming he knew the consequences, the only logical answer here is that the alternatives were all deemed to be far worse than setting off this scandal. This assumes he is not some sort of sadist that enjoys being in the middle of political pissing matches with skunks like the Clintons. It also means that waiting was not an acceptable choice. Waiting two weeks to send this letter would have avoided this and perhaps buried the news in the post election celebrating. For some reason, he decided this was not a viable option.

If we start from there, the question then becomes what could be so bad that the Director believed he had no choice. The first thing that comes to mind is that we have the story that money moved from Team Clinton to the number two man in the FBI, through his wife. Clinton helped raise money for a PAC that Terry McAuliffe controlled, which then handed half a million to the campaign of Jill McCabe, who is the wife of the number two man at the FBI. He was also working the e-mail case.

This is the sort of the thing that results in expensive lawyers getting phone calls from DC’s power players. It is possible that the game is to throw the Republicans some red meat by getting butch with Clinton over her e-mail. The problem here is Comey says they have new information and that will have to be disclosed. It also means tangling with Team Clinton, who could be in the White House in a few months. If you are going to strike the queen, you better kill the queen or have plans to leave the country.

Another possibility that comes to mind is something that was revealed in the daily WikiLeaks e-mails being dumps. We now have proof that the White House knew about the secret server and Obama was getting e-mails from Clinton’s private account. They had successfully played dumb on this but this steady release of e-mails has to be making people nervous. John Podesta is not some clerk. He is one of the biggest power brokers in Washington. He knows things that are not supposed to be known.

The other angle here is that the Obama people have always hated the Clintons and a lot of people on the Left of the party still hold a grudge against Hillary. This could simply be a case where the Obama people are using this as an excuse to execute the kill shot on someone they truly loath. Politics is a blood-sport and Obama’s people play rough. They cracked open sealed divorce documents twice to help Obama win local campaigns in Illinois. They would not flinch at doing the old bag like this.

That’s the other piece of the puzzle. It’s very clear that Team Clinton had no idea this was coming. Clinton looked poleaxed giving her statement to reporters and what she said bordered on nonsense. This was a well orchestrated hit job. In a town where keeping a secret is nearly impossible, the FBI managed to spring a total surprise. That was not an accident either. This was done for maximum effect. It either means the White House was in the dark up until Friday or the White House was orchestrating it.

There is also the lesson of Watergate. The caper was done for the most mundane reasons. John Dean acted as he did out of purely personal motives. Mark Felt talked because he had his feelings hurt. Alexander Butterfield was just an honest guy asked the right question at the right time. The point being, serendipity and personal grudges often count for more than Machiavellian scheming. Some last straw may have finally caused Comey to go rogue and take out Clinton at her most vulnerable moment.

Right now, my heart is an alligator.

Defenders of the Faith

The other day, this Ross Douthat column was sent to me and posted here in the comments. The reason is Ross appears to be riffing on some of my themes, particularly with regards to the managerial elite. It’s rare that anyone uses the language of James Burnham, much less his ideas, so I can see why people would assume some connection. I doubt Douthat reads this blog, but I’m flattered nonetheless. I know he reads Steve Sailer, so maybe he has run across this site too.

The thing is, Douthat is a scribe for hire and the people paying his rent are not much interested in a bare knuckled critique of the status quo. There’s that and the fact that he falls into the same trap as the rest of the Conservative Industrial Complex. That is, he has spent too long getting high off his own supply. By that I mean he largely accepts, as gospel, the marketing materials that have spewed out of conservative media for the last three decades. Specifically, that Official Conservatism™ is a mass movement.

Mass movements appeal to those seeking to shed their individual identity and take on that of the cause they admire. A practical organization, like political party or an issue group, appeals to those seeking to increase their status by attaining practical goals like winning office or pushing through some policy change. Somewhere in the Reagan years, the people leading the political fights on the Right began to think they were “happy warriors” leading a quasi-religious movement, putting principle ahead of achievement.

At the same time, they were taking advantage of the expanding opportunities for self-enrichment that comes from rising to the top of political organizations. Many members of the conservative commentariat have become fabulously rich, while the lesser lights enjoy six figure incomes and comfortable lifestyles paid for by non-profits and the tax payers. John Kasich, one of those happy warriors, is worth north of $20 million, despite working in government jobs his entire life. Not bad for the son of a milkman.

Douthat and the other “reformers from within” can’t bring themselves to face this reality. The closest they come is when it comes to the Bush years.

The first failure was a failure of governance and wisdom, under George W. Bush and in the years that followed. Had there been weapons of mass destruction under Iraqi soil and a successful occupation, or had Bush and his advisers chosen a more prudent post-Sept. 11 course, the trust that right-wing populists placed in their elites might not have frayed so quickly. If those same conservative intellectuals had shown more policy imagination over all, if they hadn’t assumed that the solutions of 1980 could simply be recycled a generation later, the right’s blue-collar voters might not have drifted toward a man who spoke, however crudely, to their more immediate anxieties.

This sounds remarkably similar to the excuses made for Soviet communism, by Marxist academics in the West. They could not excuse the murder and squalor that were the inevitable end of communism, so they argued that the Russians had simply done it wrong. If they had only listened to the academics, things would be different. That’s Douthat’s claim with the Iraq invasion. He can’t admit it was a horrible blunder and the natural result of elite “conservatism.” Instead, he says it was just a good idea poorly executed.

The bulk of his brief is just an extended rant about the horribleness of the Dirt People.

The second failure was a failure of recognition and self-critique, in which the right’s best minds deceived themselves about (or made excuses for) the toxic tendencies of populism, which were manifest in various hysterias long before Sean Hannity swooned for Donald Trump. What the intellectuals did not see clearly enough was that Fox News and talk radio and the internet had made right-wing populism more powerful, relative to conservatism’s small elite, than it had been during the Nixon or Reagan eras, without necessarily making it more serious or sober than its Bircher-era antecedents.

I’d offer a more sober interpretation. What happened in the late 80’s is that so-called conservative intellectuals figured out they could get as fabulously rich as their liberal buddies by slapping the word “conservative” on just about anything and selling it to decent people, claiming the proceeds were going to finance the fight against the Left. The reason the Dirt People are pissed off is they have finally wised up to the fact it was all just a hustle. They’re pissed because they were made to look like fools by people they trusted.

The somewhat comical part of the column is in his conclusion.

So it is that today, three generations after Buckley and Burnham, the academy and the mass media are arguably more hostile to conservative ideas than ever, and the courts and the bureaucracy are trending in a similar direction.

Reflecting on this harsh reality has confirmed some conservatives in their belief that the managerial order is inherently left wing, and that the goal of a conservative politics should be to sweep the managerial class away entirely. This is part of the appeal of Trump to a small cohort within the right’s intelligentsia, who imagine that his strongman approach can unweave the administrative state and strip the overclass of all its powers.

This idea strikes me as fatuous and fantastical at once. But is there an alternative? Continetti’s essay hints at one: to make intellectual conservatism a more elite-focused project, to seek “a conservative tinged Establishment capable of permeating the managerial society and gradually directing it in a prudential, reflective, virtuous manner respectful of both freedom and tradition.”

This path seems considerably more appealing (and more republican) than the dream of a Trump-led Thermidor. But is it any more plausible? To begin anew, at such steep disadvantages, what amounts to missionary work?

This is the heroin addict saying the cure is more heroin. This is the head of a company in bankruptcy saying only he can lead the company back to profitability. This is the nobleman, trapped in his castle, offering to lead the peasant revolt. It’s also an offensively idiotic characterization of what’s happening. Exactly no one imagines Trump as a strongman sent to sweep away the over class. That’s the sort of thing guys like Ross Douthat tell themselves so they can feel like heroes for supporting Clinton.

The fact is, democracy inevitably leads to one party rule. This is the lesson of history. If there is going to be an alternative to the dominant orthodoxy, it is going to be an alternative, not an echo. That means it will be anti-managerial, anti-democratic and anti-egalitarian. It will be opposed to the cornerstone beliefs of the ruling class. You can defend it or oppose it, but there can be no compromise. That’s the lesson of Conservative Inc’s failure. They sought compromise where there could be none, so they just sold out instead.

Avoiding The Honky In The Room

The NBA season has kicked off this week and if you are a white guy, you most likely don’t care all that much. That’s not to say that no white people follow the NBA. It’s just that basketball, particularly the NBA, is the sport for black people. My guess is 90% of black people would list the NBA as their favorite sport, while 90% of whites would have the NBA down on the list or not on the list. One reason for that is the league is dominated by black guys. As this site details, the honkies are thin on the ground in the modern NBA.

According to The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, the NBA was 74.3 percent black during the 2015-16 season and 81.7 percent were people of color. The study said that the NBA was 18.3 percent white last season, which was 5 percent less than the season before. The league was also a record 22.3 percent international last season.

That 18.3 percent of whites in the NBA from TIDES also includes non-Americans such as Europeans, Canadians and Australians of white descent. Entering the 2015-16 season, the NBA had 42 white American-born players. The NBA had its inaugural season 70 years ago with a league full of white players. As of Sunday, there were 43 white Americans on 30 NBA teams with the season starting Tuesday. Eight teams didn’t have a white American player entering last season, while seven teams don’t have one now.

Unsaid here is the fact that the stars of the league are all black. The last prominent honky was Dirk Nowitzki. Before that, it was Larry Bird. Before that it was John Havlicek in the 70’s. In my lifetime I can count the white stars of the NBA on one hand so it is reasonable to say that the league has been dominated by the brothas since forever. Despite all the preaching and browbeating from our rulers, everyone knows that basketball is the black man’s game. Like a lot of reality, though, it remains unsaid.

The first bit of unintended humor in the piece is when the writer asks the honkies what they learned about black culture as tokens in the black man’s world.

“I like hip-hop, yeah.”

“I like to listen to hip-hop”

“I have definitely picked up on slang, music and food”

“I listen to more rap, hip-hop in the locker room.”

Not a word about peanut butter.

Anyway, the truly hilarious part is when the writer asked the honkies why there are so few white guys in the NBA. J. J. Redick’s answer suggests he had a mild stroke when asked the question:

It does seem there are less and less white Americans. I’d like to know with [Kirk] Hinrich and Steve Blake out this year, how many white guards are there this year in the NBA? Are there even five? If you’re 6-feet-10 inches, can walk, are skilled and can chew gum and all that, defend the rim, you’ll have a job. It doesn’t matter what your skin color is. You’ll have a job.

I don’t know if it’s other sports. Part of it is the game is faster. Players play in space. There is more of an emphasis on shooting. Maybe they are not being taught in suburbia. I don’t know. I don’t know what the answer to that is.

The rest of the answers from the other players range from gibberish to some version of “Please God let this end before I say something stupid.” You can’t blame them for it as the surest way for a white guy to end up in a public struggle session is to talk about race. The one guy, who said what everyone knows is true, is some guy named Parsons. He said, “The NBA is a collection of some of the most athletic guys in the world. And white guys just aren’t that athletic.”  Yep, there’s the answer.

The NBA altered the rules of their game over the years to make it a running and jumping sport. Whether or not this was intended to make it a black guy sport is hard to say, but given the demographics of the league’s ownership, it is a safe assumption. This is also a league that embraced gangster rap and the hip-hop lifestyle in the 90’s so it is fair to assume they really want to be a black league, except for the ticket base, which remains conspicuously white. Going to an NBA game for these people is an act of contrition.

The lunacy of the modern age is on full display here. Baseball get grief because the makeup of their players matches up pretty well with America. About 13% of baseball players are black. There are loads of Hispanics, both local and foreign, as well as Asian players. Even the management positions have long looked like America, in terms of racial makeup. The NBA is nothing like the demographics of America and it is celebrated as a model of diversity. In modern America, this is diversity, while this is racism.

How long people refuse to notice this is the question of our age.

The End of Radicalism

In the middle of the 19th century, European politics was about the role of the monarchy, nationalism, democracy, capitalism and the emerging political consciousness of urban working classes. The latter is where communism found its opening. In America, politics was about slavery, sectionalism, the territories and protectionism. Monarchism was obviously not of any interest to Americans, but neither was communism. It is a good reminder that politics is always local to both time and place.

It does not always feel that way though. If you were a Frenchman in 1970, the big debates were about the same stuff as they were in the 1940’s. Sure, the Algerian question was a hot topic in the Fourth Republic and not so much in the Fifth Republic, but the ideological landscape was the same. Similarly, US politics settled into a center-left consensus after World War II and remained so throughout the Cold War. The topics changed from decade to decade, but the ideological landscape did not change very much.

I picked these two periods for a reason. The Revolutions of 1848, or the Springtime of Nations, was a time when old ideological frameworks were collapsing and new ones were emerging. The remaining feudal arrangements were being toppled in favor of nationalist arrangements.The post-war period a century later was a time when the new arrangements, the Pax Americana, were settling in across the West. The point being is that all epics have a start and a finish, with the former beginning in the latter.

It is generally assumed that we are living in an age where the old order is under pressure and new challengers are rising up to offer an alternative to the status quo. Is this just the the Pax Americana unraveling as the United States staggers along into decline as the world’s remaining super power? Are we seeing the emergence of a post-liberal consensus built around supra-national organizations controlled by global elites? If so, is the nationalist reaction just a rearguard action? Or is this the end of the liberal era entirely?

One thing seems clear and that is American Progressivism is dead as an ongoing ideological movement. The managerial class still uses the language and tactics of the Left, but they are fully committed to global capitalism. Hillary Clinton is the face of the Left and she is wholly owned by Wall Street. Her embrace of open borders cuts what is left of the cord linking Progressives with the labor movements out of which they grew in the prior century. A liberal from the 60’s, looking at the current Left, would be horrified.

The remaining radicals on the Left are just posers. These are the people who embrace things like structural racism, gender identity, sexism, climate change, and economic inequality. Guys like Ta-Nehisi Coates are just ornaments for managerial class types to decorate their cultural institutions. Since most of what these people say and write is nonsense, they can be indulged. Again, a Hillary Clinton can be seen with a copy of a Piketty book, on her way to give a speech at Goldman Sachs.

Similarly, the European Left is a dead man walking. The British Labour Party now looks like a comedy skit from Monty Python. The Lib-Dems have collapsed entirely. The two main British parties are the SNP and the Tories, both embrace technocracy. It is a similar story on the Continent as the the main stream parties, both Left and Right slowly fuse together in defense of Europe against the rise of nationalist parties. As in America, the European Left is married to global finance and managerial authoritarianism.

What the 19th century made clear is that constitutional monarchy was just a transition phase, from aristocratic rule to liberal rule. Something similar may be true about social democracy. The Left has always dreamed of one-world global socialism. Communism was always intended to obliterate national borders. Socialism, in its various national manifestations, may simply have been a transitional phase. Once the nations of the West are ruled by like minded technocrats, the next logical step is merger.

Alternatively, this could be the end phase of the radicalism born in the French Revolution. The rise of traditionalist, reactionaries and nationalists all over the West could be a classical liberal reaction to the restoration of a new aristocratic system of rule. Instead of a ruling elite selected by magic blood, the restored aristocracy will be a mandarin system based on the acquisition of credentials, only attainable by the sons and daughters of the managerial elite. Instead of inherited titles, they have legacy admissions to elite colleges.

This is all idle speculation, of course, but like the people of the mid-19th century, in the midst of the revolts, we are witnessing a great transition away from the old system to something new. The Left that has been a feature of the West, the cornerstone of the ruling consensus, is going away. Socialist economics are dead. Communism is a museum piece. National liberation, a staple of post-colonial radical politics in the last century, has been thrown down the memory hole. All that’s left of radicalism is nostalgia.

Marx Was Right, Sort Of

In the Communist Manifesto, Marx described the periodic crisis of capitalism in terms of “the enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces.” Marx argued that the productive forces unleashed by capitalism eventually get out of hand and the result is excess, thus collapsing the value of the means of production. The capital classes remedy this by enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces, the conquest of new markets, and by the more thorough exploitation of existing markets.

Marx gets blamed for the 100 million or so murders committed in his name, but he did make a few insightful observations. For instance, the nature of business to ruthlessly exploit existing markets in pursuit of growth, even when it becomes self-defeating, is still true today. Similarly, business will bankrupt itself in pursuit of new markets, all in the name of growth. Much of what plagues us these days is the result of global business desperately searching for a new market to exploit. It is also at the heart of what is ailing the NFL.

A lot of people are blaming the idiotic and offensive antics of the players for the sudden drop in ratings. Football players have short careers and most end up broke soon after leaving the game, but most men envy them anyway. Boys grow up wanting to be a sports star and that admiration carries over into adulthood, long after we know the reality of sport. Colin Kaepernick disrespecting the fans and the country by kneeling during the anthem grates on people. Normal people think he is an ungrateful prick.

That may be part of the problem the NFL is facing, but my sense is the impact is trivial. Maybe it is the last straw for some people, but if you are a sports fan, you are willing to overlook the antics of the meat heads wearing your team’s colors. The individual players are not all that important to the drama. The point of professional sport is to simulate the tribal warfare for which all of us were born. Instead of defeating the neighboring tribe’s men and stealing their women, we watch our team beat their team at a ball game.

The real issue that is plaguing the NFL is they have run out of ways to separate their customers from their money. In fact, they ran out of sensible ways to do that a long time ago. That’s why they have started holding games in foreign countries. They think they can maybe find new customers to exploit. The games they hold in London, for example, cost the league millions, but they hope that Brits will get hooked on the narcotic of the NFL and cough up millions for the product. So far, no good.

As Marx observed, they are also ruthlessly trying to exploit their existing market. Go to an NFL game and you come away feeling like you have just been mugged. It’s not the absurd prices for everything. They constantly bombard the fan with marketing, because they expect the fan to commit his life to the corporate entity known as his team. Go to a Dallas Cowboy game, for example, and you are treated to a long pre-game ceremony about how you are not just a fan, you are soldier in the army of the Dallas Cowboys.

Of course, most people consume their sports via the television and that’s where you see the ravenous appetite of the NFL as they ruthlessly exploit their market. It used to be that the NFL games were played at one o’clock on Sunday afternoon. Now, there are games all day on Sunday. There’s a game on Sunday night and Monday night. Now we have a game on Thursday night. If that is not enough, there’s the NFL package for your phone, tablet and whatever else you use to consume media.

The games are now more advertising than games. As the linked article points out, the games themselves are only about 10-15 minutes of action. The rest of the presentation is fluff and most of that is advertising. There’s a play and then the refs have to hold a meeting about it. That means a break to sell product for three or four minutes. They get back to the game for a few plays and then it is time to have a break for more commercials. It’s why the Red Zone Channel is so popular. It has no ads.

The NFL is in many ways emblematic of the modern credit economy. Rich guys buy the teams on borrowed money at artificially low interest rates. They don’t really care that much about the cash flow, like a normal business. Their game is to inflate the value of the franchise over the duration of their investment. To do that means maximizing the “brand” and that costs money, which is why they load up their product with ads to the point where it is more ads than product. The NFL is a big bust out.

What’s happening to the NFL is their endless pursuit of growth has put the live product out of reach for most people. The TV version is exhausting the viewers with marketing and advertising. In an effort to fully exploit its market, it is destroying the desirability of the product. This is not exactly as Marx imagined the crisis of capitalism, but it is a good lesson on the fantasy of endless growth. The whole point of the NFL as a business is to get bigger and that cannot go on forever.

This does not mean the NFL is about to go out of business, but it serves as a useful lesson about the limits of the asset model. The modern credit economy is based on the idea that asset values can grow forever, therefore the credit base can grow forever. The NFL is based on the same premise. In both cases, the effort to keep the fantasy alive in the face of objective reality, is doing more harm than good. The question is how long does it take the people in charge to figure it out.


A Meandering Post About Nothing

Imagine you are in a room with six sides and each wall has a door. If you leave the room through one of the doors, you end up in another six-sided room with doors. Assuming no obstacle, you can move in a straight line in any of six directions. If there obstacles, then things gets more complex. Anyone old enough to remember the Avalon Hill war games from the 70’s will be familiar with this concept.  The idea was to simulate the 360-degree movement of the real world, but with segmented game space.

Now, imagine yourself in that first room and let’s assume it is filled with sights, sounds, smells and all sorts of other things that you can experience with your senses. So much so, in fact that you can’t quite experience and remember all of them. You spend as much time as you want, studying as much of the room as possible, before moving to the next room. Let’s say you master 80% of what there is to master. Then you move onto the next room to experience whatever lies within.

Here’s the thing though. You can only remember so much before the memory begins to fade and you forget some things. When you get into the new space, you have new stuff to process and organize in your head. Making room for the new stuff means forgetting some of the old stuff. Let’s say you forget a third of what you tried to remember of the first room by the time you get to the 80% point in the new room. Your head now contains 66% of 80% of the first room and 80% of the second room.  You can do the math. I’ll wait.

If you move into the third room, you forget even more of the first room. You can see where this is headed. Keep moving from room to room and before long you only have vague recollections of what happened in the first rooms where you started. Even if you write stuff down you’re recollections are bound to get out of whack. When it comes to why you picked one door over another or what you were thinking at the time, well, your memory will be clouded by the present. It’s called recency bias.

Now, instead of you moving from room to room, imagine it is generations of men. The first generation operates in the first room. The next generation moves onto the second room, taking with them as much as they can recall being taught to them by the first generation. Then the third generation moves onto its phase of existence, having only second hand memories of their grandparent’s age. It does not take but a few generations before the people in the present are thoroughly detached from their ancestors. All they have are recollections of recollections.

That’s where the modern conservative finds himself in this age of turmoil. I was listening to someone on the radio the other day, lamenting the fact that no matter what happens in the election, the “conservative movement” is mortally wounded. The Trump insurgency has forever marginalized those rock-ribbed conservatives and their dreams of managerial technocracy. They did not put it that way, but that was the flavor of it. The person saying this clearly had no recollection of where the Right started or the road it had taken to end up at what some think is its terminus.

The fact is, Official Conservatism is so far from where it started, it is a crime against the language to call it “conservative.” The traditional American Right was always an individual liberty cause, which starts and ends with freedom of association. Everything that can be “conservative” rests on the basic idea that you have a basic right to associate with whom you like, when you like, on the terms you like. No one on the modern Right has talked about that in so long it is now forbidden knowledge.

The people writing at the big foot conservative publications never think about such things. Most of them came into the world of political ideology thinking that conservatism was about cutting taxes and losing wars of choice. The geezers came along when conservatism was focused on fighting the Russians and trying to figure out how to get around Roe in order to curtail abortion. The neocons are pretty much just hyper-violent globalists with a bizarre grudge against the Russians.

It’s why Trump’s talk about law and order, for example, sounds so alien and weird to the modern right-winger. To their ears, it almost sounds like Trump is hostile to government, which is crazy talk on the Right these days. That’s because the modern conservative is so far removed from the time when conservatism stood for ordered liberty that it is no longer even a recollection of a recollection. It is no longer part of their mental landscape so it falls outside their definition of conservative.

One can go on forever about the wrong turns the Right has made over the decades. Lord knows I’ve written enough on the topic. None of which really matters all that much, as the modern Right is where it is, in this time, a time when it no longer has anything to offer those outside the statist ideology of modern globalism. The alternative to post-national managerialism cannot be a different version of post-national managerialism. That’s why people, particularly young people, are turning their back on it, heading off to other rooms.

The New Model Rhodesia

I read a book years back titled Banana Sunday by a former Telegraph reporter named Chris Munnion. The book is a memoir about his career covering Africa for the British papers. Munnion was an old school reporter. By that I mean he did not subscribe to narrative journalism where the reporters collect up facts to fit the pre-written story. In his memoir he covers the rise of that form of journalism and why it was and is totally insane. That’s not the point of the book, but it is an interesting side bar. Otherwise, the book is about Africa.

The book is full of a great observations about the Dark Continent, but the part that stuck with me is on the fall of Rhodesia. There are two schools of thought on what happened in Rhodesia. One says it was inevitable, as Africans would eventually revolt against their white rulers just on racial grounds. We don’t hear this sort of argument much these days, as it is just politely assumed. The fact that what came next for what is now called Zimbabwe is not exactly the ringing endorsement for the claims of the multiculturalists.

The other school of thought says that Zimbabwe is the inevitable end of multiculturalism. The elevation of non-whites to preferred status is simply viewed as a surrender by whites to non-whites, who do what victors always do in ethnic conflict. They slaughter and subjugate the vanquished. In 1960 Rhodesia was 4% white, with the prosperous portion in the south being 7% white. The total population was 8 million. Today it is all black with a population of 15 million. It is also one of the poorest countries in the world.

The thing about these competing theories is they are not really in competition as they both accept the inevitable conclusion. In the West, the people in charge are possessed with a bizarre fatalism about migration out of the south into the north. Exactly no one makes the claim that importing millions of Muslims into Europe, for example, is good for Europeans. They simply claim that it is inevitable and since the mystery forces of history will it, it must be the morally correct thing to embrace. Right side of history and all that.

You see this in the increasingly bizarre acting out by America’s PC elites on the college campus. This story from Emory University is one that caught my attention, because it shows that we are a long way from the old Civil Rights days of equality and integration. There’s little doubt that the organizer spends his free time nursing anti-white revenge fantasies, where his tribe rises up and smashes the Pale Penis People. After all, if your organizing principle is hatred of the honkies, what else are you dreaming about?

If these sorts of things were organized by fringe minority nutters, it would be of no consequence. The truth is multiculturalism shrivels up in an instant without the support of white elites. They invented it and they sustain it. It is their religion. Non-whites are vastly more practical, but they play along as this is their ticket up the social ladder. Fifty years ago black elites named their kids after Founders and preached the Protestant work ethic to one another. Today, they give their kids nonsense names and preach hatred of whitey.

When you read about Rhodesia the thing that jumps out is that many of the whites in charge of the country were just as delusional as their superiors back home. Both assumed things about the black population that have proven to be completely false. The people on the ground, however, had enough of a survival instinct to work their way through reality to a solution. The European elites were simply too drunk on multiculturalism to see what was happening and anyway, they were isolated from it.

There’s a similar vibe going on in the West today. The overgrown boys and girls romping around the campus kindergartens of America are just high on the fumes of their own sanctimony. They can indulge all of their fantasies because they are inoculated from reality, at least for now. They can rail against white males and turn them into lepers on campus because there’s no risk. Even if public pressure thwarts these efforts, guys like DeLa Sweeney suffer no personal or professional consequences.

The big difference between what happened in post-colonial Africa and what is happening in the West now is there is no escape. Instead, the elites, based on and around the campus, both corporate and academic, imagine a world like New Haven. Yale is a safe, secure world where the modern Eloi can live self-actualizing lives. Occasionally one of them is eaten by the Morlocks living down the hill in the rough parts of New Haven, but otherwise they are immune to the reality of daily life. That’s the future our elites dream for themselves.

I’m sure it will work out just fine.

Observations From The Front

Yesterday, professional conman David French posted this ridiculous sob story, where he nails himself to the cross, claiming he was sent to save mankind from Donald Trump. The result of his efforts has been a journey of suffering. It’s all nonsense, of course. Put yourself or your opinions out into the pubic and you will attract all sorts of nuts. I get on-line stalkers and weirdos all the time and I’m just running a blog. Go on TV and the pool of potential jerks and meanies goes up exponentially. It’s one of the trade-offs.

I’ve been pointing out for  along time that French is a nutter.  He’s the sort of guy that lives by the credo, “whatever is worth doing is worth overdoing.” These sorts of people can never dabble in anything, They get into something and it becomes all consuming. They begin to organize their lives around the obsession. Then all of a sudden, they lose interest in it and find some new obsession. You see that with French, who lurches from one fanaticism to the next. In every case, he goes well beyond what is reasonable.

Glenn Beck has this same defect. He could not be just a guy at the bar, he had to be a legendary drinker. Then it was drugs. Then it was religion, politics, history and I think now he is working on the details for his planned Utopia. The thing you see with Beck, that you see with French, is that their obsessions are not internal. They get into things that they can make a grand show of in order to impress people they see as their betters. Beck’s Blaze operation is an obvious attempt to replicate what Roger Ailes did with Fox News.

Whether or not nutjobs like French and Beck possess the self-awareness to know what they are doing is debatable. My hunch is the guys with the religious aspect to their lunacy secretly see themselves as the second coming. Beck and French both pitch themselves as prophets sent to save mankind. It’s not explicit, as that would get them locked up, but it’s just under the surface. If Beck’s thing ends like The People’s Temple, no one would be surprised as he increasing sounds like a cult leader.

The only reason I’m aware of French piece is Jonah Goldberg was flogging it on Twitter last night. Goldberg used to wave Beck around like a Medusa head back in the day. Before that he was fond of using Rod Dreher as his spear catcher. The fact that both were becoming religious nuts at the time suggests something. Now he is using French to step on mines for him, suggesting it is getting near the end of French’s run in the big foot conservative press. Maybe Beck has an extra purple shroud for him.

Anyway, what I pointed out on Twitter is that this is pretty much a classic response from a conman when his scheme falls apart. They also play the victim card. Their whole raison d’être is to exploit the virtues of others. They prey on the trust of good people. When that runs aground, they prey on the sympathy of good people. The game here is to shift the focus away from the traitorous behavior of the NeverTrump loons and onto a few potty mouthed villains on Twitter. It’s just another grift intended to victimize good people.

One of the responses had a pic of French on one of his TV appearances. This was on MSNBC and it occurred to me that a good lesson for the alt-right, one the Left learned long ago, is to punish collaborators mercilessly. All of the big shot “conservatives” have a habit of working for media outlets at war with decent Americans. If you are working for the enemy, regardless of your reasons, you are working for the enemy. After liberation, the French shaved the heads of women who slept with Nazis.

That’s the lesson from the failure of Conservative Inc. They sold their collaboration as part of their clever plot to convince the enemy of the rightness of their cause. They were not collaborating. No! They were going into the lion’s den to confront Lefty in his own lair! We know now that that was always bullshit. They were paid actors in league with Progressives to fool decent people into quietly going along with the madness being foisted on us. It’s why these rocked ribbed conservatives are now on the side of the Left opposing Trump.

The alt-right and affiliated movements are suddenly getting many new recruits from the disbanding armies of the Official Right. With a bigger audience, the opportunities to make money inevitably creep into the minds of the entrepreneurial. There’s nothing wrong with making a living, but anyone doing so by going on the cable shows or collaborating with the major media should be assumed to be a collaborator. If Mike Cernovich wants to sell books and videos, that’s fine. When he starts turning up on Fox News, he should be assumed to be Cypher.

All wars are media wars and all wars require sacrifice. If the people offering themselves up as leaders of your thing are easily tempted by offerings from the other side, you can never trust them. No man is so virtuous that he can resist the highest bidder. If being on TV is your goal in life, you will sacrifice your cause for it. That’s what happened with National Review and the rest of Conservative Inc. Like petty nobles bribed with a few extra acres of land or merchants bought off with title, they decided it was better to live a lie than suffer for the cause.