AmRen Journal I

In order to get to American Renaissance, I have to rent a car and drive about an hour west to the secret location in the forest. It’s not a terrible drive, so I don’t mind it, but I have come to hate dealing with car rental places. For some reason, the Nashville car rental counters are staffed by the worst people they can find. This time I was served by a black guy named Abdul with a strange accent that I could not place.

Abdul had a very bad attitude, but the sort of thing that you see from a sub-Saharan government worker. He carried on like I was disturbing him. He also stopped doing what needed doing every few minutes to stare at women walking past. The weird thing is the whole thing could be automated at this point. Most of it is, but they still have guys like Abdul working the counter for some reason.

The car was not where it was supposed to be, so with the help of guys who looked like extras from a documentary on Hernán Cortés I found the car. It turns out that Abdul is not good with his letters, so he transposed some of them on the paperwork.  I get why many Americans are not troubled by machines taking over these jobs. The machines are more polite and make fewer mistakes…

I took a detour to see the Parthenon, which is a weird landmark in Nashville that I have never seen, despite being here many times. It’s a fun park and I highly recommend it if you are ever in Nashville and want a nice relaxing afternoon. It’s still weird to have a copy of the Parthenon in an Appalachian city, but it is quintessentially American. The answer to “why build a Parthenon in Nashville” is “why not build one?”

The rental car is Hyundai of some sort. It has all of the usual electronics, plus the collision avoidance stuff. Man is that annoying. Every truck that passed too close set of the buzzer. At some point, the car decided I needed to take a break and started beeping, suggesting I pull over for coffee. No kidding. I politely told the car to go screw, but it kept making that suggestion every ten minutes.

I think one reason the word seems like it is going mad, is that it is increasingly becoming idiot proof or at least trying to be idiot proof. Our cars now treat us like children. To a normal person able to navigate the world without help, this is awful. To the dummies, it is manna from heaven, I’m guessing. Still, I’d like to get my hands on the engineer who came up with the idea for the car to recommend coffee breaks…

The first time I attended American Renaissance, I was surprised by the quality of the people, which was most due to my ignorance. It was more like an academic conference than a political event. The point was the attendees were educated, professional and representative of the sort that keep the wheels of this society turning, which was what I found so striking about my first time here.

This time, I’m struck by the youth. I’m 53 so I’m probably a bit more aware of the age in the room these day, but correcting for that, the room is much younger this year. There is a new generation coming into focus here and that is encouraging. Interestingly, there were some father and son attendees. In some cases, it is the father bringing the son along and in others the son bringing the father. That’s another one of those green shoots.

There are more women here than in the past. That’s probably a good thing, but I’m not going to carve that into stone just yet. The Yoko Ono problem is a universal that transcends time and place. Still, the women I met here last night all seem level headed.  Now that Heartiste is in internet gaol, I feel I have to pick up the slack on the wammin issue, so consider this my contribution to the cause. Speedy return Heartiste…

In years past, the socializing has been about the journey to this side of the great divide, with people trading stories about when they were red pilled. This year, at least so far, the talk is all about how to get more people to our side. It’s anecdotal, but it fits in with what I see elsewhere, so maybe there is a trend here. My first guess is that the number of people with their eyes wide open has reached a point where it is no longer seen as unusual…

One last note before I head off to the morning sessions. Coming in yesterday I bumped into Jared Taylor and his fiancée having a walk around the grounds. We chatted for fifteen minutes or so. They wanted to know if I have had any trouble traveling in Europe. I think Jared is still pissed about his banning, which is understandable. It’s not so much the banning, but the slimy way it was done. He expects better from his adversaries.

The fact is though, we are being treated like dangerous revolutionaries for simply wanting what people have taken for granted since the dawn of human settlement. We’re not going to get better adversaries. We’re stuck with the shabby, ruthless and vulgar people who take pleasure in harassing normal people. We have to adjust to that. If we’re going to be treated like revolutionizes, then we best start acting like them…

To support my work, subscribe here.

The Roots Of Our Madness

By the time you are reading this, I will be winging my way out of Lagos to Nashville Tennessee for the annual American Renaissance conference. Those of you who will be attending, I look forward to meeting you. I will be easy to find. For those not attending, I will be positing about it over the weekend. It is just Friday and Saturday, so I’ll probably post something Saturday and then something when I get back on Sunday.

This year there is a bit of a youth movement, as many of the speakers are quite young, but maybe it will be good to have some youth on the roster. The crowd will be close to a record, so maybe the young speakers are drawing in a young crowd. There will be some old timers in the mix, as well, so it is not a children’s crusade. It will be good practice for me at being an old man in a room full of rotten kids.

This week’s show is a little different. I like to keep things fresh, so the format is a bit different, mostly due to the fact I could only think of five sub-topics. The genesis of this week’s theme was something John Derbyshire covered in his podcast last week. He talked about quantifying the degree of craziness in this age. I’m taking a shot at explaining the causes of the present lunacy. You can catch John’s show here.

To support my work, please contribute here.

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. YouTube also has the full podcast. Of course, there is a download link below.

This Week’s Show

Contents

  • 00:00: Opening
  • 02:00: The Crazy Town Express
  • 12:00: The Mad House
  • 22:00: A Crazy Sexual Marketplace
  • 32:00: Ruled By Morons
  • 42:00: Monopolized & Homogenized
  • 57:00: Closing

Direct DownloadThe iTunes PageGoogle Play LinkiHeart Radio, RSS Feed

Full Show On Spreaker

Full Show On YouTube

Since YouTube has broken their embedding, here is the link for now:

Thoughts On Southern Identity

Southern identity is one of those things most people think they can define without too much trouble. After all, there are so many southern stereotypes popularized by Hollywood that you are spoiled for choice. If you think poorly of the South, then you can go with the snaggle-toothed redneck in overalls and no shirt. If you hold romantic notions about the South, then there is the smooth and courtly southern gentleman, who makes the ladies blush. Of course, there is everything in between.

In reality, those types we get from popular culture are caricatures of old realities, more than anything based in present reality. In the major population centers in the modern South, you will be hard pressed to find the snaggle-toothed redneck or the courtly southern gentleman. Instead, it is mostly middle-class suburban people living better than most of the country. The quality of life in the modern South is much higher than most of the country, which is why so many are moving there.

Of course, the South has never been monolithic. Georgia has a different culture than South Carolina, because it has a different origin story. Parts of North Carolina are more like Virginia, while other parts are more like Appalachia. Again, this is due to the people who settled these areas. While Southern identity has largely been bordered by slavery and the Civil War, even within that framework there was a great deal of diversity in the South, going back to the beginning. Southern culture is diversity.

Then there is the fact the South has always been home to a large black population with its own identity and origin story. Despite what northern historians claim, blacks have always been a part of Southern identity. In the rest of the country, blacks are a tolerated add-on population. A black person raised in Boston would never call himself a Bostonian, while a black raised in the South is going to identify as Southern. It is a different sense of identity than a white person from the South, but not alien.

Compounding the natural diversity of the South in the current age is the large number of foreigners that have moved to the South in the past few decades. From the perspective of the natives, it is hard to say which is worse, the migrant laborers from over the horizon or the economic migrants from the rest of the country. The former seems to have more respect for the locals than the latter and they generally have the decency not to vote in local elections. Still, both are now a part of the South.

Unlike white identity, Southern identity, as a cultural and political movement, has another problem. There have been prior efforts to forge a politics in the South, all of which have failed for various regions. As a result, Southern identity carries with it a stigma that is hard to shake. Efforts to organize today, inevitably have to deal with the old guys from the past showing up wanting to revitalize their thing, rather than embrace something new and based in present reality. The South still has ghosts.

All that said, the South is going to be on the cutting edge of identity politics, even if it struggles to forge a new identity. Georgia is 55% white, with a large black population spoiling for a chance to hold the whip hand over whites. Florida is 56% white with a swelling population of Caribbeans. Texas is already minority white and the flood of migrants is making it more so. It is in the South that white identity, regional identity and identity politics will be the defining issues in the very near future.

How this breaks out is hard to know. There are people with ideas about it, like the folks at Identity Dixie, with whom I did an interview recently. They are in many ways the New South, in that they are college educated, middle-class guys. As I like to put it, the new Southern man has a pickup truck, but it cost sixty grand, has leather seats and the bed has only ever seen his kid’s toys and his golf clubs. If it has a bumper sticker on it on, it is for parking at his office building or maybe his golf club.

When thinking about Southern identity, a good place to start would be the world of William Faulkner. A century ago, the changing nature of the South was the displacement of the old gentry with the decedents of white plantation workers and dirt farmers. The old aristocracy was giving way to a cruder, more cunning and less culturally ambitious breed of Southerner. The Snopes family was the new South, not invested in any romantic notions of the past, beyond what could profit them.

What seems to be happening today is a reverse of that. The people in the new Southern identity movements are like the guys at Identity Dixie. They are smart and educated, working in the modern economy. They have a connection to that old sense of Southern identity like the Compson family in the Faulkner novels, but they are not haunted by it. It is in the South where a native archeofuturism is forming up, where the past informs the present, as they develop an identity for the future.

It is hard to know where this goes. It is in the South where the homogenization and financialization of America is most obvious. Vast developments of identical houses, with Potemkin “town centers” populated by strangers from all over the earth, is just as much a part of the New South as anything else. If someone had moved away from the Charlotte area thirty years ago and returned for the first time today, they would be in a foreign country. Even NASCAR is different from the recent past.

How a Southern identity grows out of that is hard to know, especially one that is not reactionary. If the new sense of Southern identity is going to avoid the fate of prior efforts, it will have to be positive, rather than negative. When a group identity is based on opposition to some other group, it is not something to carry a people forward. It is their long retreat into the oblivion of history. Whatever comes next for Southern identity will have to avoid that mistake and be forward looking and independent.

To Support my work, subscribe here.

Modern Political Escapism

One of the weird features of current age America is it is kind of like a community theater production of popular Broadway shows. The people on stage are enthusiastic to play the roles and the production people work hard to get everything just as the audience would remember it. The audience will tolerate some changes and revisions, in order to update the show, but otherwise they want to see the original. The culture of this age is like a long re-do of the past, in order to get it right this time.

The most obvious place for this is in movies. There are small independent films that try new things, but the big productions are all rehashes of old material. In many cases they are remakes that deviate in amusing ways from the original. This has become so obvious that there are a bunch of hackneyed jokes about it. As soon as a remake is announced, everyone lets fly with jokes about how it will feature a one-legged trans lesbian of color, rather than the white male star in the original production.

Where this lack of new ideas is most obvious is in the realm of politics. The vast Democratic field, which is up to 22 now, is interesting for the sole reason that it is the wildly boring cast of characters. The front-runners are two near-dead geezers who sound like museum exhibits on the 1970’s. The rest remind everyone of the people you meet at a corporate retreat. They are studies in blandness. The primary is going to be a beauty contest without a talent competition, because no one has any talent.

One of the interesting things to come out of the Ben Shapiro meltdown on the BBC, besides him behaving like a spoiled teenager, was the exchange over which side of the political class has new ideas. Shapiro was right to point out that the new ideas on the Left are just remakes of very old ideas, but he was unable to name a single thing the so-called conservative movement has to offer. The American Left is a post-modern art installation, but the American Right, the official one, is the storage closet.

If you go to National Review Online and search for the word “socialism” you get more than a hundred pieces ranting about socialism this year. The word “automation” generates no hits for this year, despite the fact automation of labor is the most important economic topic of this age. The word “immigration” gets some hits, but all from the two people who focus on it and nothing but political observations. Is there a “conservative case” for or against immigration? They have one for men pretending to be women.

In fairness, those “conservative case for” pieces that dissidents love to mock have dried up of late, in favor of a trip down memory lane. The conservative movement is now committed to fighting socialism. Every day they put out tired essays like this one from Kevin Williamson. National Review is committed to promoting the moronic strategy of the Republican Party, which is desperate to campaign on anything other than what their voters see as important. America has always been at war with abstract ideas!

Of course, they never actually argue against socialism. There’s no conservative case for ending social security. That’s a giant wealth transfer from the young to the old. The same is true of Medicare. They can’t even muster a case against programs like subsidized school lunches. Instead, like Ben Shapiro, they focus all of their energy on attacking the ideas of unstable females like Ocasio-Cortez. American political debate is a bum fight outside a debilitated old bar in a town that has seen better days.

In fairness, there are some people on the permitted Right that understand Buckley Conservatism is dead. This Rod Dreher post about J.D. Vance speaking at the American Conservative dinner touches on it. The thing is though, you see why these guys are hopelessly trapped in an ideological cage built for them by the Left. What Vance imagines is some weird new conservationism that proves once and for all that the Democrats are the real racists. It’s reactionary nostalgia for yesterday men.

The fact is, Buckley style conservatism was always just a wart on the face of American Progressivism, intended to make it less attractive. It was never a fully formed moral philosophy that could stand independently from Progressivism. It’s why it was so easily infiltrated by libertarianism after the Cold War. Both ideologies are dependent on the Left to exist. Libertarianism was a critique of central planning, while conservatism was a defense of Western order in the face of 19th century radicalism.

Whatever comes next is not going to be rooted in middle-aged white guys emoting about black single mothers. That Vance speech is just another version of the same old plea for mercy conservatives have been sending out since they lost the fight on freedom of association in the 1960’s. Cobbling together tribes of losers, hiding out in the jungle long after the war has ended, is not the future of the Right. What comes next is going to be a moral philosophy rooted in biological reality.

In the meantime, both sides of the political order will belt out show tunes from their salad days, while pretending they are having a serious debate. It is, in part, a way to avoid facing up to present reality. Why talk about the inherent instability of a majority-minority society when you can debate climate change? Why talk about the plight of white people in America when you can rant about Venezuelan economic policy? In addition to being a dearth of new ideas, modern political debate is a form of escapism.

To Support my work, subscribe here.

Back To A Forgotten Past

When you read old books, something you will notice is that intellectuals a century ago had a better sense of history. They did not “remember” things that happened before their time, of course, but they knew a lot about the past. Therefore, their sense of history was broader than what you see today. For most people in this age, history started somewhere around when they began to notice things. This makes for a strange sense of history, particularly for young people, as they have not been around long.

This is something that Oswald Spengler addressed in The Decline of the West, with the ancient Greeks. An interesting point he makes is that because the Greeks did not create monuments for their dead, like elaborate tombs or cemeteries, they could not build a timeline from the lives of their heroes. The Egyptians, on the other hand, would always know they were an ancient people, because they lived and died in the shadows of great monuments built by their ancestors to venerate their ancestors.

The claim is debatable, but a people’s sense of time is not universal. If you are a people without a belief in an afterlife, it will shape how you live this life, compared to those who believe in judgement after death. The possibility of eternal damnation not only alters behavior, it is a daily reminder of the brevity of a man’s life. Similarly, if you know, or at least assume, you will die young, you’re going to live fast. That is the whole basis of the “live fast, die young and leave a beautiful corpse” ethos of the rock star.

In modern America, the past is a foreign country to most people, even for those with an interest in history. The reason is our present is not littered with reminders of those who came before us. America has always been a live fast, die young country, so we have never centered our culture on people and events of the past. In a few weeks we will have “Memorial Day” and few people can say what it is we memorialize. What it means to most Americans is the start of summer and the consumption of summer product.

There is something to say for the live fast, die young ethos, but it makes it easy to repeat the same mistakes over and over. We see this with the mass media, which is in low regard at the moment. The inability to remember before yesterday has people thinking this is a new thing, rather than the normal state of affairs. Matt Taibbi thinks the media wrecked itself in the 1990’s, with the Lewinsky scandal. Their covering up for the Clintons was the start of the collapse of journalism and the reputation of the media.

While it was certainly a shabby performance, it was not all that different from what went on the 1980’s and it was not worse than what happened in the 1970’s. If you want to put down a marker as the starting point of modern advocacy journalism, the Watergate scandal is where it all started. That’s when narrative journalism bloomed and it made some reporters rich and famous. Since then, every upper middle-class kid entering journalism school, has dreamed of being Bob Woodward and taking down a Republican president.

The reality though, is the media has always been advocacy. There was never a time when news reporters were objective or conformed to a set of ethics. In fact, the idea of journalistic ethics is an entirely new thing. The reporters in the 1920’s would have laughed themselves silly if someone scolded them about their ethics. The newspaper man was a carouser who lived rough and played rough. Until after World War II, being in the media was a working class job with the morality of carny folk.

It is this inability to think clearly about the past that has people like Taibbi confused about what’s happening in the media. Because what’s happening is new to him, he assumes it must be new. This cultural amnesia is also why the media started thinking of itself as a priesthood back in the 1960’s. The well-scrubbed college graduates from good families showing up in newsrooms just assumed it had always been a profession for beautiful people. After all, they had never experienced anything otherwise.

The fact is, the only thing different about the media today is the scale and the uniformity of opinion. In prior ages, both sides of the political class had their media, so there was competition. As the political class collapses into a monolith, the mass media is following in the same path. The difference between Fox News and CNN is quite small, once you get past the theatrics. Sean Hannity having an aneurysm over the latest attack on Trump is the flip side of Don Lemon squealing about Trump’s last tweet.

Probably the one real difference in the modern media compared to the past, is that we are saturated with it today. In the old days, communist countries would put up loudspeakers in the middle of small towns to broadcast propaganda. Today we have the internet, mobile phones and cable television. The agit-prop is everywhere and in the case of the internet, it is actively spying on us. Our rulers are now installing listening devises in our homes in order to make sure we are consuming the correct media products.

If you are over the age of 50, you recall a time when consuming mass media was something you did on the train to work or when you got home. There were morning papers and evening papers. The evening television news was an hour. First you had the local news then the national news. If you wanted to consume a discussion of public affairs, you did so on Sunday morning. Within living memory it was easy for a man to be completely free of politics and mass media. Today it is close to impossible.

What we are seeing today, in terms of media status, is probably just a return to the historic norm. Media companies are slashing their payrolls, because there’s no money in advocacy, at least not enough to warrant lavish salaries. More and more news is being reported by low paid kids and crafty independents with a specialty. Opinion writing is becoming a hobby again. The future of mass media is the past, where the business is to sell a point of view and live like carny folk on the fringes of society.

To support my work, subscribe here.

Post-Modern Awakening

Religious awakenings or re-awakenings are common in human civilizations, particularly in the West. They manifest themselves in different ways, but the root is always a sense that society has lost its way and strayed from the moral path. When enough people come to this conclusion, a cascade preference begins and a mass movement forms to start the return to that moral path. It may be a restoration of the old faith or it can be the rise of a reform movement. Of course, it can also be the start of a new religion entirely.

Social cycle theory holds that a return to the old faith, maybe tuned for the age, is part of the end phase of society. The beliefs that were part of the young culture, but faded away in the middle age of the people, makes a comeback of sorts in the winter of the culture. It’s not nostalgia driving the revival, but a sense that the thing that inspired the best years of the people has been lost. The religious revival we have seen in the Islamic world is a good example. They are trying to recapture a lost golden age.

In the English speaking world, particularly America, another religious phenomenon has been observed. The Great Awakening was a series of Christian revivals that swept Britain and the colonies in the 18th century. It was the emergence of Anglo-American evangelicalism within the Protestant churches. While considered a singular event, historians have noted that America has undergone subsequent revivals, where a blend of strong social activism and religious revival sweep the nation.

An argument made here, from time to time, is that the spasms of Progressive activism we have seen over the last century are an extension of this cycle. The New Deal was more than just about political reform or addressing the economic crisis. After the war, a period of relative social harmony led to the great cultural upheavals of the 60’s and 70’s, which were clearly spiritual, as well as political. These were no longer explicitly Christian, but “Judeo-Christian”, reflecting the new composition of the elite.

These periods of social activism are described as revolutions, as if they are led by plucky outsiders trying to ignite change in a resistant society. In reality, these efforts, including the current spasm we are experiencing today, are top-down and within the ruling elite itself. If you look at these movements, going back to the Great Awakening, you see they are not led by outsiders. Instead, they were led by people of high status, who first sought to reform the top of society, then society as a whole.

The political face of the New Deal, for example, was the result of an intellectual competition within the ruling elite of America. It was argued between the radicals, who embraced ideas from the old world, versus those who embraced the uniquely American sense of social reform. If you go back and read the early Progressives, many salted their language with Christian references that only a believer could grasp. The Left became anti-Christian, but it has its roots in the 19th century evangelicalism.

The other side to these spasms of social reform and spiritual awakening is a militarism that sees itself as missionary work. America’s involvement in the Great War was due, in part, to Progressives like Theodore Roosevelt casting it as a moral duty. “Making the world safe for democracy” is not a practical goal. It is a religious aim. Similarly, the fight against fascism was seen and is still seen, as a moral crusade. Of course, the neoconservative effort to democratize the Muslim world was a spiritual crusade.

These spasms of religiosity, spiritualism and social activism, within the context of Christian belief, had some built in limits. Within the Christian context, utopianism could be avoided, as that contradicts Christian dogma. By the 20th century, however, American elites were losing their Christianity. The arrival of Jewish intellectuals in the early 20th accelerated the secularization of the elite. As a result, the Progressive spasm of the 60’s and the current one, was and is anti-Christian and utopian.

This lack of a limiting principle in the “new religion” of the ruling class, and that’s what multiculturalism is when you think about it, inevitably leads to excess. The 60’s ended with excessive drug taking, social unrest and pointless terrorism. This current spasm appears to be burning itself out in mindless self-destruction, assaults on reason and self-mutilation. The race to stake out the most extreme position leads to an embrace of increasingly self-destructive behaviors by the people leading the revival.

Getting back to social cycle theory, where Spengler and others may have gone wrong is in their scope. Perhaps what we are seeing in America with these revivals is the end of a cultural phase, rather than the culture as a whole. The New Deal era closed the door on the post-Civil War period. The cultural revolution of the 60’s closed the door on the New Deal consensus. This current spasm is closing the door on the New Left consensus that defined the late Cold War and post-Cold War period. This the end, not the beginning.

The question then is what comes next. There’s not much in the way of intellectual development, in terms of moral philosophy or political philosophy, on either side of the Progressive order. The liberals are mostly shrieking primitives, defending their privileges from anything they see as a threat. The conservatives are just a nostalgia cult, telling each other stories about Reagan and Bill Buckley. Their beloved principles are just a map to a room off to the side where they can reminisce about the old days.

Baring some revolution at the top, whatever comes next for America after this awakening is going to be external to it. Perhaps that is what we’re seeing with the various dissident movements percolating in the West. With the fading of the American empire, new ideas are springing up at home and abroad. At some point, a new moral framework will coalesce to challenge the brittle dying orthodoxy. Alternatively, maybe what comes next is a new dark age. Perhaps this Progressive spasm the last one before the lights go out.

To support my work, subscribe here.

The Hot House Flower

Way back in the olden thymes, there was a pop act called Milli Vanilli. They were sold as an R&B duo from Munich, but both members were black. That added to their appeal, even in the pre-woke 1980’s. Their debut album was wildly successful in Europe and the US, selling millions of copies. They won a Grammy and had a world tour. The whole thing fell apart when they foolishly revealed that neither of them sang the songs on their album and their shows were lip-synced. They were disgraced and that was the end of the act.

There is a whiff of that with the fallout from the Ben Shapiro interview on the BBC that has been making the rounds. He agreed to be questioned by Andrew Neil, without bothering to learn anything about the format of the show. The setup is the host grills the guest, giving them a chance to rise to the occasion and show their stuff. Alternatively, as in the case of Ben Shapiro, it is a chance for the guest to reveal themselves to be a lightweight incapable of playing with the big boys. It was not a good day for Ben Shapiro Inc.

Of course, this exchange confirmed what many people have observed about Shapiro for a long time. That is, his reputation as a great debater was built on beating up emotionally unstable coeds. At one point in that interview, Andrew Neil seems to allude to that before Shapiro starts yapping like a whiny dog and cuts him off. YouTube is full of videos titled “Ben Shapiro destroys…” and the victim is a teenager or a girl. When confronted by an adult male with some skills at debating the issues, Shapiro became the sobbing coed.

What was revealed in that exchange is that Shapiro is a hothouse flower, created by a marketing machine, in the same way pop acts are created. Some talented marketers decided he had the right look and presentation, so he was hired to be the front man of what amounts to a political marketing machine. Shapiro is not exactly gormless, but his status has been inflated by a public relations effort, as well as big money backers, elevating him well beyond his talents. That was revealed in that interview.

Another analogy is the boxer who has built a record beating up bums. The first time he faces someone who can fight back, he does not know what to do. That was largely the case with Mike Tyson back in the day. People who knew boxing saw the flaws in his game, but Tyson mowed through aging stars and over-hyped bums, so the fans and media never noticed those flaws. Then he met a guy who did notice those flaws and trained to exploit them. Tyson was knocked out and never the same afterward.

That’s what you saw in that BBC video. Andrew Neil is a professional, who has built a career pressing his guests. He’s heard every trick by this point, so Shapiro’s efforts to derail him were quickly turned against him. Like that fighter who suddenly realizes the other guy is not going to just fall down. Shapiro started to panic and things got progressively worse for him until he just quit on his stool. The only thing missing was his handler rushing in to throw in the towel and protect his fighter.

In fairness, Shapiro is not unique in Conservative Inc. or even the mass media. All of them are hot house flowers, play acting as intellectuals. Most are smart enough to know it, so they never get in the ring with anyone who can fight back. If they do agree to talk with someone that is actually smart and capable, they make sure the game is rigged. They either scream over the guest or make sure the guest is willing to play along and make the host look good. That’s the world Shapiro is built for, not actual debate.

Getting back to the Milli Vanilli analogy, the thing that did it for the duo is they were an all or nothing proposition. Their back story is what sold them, as much as the catchy tunes created for them. In other words, it was the origin myth, not their music. For Ben Shapiro, what sold him to conservative readers was the legend of him being the super-debater, destroying liberals and bathing in their tears. His catch phrase, “facts don’t care about your feelings” now seems like an ironic epitaph to his career.

That said, there’s a lot of money invested in Shapiro. The sorry state of conservatism, as a firewall between the people in charge from the growing ranks of the disaffected, leaves them no choice but to re-inflate their hero. There are a lot of smart people scripting Ben Shapiro and the rest of Conservative Inc will be told to rally to his defense. There are a lot of suckers willing to excuse the whole affair and remain defenders and supporters of Ben Shapiro Inc. These rackets always find a way to bugger on until the bitter end.

Still, it is a bit of a green shoot. It is a reminder that these people are not that smart and not that tough. Most of their best fighters are like the Greek city-states under Athenian rule in the fifth century BC. Instead of supplying men to fight, they had shifted to just paying tribute to Athens for their defense. They forgot how to fight. Their men became accustomed to seeking favor from men who knew how to use weapons. That’s what you see all over the ruling class. They have power, but the muscles to use it are atrophying.

To support my work, subscribe here.

The Democratic Field

I like to try out new things once in a while, mostly because I’m still not sure what works best for this type of podcast. Writing is a different experience than speaking. What works for a blog post will not work for a podcast. The old saying in legacy media is that radio is a hot medium and television is a cool medium. That is, you need to be fierier on radio to keep an audience, while on television you need to be calmer. No one wants to see a madman ranting and raving in their living room, so you have to appear calm.

I suspect the same rules apply to new media. Within the podcast domain, some things will work better than others, because the media is more intimate. Most people consume this product by their lonesome. That’s why I try new things all the time. I’m figuring out what works in this format and what I like doing. This week, for example, I’m breaking from the normal format to run through all of the Democrat candidates. No breaks. It’s also a much more casual show than normal. These freaks are too weird to take them seriously.

That really is the thing that jumps out when you start looking at these people and their campaigns. None of them should be dog catcher in a small town. It’s ridiculous that any of them running for President. I suspect when the revolution comes, the reason will be that decent people simply got fed up pretending that this stuff is anything but an insult to the dignity of the people. The other thing is this is highly orchestrated. The system actively selects for these people. This freak show is what our rulers want to see.

To support my work, please contribute here.

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. YouTube also has the full podcast. Of course, there is a download link below. I have been de-platformed by Spotify, because they feared I was poisoning the minds of their Millennial customers.

This Week’s Show

Contents

  • 00:00: Opening
  • Michael Bennet (Link)
  • Joe Biden (Link)
  • Cory Booker (Link) Gun grabbing, fighting racist tech
  • Pete Buttigieg (Link)
  • Julián Castro (Link)
  • John Delaney (Link)
  • Tulsi Gabbard (Link)
  • Kirsten Gillibrand (Link)
  • Kamala Harris (Link)
  • John Hickenlooper (Link)
  • Jay Inslee (Link)
  • Amy Klobuchar (Link)
  • Seth Moulton (Link)
  • Beto O’Rourke (Link)
  • Tim Ryan (Link)
  • Bernie Sanders (Link)
  • Eric Swalwell (Link)
  • Elizabeth Warren (Link)
  • Marianne Williamson (Link)
  • Andrew Yang (Link)
  • 57:00: Closing 

Direct DownloadThe iTunes PageGoogle Play LinkiHeart Radio, RSS Feed

Full Show On Spreaker

Full Show On YouTube

The End Of The Road

At the end of the Cold War, when Francis Fukuyama wrote The End of History and the Last Man, the belief among the Western elites was that the great debates were over and liberal democracy was the winner. The days of nations competing for resources and ideologies competing for adherents were gone. Instead, liberal democracy would spread to the rest of the world and capitalism would be the universal economic model. If there was to be a debate at all, it would be over how best to distribute the great surplus.

Thirty years later, it seems a bit ridiculous, but in the context of the age, it was not an unreasonable prediction. The Cold War suppressed economic development in both the East and West, for close to seventy years. The West spending lavishly on armaments meant not spending on other things. The East having embraced communism meant three generations lost to pointless social experimentation. Stripped of the burden of war, the world could rapidly develop, unleashing an enormous supply of human capital.

It did not really turn out that way, of course. The West is noticeably less free today than it was thirty years ago. The ruling class is rushing to close off political debate and free expression. In the name of democracy elites are sending gangs of thugs to harass and assault people exercising their democratic rights. In the name of capitalism, a narrowing group of oligarchs are exercising control over large swaths of the economy. The surveillance state is reaching levels unimaginable thirty years ago.

In the shadow of this growing authoritarianism sits the political and cognitive elite, unable to come to terms with what is happening. What is remarkable about the current age is the public debate, the officially permitted one, at least, is irrelevant to what is actually happening in the world. Three years on and the American media is still talking about invisible gremlins supposedly hypnotizing voters in the 2016 elections. Meanwhile, millions of barbarians pour over the southern border and the public space collapses.

This summer, various types of patriotic groups will come to Washington to demonstrate and proselytize for their constitutional rights. It is a feature of life in the Imperial Capital that used to go unnoticed. People demanding free speech by speaking freely in front of the White House was always a bit amusing. Now, however, those speakers will be attacked by black clad militants, calling the speakers fascists. The media will hiss at the speakers, claiming their demands for free speech are a threat to democracy.

Meanwhile, the supposed conservative opposition will be having name tag parties where they will talk about the threat of socialism. Nowhere is the absurdity of the age more obvious than in the so-called conservative movement. They have coordinated, with the Republican Party, a campaign to fight socialism. The stunning inability to come to terms with present reality is breathtaking. Their campaign against socialism is every bit as ridiculous as seeing people walking around dressed in leisure suits.

It is not just right-wing Progressives trapped in the past. What passes for serious thinking on the Left side is just as vacuous. This is a journal published by a Harvard graduate student that’s popular with the “serious” Progressive. It is every bit as retrograde and irrelevant as the nonsense belched out by so-called conservatives. The midget wrestling of this age is two young intellectuals, like Nathan Robinson and Ben Shapiro, debating socialism, using language that fell out of fashion a generation ago.

In all candor, many on the dissident right suffer from the same problem. Look around the intellectual space – and it is quite vibrant – and you cannot help but notice that a lot of it is backward looking. A big part of it is “rediscovering” thinkers from the last century, who were on the losing side of the great debates of their age. There’s that haunting, familiar to every southerner, that the wrong side won. If only we could go back and re-fight those old fights, maybe things would be different. It’s a longing for an unrealized present.

This antiquarianism is most obvious in the street fights between the radical Left and radical Right. One side imagines themselves as the Rotfrontkämpferbund while the other side is the Sturmabteilung. The silliness of either side thinking they are part of some radical tradition is obvious. More important, it reveals the lack of original thinking. Old dead ideas like fascism, anarchism and radical socialism have little to tell us about politics in the post-industrial, technological age. It’s nothing more than play acting to no end.

Fukuyama was a bit grandiose in pronouncing the end of history, but he was not wrong about the Cold War marking the end of something. It turns out that it was the end of the Enlightenment. All of the debates important to the intellectuals who emerged from the middle ages have been addressed. There’s nothing left to be said on those topics. It turns out that much of it was just a dead end. Perhaps all of it. The resulting conclusions don’t seem to have much value in this post-Enlightenment age.

Meanwhile, noises coming from the cognitive elites fill the air, but they mean nothing to any man standing in the current age looking forward down the timeline. Instead, the noises from these people are like the wailing of animals trapped in the tar pits. They are sad, mournful and a bit terrifying, but the only reason to pay any attention to them is to listen for signs of their waning. Their time is done and once they are gone, the world can move forward with whatever comes next and stop thinking about a now dead past.

To support my work, subscribe here.

The Bandit Economy

There is an old parable about business ethics, where a young ambitious man is hired to run a pickle factory. Being ambitious, he comes up with a brilliant idea to increase productivity. He reduces the number of pickles in each jar by one. The result is the cost per jar falls and the number of jars produced goes up. His bosses are suitably impressed and he is quickly promoted. The firm hires another young hotshot to take his place, he quickly figures out the scheme and repeats the process.

The lesson of the story is that such an approach is not really about increasing efficiency or cutting costs. It is about fraud and the limits of fraud. If this process is carried out a few more times, customers will notice that the jars have a lot less product. Taken to its logic end, the company will eventually be sending empty jars to the market. Of course, once the public catches onto the fraud, the good name of the company is ruined and all of those savings they gained on the front end are lost on the back end, plus interest.

It is a useful parable when trying to understand what has happened to America over the last three decades. Free of the threat of nuclear annihilation, the ruling class has abandoned ethics and morality. One result is we live in a bandit economy, where things like shrinkflation are features rather than exceptions. This post over at Zero Hedge details how the gas you put in your car has been systematically watered down over the last quarter century, coincidentally starting at the end of the Cold War.

Of course, a trip through the supermarket will find plenty of examples of this phenomenon, some of which border on the absurd. The classic pint of ice cream is now fourteen ounces and shrinking. It won’t be long before they will quietly change the definition of quarter to be 2.5 pints. Only conspiracy theorists will notice the change. It used to be that a pint was a pound the world around, but you can’t even buy a pint of beer without a heroic capitalist pulling shenanigans on you. It’s becoming a game with them.

The libertarian line about the market simply being a place where buyers meets sellers sounds good in the hothouse, but in the real world, left unattended, it becomes a grifters alley, where the honest are preyed upon by the unscrupulous. Just as there is never a cop around when you need one, there is no longer anyone policing the practices of our capitalist overlords. If you want to know why people at the end of the Industrial Revolution were open to the call of communism, stand in the chip aisle of your market.

If you are the sort who likes a sandwich and some chips for his lunch, the one thing you can’t help but notice is the bags of chips have grown larger and more expensive. What used to be fifty cents is now a buck-fifty. The bag is also twice the old size, but inside are fewer chips than in the past. It’s already reached the point where the bag is 80% air and 20% product. If this continues on much longer, the lunch time snack will be a dirigible sent to your office containing one chip. That will be your drone delivery.

What the West is experiencing is something people figured out at the end of the industrial revolution. That is, market capitalism is great, except for the market capitalists. Left unsupervised, they quickly turn into bandits in business attire, coming up with clever ways to rob the public. Another feature of this age is the declining number of independent suppliers. It turns out that a feature of unrestrained market capitalism is the strangling of the market by a handful of powerful suppliers, who exercise hegemonic power.

Of course, what is happening here, in a million little daily transactions, is the monetization of public trust. The office workers grabbing lunch trusted that the participants at their local deli were playing fair. Meanwhile, those clever MBA-toting business men and their brilliant ideas about removing just one more pickle from the jar, are exploiting this trust and skimming a few more pennies from the unwitting customer. This sort of practice is modern coin-clipping, which used to be a capital offense.

At some point, when the rubes notice their sandwich can fit in the palm of their hand and the bag of chips is the size of a hot-air balloon, they lose their naiveté and privately realize they are being scammed. We live in a cynical age, because privately, people are coming to believe nothing is on the level and no grift is too small. That has the effect of codifying deceit as a feature of the market and of society. We are rapidly reaching a point where only a sucker trusts anyone other than his friends and family.

This is why unfettered market capitalism is a cancer on society. It turns morality on its head, justifying the unwillingness of the elite to enforce public morality. It’s why your kid’s phone is full of hardcore pornography. The market has spoken and you’re not against the market, are you? Eventually, there is the “A-HA!” moment, when people discover that their private loathing of the daily grift is shared by a large portion of the population. The preference cascade sets the world on fire and morality returns with a vengeance.

To support my work, subscribe here.