To Learn Nothing

Being wrong is as natural as standing upright. All of us make mistakes, miss the obvious and make predictions that, in retrospect, were hilariously stupid. I predicted that the neocons, despite their rhetoric, were going to find a Pinochet to install in Baghdad after they ousted Saddam. After all, no one could be so dumb as to think that Western self-government would work in the Arab world. I think a lot of people on the Right look back at the Bush years and wonder how so many could be so wrong about the neocons.

Error is supposed to result in reflection and reconsideration. The only way to learn from a mistake is to actually learn something from it. The take away from the Bush years, for me at least, was that the Buckley Conservatives are yesterday men untethered from reality, so it’s time to go another way. Many reading this learned from the Obama years that democracy is a suicide pact with the dumbest people in your neighborhood. The solutions lie outside the political process. Who knows what we will learn in the Trump years.

One of the remarkable aspects of the managerial class is they don’t seem to learn much from their errors. The neocons are still claiming that elections will somehow turn the Arab world into a membership meeting of The Harmonie Club. After every Muslim atrocity committed in a Western city, the Progressives tell us the solution is more Muslims. Now we have Puerto Rico, which should be the example that puts some reality back into public policy debates, but that will never happen.

Puerto Rico has been a US territory since the Treaty of Paris ended the Spanish-American War. It probably would have been setup as an independent country, but the US Navy thought it was useful and the sugar growers liked being a US territory. Even though it no longer has any value to the Navy and they no longer grow much sugar, Puerto Rico remains a territory. It does have a strong manufacturing base, mostly due its status as a tax haven, but also as the result of US policy to encourage industry on the island.

It was not too long ago that the Official Right was championing Puerto Rico as an example of how fixing the institutions, reforming the economic polices, could fix even the most backward society. It was an obvious ploy to peddle open borders to their voters. After all, if Republicanism could work on the PR’s, it would work on those Mexicans imported into your town. Here’s an old Cal Thomas article talking about the wonderfulness of the Republican governor of the island at the time. I love this quote.

“I think the Republican Party has done an awful job handling this issue,” he says. “It makes no sense for us not to bring more Hispanics into the party because Hispanics are naturally conservative. The tenor of the public discourse surrounding this issue has sounded anti-Hispanic at times.”

What would he recommend to change the tone?

“First, show up; show respect. Most Republican candidates don’t do that. They talk about 15-foot fences and then try to address the issues of greatest concern in the Hispanic community. They are no different from other communities most of the time. On immigration, Republicans say, ‘we want legal immigration and we are the country, thanks to legal immigration,’ so we need to try to address this issue with a different tone than we’ve had so far.”

In case you’re wondering, Luis Fortuna, the subject of that column, now lives in DC at the insider law firm Steptoe & Johnson. The reason for that is those “naturally conservative” Hispanics voted him out of office. Despite all that, Puerto Rico is still Puerto Rico. It has a crime rate higher than every US state, something close to Baltimore. It also has a corruption rate triple the typical US state. In other words, despite the best efforts of the US, Puerto Rico is the product of the people who populate the island.

Now that the island is going bankrupt, it would make sense for the conservative cheerleaders to take stock and maybe reconsider those wonderful economic policies they were sure would fix anything. Similarly, libertarians, who are sure that tinkering with the tax code can fix everything, might want to take a look at Puerto Rico. Of course, that will never happen. Being a public intellectual in the modern era means never having to say you’re sorry for being wrong. Heck, you don’t even have to admit to being wrong.

Our rulers should also reconsider the wisdom of importing tens of millions of Hispanics into America. After all, California turned itself into Puerto Rico demographically and is now on its way to transforming itself into Puerto Rico financially. The underlying premise of open borders is that people are the same everywhere. It is the dirt that makes them into law-abiding, prudent Americans. We have spent a century pouring magic into our Caribbean colony and it is no better than the Dominican Republic.

The island has a per capita debt of $25,000 and per capita GDP of $28,000. Throw in the $16,000 in per capita pension liabilities and you have, well, California. The two biggest financial basket cases in America are also the two greatest examples of the prevailing ruling class orthodoxy. The fact that both are looking a lot like bust outs is probably not a coincidence. You would think some of the people in the political class would take note, but no one will learn anything from the Puerto Rican bankruptcy. They never learn.

The End of Diversity

The other day, I was chatting with a business acquaintance in San Francisco. He was unburdening himself about a project that had lingered on for too long. Apparently the contractor he was using gave him what he asked for, but not what he wanted. He was going around and around with them, but they are located in Asia so it was a big hassle for him. He had to stay up late to talk with them because of the time difference and, of course, he had to go through the endless haggling that comes with using Asian firms.

He did not say it, but I suspected he had a cultural issue as well. I helpfully pointed out that Asian solutions are not American solutions. Anyone who has done business with the Chinese or Indians knows they have a very different way of looking at things. For South Asians, a solution is whatever meets the letter of the request or whatever gets you off the phone. The Chinese will tell you whatever you want to hear. It’s not lying as they don’t have enough respect for you to tell a lie. It’s dismissal through deception.

Anyway, I pointed out the cultural issue and the guy literally gasped. If he had pearls, he would have clutched them. He started sputtering about how he had “the same problem with” and then he would sputter again. He could not say the word “white” or “American” so I volunteered “white” just for kicks.The way he was carrying on, you would have thought I said “Hitler was right! Gas the Jews!” It was crazy to see someone having a physical reaction to my noticing diversity.

We have come full circle in the last 30 years. In my youth, the Boomer Progs preached tolerance to us. My first class in college, on the first day, I was harangued by a little French girl, telling all of us about how America was a racist and sexist society. Americans were intolerant! The Boomer Prog teacher nodded along until I foolishly pointed out that the word tolerance means to put up with something you don’t like. Therefore, the little French girl was telling me she did not like black people, but was willing to put up with them.

In my first adult job, I was sent off to what they called sensitivity training. Tolerance was now a bad-think word and sensitivity was the good-think word. My hunch was everyone figured out what I found to be obvious in college, with regards to tolerance. Even so, the implications of all the sensitivity talk was that anyone not a white male was prone to weird behavior and opinions. We had to be sensitive to this fact. It also meant treading lightly around them as they were easily offended and traumatized.

Eventually, of course, the Progs figured out that this was a loser so they moved onto celebrating diversity. Unlike tolerance or sensitivity, diversity has the benefit of putting everyone on the same level. One race is as good as another. Men and women can do all the same things. All cultures are the same. Modern life was going to be a celebration of the beauty and variety of life! Well, except the white parts. White people suck and they better keep their heads down, especially you, honky-man.

I suppose it is no surprise that the Progs are now freaking out about anyone noticing diversity. After all, the next stop on the train from celebrating differences is noticing differences, like the fact that South Asian engineers tend to have a strange narrowness that causes them to miss the big picture. Indian engineers will literally build a road off a cliff if that’s what the spec says to do. That’s why my acquaintance nearly had a stroke when I admitted to noticing this. Noticing is the gateway drug that leads to judging.

The internal incoherence of multiculturalism means that they will forever have to be dashing about in an effort to keep the plates spinning. One day we’re celebrating diversity and the next day we’re stoning a heretic for noting that people are different. The reason is there’s no getting around the fact that humans are just as susceptible to evolutionary pressure as every other creature. Human evolution was copious, recent and local, which means people in different places have different physical and cognitive traits.

It’s hard to know where they go from here. In Europe, even the most unhinged nutters in the ruling class have stopped celebrating diversity. In the US, a few crackpots like that dunce Elizabeth Warren will babble in public about the glories of diversity. All the signs point to them dropping this as their signature issue. At the same time, the new catchphrase “scientific racism” to describe the human sciences is ominous. It’s not hard to imagine mobs of Birkenstock-clad lunatics smashing up biology labs.

It would be ironic if Progressives meet their demise at the hand of science. After all, Progs have been using science as a weapon against Christianity and local customs for as long as anyone has been alive. It has been their go-to move in the culture war. Smug idiots on late night TV still smirk about how they are on the side of science, despite the fact they cannot count their balls twice and come up with the same number. It would be poetic if Progressivism crumpled and collapsed as it ran into the reality of biological science.

The French Election

Most people reading this probably have little interest in French politics so the presidential election today is a bit of a non-story. Macron will win with 60% of the vote as he has the full backing of the European establishment and the cosmopolitan class in France. Unlike the US, French elections are basically a collection of city elections. If you can win Paris, you win France. Imagine if Manhattan dictated our election results.

One reason for this is French politics have largely been conducted in a narrow space of post-war cosmopolitan social democracy. Like teenagers who define themselves by their contentious relationship with their parents, European political elites defined themselves by how petulant they could be toward the Americans. As a result, there is a fundamental lack of seriousness in French political culture. They vote for the cool kids, not the smart kids.

Still, it bears watching for those on the Dissident Right as it helps frame the coming battles in the West over the central conflict of our age. European elites imagine a pan-European feudalism where the peasantry has no identity of their own. The resistance imagines a continent of states governed by national populism that corresponds with their unique cultural heritage. The flash point is immigration from the south, particularly Islam.

The last time a non-approved candidate made it to the second round of the French presidential election was 15 years ago when Le Pen’s father did it. He got 18% of the vote in the second round, but his success had a sobering effect on the French political class after what they saw as a close call with fascism. They started to take the Right more seriously, which is why the mainstream parties have largely converged on all issues.

This time, Le Pen is hoping to break 40%, but there is zero chance she will will win or even make it close. It’s not so much that Macron has much appeal as that Le Pen is not a great politician for France. Her cause needs a roguish male to lead the party, someone who has some flare and has had some success in other areas. France has always needed a man on a horse to restore order and national pride.

That’s why the final number will matter. If Le Pen does break 40%, that will open a lot of eyes in the French political class. If you are an ambitious politician, you will now have a base of 40% to work from simply by adopting the immigration arguments of Le Pen. Avoid some of the weird and unpleasant aspects of the National Front and you can become the great compromise that unites France. That’s the hope anyway, from the Civic Nationalists.

It’s also the fear of the globalists who keep trying to make this election look like a horse race. They desperately want a resounding victory for Macron and they want to have a trophy they can hold up, claiming the Far Right is now dead. The obituaries for Le Pen and her issues are all written and ready to go as soon as the vote is counted. By pretending it is close, they can cast any win as a massive defeat for the Right.

The reality is something different. France, as a self-governing political entity, was probably broken in the Great War, but it was most certainly broken in the Second World War. Getting run over by the Huns and then having most of your political class collaborate with them will do that to a country. If that was not enough, being relegated to the kiddie table during the Cold War finished off what was left of responsible French leadership.

It’s why Macron winning is probably a good thing for France. He is an accelerationist, who wants to fling open the gates and invite in millions of Muslims. He wants to hand over to Brussels what’s left of  French sovereignty. Nothing undermines the legitimacy of the rulers like seeing them on their knees, kissing the feet of foreigners. Macron is Marshal Philippe Pétain, without any of the military success on his resume.

If there is any hope for a revival of French culture it will only come through total French humiliation and despair. Once a majority of Frenchmen no longer see any reason to support the status quo, to remain loyal to their betters, then things change and change rapidly. It will not happen through elections and political activism. Democracy is good at driving a country off a cliff. It is useless in pulling it back onto the road. France needs to vote itself off the cliff in order to clear the field for what comes next.

Of course, what comes next may simply be the end of France. There is nothing magical about the land on which the French people live. When Caesar conquered Gaul, he did not conquer the French. When the peasants stormed the Bastille, most people in France did not speak French. The point being, there is nothing permanent about France. Maybe what comes next is the slow invasion of Europe from the south and the death of Europe. It could simply be reversion to the mean and nature is now reclaiming an exception.

The Moron In Full

The readers who still cling to libertarianism have given me hell over my screed against their faith. I’m not without some sympathy for them. The core libertarian impulse to leave people alone in order to be left alone is admirable. If you are a libertarian, trying hard to live the non-aggression principle, it probably seems unfair that a hate thinker from the extreme Right is mocking your thing. I get that and I respect it to a point. That point is when I see something like this from the Pope of Modern Libertarianism.

It should be impossible to be this stupid. I suspect for most of human existence, idiots who said moronic things like this tried to hand feed bears or cuddle with large reptiles, thus eliminating themselves from the the system. There’s no other way to read this than Nick Gillespie believes some minor alterations to the French tax code will ameliorate this.

Now, does Nick Gillespie really think altering tax policy will magically transform low-IQ, inbred Muslims from the Maghreb into patriotic French republicans who work at Parisian software shops? It’s tempting to say it is just another pose, but the evidence is piling up in favor of the argument that Nick Gillespie is a stupid person. Anyone who truly believes altering tax policy will reverse a thousand generations of evolution is an idiot.

That’s the fundamental problem with modern libertarians. They believe this or they simply are incapable of mastering ground floor level biology. The reason the country of Niger is a basket case is that’s the way the people of Niger want it. It is full of Hausa. The reason Paris was Paris was that, up until recently, it was full of Parisians! Now that Paris is filling up with North Africans and Arabs, it is looking like Algeria with better plumbing.

What’s happened to libertarians is a form of what Vox Day calls convergence. It used to be that libertarians accepted the chain of causality. They worked backward in order to arrive, obliquely, at the first cause. If you wanted to have a nation of maximum freedom, you had to have a nation with rational laws and that meant a rational, Anglo-Saxon culture. The result was a libertarianism in one country model.

Then a new breed of libertarian showed up mouthing all the economic arguments of libertarians, often with the zeal of a fanatic, but embracing liberal cultural arguments, re-framing them in terms of personal liberty. The result is libertarians have almost fully converged now with the liberals. They have been assimilated into the Borg. Libertarianism, like most libertarians, is all about someone else paying for their ethic dining habits.

It’s why they are no longer of any use to the Right.

The Others

“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”

–The Great Gatsby

While writing yesterday’s tirade about the conservative industrial complex and their poverty pimps, I kept thinking about the weirdness of the people who populate the upper reaches of the conservative think tank rackets. They obviously make enormous amounts of money doing very little, which is not the world of most Americans. They don’t keep regular hours at work, coming and going as they see fit. They live in communities that are set apart from the rest of America. They have little interaction with normal people.

None of this is new. Normal people learn quickly that the rich are not like the rest of us, despite the Hemingway quip to the contrary. The lack of want changes a man. Struggle, fear and the sleepless nights are the crucible of resourcefulness and creativity. The result is not just resourcefulness, but caution and prudence. It is the instinctive understanding of risk that comes from failure, what economists call moral hazard¹, that is at the heart of prudence. Pamper a man long enough and he loses this.

It is most obvious with our carny folk. Young people go into the circus hoping to become stars, but most spend their youth waiting tables, doing odd jobs and never doing more than some small parts in small productions. Some kick around as extras, making a decent living, but working hard. These are usually very sensible people because they know how hard it is to maintain their spot and they appreciate how quickly it can go away. It’s not an accident that these are the most right-wing people in Hollywood.

Then we have the stars who are magically plucked from the gutter and made rich, glamorous and famous. It’s rare for a mega star to have had a long apprenticeship or have struggled in bit parts for a long time. They tend to hit it big early in their career. Whatever sense they had is quickly squeezed out of them and they become spoiled toddlers, complaining about the unfairness of the world. Meryl Streep is a classic example. She hit the acting lottery and now lectures the peons about our lack of morality.

Now, Streep was probably nuts before she entered the carnival, but it does not take long for someone living like a noble to start thinking they are noble. If serendipity led you to a one-percent lifestyle, you can be forgiven for thinking that you were chosen. Further, you can be forgiven for thinking that things like hard work, prudence and loyalty are a sucker’s game. After all, the people who cherish those things live down in the valley, while you live up on the hill with the rest of the Cloud People.

This seems to be the dynamic in the managerial elite. They went off to college, ticked the right boxes and were magically transported to the top of society. Look through the biographies of famous pundits, media people and public intellectuals and you don’t find a lot of time in the fields with the sons of toil. Instead, you see biographies like the soon-to-be-president of France. Macron was literally plucked from the crowd, like Billy Ray Valentine from Trading Places. Why would Macron value hard work and struggle?

The consequence free world of the ruling classes not only makes them reckless; it makes them contemptuous of the lower ranks, particularly the middle class. It’s probably why the American Left adopted the anti-bourgeoisie language of Continental Marxists, despite living exaggerated versions of the bourgeoisie lifestyle. It just felt good. That appears to have been the motivation of those who sponsored Barak Obama’s political career in Chicago. The aging radicals who sponsored him knew he would offend normal people.

This witch’s brew of reckless disregard and seething contempt is on display in this story about Left’s next great mongrel hope.

A California Democrat looking to flip a House seat in next year’s midterms believes he can appeal to both sides of the aisle — and even pitch progressive ideas to President Trump.

Ammar Campa-Najjar, a 28-year-old communications staffer and former campaign worker of Mexican and Arab heritage, says his background and resume put him in a position to succeed in the red district he hopes to represent.

“I talk about never being Arab enough in Gaza, Hispanic enough in the Barrio or American enough in the post-9/11 world,” he told The Hill during a recent interview.

“I just don’t come in with this preconceived notion of prejudice. … It allows me to have an open mind and be tolerant, see the world from their vantage point.”

I don’t know about the Arab and Mexican stuff, but I do know the reason he went from rent boy to political rock star is that he is “not American enough.” If he was an Irish guy named O’Shea, he would be working the business end of a shovel, rather than entertaining the Cloud People. Like an actor waiting tables, this guy’s whole existence is about cultivating a look in the hope of catching the attention of the right people. He may as well be an actor, as he is just playing a character he thinks will be in demand in the big show.

Read the rest of the article and it is clear that Ammar is as dumb as a hamster. He’s just repeating phrases he has picked up as an extra in his minor gigs in Washington. But, he has the look in demand with the Cloud People and he is about as alien to the native stock as you’re going to get, so he has a future in Progressive politics. It’s not hard to imagine a Prog version of Tom and Daisy Buchanan backing this clown’s political career because it let’s them piss on the little people, who they detest so much.

¹The term “Moral Hazard” has become a safe word for innumerate fetishists, who will be tempted to sperg on it. Save it. I’m not interested.

Poverty Porn From The Popinjay

I make no bones about that fact I don’t like Kevin Williamson, the house rumpswab at National Review. I have no tolerance for people who put on false fronts and Williamson’s quill pen act is as phony as a three dollar bill. George Will did the same thing for decades, but he at least had a first class education and did some time as a university instructor. He was a gold-plated phony, but at least he had some credentials. Williamson has none of that. He’s just a real life version of Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons.

Gratuitously mocking fat guys is not a good look so I resist the temptation by doing what most everyone does and that’s avoid reading National Review. It’s not that hard as the only interesting thing about conservative commentary these days is the remarkable dullness of it. Even the most boring people are interesting on occasion. It takes special talent to be that ineffectual all the time. So, I was minding my own business scanning twitter and I see this tweet from Charles Murray:

It was in response to this tweet;

Naturally, I thought it was word that Williamson had got what he has been publicly wishing on normal Americans for the last few years. Instead it was more poverty porn aimed at the pseudo-academics, who populate think tanks and opinion sites in the Imperial Capital. It’s becoming a specialty for Williamson. He writes up a scene from lower class white America that portrays the people as benighted losers, who deserve the abuse heaped upon them by the good whites in his audience. It’s a ghetto tour as morality play.

The unconcealed contempt Williamson has for the subjects of his poverty porn is both ugly and bizarre, given his alleged background. He has invested a lot in creating a hillbilly back story for himself, which suggests it is probably fictional or highly exaggerated. Even if it is accurate, his contempt for the sorts of people he claims to have grown up around as a kid is pathological. It suggests that Kevin Michael Grace was right when he said in our chat a few weeks back that Williamson is filled with self-hatred.

Self-loathing fat guy is not an interesting area of inquiry. What is interesting is the audience. Charles Murray pimping this stuff suggests something about Murray and his view of the current crisis in American culture. Murray is a libertarian and like all famous libertarians, he is a ward of the state. AEI is a tax racket, like all of the so-called think tanks. Murray also makes big money charging taxpayers between $20,000 and $30,000 per speech at colleges and universities. That’s not working class wages.

Similarly, Arthur Brooks is cashing in on the college speaking rackets. He also gets between $20,000 and $30,000 per speech. Brooks also pays himself $700,000 per year out of AEI, plus expenses, of course. He also gets $100,000 a year for other work at AEI, but that’s not defined on the tax filing. He may not be a one-percenter, but he is close enough to see it from his perch in the Imperial Capital. Being a libertarian lion is a lot easier when you take home close to a million a year from a tax exempt foundation.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t begrudge these fat-cat grifters their money. It’s a crooked and corrupt system and they are simply working it to their advantage. I could do without the Randian lectures about small government and rugged individualism, but hypocrisy is a feature of the human condition, not a bug. What’s curious to me is why these people seem to take pleasure in the suffering of the white lower classes. The glee with which they praise these Williamson columns suggest they get some strange pleasure from it.

That’s thing. That column was mostly just sneering, but Williamson put a lot of effort into letting the reader know he took pleasure in not only evicting his wayward tenants, but also in observing the suffering of the poor people in housing court. I grew up dirt poor, so I have no illusions about poverty. Poor people are poor mostly because they have low-IQ’s and poor impulse control. Progressive efforts to romanticize poverty were always ridiculous, but that does not mean we should take pleasure in their suffering. That’s just sick.

Regular readers of this blog will know that my view of the Official Right and their slow-witted little brother, Official Libertarianism, is that they trail along behind the Progressives, as they flit from one fad to the next. Their contempt for the Dissident Right is not about ideology. It’s that they think the scruffy trouble makers to their Right make them look bad to their friends on the Left. It’s hard to make $30K from college speeches when the people running the college are blaming you for the alt-right hate-thinkers.

Maybe that’s why there is a market on the Official Right for the type of contemptuous poverty porn Williamson is peddling. The Left has made hatred of working class white people that shop at Walmart a centerpiece of their identity. Hillary Clinton ran for President on a platform of “White People Suck.” Perhaps the Official Right is just aping what they see, but with their own spin on it. “The Conservative Case for Hating Poor Whites” is probably in the works at National Review.

The Power of Theocracy

Living in a Progressive theocracy means the framework of civic debate is always going to be a Progressive framework. The Prog mullahs establish the premises, set the rules and dictate what is and what is not permitted. They police the debate to make sure no one is coloring outside the lines or questioning the official orthodoxy. In Iran, they allow debate until it bumps into heresy, then they start shooting people. In America, the Progs will ruin a few careers to send a message to the others that may have heretical thoughts.

It should be noted that the two most successful Middle Eastern countries, in terms of stability and world influence, are both theocracies, Iran and Saudi Arabia. If you throw in Israel, which is a Western implementation of Levantine theocracy, the three most successful Middle Eastern societies are theocratic. You’ll also note that the machinations of these three countries are at the center of great power politics. Russia, China, Europe and the US Empire are fixated on the Middle East. Theorcracy is not without its merits.

Anyway, the Prog theocracy of America is a hybrid creation that evolved over the last century into something that relies on the tools of an official religion to exploit the institutions of a modern social democracy. Progressives control the normal public debate that occurs within a social democracy by declaring a wide range of topics off-limits on moral grounds. This narrows the range of possible answers, funneling the public debate into the cattle chute of their choosing, thus resulting in a policy the Prog mullahs prefer.

A good example of this is race. It is largely assumed that Progs use race as a political lever to win elections or as a cudgel to beat the bad whites. That’s part of it, but the real utility of race for the Progs is to maintain their position as the moral authority, the arbiters of what is and what is not acceptable public discourse. As long as they are the ones determining the line between good and evil, they control pubic debate. There’s no argument you can craft that can overcome their moral superiority.

You see that here in this story on the collapse of black entrepreneurship. It’s a long emotive ramble not worth reading, but the gist of the article is that the collapse of black business is due to the magic of invisible discrimination by big business and banks. No evidence is provided, but good thinkers don’t need it. The bulk of the piece is the writer establishing his credentials as a friend of the black man, thus providing him with the moral authority to call out the heretics. Unsurprisingly, it is The Man!

As Steve Sailer pointed out, there are explanations for this collapse in black entrepreneurship that don’t involve magic. Immigration is one explanation that leaps out on a ghetto tour. In Baltimore, for example, Koreans and South Asians go into tough neighborhoods and open cash businesses like liquor stores and food stands. Their willingness to do business through bullet proof glass allows them to complete in these neighborhoods. Their clannishness allows them to dominate.

This is not the result of magic. It is the result of Progressive polices over the last thirty years. Similarly, is the Prog desire to decorate corporate enterprise and the academy with non-white faces. Instead of the Talented Ten Percent staying in the black community, building businesses, providing discipline and leadership, they are out in honkyville. Diversity hiring is a form of colonialism that skims the best and brightest into the dependency of corporate life, leaving behind the squalor of the rest.

There are certainly other reasons why black enterprise has collapsed, like the financialization of the American economy via credit money. There’s no doubt that the concentration of wealth, as well as the lack of restraint by the political class on its use, has severely disrupted the American middle class. There’s a lot of material there if someone is genuinely curious about what is happening in the black community. That’s not what matters to the Progressives. What matters is establishing their moral authority.

When the Iranian youth decided it was time to take on the Mullahs at the start of the Obama administration, they just assumed they had the numbers to force change on the regime. The regime, on the other hand, knew they possessed the moral authority to enforce order. That’s the real power of possessing moral authority. It’s not that it intimidates enemies of the regime. It’s that it sidelines the uncertain and motivates the true believers. When you get to draw the moral boundaries, you always win.

That’s the challenge to any movement that seeks to displace the Progressive authorities in America. It’s not about winning elections or getting the numbers in legislatures. It’s about stealing from the Progs their moral authority and their ability to frame the debate. If they have to rely on facts and reason, they are doomed, but as long as they get to set the terms of the debate, facts and reason don’t matter. That’s why the medieval House of Saud still stands and why the Mullahs in Iran are still with us. They define right and wrong.

What We Have, We Hold

The title for this post is a quote often attributed to Leonid Brezhnev or sometimes to Stalin, but like many pithy quotes, its origins are unknown. It was most likely a quick shorthand for the view of the Soviets, during the Brezhnev era, that their sacrifices in the war entitled them to hold the satellite countries of Eastern Europe. The rhetoric of the Soviets, particularly with regards to the third world, could never be squared with the fact that they held a sizable chunk of Europe captive, but they somehow found a way to justify it.

It is also a useful way of understanding the psychology of Progressive groups. They operate a lot like car thieves in the ghetto. A guy boosts a car and immediately buys an air freshener for it, puts some of his clothes in the backseat and always, always litters it with some of his mail. Anyone who has repossessed cars knows this, which is why it is such a great line in this movie. At some level, the thief knows it is not his car, but he makes it his car in the same way a dog marks his territory. It’s his as long as it has his stuff in it.

That’s the mindset of the Progressive. The political ground they acquire, no matter how they acquire it, is theirs. They own it and they intend to keep it. It is not open for debate. It is why Obama, for example, was fond of saying he would not “re-litigate” ObamaCare with the Republicans. As far as he was concerned, he won that ground and he was entitled to keep it. The next debate would have to be over your stuff and how much of it he could take from you and how much you would be allowed to hold, for now.

It is a mistake, I think, to assume it is a conscious strategy they think about before executing. Obama was not sitting around with his advisers coming up with a clever way to close off debate about his health care bill. It’s a natural instinct, resulting from their obsession with the future. Their singular obsession is what they imagine to be the promised land that is just beyond the horizon. Any reconsideration of the past is the same in their mind as turning away from the future and marching backwards.

This impulse is so powerful, it has warped public debate for as long as anyone reading this has been alive. You see here in this New York Times piece by a fanatic at NYU.

At one of the premieres of his landmark Holocaust documentary, “Shoah” (1985), the filmmaker Claude Lanzmann was challenged by a member of the audience, a woman who identified herself as a Holocaust survivor. Lanzmann listened politely as the woman recounted her harrowing personal account of the Holocaust to make the point that the film failed to fully represent the recollections of survivors. When she finished, Lanzmann waited a bit, and then said, “Madame, you are an experience, but not an argument.”

This exchange, conveyed to me by the Russian literature scholar Victor Erlich some years ago, has stayed with me, and it has taken on renewed significance as the struggles on American campuses to negotiate issues of free speech have intensified — most recently in protests at Auburn University against a visit by the white nationalist Richard Spencer.

Lanzmann’s blunt reply favored reasoned analysis over personal memory. In light of his painstaking research into the Holocaust, his comment must have seemed insensitive but necessary at the time. Ironically, “Shoah” eventually helped usher in an era of testimony that elevated stories of trauma to a new level of importance, especially in cultural production and universities.

During the 1980s and ’90s, a shift occurred in American culture; personal experience and testimony, especially of suffering and oppression, began to challenge the primacy of argument. Freedom of expression became a flash point in this shift. Then as now, both liberals and conservatives were wary of the privileging of personal experience, with its powerful emotional impact, over reason and argument, which some fear will bring an end to civilization, or at least to freedom of speech.

My view is that we should resist the temptation to rehash these debates. Doing so would overlook the fact that a thorough generational shift has occurred. Widespread caricatures of students as overly sensitive, vulnerable and entitled “snowflakes” fail to acknowledge the philosophical work that was carried out, especially in the 1980s and ’90s, to legitimate experience — especially traumatic experience — which had been dismissed for decades as unreliable, untrustworthy and inaccessible to understanding.

And there it is, the debate is over, as Al Gore would say. There’s no need to rehash those old debates about feelings counting for more than facts. To do so is to fall prey to temptation in the same way a drunkard or drug addict falls off the wagon. No, the pure of heart and mind will resist temptation and honor all the hard work it took to capture that ground for the Progs. “There’s no going back to the dark ages, comrade. What we have, we hold. Now it is time to debate how you will adjust to this new reality.”

This rhetorical slight of hand is so natural and relentless, that it tends to wear down all opposition. Normal people get weary of constantly pushing back against the Progs and then “click” the ratchet snaps forward. It’s how we went so quickly from “Hey maybe we need an accommodation for same sex couples” to “the Founders always wanted homosexual marriage. It is right there in the Constitution.” The Progs lost fight after fight, but once they won one, the debate was over and it has been over ever since.

This is a lesson and a warning for the growing revolt against the gathering Progressive darkness. The game is to always put the other side on defense. Make them defend every inch, while offering them a chance to buy you off, for now. That’s the path to victory, but it will never be easy. Beating back the Progs will make invading Russia in winter look like a walk in the park. The Progs do not yield an inch. They will burn everything before surrendering anything. What they have, they keep.

Media Blues

My consumption of sports news is about as limited as possible for someone who still follows sports. I scan the baseball news once a week. I’ll scan ESPN and CBS Sports. I say “scan” as most of it is just made up clickbait stuff. The actual  news stories are so poorly written that they are not worth reading once you have gleaned the news nugget. Most sports “journalists” try hard to sound like hyper active teenagers, writing for an audience of semi-literates. We are a long way from Ring Lardner.

As a result, I took some pleasure in the howling and moaning from sports media as ESPN made some small cuts to their on-air talent. Of course, the media covered like it was the end of the world. ESPN cut 100 people from an 8,000 person workforce. Most people reading this have lived through layoffs where ten percent of the labor force is cut. The ESPN cutbacks are trivial, unless you are a media snowflake convinced you are part of a secular priesthood. Then it is the sign of the apocalypse.

What’s surprising is that operations like ESPN have an audience at all. Their “news” converge is mostly jock-sniffing and their created content is so out there on the Progressive fringe, it borders on madness. The people watching sports and following sporting news are men. Most normal men are uninterested in Progressive lunacy. They watch sports for a break or they simply have no interest in other subjects.

The last thing they want to have to suffer through is feminist free verse poetry celebrating lesbianism.

Beneath the bi***h of buzzer, beneath the crowd’s sputtered swear

and bellowed worship, beneath the joint gasping of sweated air as

tree trunk women hurtle fiercely from east net to west, just beneath

the rampaging pummel of their feet on the hardwood and the hurting

screech when they stop short, pivot and slingshot back, beneath

the hissed invective when the wrong swoosh happens, or doesn’t,

beneath vendors who heartlessly hawk the stupid slap of sugar, spirit

and salt, beneath the huge held breath of halftime and the rattling hips

of tambourines, beneath shouts of the beautiful tangled names of

women, beneath the bladed blasts of whistle that signal stop and start,

Poetry is defined as having meter, rhyme or a point. You have to have two of three in order to qualify as verse. What feminist poet Patricia Smith writes has none of those things. There’s no such thing as a “bitch buzzer” and the words conjure no images so the phrase is nonsensical. A “stupid slap of sugar” is supposed to mean what? Who has ever been slapped, stupidly or not, with sugar? The entire word jumble is the sort of thing you would expect from a high school girl, who thinks she is clever. It’s not even doggerel.

The rest is actually worse, if that’s possible. At some point, writing of any kind is so bad it is just terrible. There’s a bottom to terribleness and this junk is there, with all the novels that begin with “it was a dark and stormy night.” It is no surprise to anyone that poetry is dead in America and creative writing is on life support. It’s also no surprise that feminists are terrible writers in addition to being batshit crazy. The question is why is this crap on a sports site? Why would anyone consider such a dumb idea?

What’s happening at ESPN is not unique. Fox News has decided that the way to remedy their high ratings in the cable news wars is to blow up the station, install a gaggle of blue haired lesbians and become a shitty version of the worst rated cable news channels. All over the mass media, it appears the plan is to drive away as many viewers as possible, by offending some and boring the hell out of the rest. That’s thing. Most of it is just boring, not so much offensive. Feminist beat poets are not offensive. They’re stupid and dull.

It’s tempting to go for the reductionist answer and assume it is just proselytizing paid for by the billionaires who own the mass media companies. There’s some of that, but the real issue is that people making editorial decisions are strangers. They don’t know the sort of people who read the sports pages or follow their favorite team. We’re just economic units, who are “out there” on the other side of the walls, so they don’t spend much time thinking about what the typical male sports fan finds interesting about the sporting news.

The people who thought that weird feminist poetry slam was a great idea, probably thought it was a great idea. They have heads full of “theories” about female athletes and “theories” about the twenty people that bother to watch women’s basketball. They just assume everyone is sitting around agonizing about how their vagina defines them. There’s no one in the room willing or able to tell them that feminism is a mental disease and they should be getting professional help, not reading nonsense like this.

The future is female,

we hear,

but the past —

the past is also female.

 

The past is our beginning

and the future —

is also where we start,

where we come from.

 

Poetry is a new language.

It is our oldest language.

Before today’s tautology we spoke in tongues,

we painted images on our walls,

we told stories that meant less then than they mean today.

Summer Soldiers

These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.

–Some old white guy

Street protests and street theater are largely useless as political tactics in the modern age. A century ago, a gaggle of prim-faced scolds marching through the middle of town, demanding the end of alcohol, not only got people’s attention, it changed their minds about the issue. The street protests projected strength and suggested that the numbers on the side of the marchers were larger than assumed. The men in charge responded by giving women the franchise and banning alcohol. The downward spiral started soon after.

Today, people know that the street protest is a made for TV event and that the “protesters” are often paid to show up and make noise. Alternatively, it is assumed that the true believers are batshit crazy and best ignored. In other words, it’s just another TV show in an age where we are awash in TV shows. For the most part, the street protest is for weak losers desperate for attention. The only impact they have on the larger public is to confirm that the “movement” is impotent and can be ignored.

That does not mean street theater is entirely worthless. The alt-right showing up at Berkeley to beat up the Antifa losers was entertaining and it did scare the people in charge of the place. So much so they moved heaven and earth to block Ann Coulter’s speech last week. Make no mistake, the reason the school went to all this trouble is they feared a bunch of dudes in home made battle gear beating the hell out of the Potemkin Protesters the Left now hires to do their protesting for them. A replay would be embarrassing.

Berkeley is the epicenter of West Coast progressive lunacy so for the true believers at the center of the hive to feel this uncertain is suggestive. They have been in charge for so long they just take it for granted. The narrative says they are the ones in the street fighting the man. When the roles are flipped and they are suddenly the man, their go to move is to shut it all down. They have no choice, as to do otherwise would mean facing up to the reality of their situation and that’s never going to happen with true believers.

The real lesson, the one most useful to the alt-right, is seeing the controlled opposition confirm what many have been pointing out for years now. As soon as things got a little tough, the College Republicans folded their tents and blamed the “extremists” of the alt-right. The Young American Foundation, a Conservative Inc. racket to recruit college students, made a show of “defending free speech” but made sure they did not offer any material support. It was just another way to raise money for their racket.

In contrast, a handful of rednecks down south were able to force Auburn to host the notorious Richard Spencer, a guy everyone seems to think is Hitler in a cardigan. They went to court and quickly forced the school to honor its legal obligations. They were also able to rally a security force and get the cops to enforce public order. The result being a peaceful and orderly event. Conservative Inc. has tens of millions in cash at their disposal and an army of elite educated lawyers and they could not even defend Coulter.

What they could do though, is attack Ann Coulter when she correctly pointed out that the summer soldiers of Conservative Inc ran and hid as soon as things got difficult. David French is a mentally unbalanced crackpot, but he does speak for the dwindling number of Buckley Conservatives, who claim to be the vanguard of anti-Progressive forces in America. French speaks for all of the so-called conservatives when he is more upset at Coulter’s noticing than he is at black clad thugs shutting down her speech.

The whole affair is insignificant in isolation, but it is a another reminder to those who have begun the journey away from Buckley Conservatism, Libertarianism and boomer politics that those well-paid heroes of the Right never win these fights. They invest so heavily in the symbolism of conservatism because they conserve nothing but their own place at Lefty’s table. At best they are well-intentioned losers. At worst, they are willing props deployed by the ruling orthodoxy to disrupt the opposition.

The people in the dissident movements are not without their problems and many of them are certainly nuts, but that’s the nature of outsider movements. What’s increasingly clear is the fact that it is the outsider movements who are scoring the victories. They are the people changing minds and forcing the the fight onto the turf of Lefty. It’s not the dorks in blue blazers mooning over photos of Reagan. It’s the guys with home made armor decorated with sun wheels and cartoon frogs.

The other day, an old friend, who was a “happy warrior” type, mostly in the libertarian wing of the Buckley Right, quoted Mike Cernovich to me. I cautioned him to not take everything Cerno says at face value and he responded with, “Hey, no enemies on the Right.” A year ago he probably would have sided with David French or at least frowned upon the alt-right guys raising hell. When given the choice between those who are not afraid to be called a heretic and those who live in fear of it, people naturally choose the former over the latter.