The Gathering Darkness

Christopher Caldwell wrote in Reflections on the Revolution in Europe, “One moves swiftly and imperceptibly from a world in which affirmative action can’t be ended because its beneficiaries are too weak to a world in which it can’t be ended because its beneficiaries are too strong.” It is a wonderful observation that applies to much more than just affirmative action. It seems to apply to all aspect of Progressivism. Today’s minority view is tomorrows absolute, inviolable dogma. It happens so quickly, no one seems to notice.

That’s been the way with Progressives and science. It used to be common to see a Subaru or Volvo decorated with a Darwin fish. The point was to let the world know that the driver was a good liberal, who embraced reason, rather than superstition. Of course, the other point was to stick it to Christians, who the Left had declared their primary enemy somewhere in the middle of the last century. Even so, science was a big part of how Progressives defined themselves. Then suddenly, imperceptibly, the opposite was true.

That’s what we are seeing with the response to David Reich’s book, Who We Are and How We Got Here and the subsequent articles he has written about his research. The great Greg Cochran has been reviewing the book, pointing out the bizarre contortions Reich goes through in order to avoid having his lab burned down. It’s a bit of an exaggeration to say that Reich fears an angry torch wielding mob, but it is only a small exaggeration. Many careers have been ruined by getting on the wrong side of the mob.

Understandably, Cochran takes exception to much of this, because he is a true man of science. He values truth above all else. He has no patience for the political, and now theological, nonsense that saturates the modern academy. There’s also a personal aspect to it, as Reich takes some cheap shots at the late Henry Harpending, who was Cochran’s colleague for many years. They collaborated on The 10,000 Year Explosion and on this groundbreaking paper. Cochran can be forgiven for taking this a bit personal.

On the other hand though, David Reich is not an old guy with his career behind him and his retirement vested. He is in his prime years as a scientist and as such he has to be careful to not upset the mullahs in the orthodoxy. That’s why he is going through these ham-handed efforts to inoculate himself against the charge of heresy. The morality police may not burn down his lab, but they are more than happy to burn down his career. If they will hurl a giant like James Watson into the void, they will not flinch at David Reich.

If you are old enough to remember the 1980’s, you remember a time when it was Progressives chanting about free speech, the need for independent media and the glories of scientific inquiry. Today, it feels like a million years ago, only because none of it is true now and not just in small ways. Progressives have swung so far in the opposite direction, becoming what they always claimed they were fighting, it is impossible to imagine them being otherwise. A younger person must assume it has always been this way.

The funny thing is that our Progressive mullahs are probably worse than the people who suppressed Galileo. Relatively speaking, they are worse than Torquemada. The old inquisitor was quite lenient, relevant to the age, when stealing a cow could get you hanged. Galileo’s trouble with the Church had as much to do with politics and his personal squabbles as science. Today, the people in charge take a perverse pleasure in destroying the life of a heretic. Billionaires now hunt Dirt People on-line for sport.

If you are in the human sciences, none of this is lost on you. If you read academic papers, they have become so thick with jargon and statistics, they are impenetrable to all but the people in the field. Some of it is the normal pattern of group behavior, but some of it is a defense against the charge of heresy. Instead of writing coded notes in the margins of approved texts, people in the human sciences rely on impenetrable gibberish and  eye-glazing statistics. Race has now become “ancestry group”, for example.

One thing that is clear, in hindsight, is that Church efforts to contain the growth of scientific inquiry were a rearguard action. The institutional place of the Church was not toppled by science and reason. The role of religious institutions was already diminishing with the rise of the secular institutions and the spread of commerce. The clergy was no longer the richest faction in European society. Their efforts to re-impose their order on society was reactionary and doomed. The world was changing and the feudal era was ending.

Perhaps something similar is happening with Progressives and human sciences. Their embrace of reason was always like their embrace of liberal democracy, socialism and social reform. It is as a means to an end. Free speech was a bus they rode from their position outside the academy, to a position atop the academy. Once they got to their destination, they got off the free speech bus. That’s certainly true of their embrace of science and reason. Once they gained power, they peeled the Darwin fish off the car.

On the other hand, there is no reason to think that humanity is a linear progression from tribal darkness to some glorious post-human future. We have the phrase “dark ages” because there have been dark ages, when civil society reached a dead end, collapsed and sat dormant for centuries. Back when the turn began, Allan Bloom wrote that relativism and multiculturalism were ushering in a closing of the American mind. Perhaps now we are seeing the fruit, the coming of a new dark age ruled by fanatics and dullards.

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Member

Back in the early nineties I came up with a phrase that I thought would perfectly describe the coming apocalypse: the Hi-Tech Dark Age. If you look at the applications of technology to our society we see some marvelous special effects in film…but films based on simple minded comic book characters and fantasy plots. In art, architecture and music, none of the technological “progress” is leading to artistic excellence. Welcome to the Hi-Tech Dark Age.

Jeff McMullen
Guest

The recent demise of the Takimag comment section is another example of it. Then you have what’s her face now banning everyone over minor infractions, claiming that she is being prudent in advance. I was banned today for asking about your thread. We need a new venue pronto if the Takitariat can be saved.

Member

Banned by whom? Taki has had disabled contents for over a week now. You are making too much out of it. If you look they have pop up ads now. Probably it’s purpose is to keep advertisers. The only bad thing was the way they handled dropping it without warning etc.

Member

I predicted the demise of the site due to the elimination of commenting. I was promptly gainsaid. Most of the articles just weren’t good enough to keep going back for. We shall see.

RafterRat
Guest

I’ll miss Goad, but removing the comments was unforgivable.

Mike@Mike.Mike
Guest

Banned by a moderator who runs two disqus channels separate from Taki. We were invited there as taki refugees, but the mod was mostly interested in making sure the trains ran on time and was deleting new discussions and banning users who caller her out on it.

Member

I’ve not read Saki’s site since they closed comments, nor shall I

Kudzu Bob
Guest

How can you be banned from a TakiMag comments section that no longer exists? Please explain.

Mike@Mike.Mike
Guest

Commenters were not banned from taki. Commenters fr om taki were invited to join a separate disqus channel, which many did, and it was there where they started getting banned or having their posts/comments deleted.

Drake
Guest

There are lots of dystopian books and movies out there now. Basically the same idea – technology is still around but society has collapsed or turned into something very ugly.

Not that far off from the last Dark Age. Danes and Jutes traveled England on Roman roads and fought over Roman forts while having no idea how to build those things themselves.

Ryan
Guest

At risk of dating/embarrassing myself, you see this in video games too. The games coming out today look incredible, take massive computer power to render, and aren’t nearly as fun as so many games that are graphically nothing special from 20 years ago.

Member

Thirty years ago I liked to play that submarine/periscope game. Very simple, but in need of hand-eye coordination. It was one of the first screen games out there.

Pimpkin's Nephew
Guest

‘Pong’ turned up at my local bowling alley in 1976; it was as simple as simple can be – but it was great fun, and challenging.

Rube Goldberg
Member

I can’t begin to count the hours spent playing Combat Mission series and Civ 4
Not only did those games augment my history studies, (self imposed) they encouraged me to go deeper. I no longer have blocks of hours for games – good thing too.

Pimpkin's Nephew
Guest

Pornography used to be ugly and dark, with performers who looked like they’d been scraped off the pavement, and with writers and directors who still felt some call to “tell a tale”. The results were uniformly awful.

Now it’s high-resolution awesome, with beautiful young girls doing stuff that exceeds my youthful fantasies, all captured in clinical detail – and it’s all out there awaiting view by twelve-year-olds.

You nailed it, Epaminondas.

Vico warned some centuries ago against the decadent European, who would be (if I remember his phrase rightly) “a base savage masked by tender words and embraces.”

akajhon
Guest

check out ‘sin cities’ on amazon i believe ,,or utube,,btw i canceled net flex for hiring susan rice,,ymmv

Mike@Mike.Mike
Guest

I had one of my topics flushed over at the Z-channel disqus forum on Sunday. That broad who moderates those channels reminds me of Mrs. Baylock from The Omen: So sweet and polite as she deletes every last comment that she doesn’t like. It’s probably the most egregious case of power-tripping I’ve ever seen on a discussion board, and she claims to be anti-progressive. Wacky. Anyway, hope to see you and the remaining taki guys around here, or Unz.

Tim
Guest

Interesting post. I just finished the Harpending and Cochran book (10,000 Year Explosion) and highly recommend it. As close to required reading as you can get. I started Nicholas Wade’s book, and it’s not as good, but what is amusing is the lengths he goes to fend off the intellectual jihadists. He tried to protect himself, but as I understand it, not too successfully.
One question…I find myself woefully deficient in understanding the science behind genetics and evolution. I’ve thought of picking up James Watson’s book DNA. Is that a good intro?

pyrrhus
Guest

You will learn a lot, and enjoy, reading Greg Cochran’s website, West Hunter. Thousands of fascinating posts, and comments, are archived there….Totally recommended.

Preceptor
Guest

It’s a good book, but not exactly to your purpose. I’m sure you would gain a good deal of insight on the matter from it. There is no one book that covers that subject that I can think of. Read the Watson book though.

Wolf Barney
Guest

It’s interesting that Nicholas Wade was the science writer for the New York Times. Steve Sailer used to point out that it was very surprising how Wade got away with his writings on genetics and race, almost like nobody paid attention to that section of the newspaper.

Member

Liberals don’t care…until you notice. People started noticing.

Tim
Guest

If I may add onto my own post, I managed to find the Watson book at the local library this afternoon, and 40 pages in, have to say it’s what I was looking for. Excellent read, great intro so far to the history of dna, genetics research. The book, “DNA, The Story of the Genetic Revolution,” is a 2017 update and revision of his 2003 book. Makes a great combination with the Harpending book, I think. Tim

Member
What we are seeing is the expression of fear in people who see their world in a state of decline. They realize that many of their students are merely mouthing regurgitated dogma back to them in exchange for inflated grades that will mean nothing in a few short years. Living where I do I drive through parts of the behemoth campus frequently, and I relive many of the old feelings from days of yore. The kind that alumni who donate large sums get on their occasional forays back to the alma mater for sportsball events. Being in college can be… Read more »
Clayton Barnett
Guest

As I mentioned in a comment on another of your posts: very soon the teaching, then the use, of science will be illegal in the US.

Olddog
Guest

Possibly, but will that be due to the religious right or the fact hating social justice types?

Patrice Stanton
Guest

Don’t lump Christians in there. I’m so tired of the “Christians are anti-science” shibboleth. Watch or at least skim this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Y2ICUYwp4E

Pimpkin's Nephew
Guest

Mathematics would be the next target, because you can’t illegalize science without banning the thought-system that undergirds it.

Imre Lakatos’ “Proofs and Refutations” is – to my way of thinking – one of the great books of the twentieth century. It is compellingly written, it riffs off a straightforward problem of mind, and models the scientific approach to working out the truth in an abstract context.

If science goes, then math goes too. It has to; it provides too much fresh air to the mind.

dearieme
Guest

Let’s hope that the fanatics are dullards. If they were clever buggers we’d really be in the soup.

TomA
Guest

In order to understand this phenomena, it is necessary to recognize that the problem is systemic and not solely the consequence of a few bad actors holding all the power. We are weakening as a species and this is what enables the elites to prevail so comprehensively. Think of this as a pandemic disease that is spreading rapidly.

Drake
Guest

It has all happened before. Romans and Greeks went from citizen soldiers to rich merchants squabbling over conquered wealth to complete collapse in a few generations. Now it’s our turn. Eventually society reforms itself, picks up the pieces and begins the cycle again.

Matrix
Guest

I completely agree with you Drake, unfortunately the sheer amount of apocalyptic scenarios that can be produced is staggering now. We haven’t seen nothing yet with mass migration if a couple well placed nukes get tossed around.

Pimpkin's Nephew
Guest
Absolutely. But – the vast infrastructure of modern society cannot just disappear into the sands without horrible consequences to the planet we – or should I say our inheritors – inhabit. There will never be another industrial revolution; all the easily-mined resources are long gone. Our successors will inherit the poisons of neglected nuclear facilities, rotting ICBMs, devastated top-soils, empty mines and dry wells; learning will have vanished, and the great tradition of simple survival in a natural world – worked out over thousands of years by our hearty if somewhat embarrassing ancestors – will have to start all over… Read more »
Member

Okay, now that you’ve told us the Good news, what’s the Bad news?

Member

Your premise is supported by a visit to the local Walmart.

DeBeers Diamonds
Guest

GOP facing the same youthquake that almost put Corbyn over the top in the UK.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/washington-secrets/millennial-poll-historic-youth-wave-coming-in-2018-dems-outnumber-gop-2-1

Corporate Tax cuts don’t matter when you are underwater with student loans. In retrospective, the Obama stimulus payroll tax cut was political genius.
The Right has to decide whether to be the permanent loser under Democracy, or risk its chances with Reaction.

DeBeers Diamonds
Guest

For the less than the cost of one imperialist war, the GOP could wipe out the student loan debt of millions.

The establishment does not want to win, they want the Right to lose.

Member

What about all those who struggled and did pay off their loans?
Going forward what will happen to future tuition?

DeBeers Diamonds
Guest

The higher ed bubble will burst. Too many academics, admins and sportsballers not doing adding value proportionate to their compensation.

When people hear “free college in Germany” and “free healthcare in Canada” they will want it here. That it would require the imposition of a federal VAT doesn’t seem to equate.

Member

The ones who struggled and did pay off their loans? You mean the honest, responsible ones who took their obligations seriously and actually sacrificed in order to honor the debt they owed? They are the ones to be laughed at for beings suckers They’re the ones who are the saps. I should know, I am one of them. What happens when the decent, honest saps and squares like me, you and our ancestors are gone? I think we both know what will happen……..

A.B. Prosper
Guest
So what? Its not like big companies have to worry about moral hazard And yes its not fair. So what? The economy is rigged for a very few anyway and baring despotism by someone truly exceptional, that’s not going to change in any of our lifetimes (3 score years or so) Take all you can grab A last point here, I get the desire to have a cooperative basically honest system. Even though its more myth than fact, its not coming back ever. The Left destroyed it along with the help of the greed heads on the Right and the… Read more »
Alzaebo
Guest

“I’ll have them students voting Republican for the next 40 years”-

You know the Dems will grab that as Obama already tried- ‘work for us and your Sallie Mae loan will be forgiven’.

Indentured servitude is coming back.
As today’s article says, this time it’s at the cost of your soul.

BTW, the biggest expense of the Mideast wars is interest on the war loans.
Not equipment, supply, soldiers, or casualties.

Indentured, alrighty, sold out. The bus stops here.

A.B. Prosper
Guest
Or for even less money , the law could be changed to allow such debt to be discharged by bankruptcy, bankruptcy law changed to make it less onerous and all future tuition breaks, grants and advantages closed off Throw in a ban on student Visas, and I mean a total ban as in zero or near that and the price of tuition will drop simply because their won’t be anyone to pay the inflated amounts Yes States will work to get out of State students but without any Federal money the pool will be small For what is basically zero… Read more »
DeBeers Diamonds
Guest

Bankruptcy is a more palatable option, but it leaves the GOPs financial industry donors exposed.

Since allowing student loans to be discharged once again is an easy layup for the GOP, they obviously won’t do it unless Trump decides to make it a big deal.

If Trump supported allowing student loans to be discharged in bankruptcy, the left would instantly become opposed. All of us here are old enough to remember when the left thought free trade was bad. Now they are its biggest shills.

Pimpkin's Nephew
Guest

In the good old days – say ten years ago – the youthful “goodthinkers” assembled at all G20 meetings to chant slogans and burn police cars to resist “globalism”. That all seems strangely historical now.

A.B. Prosper
Guest

Assuming you don’t count Reaction as such Rebellion is also an option and frankly at this point neither Democracy or the Republic is worth preserving anyway.

DeBeers Diamonds
Guest

We are not in Rebellion, the Right represents Authority. We do not Rebel, we Restore or Reconstruct.

A.B. Prosper
Guest

The Right these days no more does those things that it Conserves.

The Real Right , guys like us are an outsider movement in a natural Leftist wave and therefore are Rebels

This isn’t a bad word mind you, the Founding Fathers were Rebels against the Crown after all.

Quoth Jefferson

A little rebellion now and then is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.

wjkathman
Guest

I’m glad you haven’t gone on sabbatical, Zman. This article is fantastic.

Pimpkin's Nephew
Guest

Bravo. It’s true – some new urgency has emerged in Zman’s lucubrations. The end is close; a year or two from now Zman and his ilk will all have “strangely vanished”; better let it rip now.

Dutch
Guest
This article, as well as other Z-man work, reinforces the idea that the society we live in has been carefully trained to think emotionally, not rationally. We survive this thing by being stone cold rational in our thinking and in every decision that we make. We will be baited with emotional provocations forever. See through them, do not rise to the bait. Think carefully and coldly about every important decision you make, and make them for the best of reasons. TPTB are going to push the rest of our culture to wail and curse and rend their garments in dramatic… Read more »
Lorenzo
Guest

By nature we think emotionally rather than rationally. No need to train people to think emotionally, just neglect to teach them to think rationally.

Alzaebo
Guest

With the financial attack on Remington Arms, declared near bankrupt after years of booming sales, I think they’re finally getting serious about disarming us.

DeBeers Diamonds
Guest

The firearms-industry is boom-bust thanks to decades of political instability. The companies that haven’t gone bankrupt are the ones with government contracts.

Remington’s collapse is the fault of the private equity wrecking crew.

And the US firearm industry only exists because Norinco stupidly sold guns to the Mob back in the 90s

A.B. Prosper
Guest

Remington is in trouble because its products have had a lot of recalls, its innovative products like the elegant and cool R91 are often unfortunately crap and its had numerous recalls

With all those problems and plenty of competition its a wonder its standing

Also Remington mostly makes “sporting arms” in market where people want handguns and self defense arms,

Member

“Bizarre Contortions” will be a chapter heading in some future book on the intellectual history of this era.

YIH
Guest
The reason the left was so pro-”free speech” from the 50’s to the 90’s was pornography. In the 50’s what we now call porn was illegal, even Playboy was pretty mild by today’s standards. They got in trouble with the law even for topless pics. In ’61 the Supreme Court ruled that nudity by itself was not obscene. By the late 60’s, any and all depictions of sex became ”not obscene” paving the way for hardcore stuff. In the 70’s and 80’s the burgeoning porn industry funneled large amounts of money to fight ”for free speech” (avoiding legal problems). By… Read more »
Member

Yes. Free speech for the left was largely about degeneracy and tearing down traditional culture. Free speech for the right is about political speech, which is what was intended by the 1st Amendment.

A.B. Prosper
Guest
Actually that is not entirely certain as there is no commentary by any of the founding fathers about obscene writings or drawings There is a mountain on bearing arms though No infringed meant not infringed period and to claim otherwise is to use the same logic the Left uses this time on speech the founding fathers werem’t that prudish on the whole. Ben Franklin for example was a member of the Hellfire Club which isn’t that different than the things people claimed about the Clinton Campaign The prudish nonsense came later with human trash like Comstock and in some States… Read more »
Karl McHungus
Guest

You have never flown over the US, have you.

Member
Zman: Good post. Yes, what some call the left or progressives and others call the (((left))) has a “pragmatic” view on ideology, principles, morality, reason, and the like. Any such thing is only useful in so far as it advances their agenda. Once it stops doing that, it is abandoned, repudiated, demonized or whatever is most useful for their agenda. This means the opposition is without any real morality or ethics or coherent philosophy. Arguing with them over hypocrisy, having it both ways, proper logic & reasoning, facts/reality, etc. is futile, as they have no real conscience. The only way… Read more »
Ryan
Guest

That’s some excellent writing Z. Really nailed the Darwin Fish metaphor. Progressives believe in evolution only to the extent they can use it as a weapon to bash Christians with. They believe nothing beyond that.

Pimpkin's Nephew
Guest

Except I resent the disparagement of Subarus. My 2006 Subaru, which I just traded in last month, was the best vehicle I ever owned; my wife and I had a pro-life sticker on the back for years, showing a human fetus and a baby harp seal with the question: “Which one ISN’T protected?”

Stereotype blacks or homos all you want; just don’t stereotype Subaru owners.

joey junger
Guest
The quote has been misattributed to Frank Herbert, but actually comes from Louis Veuillot: “When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles.” Incidentally, you got the chain-of-casualty right on Galileo, which is rare. Most people think the scientific revolution was what kicked the legs out from under the old elites, but there was already a counter-elite emerging due to the rise of a new class, whose power was based on trade more… Read more »
Member

I learned of the quote of Veuilliot from Burnham in Suicide of the West.

Thorsted
Guest

I came across this lecture from something called “Sydney’s Festival of Dangerous Ideas” from 2009 with prof. in bioethics, Julian Savulescu on the future and the limitations of human nature. He comes with many facts on the limitations on human nature but also things that are specific to racial differences like IQ, delayed gratification, crime “genes” without coming into the ethnic differences in the data for them. The audience in Sydney opera houses takes his lecture with great interest. Perhaps some are ready for a change in paradigme; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkW3rEQ0ab8

wholy1
Guest

And the pendulum continues its swing, only with the the devil’s terminal nudge. CHOOSE to ride the ballast or “remotely view” from an inland county rural location GROUNDed, GROUPED/GATHERED, GUNNED, GARDENED, PROVISIONED and . . . S-I-M-P-L-I-F-I-E-D. The “clock is ticking” and the “quickening/entropy” will NOT be [forever] avoided. Get your priorities in order NOW or . . . [eventually] be on “The Road” or “maggot food”.

Kudzu Bob
Guest

Perhaps we are just hitting a rough patch, and historians of the year 3018 will refer to our era as “the Crisis of the Twenty-first Century.” That is the assumption that enables me to get out of bed in the morning, at any rate.

Rod1963
Guest
Long periods of peace are a rarity for human civilization. What’s happening now is the elites are tearing down all the societal restraints by supporting tribalism, co-opting government and making whitey the new bad guys who need to be killed off. The Left no longer has any use for the BofR and wants to do away with free speech and self-defense in order to eradicate us. As Zman pointed out, the Lefties when questioned about gun confiscation on TV refuse to answer the question about gun confiscation and tend to freak out. Why? Because they want to disarm us in… Read more »
Kudzu Bob
Guest

I don’t think that the elites–what passes for the elites nowadays, at any rate–have any sort of master plan at all. I think that they believe their own propaganda. On one level this is very frightening, but on another level it suggests the possibility that the current elites can be replaced, perhaps by a new and saner elite.

Pimpkin's Nephew
Guest
Death is the great medicine; Khruschev was an improvement on Stalin; Deng Xao-ping was an improvement on Mao; my guess is that Raúl Castro is an improvement on his brother Fidel. That’s what we’re reduced to hoping for; obviously we can’t vote our way out of this. I’ve drawn up lists of Americans who I wish would die. I won’t share this list, because we are, after all, talking under the cameras and date-mining programs of the surveillance state. But you know the kind of people I mean… If there is good news at the end of all this, it… Read more »
Primi Pilus
Guest
KBob — Please don’t make the mistake of underestimating them. It’s the right, Republicans and/or conservatives who do not have an effective plan. The LEFT (or whatever they are) has a plan, they are organized, fully resourced and manned with superb communications and situational awareness. I did this (planning, and operational / mission operation) for a lot of years in the military. You learn to recognize the markers of a well-crafted and practiced plan being executed (and an organization that’s effective at “getting it done”. Potency and threat is written all over what they are doing now. The have clearly… Read more »
Pimpkin's Nephew
Guest

Well, but a thousand years… there will be much more to study and write about then than the opioid-driven insanity of this closing chapter of the West; think of the plagues, wars, famines to come, before “history boy” in 3018 sits down to write.

His or her interest won’t necessarily be us, as hard as that is for us to understand. New peoples will have risen – and fallen – by then. It’s unlikely that any language spoken today will be intelligible to his audience.

A thousand years is a long time.

greyenlightenment
Guest

that qoute at the start of the article is brilliant

ErisGuy
Guest

“Under the flag of science, art, and persecuted freedom of thought, Russia would one day be ruled by toads and crocodiles the like of which were unknown even in Spain at the time of the Inquisition. ”

Checkov. Now it’s our turn, alas.

Karl McHungus
Guest

This was not my comment. One of the resident trolls posted with my nick.