Our Weird New Reality

One of the great unnoticed things about the current crisis is that the rules that everyone said were inviolable no longer seem to apply. This is most obvious in the economic realm where nothing makes any sense. Things that were said to be impossible a generation ago are now the default. Similarly, politics is now operating by a set of rules that no one can explain. Things that were considered outside of the realm of the possible are the new normal.

Way back in the before times, when Covid got going, the world literally shut itself down in response to the virus. In America, over twenty-five million people were laid off and tens of millions more were sent home to work. The official unemployment rate peaked at thirteen percent and was then restated to be just under seven percent. What the actual unemployment rate was at the peak is unknown. Regardless, it was an unprecedented attack on the economy that should have been devastating.

According to official statistics, the economy shrugged it off. The official figures say the economy contracted by 3.4% in 2020 but all of the decline was contained in the third quarter of the year. The fourth quarter began a massive rebound. The official numbers say the economy grew by 5.7% in 2021. That more than made up for the decline in the prior year due to Covid. It turns out you can literally shut down an economy and nothing serious will happen. No wonder people want to stay home.

It is not just in America where the laws of economics have been suspended. In Europe they are allegedly facing an energy shortage. Since forever we have been told that steep increases in energy prices trigger recession. Germany is literally facing the prospect of having no gas and no one seems to notice. The massive disruptions to the flow of energy into the EU has thus done little to upset the economy. According to the old rules, this should not be possible.

It is possible that the media is simply lying to us. Maybe people are seething at the suffering that has been inflicted upon them. The official media, controlled as it is by state actors, is ignoring this in favor of happy talk. It could also mean that all of those economic rules were just made up. No on really knows why the economy does what it does but like court magicians, economist pretend to know in order to provide authority to the ruling class. The whole thing is a put-on.

It is also possible that we live in a simulation. What we think of as reality is just a bit of software that the creators can tweak as they please. Those old rules had to be abandoned because the system got a computer virus. In order to keep the simulation from crashing entirely they changed the code. It is a temporary patch to the system until the next upgrade. Maybe that is why big events from the past, like the lockdowns, suddenly feel like distant memories. We rebooted.

Politics has the same weirdness. Everyone reading this is absolutely certain that we did not arrest people for speech. That was written down somewhere and everyone agreed that you could say what you like with some very narrow limits. Yet Douglas Mackey faces a decade in jail for making fun of Hillary Clinton on Twitter. Maybe like the economic rules, there was a patch done to the software, a hard reboot and we are suddenly operating under a totally new set of rules.

This confusion is obvious with the political actors. Salman Rushdie was stabbed on stage in New Jersey. All of a sudden, the people dedicating their lives to suppressing speech were bemoaning this attack on free speech. In Britain, Boris Johnson has people thrown in dungeons for using the wrong pronouns, but he was out there decrying this attack on our sacred liberty. Maybe the software engineers forgot the update these guy’s code during the last service pack.

Even taking a step back and looking at things in the most general sense, the rules no longer seem to apply. Politics used to be defined by the three big human motivations, money, power and sex. How does drag queen story hour fit in here? Who is benefitting from this lunacy? The point of this assault on the children seems to be the promotion of general mayhem, which used to be the opposite of what rulers sought. The old rules said order was the goal of the people in charge.

Of course, we know that a tenet of the new religion states that only through mass confusion can we transcend this world. They believe if they get everyone into a state of agitation that we somehow break free from our old thinking. This lets us adopt a new model of thinking which is the passage to the glorious future. The endless “subverting expectations” is a deliberate effort to make everyone crazy. It is hard to accept, but this does explain why the rulers now prefer chaos.

That does not explain why the system trundles on, despite violating all of the rules we have been told are inviolable. We have double-digit inflation, periodic food shortages and record high gas prices. The whiplash effect is now emerging, where price hikes are followed by demand destruction, which collapses prices, only to see demand return and drive prices back up again. In other words, we are seeing stagflation in the economy but no one seems to notice or care all that much.

Reality is that thing that does not go away when you stop believing it. Maybe it takes us a while to recognize reality after a long absence. Perhaps what lies ahead is a mass recognition of reality and a sudden return of the old rules. Maybe the people running the simulation get bored and shut us down. At this point, given the general weirdness we are seeing, we cannot safely assume anything. For now, at least, we are in a new world with new rules and a new sense of reality.


If you like my work and wish to kick in a few bucks, you can buy me a beer. You can sign up for a SubscribeStar subscription and get some extra content. You can donate via PayPal. My crypto addresses are here for those who prefer that option. You can send gold bars to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. Thank you for your support!


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link. If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


The Great Hoax

Notes: The Monday Taki post is up. This week it is a review of sorts of a book titillating the usual suspects. Sunday Thoughts is mostly about the various angles to the FBI raid on Trump’s villa last week. SubscribeStar users can find it here and Substack users can find it here.


When it comes time to write the obituary for Western civilization, the focus will not be on the forces of destruction, but the forces of distraction. These are the people who peddle utopian alternatives to the present, thus preventing a real opposition forming up to defend the West from its attackers. The West is not being destroyed by malevolent forces like Wokism, antiwhite radicalism and the concentration of wealth in alien hands, but by the forces preventing an organized resistance.

One of the primary examples of this is libertarianism. The real trick of this evil ideology is that it convinces the victim that he is responding with pure reason to the irrationalism of the rats gnawing away at civilization. In reality he is indulging in fantasy, every bit as ridiculous as left-wing utopianism. The difference is that Marx imagined a world where man was freed from his nature through cooperation, while Murray Rothbard dreamed of you being free from your community.

Libertarianism convinces the victim that cooperation is evil, so he not only eschews any sort of organized resistance, but he also works to prevent it. It is this last bit that allowed it to infiltrate conservatism and turn it into a cat’s paw. Twentieth century conservatism became the great defender of Progressive dominance, undermining any resistance in the name of individual liberty. The result is that otherwise good people volunteer to hang alone rather than hang together.

The true nature of the cult of libertarianism is clear in this review of the most recent Thomas Piketty book, A Brief History of Equality. The author of the review does not beat around the bush attacking Piketty’s ideas. Instead, he warns that it could persuade people to organize against the forces destroying their society. In other words, the crime here is not in being wrong about economics. The crime is in being wrong about politics by advocating against the status quo.

As is custom when critiquing libertarianism, it needs to be pointed out that the author’s revealed preference is for something other than libertarianism. He has steadfastly avoided the dreaded private sector, choosing a life in government, the academy and think tanks. One of things you will never find in the dreaded private sector is a genuine libertarian, because people who work understand that society is not possible without organization and someone enforcing the rules.

Putting that aside, the absurdity of libertarianism is that it starts by agreeing with Marx on human organization. Marx believed that what defined the human condition and drove the flow of history was economic relations. The human condition is defined by man’s economic relations with other men. This is not only the starting point for both Marxism and libertarianism, but the end point as well. Both seek the perfection of human relations through economics.

Of course, Marx was wrong about the nature of man. Humans are not defined by their economic relationships with other men. The glue that holds people together is blood, their shared ancestry. The things that define a people are not the product of economic relations but the product of their shared struggle as a people. Culture is the answer to the central question of human organization. “Who are we?” is answered by the traditions, customs and history of the people.

Put another way, culture is the shared labor of the people. It is not just the product of their current labor. Culture is the preservation and improvement of their ancestor’s labor in order top pass it to the next generation. Culture is the shared accretive product of generations of people. That is what defines a people and the individual, not the trading of goods between people. The Marxist and libertarians strip man of his humanity by reducing him to his transactions.

The Marxists and libertarians share something else. Both are a response to the individualism of John Locke. If God holds dominion over the world because he created it, and man was made in God’s image, then it naturally flows that man holds dominion over that which he created. You own you and everything you make because who you are is the product of your labor. This is the bedrock of Western liberalism. We are naturally free because we own ourselves.

Marx saw capitalist economic relations as the source of exploitation, which he defined as men compelled to labor for others. Contrary to popular legend, Marx was not opposed to capitalism, a term he popularized. He saw capitalism as a necessary transition phase to socialism. Eventually, the number of people controlling capital, thus compelling labor, would shrink to the point where people would overthrow them and restore their rights to their own labor.

Libertarianism makes a similar argument. Instead of the holders of capital compelling labor, it is the state. You will note they always avoid discussing who actually owns the state, but instead focus on how the state compels your labor. They tax your labor and force you to so that which you otherwise not do. It is only when the state is eliminated will you be free, because then you will once again own your labor. They land in the same utopia as the Marxist, just by a different road.

It is not hard to see why libertarians despise culture as much as the enemies of Western civilization despise it. Culture defines who decides. The culture of a people defines who makes the final decisions. The answer is always confined to people who are of the people. How those people are selected and by what right they make their decisions on behalf of the people is within that context. Both Marxists and libertarians hate this idea and always oppose it.

This is the great trick of liberal utopianism. One side explicitly seeks to obliterate natural human relations in order to reach the promised land. The alleged opponent implicitly seeks to obliterate natural human relations but claims to be a defense of those natural relations, which they define as pretty much the same as their opponent’s vision of man in his blessed utopia. In both cases, the goal is a world of pure self-ownership in which man has no debt to anyone but himself.

Whenever the final accounting of Western civilization is done, libertarianism will go down as the greatest hoax in human history. In the name of individual liberty, it commands the followers to build the gas chambers used by their alleged opponents to snuff out the defenders of Western culture. Without out that culture, what is left is a deracinated mass of individuals enslaved to the great ideological state, drugged by cheap consumer goods to avoid contemplating the banality of life.


If you like my work and wish to kick in a few bucks, you can buy me a beer. You can sign up for a SubscribeStar subscription and get some extra content. You can donate via PayPal. My crypto addresses are here for those who prefer that option. You can send gold bars to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. Thank you for your support!


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link. If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


Thinking About Things

The show is a bit slapdash this week since I have been burning the candle at both ends for the last two weeks. Work projects have had me pinned to the workstation from dawn to dusk and beyond. The last week I have been up at six and working well past midnight, so I am running on fumes. There are worse things than being busy, like having no work to do, but there are limits. I need a vacation.

At the start of the Covid panic I noticed an uptick in work requests. It made some sense as the lockdowns threw everything up in the air. We are long past that point in this area and in most areas. Even though lots of people are still working from home, which should be the new normal at this point. Despite a return to normalcy, my workload continues to rise suggesting other forces are at play.

One answer is the accelerating baby boomer retirement. Those old whites are being replaced by people who are differently abled. If you have seen the ads for the Google Career Certificate, you can see the problem. The moaning about the baby boomers always misses an essential point. There are lots of them doing essential work and when they are gone, there is not one to replace them.

Something else I notice is that the people who could be competent either have little interest or they are unprepared. Business has always struggled to find enough good people, but now it is acute. There are people who can do the work, but they do not want to do the work. It is one of the side effects of a transactional society. We cultivated a couple of generations to treat work like a Tinder date.

Whatever the reason, I find myself busier than at any time in my life, so something has to give and this week it is production quality. I literally turned the mic on, started talking, played it back and hit send. Usually, I have a few hours of prep, a couple of hours to record and couple hours to edit. Sadly, I noticed no difference in the audio quality which means I have been wasting time the last few years.

The topic this week is one I will return to when time permits. We really do need a dissident framework through which to interpret the news. The Trump raid is a good example of the need for new tools. We are being hit with a firehose full of government lies, media lies, Trump opportunism and grifter hot takes. The goal for dissident politics is to reach a point where none of this is effective.


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


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount if you use this link. If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


This Week’s Show

Contents

  • Multivariate Analysis
  • The Error of Causality
  • Contradictions and Paradoxes
  • Counterintuitive
  • Closing Music (Lyrics) (Audio)

Direct DownloadThe iTunesGoogle PlayiHeart Radio, RSS Feed

Full Show On Spreaker

Full Show On Odysee

Deep Thoughts

In season four of the 1990’s television drama The X-Files, there is a scene where one of the villains is meeting with his subordinates. Staff members are asking their boss how they should rig things like Hollywood award shows and sports events. The boss says that he will not allow the Buffalo Bills to win a Super Bowl and one of the staffers questions if that is possible. Another staffer then explains how the boss was able to rig the 1980 Olympic hockey tournament.

The villain is a famous character from the show called Cancer Man or the Smoking Man, because he is a chain smoker. No one seems to know his real name. He just seems to be a guy who is at the heart of every conspiracy and coverup, one step ahead of everyone, especially the protagonists. He appears to work for the government, but he also represents the interests of a shadowy group of old white men who may or may not control the governments of the world.

That is what makes that scene memorable. To that point the show was a little dodgy about the nature of the various conspiracies. Most of the time the protagonists are racing to expose a coverup by the government. At other times, it appears they are being manipulated by some shady actors using their investigations as a way to coverup some more sinister plot. In that scene we see that the deep state literally controls the things we take for granted, like sporting events.

The X-Files franchise was a huge success because people like to think that their world is controlled by someone. This is a feature of the human condition. Early man thought the sprits that animated the natural world altered the behavior of man. The ancients thought the gods manipulated the affairs of man. Of course, Christianity starts with the assumption that God created a rational world and he intervenes from time to time to nudge man in a certain direction.

This is why the intelligent design concept is popular. For most people, the idea of a chaotic, purposeless world is upsetting. Even though the basics of intelligent design contradict the fundamentals of Christianity, many Christians would rather believe God is endlessly tinkering with his creation than accept evolution. Even though evolution fits in with the concept of maker’s knowledge and the perfection of God, people struggle with the seeming randomness of the natural world.

This also explains the appeal of the deep state. It is possible that the raid on Trump’s villa was carried out by bit players exploiting an opportunity. A regional FBI officer saw a chance to make a name for himself, got a nutty judge to sign off on the search warrant and now we have a scandal. This is a very unsatisfying explanation for most people, so they reach for the deep state as an answer. This raid is part of some plot run by shady characters who will never let Buffalo win a title.

None of this is to suggest that there are no conspiracies. A central feature of human nature is cooperation, which is another way of saying that it is the nature of man to plot with other men. Politics is defined by the plots hatched and executed by factions within the political system. Court intrigue has been with us since the first man was named the leader of his people. Often, these plots take on a life of their own. The original plot gets away from the plotters and becomes a scandal.

The Russian collusion hoax is a good example. We now know the idea was hatched by Clinton operatives as a political dirty trick. They made up some phony evidence showing Trump was in league with Putin. Then they fed it to the media and the FBI in order to force it into the general conversation. The paranoid bigots of the far-left then turned it into something the JFK conspiracy. The grifter-right then turned that into a moneymaking scheme blaming the deep state.

The Russian collusion hoax is a good entry point in understanding the appeal of the deep state concept. Most of the people who hated Trump could not tell you why they hated him so much. The deep state concept filled that whole. Trump was in league with those dark forces that manipulate the world. On the other hand, Trump supporters could rely on the deep state to explain why the system attacked Trump. Both sides of the Trump story could sense the Cancer Man in the room.

John Derbyshire famously said, “The ordinary modes of human thinking are magical, religious, social, and personal. We want our wishes to come true; we want the universe to care about us; we want the approval of those around us; we want to get even with that s.o.b. who insulted us at the last tribal council. For most people, wanting to know the cold truth about the world is way, way down the list.” From that it should be easy to see why the deep state is a popular villain.

Another reason people like the idea of secret actors controlling events is that it is easier to hate a person than a process. Anyone who has worked with big complex systems knows the frustration of not having someone to blame. The people are all doing the right thing, both morally and technically, yet the results are wrong. There is no one to blame but the system and the system is the result of all of those correct and well-intended actions by the people involved.

Blaming the system for American decline is too much for most people. They were raised to worship the idea of America. Blaming the system for why things are getting progressively worse is like burning the flag. It is a lot easier to blame some corrupting forces that are manipulating events. The same phenomenon set in with the Soviet Union after Stalin. Blaming bad actors operating in the shadows of the party was safer than questioning the system.

The deep state is why popular government is a terrible idea. In popular government, in theory at least, policy reflects the popular will. Therefore, bad results must be the fault of the people. How can this be possible when most people never wanted the bad result? It must be something else. Whether communism, socialism or liberal democracy, the people can never blame themselves, so they will find someone to blame, even if they have to invent him.

In personal rule, everyone knows who to blame. If gas prices go up, the people go down to the ruler’s house and demand he lower gas prices. There is no deep state in personal rule as there is no need for one. The motivations behind public policy are real and easily assigned to the people in charge. Popular government needs a deep state onto which the sorrows of the people can be cast. Otherwise, they will figure out who is responsible and abandon the system in favor of personal rule.

From a dissident perspective, the deep state concept is mostly useful as it is a vehicle for normal people to the land of doubt. The millions of Trump supporters who think their man is the victim of the deep state are losing faith in the system. The reckless shenanigans of mostly midlevel players make others wonder if there really is a secret cabal manipulating things. The deep state may simply be a sign that the system is in severe decline and nearing collapse.


If you like my work and wish to kick in a few bucks, you can buy me a beer. You can sign up for a SubscribeStar subscription and get some extra content. You can donate via PayPal. My crypto addresses are here for those who prefer that option. You can send gold bars to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. Thank you for your support!


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link. If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


Contemplating The Weirdness

There is little agreement as to the dating of the current crisis, other than it seems to have started sometime after the end of the Cold War. Dating transitions from one period to the next is a form of sorites paradox. America is culturally, politically and economically different than it was fifty years ago. The point at which the turn began seems to be around when the Cold War ended, but the forces behind the transition may have roots going back a long way.

What can say about this age is that it has been defined by uncertainty. As Tucker Carlson has noted on several occasions, a lot of things have happened that no one thought would ever happen. He likes to use the election of Donald Trump as an example of something so impossible that it forces you to reconsider your biases about what is and is not possible. Anyone old enough to remember when Trump became famous in the 1980’s understands Carlson’s point.

Of course, the Trump election was not the first time something happened in politics that seemed impossible until it happened. In 1990, no serious person thought Bill Clinton could be president. The reason is no serious person knew his name. No one had to as the idea of a corrupt governor from a small state like Arkansas rising to national predominance for something other than crime was ridiculous. Presidents needed to be from big states and appeal to normal Americans.

The Clinton-Trump connection is useful for understanding the weirdness of the current age, because the two of them have a lot of connections. Bill Clinton and Donald Trump were golf buddies and bonded over their carnal interests. They both hated Hillary Clinton for the same reasons. Both had a thing for shady land deals and the shady people who operate in that space. Their existence is more a symptom of a larger problem than the cause of anything we see today.

Putting the personal comparisons aside, the transition from the old way of doing things to this new way is evident in this comparison. Bill and Hillary Clinton were spectacularly corrupt politicians, but once they were out of office no one thought it was a good idea to keep pursuing their criminal activity. That was the old thinking. The new thinking has the FBI raiding Trump’s home over a petty issue. In that Clinton-Trump window, much has changed and changed unexpectedly.

That brings us back to the point Carlson likes making and that is we have to reconsider everything in light of recent events. Every day old barriers are falling away to new and bizarre forces. Even in the racial lunacy of the 1970’s, no serious person would have proposed erecting shrines to a dead drug addict. Today, cities all over the world have George Floyd memorials. Putting aside the politics, the weirdness of this suggests some sort of mass psychosis is at work.

Some will be tempted to wave this away as normal. In every age, people complain about change. It feels like the world has gone mad. Romans thought the spread of the weird new Jesus cult was madness. People at the dawn of the industrial revolution saw their lives completely altered by events. This time of great uncertainty was what motivated Marx to look for an explanation for the great upheavals around Europe in the 19th century. Change often feels like madness.

The thing is prior transitions had an obvious point. The Jesus cult was different but it was not that different. Even the skeptics could understand the attraction of this strange new religion that was spreading through the empire. The decline of the feudal order brought increased prosperity, so even though lots of new things were happening, lots of good things were happening. The same was true of industrialization. There seemed to be a logic behind the massive changes.

The current age is simply weird for the sake of being weird. Why are Western leaders trying to destroy the agricultural sectors in the West? They claim Gaia commands it, but what are they getting from this? As far as religions go, this strange new form of animism does not offer the believer much of a return. Christianity not only dangles the afterlife out there, but the promise that the wicked will pay for their sins. Gaia promises vengeance on all mankind, regardless of their righteousness.

The general weirdness is most obvious in our politics. The reaction to Trump by the political class was crazy for the sake of being crazy. The guy was desperate for their acceptance and would have signed whatever they put in front of him. These are people purpose built to fleece the sucker, yet when this opportunity arose, they were suddenly too pure to be spoiled by his presence. Their reaction was the exact opposite of what a lifetime of behavior would have predicted.

The same can be said for the ongoing pogroms against Trumpism. The 2020 election was the ultimate flex. Logic says they should have immediately closed the books on Trump and erased him from the collective consciousness. This is how all ruling elites have handled things. The ancients would remove all public references to a disgraced person and forbid mentioning his name. History said both parties would put Trump on ignore in order to purge him from the culture.

This raid on Trump’s villa is like how Hollywood has an addiction to subverting expectations with casting. They cast a black actor in the smart role and a pixie in the tough guy role. Even though this is now normal, they insist they are subverting the expectations of the audience. The raid on Trump subverted expectations as even the most jaded did not think these people were that stupid. In one move they turned Trump into a martyr and themselves into villains.

Now, the uncertainty and randomness are part of the plan. The belief set of the ruling elite says that subverting expectations is necessary to break the habits of mind that keep humanity from transitioning to the glorious future. A big part of the Gaia cult is the belief that smashing things will free us from the things that vex Gaia. Smashing up political custom and tradition by violating the old rules is another effort to break free from the past in order to ascend into the glorious tomorrow.

This strikes normal people as nuts, but up until a short time ago the idea of Donald Trump being president sounded nutty too. A year before he took the oath of office, the phrase “President Joe Biden” was a punchline. We live in a time when a man with severe dementia is president. If you can accept that then it should not be hard to accept that the motivation of the ruling class is a weird set of mystical beliefs that require them to destroy the foundations of civilization.

Once you wrap your head around the fact that there are no rules, then it is easy to see that all things are now possible. Dostoyevsky famously said, “when God is dead, all things are permitted.” Friedrich Nietzsche, a devoted fan of Dostoyevsky, would notice this and cause a lot of trouble. Nihilism rejects generally accepted or fundamental aspects of human existence. The West killed God a long time ago, so it is only natural that we have reached the point where all things are permitted.

As an aside, you cannot help but laugh at the fact that the people in charge are obsessed with finding Hitler. They check under their beds every night and have teams scouring the bushes for any signs of Hitler. This is their license to overthrow the laws of the natural world. They attack the very idea that knowledge is possible, because that is white supremacy. Perhaps Hitler’s revenge was to leave a puzzle so frightening that it eventually drove his enemies into madness.

The universe does have a sense of humor, so that could be the answer for the madness, but the universe does not have unlimited patience. Reality is the thing that does not go away when you stop believing it. The only thing nature abhors more than a vacuum is the lack of rules. This spasm of weirdness will eventually slam into this reality and someone will push aside the current ruling class and reinstitute the rules that must govern a society. Weirdness is not eternal.


If you like my work and wish to kick in a few bucks, you can buy me a beer. You can sign up for a SubscribeStar subscription and get some extra content. You can donate via PayPal. My crypto addresses are here for those who prefer that option. You can send gold bars to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. Thank you for your support!


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link. If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


Plot Twists

The French and Russian revolutions are probably the two most important events in contemporary Western history. They have been studied from every angle, but they continue to be studied by scholars. One reason for the enduring interest is these events still cast a shadow over the present. The constructs that arose from the French Revolution are still with us. The great divide between East and West as a result of the Bolshevik Revolution still haunts the world.

Another reason for keeping these two great revolutions in the front of the mind is they are examples of how a ruling elite can bring about its own demise. The violent end of the regime was made inevitable by regime actions. The French king could have plotted a different course, but he made every mistake available to him. The Tsar was in a much more difficult position, but he had plenty of warnings about what was coming and he could have prepared accordingly.

These two revolutions are as much about ruling elite error as the social and political movements we associate with them. If the French king had been a bit more prudent it is possible the revolution would not have happened at all. If there were betting odds on such things, regicide would have been the longest of long shots on the board prior to the start of unrest. Most of the people pushing for change prior to Lenin seizing power were hoping the Tsar would help with the process.

The compelling feature of these events is that the major players seemed blind to that which should have been obvious. The forces of change and the defenders of the status quo operated like two black boxes. Neither side could see inside the other, so they were left to guess about the motivations behind the observed actions. Inevitably, they assigned the worst motives to the other side. Killing the sovereign, thereby killing the system he represented, was easy when he was seen as evil.

We seem to be seeing the same dynamic form up in present day America as the ruling class operates by motives that baffle those outside. The raid on former president Trump by the FBI is the latest event without an obvious explanation. A feature proudly celebrated by the American political class for a long time is that Americans do not criminalize politics like other countries. The losers of elections are not jailed and former officer holders are not persecuted.

For two years the political class has been waging a war against the former president and his supporters for reasons that continue to baffle. There must be a reason as there is a reason for everything, but no logical reasons make sense. Again, we look at our political class and see a black box at the center of their actions. It is what motivates them but what is going on inside is a mystery. As a result, we are left to speculate as to their motivations and that always leads to dark motives.

Like the ruling elites in the two great revolutions, this ruling elite seems to be obsessed with finding the worst option. The right answer in the aftermath of the 2020 election was for Washington to be reminded of Jefferson’s timeless question. “And what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?” The right response was “to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them.”

Instead, we have pogroms. This raid on Trump’s home not only raises questions about the motives of the administration, but it colors the January 6 events. An organized war by the deep state against reformers is a narrative that explains both the persecution of the protestors and the attacks on the former president. Even for those highly skeptical of the “deep state” narrative will start to come around. It also helps explain side events like the attacks on Alex Jones and Nick Fuentes.

In those prior revolutions, a logic took over that naturally led to the conclusion that the system was the problem. It was not just the polices that emanated from the system, but the system itself that was the problem. In Russia and France, the man at the top was the personification of the system. A point was reached where anything the king said or did was viewed through this logic. The trust between the people and their sovereign was irrevocably broken and the end became inevitable.

One strange difference between the current age and those revolutionary ages is the roles are reversed. In 18th century France, it was the people at the top defending the old order and the people challenging it. The same was true in Russia. In America, the people at the top see themselves as the revolutionaries and the people view themselves as the defenders of the old order. A big part of this crisis is the ruling class mocking the history and tradition of the people.

What makes it even more bizarre is that if the ruling class is successful in discrediting the old system, the people will no longer have restraint. It is the lingering trust in the system, the desire to vote harder, that prevents January 6th from spreading to every state capital in the country. These efforts by the ruling class to burn it all down can only lead to one end for them. The FBI raiding Trump’s house convinced a lot of people that the system is now too far gone to save with an election.

It is a good example of how history can be a guide, but the parallels are never perfect, so we are left to feel our way through things. Lenin knew his history, which is why he quickly had the Tsar and his family murdered. He knew where his revolution should end so he moved quickly to the closing scenes. On the other hand, despite their study of history, none of the Bolsheviks saw Stalin and his terror coming. Even when you know the script, it is sometimes hard to accept the plot.

Perhaps that is what is happening in the black box at the center of the Cloud People society that seems to control their actions. Perhaps inside it they are feverishly hoping to write a new ending to an old story. Their actions, however, are the main plot device of that old story. The harder they work to create a new narrative, the more their actions seem to confirm the oldest of narratives. The great plot twist they think they are fashioning is that there is no plot twist to their story.


If you like my work and wish to kick in a few bucks, you can buy me a beer. You can sign up for a SubscribeStar subscription and get some extra content. You can donate via PayPal. My crypto addresses are here for those who prefer that option. You can send gold bars to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. Thank you for your support!


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link. If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


A Question Of Authority

Notes: The Monday Taki post is up. It is a different take on the attack by Theodore Ruger on Professor Wax. Sunday Thoughts is a shallow dive into the cult of neoconservatism using some of their recent posts. SubscribeStar users can find it here and Substack users can find it here.


One of the great problems Enlightenment thinkers tried to solve is why it is that human beings live in ordered societies. Further, why are some people in charge of those societies and others subject to the will of those people. What explains this and more important, what is the correct system of organization? The recently rediscovered Greeks offered some insights. Scripture offered understanding of man’s nature but offered little to explain social hierarchy.

It is fair to say that Western intellectual life has been dominated by the search for the right answer as to how best to organize society. The utilitarian school gave us the claim that the goal of any social policy it to maximize total happiness. The Marxists gave us the argument that the goal of social policy is reducing exploitation. By exploitation they meant compulsion. Social contract theory gave us the general will, the idea that policy should be supported by the majority of the people.

The modern age fumbles around looking for a new answer to the great questions, having decided that the prior answers are not quite right. Restorative justice borrows a bit from all three schools. It starts with the assumption that everyone should benefit equally from society. This is an assumption that is never justified or even explained, but simply assumed as an axiom of the universe. It is the motivation to act and the authority to do just about anything to restore equal outcomes.

The main question at the center of it all is authority. No matter how sensible your new system of social order, there has to be a reason it should be preferred by or enforced upon those who disagree. Marx recognized this which is why he invented the idea of super-abundance to get around the issue. In a society in which everyone gets what they need to live, there is no need to compel anyone. According to Marx, it is scarcity that leads to exploitation.

Marx was not the first person to use sleight of hand to get around the central problem of authority in social organization. Locke and Hobbes conjured from nothing the idea of a state of nature, a mythological pre-social existence. Even Rousseau, who criticized the concept, had to fall back on it to justify his thinking. Of course, the foundation of Western democracy is the purely hypothetical concept of the social contract, which has been handed down to us by the Greeks.

This search for an answer to “by what authority?” haunts the modern ruling class, which is why they have evolved certain chants to wave away the question. Whenever they use the phrase “our democracy” they may as well be saying “by the divide right of kings” or “because the gods command it.” It is intellectual base stealing. In the name of democracy, they assume power over the rest of us and the right to use that power to achieve whatever ends they think appropriate.

The same is true of the “right side of history.” Instead of appealing to Scripture, which would create obvious problems, they appeal to a great mystery force that can be defined to meet the task at hand. The speaker is on the right side of history, so he is empowered to clear the road. Those on the wrong side of history are in the way of history so they lack all authority. Like the other abracadabra phrases popular with the ruling class, this just means “because I say so.”

This search for justification turns up in the heresy accusations leveled against Professor Amy Wax by Theodore Ruger. His bill of indictment is a blend of assumptions and vague claims about vague school policies. He holds up statements made by Professor Wax as examples of her violating school policy, but never bothers to explain how or why they violate the policy. Occasionally he asserts that something she said is in dispute, but most things are in dispute.

This line from Ruger’s letter is an example of intellectual base stealing. “[Professor Wax] public commentary espousing derogatory and hateful stereotypes has led students to reasonably conclude that she is unable to evaluate them fairly based on their individualized merit.” He then lists some examples of students who claimed to be vexed by Professor Wax. Because he can find someone who agrees with his claim, it is by force of magic a reasonable claim.

This is the sort of logic that was never tolerated by undergraduates at elite universities like the University of Pennsylvania. If Professor Wax is maintaining a hostile classroom, then some students will question her objectivity. This is true if the word “hostile” is assumed to mean heretical and “some students” is assumed to mean those who are not biological males of European ethnicity. Therefore, if a nonwhite or female gets upset, it must mean they are in a hostile environment.

It should not have to be said, but this is a classic logical fallacy that used to be taught in American middle-schools. If A always leads to B, it does not follow that the existence of B means the existence of A. There can be many causes for B. In this case, the emotionally disturbed students cited in the letter could be vexed by any number of things, including the preaching of people like Mr. Ruger. Keep telling young people that the devil is always at their elbow and they will believe it.

Strip away all of the primitive claims in that letter and you are left with an assumption that the good people, like Mr. Ruger, are here to protect the sacred people, like the nonwhite students he cites. This is the answer to the great question that has haunted the West for centuries, by what authority? The vast diverse class of people we call the managerial elite exist to shepherd the vulnerable, who they have defined as anyone who is not a biological male of European origin.

Because there is no external source of authority for these claims, anyone who challenges the claim is branded a heretic. That is what you see in that letter and in all of the hysterics that have come to dominate the age. The worship of nonwhites and the efforts to protect them have no basis in reality. Note that Ruger avoids challenging Wax on the facts. Her statements are not factually wrong, but morally wrong even though the underlying moral claims have no authority.

Like a parent tired of answering the series of why questions from their child, the managerial elite are increasingly frustrated and angry because they have no answer the question of why. Why is it wrong to point out that intelligence is not distributed equally between people or groups? What is the authority for declaring these observations of fact immoral? More important, why are these people going to such lengths to mask observable reality?

Fundamentally, the crisis of this age is one of authority. The feudal system could point to tradition and the family. The king was like the father and his people were like the family, where the father had the last word. Man’s relationship to God as described in Scripture was imperfectly recreated in politics. Just as man ultimately answers to God, subjects ultimately answered to the king. This is the answer to the question at the heart of the social order, by what authority?

This age has no answer to the great question. Why are these people in these positions and why are they imposing these novel moral codes? What justifies their claim that noticing things about people is immoral? Who decided this and by what system did they decide it? Because there are no answers to these questions, the only solution is to silence anyone who raises them. To tolerate dissent puts into question the authority of the managerial system, which has no natural authority.


If you like my work and wish to kick in a few bucks, you can buy me a beer. You can sign up for a SubscribeStar subscription and get some extra content. You can donate via PayPal. My crypto addresses are here for those who prefer that option. You can send gold bars to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. Thank you for your support!


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link. If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


A Ramble Through The News

It is that time of year when we begin the slow turn into fall. In most places it is still a million degrees, but there are little signs here and there. The sun sets a bit earlier every night and it is a few degrees cooler in the morning. The big sign is the slow return of political lunacy in the news. The chattering skulls, influencers and news makers are still on holiday but they are plotting their return next month.

The big news this week was the primaries in key states. The amusing bit was how the crazies went nuts over the Kansas abortion referendum. They do not have much to celebrate so it makes sense to make a huge deal over one small win, but it was amusing to see the deluge of stories in the media. Sprinkled in were some reassuring tales of obscure MAGA candidates losing local elections.

That is the real story. Trump endorsed candidates seem to be doing very well, despite general Trump fatigue and the efforts of his party. Many of these candidates are fakers and liars, but some are genuinely ticked off people. The woman running for governor in Arizona appears to a polished up Marjorie Taylor Green. Blake Masters, also running in Arizona, is as close to one of us as you can get.

That is what does not show up in these news stories. People are probably more angry and restless right now than during the leadup to the 2016 election. The antiwhite pogroms have radically changed attitudes. Normie seeing ads featuring everyone but white people, unless it is a white woman with a black man, has had reality jammed in his face for a couple of years now and he does not like it.

Because there is no acceptable outlet for these feelings, except by watching Tucker Carlson at night, the result is a seething anger. Of course, the reckless antics of the geezers running Washington just adds to the unhappiness. The primaries have elevated a lot of unconventional candidates, despite the party efforts. The general could turn out to be a red wave similar to 2010.

So far, regime media has not noticed this. They are still carrying on like it is the runup to the 2020 election. As we get closer to autumn it will be interesting to see if the narratives shift in preparation for the November election. Maybe they snuff out Biden to create a distraction. Maybe China finally snaps and we have a war. Maybe the regime remains on this glide path until it slams into reality in November.


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Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount if you use this link. If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


This Week’s Show

Contents

  • Old Bag Takes Tour Of Asia
  • Jennifer Rubin
  • What’s Wrong With Kansas
  • Alex Jones
  • Rudy Giuliani
  • Sinema Girl
  • Deniers
  • Pennsylvania
  • The Evil Orange Man
  • Press F For Hopium

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Full Show On Spreaker

Full Show On Odysee

China Thoughts

The most recent flareup between the Global American Empire and China has brought forth all of the usual commentary about the rise of China, its plans for Taiwan and the relative decline of America. The underlying assumption is that China could take Taiwan if it wanted and there is not much the United States can do about it, short of a nuclear strike on mainland China. Further, it is assumed that China will one day make its move on Taiwan when it feels the time is right.

This is an odd set of assumptions. If China can take Taiwan and wants to take Taiwan, then why are they not taking Taiwan? The standard answer is that they think they can wait out the American empire. That could be true but there is good evidence to suggest the clock is ticking in her ability to make war. China is hitting the wall demographically and she knows it. They have a lot of young military age males right now, but a decade from now they will be nearing middle-age.

The more likely reason for China’s hesitance is that taking Taiwan would be an enormous gamble. It is a big island with no beaches. It has great ports, but those are heavily defended. The Taiwanese military is exceptionally good. They have the best weapons America can produce and they may have the best air defense system on the planet, thanks to America using Taiwan as a listening post. At the top of the island is advanced radar used to listen to the Chinese.

Even if America does not come in to defend Taiwan, China would be facing something similar to what the Marines faced in the Battle of Saipan. The Japanese were dug in and the besieging Americans had to first create a beachhead and then root out the Japanese from the well defended positions. It took 70,000 Marines to root out the 30,000 Japanese defending the island. The Americans suffered 14,000 casualties while only one thousand Japanese survived.

The big difference is that Taiwan will fully mobilize their army of over a million men and be dug into a highly urbanized island of twenty-three million. That means the Chinese will need to mobilize a two million man invasion force. The general rule is you need at least a two-to-one advantage as the attacker. China has the people, but mobilizing, organizing and coordinating such a force is a huge task. That also means the Taiwanese will have months to prepare for the assault.

The Chinese certainly have gamed this out many times and they understand the mathematics of conquering Taiwan. That said, it is all theory as the Chinese have not waged serious war in a long time. The last large scale amphibious landing on a populated Pacific island was in World War II. An attack on Taiwan would be the first of its kind in the era of high tech weaponry. As the Russians have been learning in Ukraine, technology has radically changed the battlefield.

For example, cheap drones have proven to be a valuable tool. The Ukrainians had a lot of these to start the war and they proved to be a big problem. The Russians had to alter their tactics to account for this new weapon. One reason the fight in Ukraine has settled into an artillery duel is it is too easy for defenders to use cheap drones to disrupt the lines of the attacker. Cheap drones have a limited range, so the Russians operate outside that range to soften up Ukrainian positions.

Taiwan is not a backward kleptocracy. It is one the most high tech societies on the planet and they make most of the world’s chips. Taiwan could deploy massive swarms of cheap drones against the ships of an attacker. That is another lesson from Ukraine with regards to drones. This weapon does not require a lot of infrastructure to operate so artillery strikes are not a great deterrent. As long as you have soldiers who can do the minimum you can keep using your drone weapons.

Another aspect of cheap drone technology is they can be turned into what the industry calls a loitering munition. This is a weapon that flies over an area program to look for targets like tanks and supply vehicles. Once it spots one, it then attacks the target, usually by flying into it. One result of this has been that the Donbas militias which make up the bulk of the infantry in the Donbas have to operate from cover. There is no cover in the straight between China and Taiwan.

When you examine what is going on in the Donbas, it becomes clear that technology has had some unexpected consequences to war fighting. It is not the cutting edge technology that is shaping the battlefield. It is the commodified technology that is changing the mathematics. A defender employing lots of cheap drones against the attackers expensive assets has a clear edge. If it takes ten cheap missiles to take out an expensive tank, that is a good deal.

This is the problem China now faces with Taiwan. Their invasion fleet would be awfully expensive and the Taiwanese would have lots of targets. The Chinese would have to follow the Russian lead in the Donbas. That means siege warfare. China would have to blockade the island and relentlessly shell the urban areas hoping to degrade their communications and defense. The most likely result would be China eventually conquering a bombed out island with millions of dead.

Technology has made China less vulnerable to American military power by diminishing the value of sea power. Those giant carriers can now be hit from a long distance by ship-killing missiles. The same technology, however, is making Taiwan less vulnerable to Chinese military pressure. The same ship killing missiles can be used against an invasion force and cheap drones can radically increase the cost on infantry trying to assault Taiwanese defenses.

The point of all this is that the blithe assertions about the Chinese ability to take Taiwan are completely wrong. It would be a massive undertaking and even under ideal conditions it would create an enormous strain on China. Add back in unlimited submarine warfare from the American side and the taking of Taiwan becomes a massively expensive gamble. Further add in the closing of Western markets and taking Taiwan no longer makes any sense at all.

That is another lesson of Ukraine. The Russians have weathered the economic war because they are not dependent on the American economy. Russia primarily exports commodities into the global market. There is no practical way for Washington cut the Russians out of the marketplace. China, on the other hand, imports commodities and sells finished goods. Washington can cut off the sale of finished goods. It can also shift production to other areas, which is currently happening.

A blockade of Taiwan would certainly mean a blockade of Chinese goods not only by the United States but by Europe. The American Navy still controls the shipping lanes in the Pacific and China can do nothing about it. Unlike the Russian economy, the Chinese economy has no way around this problem. An attach on Taiwan would bring about a massive shock to the Chinese economy and that is before the West unleashed a currency war on the yuan.

The reason China is making a lot of noise but not doing anything rash over the Pelosi stunt is she understands the dilemma. Because of China’s dependence on Western markets, she has to be much more delicate in how she responds to American provocation than the Russians. That means increasing the flow of bribes into the imperial capital in order to get more friendly voices in Congress. It means a more flexible approach to the Russia issue.

The bottom line with China is that the threat she poses is not her agility to wage conventional war against her neighbors. The real threat of China is her ability to purchase favors in Washington. The Taiwan issue is a nice way for the American ruling class to shift the focus from that problem. The Chinese know this and mostly likely see the Pelosi trip as a demand for bigger bribes. If they do not want to see more trips to Taiwan, then they better hire better lobbyists.


If you like my work and wish to kick in a few bucks, you can buy me a beer. You can sign up for a SubscribeStar subscription and get some extra content. You can donate via PayPal. My crypto addresses are here for those who prefer that option. You can send gold bars to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. Thank you for your support!


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link. If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


Liberty And Freedom

Note: There is a new post up behind the green door. This is about the brown paper bag test instituted by the grocery chain Wegman’s. The SubscribeStar version is here and the Substack version is here.


Feudalism is a term that either brings to mind serfs slaving away on the land or knights on horseback jousting at tournaments. Neither image has much to do with the socioeconomic system that grew up after the fall of the Western Roman empire and carried on into the 18th century. Both the knight and the serf were real things, but they are not what defined the feudal order. It is the system in which people of all ranks lived that defined what we think of as feudalism.

That system was a series of interlocking relationships. It began with reciprocal relationships between the warrior elite. The leaders of the various peoples slowly evolved rules for dealing with one another. Over time those rules extended to the people over whom they ruled. First it was the vertical relationships and then the horizontal relationships. Most of these rules were not written down. They were the habit of mind that everyone understood and accepted.

What we think of as freedom and liberty come from the feudal era. The two words are used interchangeably today, but it was not always so. Liberty was the right to act within the context of the rules. Freedom was a state in which there were no rules. In the feudal age, liberty was the range of actions for people of a class. Freedman had different liberties than Knights or serfs. Freedom, on the other hand, was being free from those reciprocal relationships that defined the system.

One of the interesting things about the feudal order that has been forgotten is that freedom was a powerful weapon used by kings. Freeing people from their feudal obligations did not necessarily grant them more liberties, but it did weaken the power of the people to whom they no longer had obligations. Freeing the serf from his duties to his lord not only meant he could sell his labor but it meant that his lord no longer had control over him or the proceeds of his labor.

In a system where everyone is defined by their relationship with everyone around them, monarchical power is diffused through the system. The noble who controlled a portion of the kingdom had a great deal of power relative to the king, because all of the rights and duties of his people flowed through him to the king. Once those people were free then they reported directly to the king. A great irony of the feudal order is that individual freedom turned out to be the great centralizing force in politics.

A similar dynamic is at work in this age. As recent as the 1950’s the primary duty of most men was to their family. From there it was their community then the larger political entities like city, county and state. Outside of the draft and the post office, people had no reason to think about the national government. Go back further and the national government played little role in the life of Americans. You could live your life never having had contact with the national government.

As Americans have been freed from the old rules of life, like marriage, family and community, the power of the government has grown. The weakening of state and local government by direct intervention by the federal government has corresponded with the collapse in things like property rights and freedom of association. Young women are no longer dependent on a man, but they are entirely dependent on government. It is impossible to live without interacting with government now.

The conventional conservative critique argues that personal liberty has declined because the power of the state has increased. In reality, personally liberty has declined because freedom has increased. As people have been freed from their particular obligations to one another, their liberties have declined, which is what has allowed the power of the federal state to grow. Each new “freedom” comes with less liberty and therefore a declining ability to resist the state.

In a way, the great progressive reforms of the 20th century were like the king freeing the people from their feudal obligations. It was first and foremost about weakening the intermediaries between the central government and the people. In America this has meant the constriction of state and municipal power. Griswold v. Connecticut was never about individual liberty, but about subverting local authority. It was about breaking those local bonds that preserved individual liberty.

What little liberty remains in modern America appears to most people to be dependent upon the power of the state. It is a perverse form of slave logic. The homely women demanding reproductive freedom in the public square are no different than the slave begging the master for protection. They are no longer at liberty to make choices within the range of options available to them, so they demand the all powerful state provide the freedom they mistake for liberty.

The zenith of every empire features the almost unlimited power of the person who sits atop the imperial system. The decline of empire always features an increasingly inability of the sovereign to impose his will. Factions within his own government collude to undermine his will. New power centers begin to grow up, operating as choke points between the empower and his subjects. Like weeds, those old reciprocal relationships begin to sprout up and eventually overtake the system.

We may be seeing something similar. Corporations now wield more power in the lives of the people than the federal government. For example, if the mobile companies wanted, they could have stonewalled the FBI with regards to the J6 protests. Their swift action in identifying the people in the capitol was a power move. When the federal government needs help dealing with internal threats, they now ask politely for help from their partners in the private sector.

We are also seeing a resurgence of state power. States shipping migrants to Washington is a power move. States challenging the power of the administrative state in the courts is another assault on the king. Of course, the same managerial mindset that crippled the Trump presidency is doing the same to Biden. The real power of the federal state, as expressed through the executive, is waning. Like every empire in decline, this one is suffering from a growing impotence at the center.

In the transition, both liberty and freedom will decrease. We see it today with the abuses of individual liberty from all sources of power. In the long run, the restoration of those old duties and obligations will restore the balance between the two. Being ruled by a local elite personalizes the relationship. The people at the top are reminded of their duties every time they go outside. The people at the bottom have no illusion about the source of their liberties.


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