Meta-Movie Man

They say art holds a mirror up to society, which means something becomes art when it reveals the nature of society or just nature itself. The classical nude statues are art, rather than pornography, because they are idealized representations created to celebrate the human form. Literature becomes art when it portrays society in such a way that it reveals certain truths about the age. For example, The Great Gatsby is art, because it captures the age and the reality of materialism.

Whether or not movies can rise to the level of art is debatable, as the medium is superficial by design. Another aspect of art is it tempts the person experiencing it to think about things they may not be naturally inclined to consider. Motion pictures are a passive medium, encouraging the viewer to relax and let the images flashing past him do all the heavy lifting. Citizen Kane is considered the best film ever made, but it does not rival literature in terms of artistic impact.

That said, maybe movies should be judged on a narrower artistic standard, in that maybe the best they can do is reflect attitudes of the age. The science fiction shows on the later-50’s and early-60’s, for example, reveal the optimism of the age with regards to scientific progress. Fast forward a generation and science fiction films reveal the fear and disappointment in science. Today, science fiction is mostly multicultural personal drama in space, revealing the feminization of our age.

In other words, like pop music, a movie can be considered art if it comes to symbolize the times in which it was made. The 1970’s movie Saturday Night Fever can be called art, because it reflects the vulgarity of the time. The movie Terminator is a reflection of the anxiety over the Cold War and the nuclear arms race. These movies are not art because they achieve some high technical standard, but simply because they were popular, touching some nerve with the public at the time.

It is a low standard, for sure, but popular culture is a low-brow product made for profit, not artistic achievement. The performers and characters in the business of producing this content can call themselves artists, but in reality, they are just the modern version of carny-folk, tolerated by society for entertainment purposes. The elevation of the profane in the modern age, is itself a statement about the age and the people, who have taken over control of the culture. Our is the age of vulgarians.

Putting that aside, by this standard, Quentin Tarantino is probably one of the great artists of the modern age. His movies tend to reflect some aspect of the times, in an exaggerated and juvenile manner. He makes movies that his ten-year-old self wanted to see, so they tend to lack anything resembling complexity and instead feature exaggerated characters that even a child can grasp. They are morality tales for stupid people, who are not all that interested in lectures about morality.

His latest film, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, is a long boring buddy story about a fading television actor. It is set in late-1960’s Los Angeles and references every popular news event of the period. The point of the film is to tell the people, who came of age in that time, especially those who grew up in Los Angeles, that it was a great time to be a young American. It was also a great time to be famous, as you got to party and bang starlets, even if you were a minor television star.

Tarantino, of course, is a meta-movie maker. He tends to make movies about movies and the world around movies. All of his shows are celebratory versions of the B-movies he watched growing up as a kid. In some respects, he is the Gen-X movie maker, in that his stories never end well, but the bad endings don’t offer a larger critique of the times or offer a lesson about the characters. In other ways, they lampoon the long shadow of the Baby Boom culture the 60’s and 70’s.

You see that in his latest film. The people are living in an idyllic time, where they can have great lives with little actual work. That time in California was probably the best time and place to live in post-war America. Yet, the degeneracy of the people and the pointlessness of their existence eventually destroyed that society. Modern Los Angeles is homeless camps and third world peasants. A white person growing up in that squalor will come to hate their ancestors for having created it.

That’s the funny thing with Tarantino. He grew up watching cheesy B-movies and re-runs of 1960’s television shows. Much of that content was science fiction. Yet, he has yet to make a movie about the future or even a B-movie version of it. The space movies of his youth would make good fodder for his brand of film, but instead all of his stuff is set in the past. From an artistic perspective, he is a man backing through life, watching was passes into the fading mists of his age.

Again, whether movies can be considered art is debatable. Art should be lasting and movies just don’t hold up over time. Still, by a lower standard, one that simply relies on cultural relevance, Tarantino would be counted as an artist. His movies speak to a people living in steep cultural and demographic decline. His latest celebrates the memories of a generation who will literally be gone in a generation. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood is an epitaph for a generation and a nation.

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Our Legacy Code

There is a bit of a paradox within all systems in that the point of the system is to regulate human activity, as well as the activity initiated by humans. At the same time, it is just at the point where they reach that goal where they become obsolete. When the humans can no longer change the system or work around it efficiently, the users of the system start to question the system. The end point of all systems is the point at which it reaches its logical conclusion.

The most obvious is business software systems. A company initially buys a software system because it has logic that will implement the business processes the company seeks to implement. Soon, they begin to tinker with it in an effort to wring out more utility from the system. Maybe that is small modifications to parts of the system logic or additional data items to existing data sets. They keep doing this and over time the system does just about everything the business needs.

At some point, they want to make an additional change, but see that the cost of making this change to the nearly finalized software system is higher than the benefit they will receive from the change. At first this is proof that their long work on the system was a success, but in time it is seen as a defect, a shortcoming. They begin to look for a new system that will allow them to begin the process a new, so they can modify it to slowly make it a perfect tool for the business.

This life-cycle of a software system is not unique to technology. It happens in other systems as well. It is not unreasonable to think of revolution as the replacement of a legacy system with a modern one. Politics in this sense is the software of society, purchased by the elite, implemented by the ruling class and administered by the bureaucracy of the state. It is why libertarianism is impossible, by the way. It requires a society to return to pencil and paper on purpose.

Sticking with the software analogy, another thing that is revealed by revolutions and even the successful reform efforts is something you see with software systems, which is the accumulation of cruft. Much of the “improvement” gained by changing systems comes from abandoning old logic and requirements that never made any sense, but took too much time and money to remove. This often means people whose jobs exist because of that cruft in the legacy system.

The same applies in social systems. A genuine reform effort in America, for example, could simply start with firing everyone from the federal system who has an odd number of letters in their last name. Sure, some genuinely essential personnel would be lost, but the thousands of bits of human cruft would make up the difference. Much of what plagues late empire America is the generations of pointless and redundant code along with the associated people that covers the system like plaque.

Revolutions are cast as revolts by commoners over practical issues. The revolt gets out of hand either by circumstance or some failure by the elites. The result is a toppling of the system. To go back to the software analogy, the revolution is a revolt by users that cannot be addressed by the guys in IT. The system cannot be changed to meet the demands of the users, so the system is removed, the IT department is put to the sword and a new software system is purchased and implemented.

That’s true in primitive societies. The Bolshevik revolution could not have happened in an industrial society. Western Europe did not go from feudalism to industrial communism, because it first entered into a period of limited liberal democracy. The Russians were still operating a social system built for the tenth century, but trying to adapt it to technology and thinking from the 19th century. They went from pencil and paper to cybernetics in one big leap forward.

A better way to think of revolution, using the software analogy, is that point in the life-cycle when the cost of change exceeds the perceived benefit. The French Revolution is a good example of this. The aristocracy could not justify to themselves the cost of changing the system they inherited. The bourgeois revolutionary first started as a reformer, like the quality team inside a company. It’s when necessary change appeared to be impossible that they demanded the legacy system be replaced.

We are seeing this with the political class. The first round of efforts to modify the existing system started in 2016 with the election of Trump. We’re seeing a second round now with the apparent nomination of Bernie Sanders as his challenger. Trump was always a reformer who believed in the fundamental integrity of the system. Sanders is a revolutionary who promises to first remove the legacy system. His platform is mostly about removing the old with promises of something better.

In its response to these challenges, the so-called meritocracy is proving the point made by the reformers and the revolutionaries. They could, in theory, easily adjust to co-opt the reformers and delegitimize the revolutionaries. Yet in both cases they assumed the defensive crouch rather than change their behavior. Like the IT guys maintaining the legacy software system, they see change as a threat, so they make change more expensive than the perceived benefits of those changes.

In 2016, the Republican Party could have easily stopped Trump by moving toward him on immigration, trade and endless war. Instead, they advised the other candidates to move the other way, thus paving Trump’s way to the nomination. Something similar has happened with Sanders. Instead of co-opting his bread and butter issues, the party told the candidates to go extra heavy on wokeness, trannies and white privilege. This has made Sanders the default for those who reject that stuff.

If the political class was a business, senior management would be meeting about why the management and administrative layers have been unable to deal with this problem, despite all of the warnings. It would be time for a major shakeup. The trouble is, the so-called meritocracy that controls politics is the senior management. Only a shareholder revolt, to mix metaphors, is going to change things. Perhaps that is what the 2020 election is shaping up to be, a shareholder revolt.

The trouble with these analogies is that when a company buys a new software system or reorganizes its business processes, they don’t execute the people defending the old way or even have them sent to camps. Those people either embrace the new or quietly go away with their severance. In politics, the old people never go away quietly and instead fight to the last man to defend a legacy system that serves them. The last three years of Trump make that abundantly clear.

For those puzzled by the appeal of Sanders, there’s your answer. American politics is controlled by an elite that keeps one large swath of voters in one party and another large swath in another party, then makes them fight one another. In 2016, the voters in one camp revolted against their camp guards. In 2020, the other camp is staging a revolt. In both cases, it is a revolt against legacy code that appears to be beyond reform. We are living in legacy code that must be replaced, if it cannot be patched.

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A New Radicalism

One of the sad truths about the Trump era is that the Republican Party will return to being the Bush party as soon as Trump leaves office. The 2020 election could be a blowout, giving Trump a mandate to push through all sorts of populist projects, as well as giving the GOP a huge majority. Trumpism could become the default position of the base, but the party will immediately begin selling itself as a the kinder, gentler Trumpism as soon as Trump is in the rear-view mirror.

It is one of the enduring features of post-war America. Pat Buchanan pointed it out way back in the 1980’s, when he observed that the people vote conservatives to Congress, only to see them go native in a few years. It is a remarkable transformation made more obvious in the communication age. You can just follow the person’s social media feed to see the transformation. They go from representing their people in Washington to Washington’s representative to those people.

The question that has vexed the genuine Right is why this seems to be a phenomenon of the Right and not the Left. There are no examples of left-wingers going to Washington and becoming moderates. That only happens when the Overton window shifts Left. Yesterdays’ hair on fire crazies suddenly sound like statesmen. Back in the 1980’s, when Schumer and Pelosi hit town, they were considered embarrassments to the party, but today they are what passes for normal.

This is not just an American phenomenon. The rest of the English-speaking world has the same issue. In Canada it is called Red Toryism, a sort of center-right conservatism that trails along behind their Left. In Britain, of course, it is just called Toryism. There it is the default position of the ruling class, which is always drifting further Left. The Aussies, of course, have an upside-down version of this with a funny name. Weak and timid conservatism is the default all over the English-speaking world.

It’s not just that it is timid or disorganized. As the Canadian political theorist Ben Woodfinden notes, it is a reaction to the collectivist impulses of the Left. The Left seeks to use the state to reorganize society according to their current fads, so the Right opposes the state as a legitimate entity. Not just the state, but institutions in general, instead promoting radical individualism. Conservatism comes to be defined as something just as radical as what’s on offer from the Left.

What English speaking countries need is a conservatism that will transform the state into something that will strengthen and support traditional institutions. Instead they get a force that weakens those institutions. The conservative revolution of the 1980’s in America, unleashed rapacious global privateering in the name of free enterprise and entrepreneurial spirit. Instead of restoring the damage done by the radicals of the 60’s and 70’s, it created new mayhem.

You see that forming up in Britain and America in response to the rise of archaic socialism, in the form of Sanders and Corbyn. Conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic are now working themselves raw about this new red menace. Instead of examining why these collectivist appeals, including the rise of populism, are attractive to the voters, they lurch further into radical individualism. This is every bit as destructive to the culture as the radicalism it claims to oppose.

The culture war is one side using the state to destroy tradition, while the other side makes it impossible to form a collective defense of the culture. The reason for this is that, at least in the Americas, there has never been an authentic conservatism. America has always been a radical bourgeois project. After the Civil War, that radicalism became the default of the political class and remains so today. This reformist impulse is the distinguishing feature of the American empire.

That reformist impulse has its roots in the founding. On the one hand, those people we call Puritans were collectivists reformers. They believed society was judged collectively, which gave them license to police the community for sinners. Advancing society, social progress, meant bringing the bottom up in a spiritual sense. On the other hand, a man’s relationship with God was his alone. Self-sufficiency was a sign of God’s grace, an indication that the person was in good standing with the Lord.

Both sides of this coin are quite radical, relative to Western tradition. In fact, it is fair to say the Puritans were anti-tradition. They stripped their houses of worship of all ornamentation and any reminders of past practice. They saw tradition and ritual as an excuse for not exercising the spirit through the regular study of Scripture. The collective impulse of the founding, as well as its individualism, are the result of a rejection of European traditionalism on spiritual grounds.

This is why reform in America has been impossible. The periods of radicalism in the name of collective reform have been followed by periods where the institutions are weakened in the name of individualism. These weakened institutions become vulnerable to a new round of radical reform. This cycle has locked the ruling class into a dance that always moves Left. No matter the response of the public at the ballot box, the direction is always Left, just with a different lead.

Ironically, this means that the only way a genuine conservatism can emerge, and in the case of Britain, reemerge, is by overthrowing the current order. This Progressive orthodoxy of radical reformers entangled with radical individualist will need to collapse into a single unified ideology, while something new arises to oppose it. That something new is the defense of traditional order, organic institutions and the popular will expressed through natural identity.

That means the way forward is an intermediate step of right-wing radicalism that first seeks to discredit and delegitimize the prevailing orthodoxy. From the rubble can be built new institutions and ideologies that are salient to the demographics age. A genuine conservatism can be intellectually conceived, but the traditions that it should rest upon have been eliminated, so it will require a dismantling of current institutions and the building of new ones, loosely based on the traditions of the West.

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Identity And Eugenics

Last week, famous biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins outraged all of the rage heads on Twitter by tweeting out, “It’s one thing to deplore eugenics on ideological, political, moral grounds. It’s quite another to conclude that it wouldn’t work in practice. Of course it would. It works for cows, horses, pigs, dogs & roses. Why on earth wouldn’t it work for humans? Facts ignore ideology” The rage heads responded with outrage and demands that he be thrown into a well for bad think.

It was one of those events where people revealed things about themselves that they probably wish they had kept private. The “world’s foremost philosopher” managed to step on a series of rakes responding to Paul Ramsey. Not satisfied with his twitter performance, he did a full hour on YouTube, where he must have broken a record for the number of logical fallacies committed in one sitting. Apparently he has yet to reach the chapter on Hume’s law or the masked-man fallacy.

Molyneux’s response was fairly typical, so it is a useful, if unfortunate, example to use when discussing the issue raised by Dawkins. Eugenics, however one defines it, can be both immoral and effective. The morality of it has nothing to do with whether it would work, however one defines that. They are separate issues. Slavery “worked” for a long time, but then we decided it was immoral and it was eliminated. Slavery was not eliminated because it was unworkable or impractical.

His blunders are not surprising, as we live in an age in which morality has been anathematized and made illegitimate. We are no longer allowed to oppose something on moral grounds. Instead we’re required to make economic arguments or make appeals to science. Simply not wanting something, because you don’t like it is no longer a legitimate position. We see this here. Molyneux could not simply say eugenics is immoral, so he claimed it would not work.

The narrow definition of eugenics, according to Webster’s, is “the practice or advocacy of controlled selective breeding of human populations to improve the population’s genetic composition.” Of course, the term is loaded with historical significance and has a strong negative connotation. It brings to mind evil doctors experimenting on children or the state sterilizing people they deem unfit. Of course, you know who looms over any discussion about human fitness these days.

That said, Western societies have been putting a thumb on the scale, as far as the mating habits of the people, for a long time. A great example of this is the laws against consanguineous marriage. In the Middle Ages, the Church and then secular rulers enforced rules against marrying close relatives. This had a huge impact on the human capital of Europe. Cousin marriage leads to lower intelligence and most likely amplifies normal kinship into clannishness.

Henry Harpending and Peter Frost argued that the prolific use of the death penalty in Western Europe, starting in the late Middle Ages, pacified the population. Young men, who committed crimes, were hanged, thus eliminating them from the breeding pool at an early age. Do this long enough and the genes of violent men are slowly reduced. As interpersonal violence declined, men prone to it declined in status, thus reducing their value in the sexual marketplace. That’s eugenics.

That’s also a great example of how the moral arguments about eugenics are mostly based on a cartoon version of the past. Few would deny that the reduction in interpersonal violence was a good thing for the West. Similarly, no one would argue that a society has no right to defend itself against the violent. Like everything else, morality is about trade-offs. Reducing the amount mayhem and violence with the prolific use of the death penalty looks like a pretty good trade-off.

Now, Frost and Harpending could be wrong about the impact of the death penalty, but their theory is not wrong. We can make rules that reduce the reproductive success of those possessing undesirable traits. Those rules, given enough time, will reduce that undesirable trait. If we wanted, we can use force to eliminate those people from the breeding pool. East Asia has been using soft coercion for generations to alter the breeding habits of their people.

Of course, a big part of the hysteria is the implications. If eugenics is a real thing, it means people are not amorphous blobs that can be molded into any shape. To give an inch on the eugenics question is to give up entirely on the blank slate theology. Instead the true believers argue against reality by denying it or avoiding it. You see that in the Dawkins thread, where various people, mostly women, offered ridiculous claims against the reality of animal husbandry and agriculture.

Ultimately, the topic of eugenics brings us back to that point about discussing morality and collective agency in the modern age. A eugenic policy would mean legitimizing the collective will. It would also mean accepting that people collectively have an identity that is rooted in their nature. The war on our collective humanity starts with denying us a right to say who we are and what makes us who we are. It means denying us the legitimacy to want what we want for no other reason than we want it.

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

Africa And The World

Feeling a little worldly this week. I have been finishing up travel plans for the spring hater’s season, so I have been thinking about the world quite a bit. People noticed that the candidates did not field any questions about foreign affairs in the Democrat debate this week. That was supposed to mean something, but the truth is Americans have lost interest in the world under Trump. That’s not a terrible thing, as we have plenty of problems to deal with in our own backyard.

Still, it is important to keep up with what is going on in the world, especially in the provinces, where there are some good lessons for dissidents. The Europeans have been doing right-wing populism and nationalism for a long time, so they are better at it than we are in the States. That’s because they have been dealing with left-wing terrorism for a lot longer too. They had to contend with groups like Antifa long before they became an issue for Americans.

Of course, as the center of the Empire, the problems of the world will always end up at our doorstep, so there is no hiding from it. The plagues in Africa will be a problem for the West, just as the Wu-tang fever will be a problem. Both are warnings about what’s coming our way if we remain on the present course. When you build a house of cards, even a gentle breeze is a dire threat. That’s the result of globalism. The small problems on the fringe of civilization become huge problems.

This week I have the usual variety of items in the now standard format. Spreaker has the full show. I am up on Google Play now, so the Android commies can take me along when out disrespecting the country. I am on iTunes, which means the Apple Nazis can listen to me on their Hitler phones. The anarchists can catch me on iHeart Radio. I am now on Deezer, for our European haters and Sticther for the weirdos. YouTube also has the full podcast. Of course, there is a download link below.

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

This Week’s Show


  • 00:00: Opening
  • 02:00: Our African Future (Link) (Link) (Link)
  • 17:00: Trouble In Thuringia (Link)
  • 27:00: Post Peak China (Link) (Link)
  • 37:00: Israeli Trouble (Link) (Link)
  • 47:00: Latin Traditionalism (Link) (Link)
  • 57:00: Closing (Link)

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A Night At The Circus

The maniacal Mike Bloomberg took the stage for the Democratic debate last night and to his credit, he made the thing interesting to watch. Up until now, these shows have been quite dull. They had the feel of a faculty meeting at a third-tier private college, where everyone pretends the issues at hand are important, but in reality, they are just going through the motions. The introduction of Bloomberg added a genuine sense of urgency to the thing, which made it entertaining.

That sense of urgency mostly served to exaggerate all of the characters on stage, as they let their hair down in an effort to steal the limelight from Bloomberg. Lizzy Warren was the school principle from Uncle Buck, desperately trying to make sure no one had any fun and treated everything with utmost seriousness. She also seemed to vibrate, as if she was receiving a mild jolt of electricity. If she had put a light bulb in her mouth, while the others were talking, it would have made perfect sense.

Similarly, Klobuchar reminded everyone why giving women the vote was a bad idea, as she ticked every box for the matronly politician. At various points she was offended, over eager, cloying and schoolmarmish. She probably had the best night of the bunch, until she got into a purse fight with Buttigieg. He mocked her for not knowing the name of the Mexican president. She responded by demanding if he was calling her dumb, which made the point in an amusing way.

The prize for most ridiculous character on the stage goes to Pete Buttigieg, who looked like a child playing dress-up. Not exactly a child, more like a robot child. That’s because he is the quintessential millennial, who prepares for everything like a test. He probably even practices how he turns to address the other people on stage. When he lectured Klobuchar about not knowing the name of the Mexican president, you just knew that in real life he is a bitchy pedantic nuisance.

Strangely, Joe Biden probably had his best night, but it is a good reminder that you get one chance to make a first impression. Even though he was coherent and lucid for the entire night, you notice that because it is rare. He is at that stage of life where his mind prefers to be in neutral and it takes effort to get the thing in gear. Once he gets it in gear, he is fine, but you never can be certain he will stay that way. You can’t help feeling a bit sad for him, as he staggers through the final days.

What made the show, of course, was Mike Bloomberg. He spent most of the night looking mildly irritated by the whole thing. It was as if he had used a crazy act in court to avoid being sent to prison, but was instead sent to the asylum. He knew he had to keep up the act, but desperately wanted to start shouting that he was not insane like the people around him. The only thing missing was a big Indian to throw a sink through one of the windows to close the show.

Bloomberg is the Democrat version of Ross Perot. He’s not really a candidate, but more of a foil for the other candidates. Last night all of them went ham on him in an effort to show they are the most virtuous of the bunch. Warren went full rage head over Bloomberg having called women “fat broads and horse-faced lesbians.” For the rest, Bloomberg was the cartoon rich guy. They took turns flinging their poo at him. For the most part, he just smirked it off, dismissing them as sideshow clowns.

That’s where we get to the Ross Perot comparison. In 1992, Perot ran as a rich guy with a common touch, trying to save the system. He hated the Bush family and he wanted to see George Bush lose. His folksy and erratic performance in the debates probably put Clinton in the White House. That seems to be the role Bloomberg is hoping to play for the Democrats. His mission is to keep Sanders from winning the nomination outright, so the party can figure out some way to stop him.

Bloomberg also lifts the veil on something we don’t get to see. For our Jewish ruling class, Bernie is the embarrassing uncle, who never amounted to much. He is a reminder of a past they would like to forget. The Jewish Bolshevik is a stereotype that has largely faded from our consciousness, because Jewish billionaires like Bloomberg have worked hard to erase it from the scenery. Jews are no longer subversive irritants like Bernie, but benevolent oligarchs like Bloomberg.

Putting that aside, Bloomberg did not score any hits on the other candidates, but they managed to dirty him up pretty good. Last night was a good example of why normal people tend to do poorly in politics. He was unprepared to play a convincing character in response to the other characters on the stage. Instead, he allowed them to define him as their favorite villain. He was the evil white man, the pervy misogynist, the soulless greed-head and the callous oligarch.

That’s probably going to force Bloomberg to shift his strategy away from attacking Trump with his billion-dollar ad campaign and instead attack Sanders. Most likely, Sanders wins Nevada and heads into South Carolina with a chance to knock out the remaining candidates. Some may linger on, but in two weeks the race will be Bloomberg and Sanders. In order to avoid looking like a fool, Bloomberg will have to go scorched earth on Bernie and his supporters.

All in all, it was a great show, maybe even the best debate ever. No, none of the performers should be allowed loose in society, much less be elected president, but it was a hilarious performance. When the robot historians are sifting through the rubble of this age, they will probably use footage of this debate as an example of just how terribly wrong things went in late empire America. “And just like that, everyone went insane” will be how they describe this age.

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

A Pause On The River

When you are hurtling down a fast-moving river in a kayak, the one thing you don’t do is take in the scenery or contemplate the changing nature of the river. Your focus is on navigating the river, in order to avoid getting splattered on a rock. Something similar happens to people in rapidly changing times. Current events are that fast-moving river, while politics are the rucks creating the rapids. Those engaged in it are living in the never ending present, taking on each obstacle as they come.

Unlike the kayaker, people in the fast-moving currents of a rapidly changing society can stop and think about just how far down the river they have traveled. In fact, it is probably the only way to keep your head above water. It’s also useful in preparing for what is coming, as in the moment, just like the kayaker flying through the rapids, it is hard to understand what is driving events. The reason things today are as they are is people made specific decisions in the past that led to this point.

One of those things that is very different now, compared to further back in the journey, is how the Right thinks about the media. In this discussion, the Right are dissidents, not the flaks and hustlers hired by corporate interests. Not so long, the Left saw the media as mostly fair, while conservatives saw the media as biased. The complaint was the typical media person was honest, but on the Left. Today, dissidents see the media as wholly corrupt, even what passes for right-wing media.

Added to that is if you go back far enough, say the 1980’s, the Left used to complain about corporate media. The Michael Moore types would warn that corporations gobbling up local newspapers and radio stations would destroy the media. The Right mostly dismissed these concerns. After all, capitalism is always good. It turns out that those left-wing cranks were right. Astoundingly, to those of a certain age, modern dissidents sound a lot like those left-wing cranks from back then.

In the 1980’s and into the 1990’s, to be on the Left meant opposing the corporatization of America. This was mostly a carryover from the economic radicals of the prior generation, but honest liberals worried about the power of global capital. They argued against liberalization of banking and the creation of massive financial institutions that were impossible to regulate. To be on the Right back then was to dismiss these concerns as vestiges of a bygone era.

Today, dissidents are the harshest critics of corporate capital and globalization, often sounding more like Bolsheviks than right-wingers. It’s why older dissidents, like Jared Taylor, are a bit alarmed by what they hear from the younger generation of dissidents regarding economics. They hear these critiques of modern capitalism and hear the ugly echoes of Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky. Of course, those younger dissidents formed their views far downstream from the prior generation.

Listen to dissidents talk about the culture, if you are of a certain age or older, and you hear the faint echoes of the hippies and beatniks of yesteryear. It was the counter-culture types that first criticized mass culture for its dehumanizing effects. They were the ones to first suggest dropping out to avoid being rubbed out. Today, it is dissidents dropping out of mass culture. Cord cutting and “not consuming product” are the modern version of “Turn on, tune in, drop out.”

This inversion of cultural reality is hard to appreciate, especially if you are a young person, as like the kayaker, the demands of the present don’t leave much time to contemplate the past. Even so, it is an important change in the culture of the country that should inform dissident politics. Maybe if more right-wingers had listened to the critics of corporate power a generation ago, we would not be dealing with the reality of a Jewish oligarch buying the White House in 2020.

It is also a good reminder that reactionaries always lose. The Right a generation ago, whatever its original aims, was transformed into a dancing partner of the Left and not the lead partner. The result was a Right that defended that which should not have been defended and blind to that which was the true threat to the nation. Conservatism in the 1980’s became nothing more than reaction to the excesses of left-wing people, rather than a response to left-wing politics.

There’s also the fact that the people manipulating events are not stupid and should never be dismissed as such. The anti-white raging we see today started a long time ago with the push for tolerance. The people pushing it knew what they were doing. When they told us to celebrate diversity, they never meant it. They always meant diversity to mean no white people. They just knew they could not say that, so they used the weight of the right-wing reactionaries against them instead.

That’s a lesson the modern dissident should try to learn from the failure of Buckley conservatism, as well as the failure of the old Left. Those people criticizing mass culture were right, but they did not win the argument. They had bad optics. The people worried about the growth of corporate power lost because they did not appreciate the power of material comfort. Simply opposing people you don’t like, almost always leads to succumbing to events you like even less.

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The Balloon Heads

One of the unremarked aspects of the current age is that we seem to be experiencing exaggerated versions of various types in the managerial society. For example, Pete Buttigieg is an exaggerated version of the managerial class striver. He is entirely without accomplishments, but festooned with participation medals. Trump is the exaggerated, almost cartoonish, version of the populist resistance. He’s the picaresque populist fighting the system, but all of the dials are turned to eleven.

Michael Bloomberg is turning out to be another wildly drawn version of types that have come to associate with the managerial state. The most obvious being the scheming middle-man, who produces nothing, but is highly skilled at inserting himself into transactions where he can extract a fee. Bloomberg became one of the richest men on the planet by gaining a lock on the flow of data to the financial world. This allowed him to, in effect, tax every transaction, despite having no direct role.

He is he exemplar of the new, post-industrial economy. Instead of inventing something or building something, he schemed to gain control of the flow of information, which allowed him to operate as a tax farmer, of sorts. Silicon Valley operates much the same way now. They don’t produce anything of value to us, but instead skim from the economy in various ways. Big finance is also just a massive skimming operation. Bloomberg is the extreme version of the new economic man.

His personal story is an outlandishly exaggerated version of the Jewish success story in 20th century America. He is the product of eastern European Jews who emigrated in the late 19th and early 20 century. He grew up lower middle class, but was able to go first to Johns Hopkins and then Harvard Business School. America has been great for Jews and really great for Bloomberg. So much so he now intends to buy it, or at least its political class, and add it to his portfolio of assets.

Of course, Bloomberg is the wildly drawn version of the cosmopolitan conservative, or what has become known simply as establishment conservatism. If you look around at what passes for the Right in late managerial America, the so-called conservatives are people more comfortable in the urban setting. Their cultural outlook is that of the man, who rides the subway and hails taxis, just like their liberal friends. For them, the country outside the city is a place you fly over, not a place to live.

This means their conservatism is purely economic and superficial. To call it low-tax liberalism is to give more credit to managerial liberalism than it deserves, but it gets to the heart of the matter. The cosmopolitan conservative believes all of the same things as his liberal antagonists, he just dons the green eye-shade and a highly practiced disdain for personal excess. The difference between the cosmopolitan conservative and the left-wing urbanite is ceremonial and superficial.

That’s what you see with Michael Bloomberg. The difference between him and the core of the Republican Party is so narrow that light can barely squeeze through. He is for unlimited economic freedom for the oligarchs at the top of the system and maximum regulation of the lower classes. You can’t question the morality of him owning a bottleneck on financial information, but he can tell you how many shakes of salt you can have on your fries during your assigned day at the burger joint.

This is no different from what you see in conservative circles. Ramesh Ponnuru, for example, has detailed plans for every conceivable social issue. Kevin Williamson is always at the ready to look down his nose at the complaints of the lower classes about the inequity of the system. If in a mania of hunger, Kevin Williamson accidentally swallowed Ramesh Ponnuru, you would have the perfect archetype of the cosmopolitan conservative attitude. The result would be David Brooks.

As an aside, this is why the anti-Trump types will inevitably support Bloomberg as not just the savior of the Democratic Party, but the savior of “our democracy.” Part of it will be ethnic solitary, as most of the anti-Trump people still take Saturday off, even if it is to spend the weekend skiing. The bigger part though will be the fact that Bloomberg is their Übermensch, their idealized man of the future, who rises above the old conservatism, polluted by Christianity and populism.

Finally, there is another angle to the Bloomberg phenomenon. He is the extreme example of the type that lacks self-awareness to the point where his own behavior destroys that which allows him to exist. What Bloomberg is doing is discrediting the very notion of modern liberal democracy. If he is able to buy the nomination, much less the White House, he will have established that America is no different from Russia or Ukraine, areas ruled by oligarchs with little connection to the people.

To be blunt about it, if antisemitism is ever going to take hold in America it will be due to people like Michael Bloomberg. He is right out of central casting. He ticks every box on the anti-Semite checklist and does so with a big bold check mark. He is the wildly drawn caricature of the happy merchant come to life. His breathtaking lack of self-awareness could create more anti-Semites in one year than have existed in North America since the first humans cross the Bering land bridge.

This is current year America. The public stage is populated with cartoon figures, who have little bodies and massive balloon heads. Their bodies are the sum of their contributions to society, while their heads are the wildly exaggerated stereotype of the managerial age. Over-The-Top Jewish Oligarch has been called in to stop Unfrozen Bolshevik Caveman from winning the nomination, because Gay Managerial Man and Screeching Old Harpy are not up to the job.

It turns out that Marx was wrong when he said the history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. It turns out that managerialism heads right to the farce. The logical end point is rule by overly credentialed poseurs and oligarchical middle-men. It turns out that the managerial state is not going to end in a soft tyranny, but instead it will be eaten alive by an absurd parasitic class it created. Perhaps it just comes to hate itself so much, it chooses the only form of suicide available to it.

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

The Black Vote

Every election and sometimes between elections, the so-called conservatives start mewing about minority outreach. They start the game by saying how this time will be different and minorities are ready to listen. Then they spend time pandering to those voters, while lecturing whites about the need to pander to those people. After the election, when they got no increase in minority support, they say all the things about GOP voters that Democrats say about them.

It is a shameful and ridiculous charade, but republicans never seem to pay a price for it, so they keep doing it. In fact, a large segment of their voting base seems to like this charade. Baby Boomer conservatives are hooked on the idea of winning black votes. They are mesmerized by Trump’s tweet about how the economy is great for everyone except white people. Despite their political orientation, they are just as ashamed of themselves as white liberal boomers.

Those who have crossed over from conventional politics look at Trump’s pandering to blacks as proof he is not really on our side. After all, if he really did understand what is happening, he would spend no time pandering to blacks and instead focus on dispossessed whites. They are a demographic that is both larger and regularly assaulted by the Left. The argument is that these are the voters that put Trump in the White House, having turned up to vote in the 2016 election.

This is the Sailer Strategy, named after Steve Sailer. If Republicans are getting one percent of the black vote, increasing that to two percent is a few thousand votes in states that are not competitive. On the other hand, adding another percent of the white vote could be the margin of victory in states that are competitive, like Michigan and Pennsylvania. One percent of 70% of the electorate is always going to be bigger than one percent of 13% of the electorate.

George Bush the Minor won his two elections without black support. He did do well with Hispanics, but again, this is a tiny slice of the electorate. Go back further and George Bush the Elder won a landslide with just 11% support from blacks. Reagan won in a huge landslide in 1984 with 9% black support. When 66% of whites backed Reagan, fewer than ten percent of blacks voted republican. That speaks to the futility of chasing the black vote if you are a Republican.

The thing is though, 2020 may be the year that the Great Pumpkin comes to the pumpkin patch and gives black votes to all the guilt-ridden baby boomers that have been waiting since the 1980’s. Trump may actually pick up support among blacks and maybe even Hispanic voters. It seems ridiculous, but there is some historic precedent for what could be happening. In what would be great irony, Trump could repeat what Nixon did in the 1972 presidential election.

Most of the comparisons between Trump and Nixon are done by mouth breathers on the Left who check under their beds every night for Russians. Nixon is the universal bogeyman in their political universe. Every politician they hate is Nixon, while all of their backers are fascists or white nationalists. Because of this, people dismiss the comparison to Nixon, but it may actually be a good one. There are a lot of points of comparison between the two and their times in office.

The most important comparison between Nixon and Trump is they are both transitional figures for their party. Nixon figured out that the GOP had to wheel south and southwest in order to win elections. His “southern strategy” transformed the political map and eventually made the GOP the majority party. Despite being right about this, his party hated him for it. It put them on the side of the people they hated, the bad whites in the Progressive narrative, and they resented him for it.

Trump is doing something similar. He is transforming the party away from gentry conservatism and libertarianism toward suburban populism. Instead of appealing to the same urbanite bugmen as the Democrats, Trump is appealing to white voters through the proxy of populist economics. Like Nixon, he is hated by his own party, because it puts the insiders on the side of people their liberal friends hate. Trump is making the GOP the white party, despite their howling and moaning.

Of course, a similar thing is happening to the Democrats. In the 1960’s, the Left went insane and took the Democrat party with it. Nixon won office in large part because white people feared what was coming from the Left. By the 1970s’ the Left was a clown car full of freaks and weirdos. One look at the current Democratic field and you can’t miss the similarities. Like Nixon, Trump will face a party that is riven by internal discord and representing everything that scares white people.

In the 1972 election, Nixon won 18% of the black vote. That is a far cry from being competitive, but it is orders of magnitude greater than what we have come to expect from Republican candidates. Even after Watergate, Gerald Ford won 16% of the black vote in 1976. His decision to pardon Nixon may have doomed him with white voters, but his loyalty worked on black voters. Whatever explanations one wants to assign, in the last great political transition, blacks temporarily moved toward stability.

That may repeat itself in the 2020 election. Like Nixon, Trump is a rare politician in that he is what you see. Trump is not a phony. That plays well with black voters, who truly hate putting on airs, especially by white people. It’s why they are open to Bloomberg, by the way, despite his past statements. They know what they are getting with him, while the other candidates are code-switching phonies. More important, black are less inclined to support a crazy white person than a racist.

There is a lot that could happen between now and November. The Democrats could find a numinous negro to be their nominee in a brokered convention. The economy could collapse this summer. The Wu-tang virus could turn into the Yellow Plague. Making predictions this far out is a mug’s game. The point here is just that the conditions in which a Republican could do well with blacks are forming up. Trump the transition candidate, like Nixon, could deliver blacks to his boomer supporters.

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

Optical Delusions

This post from last month drew a lot of responses, mostly from people who did not want to go along with the conclusions. Someone made a 20-minute response to it on YouTube, making what they call the defense of the big tent. In light of the recent controversy over Nick Fuentes getting banished from YouTube, it is a good time to revisit the whole issue and the topics that surround it. Fuentes is probably the best known purveyor of the good optics argument, so that is highly relevant to this.

For starters and to clarify a few things, the creator of that YouTube response makes some mistakes that are common in these discussions. The first one is to frame the issue as between a big tent and presumably a smaller tent. That was not the point of the column and that is not the issue at hand. One can have a broad-based movement that also excludes people who think they are Roman emperors. Even the biggest of big tent claims have limits on what is and what is not accepted.

The second claim is to conflate the term dissident right with other sub-cultures that may or may not have claims to being right-wing. It is a form of binary thinking to define right-wing as anything not tolerated by the Left. The goat blood drinking pagans calling themselves Roman emperors may not be liked by the Left, but that does not automatically qualify them as dissidents or even right-wing. The left is not all that fond of scientists these days, but most scientists are not right-wing.

Then there is the use of the term dissident. In a generic sense, sure, lots of people would fall under the definition. Anti-Semites, for example, are in dissent from the prevailing orthodoxy on antisemitism. That’s most certainly true. Would that put them in the same club as someone like John Derbyshire, the guy who coined the term dissident right twenty years ago? How about Steve Sailer? Calling all of these people dissidents is as useful as calling them mammals.

The fact is, what distinguishes the dissident right from the conventional right is not just opinions on the human condition and biological reality. What ultimately divides the two camps is the lack of ideology among the dissident right. It is the old Russell Kirk observation about Right and Left. Conservatism is not a set of ideologies, but the rejection of ideology. Conventional conservatism has embraced the Left’s ideological views on human nature, which is the roots of the dissent among the dissident right.

This divide also exists within dissident circles. Anti-Semites, ethno-statists, fascists, third positionists and so on are ideologues. The root of their dissent is they have a different vision of the model society from prevailing orthodoxy. Similarly, they are never in doubt about the possibility of it. Like the Left, to quote Kirk, “they see politics as a revolutionary instrument for transforming society.” That is an important difference between them and the dissident right.

Now, in the YouTube clip, the narrator makes some of the common claims about optics and “punching right” that are popular in certain parts of dissident politics. For example, he claims early on that the alt-right was ruined by the media, who highlighted weirdos and lunatics in their coverage. In reality, the alt-right was doomed when the face of it became a narcissistic dilettante, incapable of organizing a one car funeral. A serious movement never would have tolerated Spencer as the leader.

The whole Spencer fiasco puts the lie to the claims by some that optics are unimportant in their politics. The sole reason Spencer rose to become the face of the alt-right is he looked good on camera. He presented an appealing face to the cause, so he quickly became the face of it. The reason why some of his former followers stick with him is they think he makes their cause look good. It is nothing more than a coping strategy to pretend appearances don’t matter. They always matter.

Another point that needs emphasis is that the whole “no punch right” business was the creation of people trying to sneak into more legitimate politics. You never hear this from people who can function among normal people, despite holding heretical views. It was the dubious claim that a right-wing movement cannot have legitimacy unless it is tolerant of people who have not updated their views since the 60’s. It was, in the end, an effort to co-opt dissident politics by the 1.0 crowd.

Then there is the issue of taboos, which is raised at about the ten minute mark of that YouTube clip linked above. Unsaid, but implied, is the claim that excluding certain people from dissident politics reinforces left-wing taboos on certain opinions. The claim is that excluding people, who are bad for the image of the group, automatically gives legitimacy to the left, by reinforcing left-wing taboos. In other words, trying to present a good image is playing by the Left’s rules on politics.

This is the error of all reactionaries. Instead of developing an internal logic that naturally results in a set of rules and standards, the reactionary simply responds to what he perceives to be his opponent. To be a reactionary in a society run by ideologues is to be a rebel without a cause. Whatever the people in charge of for, the rebel is against and whatever is taboo, the rebel embraces. The modern reactionary is someone who puts a leash around his neck and hands the other end to his opponent.

It also relates to the optics debate this way. Imagine a society that has been ideologically tuned to associate the color purple with heresy. There are regular ceremonies where the bad people are dressed in purple and defeated by the good people. To go around wearing purple would certainly challenge the taboo, but it would also convince most people you are nuts. Unless you have the power to dispel the taboo, breaking them just gives the people with power the chance to reinforce that taboo.

The irony of the reactionary is that ultimately, he embraces the core starting point of all ideologues and that is the binary universe. The ideologue sees the world as white hats versus black hats, good guys versus bad guys. You are either inside the walls with the good people or outside the walls with the bad people. Those taboo breaking reactionaries, with their disdain for optics, embrace the same view. You either break the taboos or you must embrace them. There is no middle ground.

This is why reactionaries fail. Most of life is in the vast middle ground of exceptions, conditions and contradictions. Most people get that. They get that politics is always about trade-offs, half-measures and compromise. You don’t win them over by being as fanatical as the people you oppose. You win them over by juxtaposing your apparent reasonableness against the fanaticism of the prevailing order. You do that by making concessions to their morality. You don’t wear purple.¹

There is the final point worth making here. Those who deny the value of presentation always say, “The Left is going to demonize you anyway.” They mistakenly think optics and presentation are about winning over the Left or abiding by their rules. Again, this is the mind of the reactionary. Good presentations and subtle compromises to convention are about winning over the vast middle. The point of politics is about controlling the field between the various sides.

Yes, the Left will call us Nazis and fascists no matter what we do, but that can only be turned to our favor if it looks absurd. Spencer was easily demonized because he embraced the role of prep school Nazi. Nick Fuentes is not so easily demonized, because he reminds most white people of their kids or grand-kids. He may be a smart-alecky twerp at times, but calling him a Nazi violates bourgeois sensibilities. To put it another way, it is very bad optics for the Left.

Politics is always about keeping the ends in mind and making the necessary compromises to further those ends. Politics is a means to an end. Ideologues always fall into the trap of thinking politics is an end in itself, which is why ideological states are always unstable and usually short lived. Successful outsider politics has to be practical in its application in order to win ground in the vast area that is always up for grabs between the orthodoxy and those challenging it.

¹Anticipating the response from certain circles, the Nazis winning the street battles with the Bolsheviks in Weimar Germany is an exception, not the rule. The middle had collapsed in Weimar Germany, along with the old ruling order. The Right and left, as understood at the time, were not fighting to win over their fellow Germans. They were fighting to fill the power vacuum that resulted from the collapse of the middle.

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