The Negative Mind

For a very long time, the radical conception of politics was the struggle between the radicals advancing society forward and reactionaries trying to block the way. In this formulation, the radicals push for reform and the reactionaries concoct an argument against it and the resulting struggle advances society forward. The result is imperfect, so the ideal solution from the radical perspective is to eliminate the reactionaries, who stand in the way of the project and the path of human destiny.

Strangely, the modern Right has also embraced this view. This was not always so, but the conservatism that evolved in the 20th century fully embraced its role as the dancing partner of radicalism. Bill Buckley made this clear when he said, “A conservative is someone who stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.” Note also the need do the yelling when others are not inclined to do any yelling.

Superficially, this was an effort to own the insult, a pose to signal indifference to the self-righteousness of the radicals. There’s a bit of self-dealing there, as it assumes a bravery on the part of conservatives that has never been observed in the field. At the core, however, is the acknowledgment that conservatism as Buckley and others imagined it in the 20th century could not exist without radicalism. Conservatism was just one prop on a set that was built to feature the radical agenda.

Of course, this is an entirely negative identity. There is no internal mechanism to define Buckley-style conservatism. In isolation, it is like a pathogen looking for a host. It can only be kept alive through artificial means. This reality means that Buckley-style conservatism could never defeat the radicals, as to do so would be to sign their own death certificate. In time, this evolved into a sort of battered wife syndrome, where they needed the radicals to win every fight in order to feel alive.

The thing is, the radicals were not entirely self-determined. If we assume the birth of radicalism was the French Revolution, what defined it at its conception was an opposition to the established order. Radicals opposed tradition and order, seeing those as superstitions and cowardice. The way forward was to abandon those things in pursuit of human destiny, so naturally the radical must always be opposed to convention and orthodoxy. The radical was born to be in opposition.

In the 20th century, as liberal democracy became the norm in the Anglosphere and the nations under its dominion, radicalism blossomed into its own negative identity. To be on the Left meant opposing normalcy. Whatever normal people were doing, the radicals had to oppose and try to wreck it. This is explicit today in the grievance studies rackets, where they endlessly go on about disrupting and overturning what they imagine to be their oppressors. It’s all about opposition to normal human relations.

Modern politics is a dynamic between two co-dependent worldviews that must oppose one other to exist. This dynamic between two entirely negative identities has come to define modern liberal democracy. The radicals search around for things they must oppose and the conservative are constantly examining the radicals for what it is they plan to oppose. Once some novelty is discovered, both sides feverishly engage in well-established dance that always ends in the same place.

Take, for example, the issue with Joe Biden. He has a long reputation for being a guy who gropes women, often in public. He seems to get off on it. He’s not a rapist or a sexual predator. He’s just a weirdo who likes to grope women. According to the current sensibilities of the Left, he should be torn to pieces and fed to the dogs. After all, women have come forward with specific complaints and his behavior. In the Kavanaugh hearings, they said we must believe all women.

Of course, the Left is not all that interested in this. The conservatives are up in arms at the alleged hypocrisy. How can they support the absurd claims about Kavanaugh, while ignoring the quite believable claims about Biden? Predictably, the conservatives are putting on their outrage faces and doing the self-righteous indignation act. Soon, they will be outraged that the Left is not shamed by their own hypocrisy. That’s always the next phase of these political dramas.

The thing is, the Left is not indifferent or ignorant to the obvious hypocrisy. They are energized by it. Seeing the conservative apoplexy is what makes them feel alive, because it means they have disrupted and subverted the status quo. Who they are, what makes them what they are, is entirely dependent on the outrage and anger of the people they oppose. When the conservatives put on their angry face and appear to be confused, the radicals have become self-actualized.

What may have happened over the generations is liberal hypocrisy has evolved into a form of caudal luring. The radicals naturally embrace hypocrisy as it lures in the conservative, causing them to act in a way that validates the radicals. Unlike a snake or shark that uses its tail to lure prey, the radicals are not hoping to destroy their opponent, but rather they are sustaining themselves. As an entirely negative identity, they need the outraged conservatives in order exist.

This dynamic between two co-dependent negative identities that has come to dominate liberal democracy may be at the root of the crisis in the West. With no positive vision of the future and the endless struggle between two political forces with no natural reason to exist, nihilism becomes the default. At some level, both sides feel the despair that must come from knowing the pointlessness of their existence. The result is a manic quest to plumb the depth of cultural despair.

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Welcome To America

Every once in a while, one of the major polling outfits will ask Americans about their views on freedom and liberty. Most Americans think they live in the freest country on earth and they are pretty happy about it. By freedom, people assume it means being able to go about your business as you see fit, holding whatever opinions you like and saying what you like, within the bounds of decency and common courtesy. Most of all, it means the government is not going to harass or torment you.

There was a time when that was true. If you are over the age of forty, you remember when people were free from coercion, regarding civil rights. People in this country were free to live their lives and speak their minds. For people of a certain age, it feels like it was not that long ago when even the most intolerant people would say “I may not agree with your opinions, but I’d fight to the death for your right to say them.” No one says that anymore, as no one believes, especially no one with power.

In current year America, we ban books. The government does not ban books, but private companies refuse to sell them, so the effect is the same. Of course, almost all books are sold by one company now, a company that laughs at the laws and the political institutions that write those laws. If the people at Amazon decide your book is not to their liking, they will stop selling it. Greg Johnson has been reduced to mailing people copies of his books because Amazon disapproves of him.

Now, the so-called conservatives will claim that major corporations like Amazon just avoid controversy. It’s not about politics but simply trying to avoid getting tangled up in controversial topics. Yet, Amazon is happy to sell books on bizarre sexual predilections and the promotion of self-harm. That sort of material is not a problem, because it is not a problem with the ruling class. Greg Johnson’s politics are a problem for the people in charge, so he is banned from selling books on-line.

Of course, people with unapproved opinions could sell their own books and magazines on-line, but the banks and payment processors refuse to do business with them. It’s not just a few banks and payment processors that refused to do business with people holding unapproved opinions. It’s all of them. Sites like Counter-Currents, VDare and American Renaissance have searched far and wide for a payment processor, but no one will take their business. The banks behind the processors have decreed it.

It is not just a few isolated troublemakers getting the business from corporations. Normal people curious about opinions outside the protected zone have real fear of being harassed, just for the crime of associating with these people. The media, the people who used to proudly say they speak truth to power, are always on the lookout for someone they can destroy, for the crime of associating with people deemed unacceptable. Major media outlets now see themselves as the keeper of orthodoxy.

In fairness, most Americans would dismiss that as the sort of first-world troubles that don’t affect most people. Maybe that’s true, but America is now a country that holds political prisoners. That is, there are people in jail primarily for the crime of holding unapproved opinions. It’s not just political types who lost the game of insider game playing in Washington. Normal everyday Americans are getting jail time for the crime of holding opinions that the ruling class finds unacceptable.

Maxwell Hare and John Kinsman were given four years in a New York penitentiary for the crime of being associated with Gavin McInnes. They were jumped by left-wing street thugs and won the fight. They were arrested, but there was never any effort to find the men who attacked them. There was no effort to find witnesses either. Instead, the police and court relied on material provided to them by Antifa. When he sentenced them, the judge made clear he was doing it for their politics.

That is not an isolated example. Over the last decade this sort of thing has become so common that it is just an accepted part of daily reality. If you belong to a group holding unapproved ideas, you have to go to great lengths to meet in secret in order to avoid being attacked by state sanctioned mobs. If that happens, there is a good chance the police will charge you rather than the mob. The thing political dissidents in current year America fear is that the government will become aware of them.

There used to be a time when Americans associated this sort of thing with totalitarian states or South American dictatorships. The communists would never allow people to hold unapproved opinions. They smashed up illegal printing presses and banished dissident writers. Third world dictators sanctioned mobs to go around harassing people they saw as a problem. The communists are all gone and there are no more South American strong men. America is no longer a free country either.

This reality should be evident to everyone now. Government has spent the better part of the last two months closing shops and forcing people to stay indoors. They are creating bizarre and ridiculous rules for when people must go outside. Cops are pushing people around, harassing mothers at parks and otherwise carrying on like highly feminized goon squads. It’s hard to claim you live in a free country when you need permission from the government go outside to take a walk.

The remarkable thing about this is none of the things described above would have seemed plausible a generation ago. Conservatives liked to claim Bill Clinton was an autocrat, but no one seriously imagined he would so something like this. Left-wingers really thought Bush was Hitler, but even they did not think this was possible. In what feels like the blink of an eye, things we used to think were outside the realm of possibility are now normal. We have slipped into the darkness.

If you are of a certain age, the new normal is particularly tough to fathom. You spent much of your early life being told that the long struggle against communism was all about preventing exactly this. The whole point of America, its reason to exist, was to prevent exactly this from happening. Maybe it was always a big lie. Maybe it is the result of forces too complex for anyone to fathom. It really does not matter. The result is what matters. America is no longer a free country.

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A Racket, A Cult And A Corporation

In the fullness of time, future historians will write books on their theories about why liberal democracy came to behave so much like Soviet communism. The hallmark of Bolshevism was its intolerance of dissent. It was willing to sacrifice everything in order to prevent individuals or groups from questioning orthodoxy. This is becoming the defining feature of liberal democracy. In the name of individual rights and dignity, western governments are methodically turning into police states.

Take for example this story out of Germany. State media, with a reassuring confidence, has reported that a citizen is under surveillance by the state for holding unapproved ideas and positions. Götz Kubitschek has been labeled “the whisperer of AfD right wing Björn Höcke” so he is officially on a list of people good citizens should avoid. The point of the story and the government action is to anathematize the man in such a way that regular Germans will be afraid to be in his presence.

Notice the language. “The Office for the Protection of the Constitution classified him and his institute as extremists.” If anyone’s is curious, here is the German constitution. It is 74 pages long. Article five reads in part, “Every person shall have the right freely to express and disseminate his opinions in speech, writing and pictures, and to inform himself without hindrance from generally accessible sources.” As is true all over the West, this part of the constitution was destroyed to “save” the rest.

Of course, harassing citizens is not about protecting anything. The Right often makes the mistake conservatives have made for generations in assuming the Left has a practical reason behind their actions. Ideologues do not need a practical motive like money or power. In fact, worldly goods are not motives for ideologues. Rather, they are means to an end. The ideologue seeks power and influence in order to advance his agenda, which often just means crushing his opponents.

That was a feature of communist societies. The people at the top of the party apparatus could count on fanatics and zealots down the ranks to enforce party discipline. It’s why the military had ideological officers in the ranks. this was an innovation discovered by the radicals in the French Revolution. One fanatic willing to report a close friend for unapproved thoughts is worth ten thousand police. Once no one could be sure of even their closest relationships, no one dares speak out.

This is what we see with the West. When the state, in the case of Europe, or Big Tech, in the case of America, declares someone a heretic, it is with the assumption that the auxiliary volunteer army of fanatics will take over the policing. You can be sure that Götz Kubitschek will get the treatment. Germany’s version of Antifa will stalk him, his family and acquaintances. Radical media will use him as an example for endless scare stories about extreme right-wing extremist. AfD will be expected to purge him.

Another feature of the modern liberal democracy and the communist states is in the role of official media. Let’s assume Herr Kubitschek is a potentially bad guy and the state has a legitimate interest in him. Why would they inform the media? They would not do this if he was smuggling women or running a heroin ring. They would do the opposite and not say a word to the media. In the case of ideological offenses, however, the media and the state become partners in policing.

This was a feature of communist societies that has been forgotten. What little is remembered about the Soviet Union, is jammed into the Orwellian narrative of the police state. In reality, the communists figured out that it was cheaper to use soft power than hard power. Sure, they still arrested people and sent them off to camps, but their most effective weapon was the control of official truth. Fear of falling outside of official truth was more than enough to control most people.

As an aside, notice how that whole period is now officially forgotten? Even people offended by the sorts of things happening to Herr Kubitschek will not make a reference to the communist systems? Instead, they may reference you know who, but never the people who perfected the use of terror in an ideological state. The official narrative has slowly removed all references to the Cold War and the role of ideological fanatics from the collective consciousness of the West.

Something that ties the amnesia about communism and the increasing emulation of it by liberal democracy is something Eric Hoffer observed. Ideologies can get along just fine without a Utopian vision, but they must always have an opponent. In the Cold War, liberal democracy could justify its many compromises by pointing to communism. Once communism died, it served no purpose. The new devil is populism and nationalism, so liberal democrats are willing to ape the communist to beat them.

Hoffer also observed, “Up to now, America has not been a good milieu for the rise of a mass movement. What starts out here as a mass movement ends up as a racket, a cult, or a corporation.” That was in 1967, so he can be forgiven for not imagining something that was all three of those things. That is what we see in America. Liberal democracy is a racket, a cult and a corporation. The political class operates a racket, the media runs a cult and woke capital systematizes the whole thing.

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

The Loss Of Dignity

If you step back and think about it, the normal man can probably list a dozen things he cannot say in public that he grew up hearing on television, usually as jokes. Then the jokes were no longer welcome in polite company and soon they were deemed “not funny” by the sorts of people who worry about such things. The same was true of simple observations about the world. Somehow noticing the obvious became impolite, then it became taboo and finally prohibited.

The reverse is true as well. Middle-aged men can probably think of a dozen things that were unimaginable or unheard of, which are now fully normal. Of course, normal is one of those things that is now prohibited. It implies that something can be abnormal or weird and that itself is forbidden. The proliferation of novel identities and activities that demand to be treated with dignity and respect is a function of the old restraints having been eliminated. When everything is possible you get everything.

The strange thing about all of this is there is seemingly no point to it. The proliferation of new taboos was not in response to some harm being done. In most cases, the taboos are about observable reality. The people turning up in the public square with novel identities or activities demanding respect did not exist very long ago. If they did, not one was curious enough to look into it. The public was happy to ignore people into unusual activities, as long as they kept it to themselves.

Of course, none of what we generally call political correctness is intended to be uplifting or inspirational. The commissars of public morality like to pretend it is inspiring, but that’s just a way to entertain themselves. These new identity groups are not demanding the rest of us seek some higher plane of existence or challenge our limitations. In fact, it is always in the opposite directions. It’s a demand to lower standards and give up on our quaint notions of self-respect and human dignity.

In the Demon In Democracy, Polish academic Ryszard Legutko observed that liberal democracy had abandoned the concept of dignity. This is the obligation to behave in a certain way, as determined by your position in society. Dignity was earned by acting in accordance with the high standards of the community. In turn, this behavior was rewarded with greater privilege and responsibility. Failure to live up to one’s duties would result in the loss of dignity, along with the status it conferred.

Instead, modern liberal democracy awards dignity by default. We are supposed to respect all choices and all behaviors as being equal. There are no standards against which to measure human behavior, other than the standard of absolute, unconditional acceptance. As a result, the most inventively degenerate and base activities spring from the culture, almost like a test of the community’s tolerance. Instead of looking up to the heavens for inspiration, liberal democracies look down in the gutter.

Dignity comes from maintaining one’s obligations to his position in the social order, but that requires a fidelity to a social order. It also requires a connection to the rest of the people in the society. In a world of deracinated individuals focused solely on getting as much as they can in order to maximize pleasure, a sense of commitment to the community is not possible. Democracy assumes we are all equal, therefore we have no duty to one another as duty requires a hierarchical relationship.

In the absence of a vertical set of reciprocal relationships, we get this weird lattice work of horizontal relationships, elevating the profane and vulgar, while pulling down the noble and honorable. The public culture is about minimizing and degrading those who participate in the public culture. In turn, the public culture attracts only those who cannot be shamed or embarrassed. The great joy of public culture is to see those who aspire to more get torn down as the crowd roars at their demise.

The puzzle is why this is a feature of liberal democracy. Ryszard Legutko places the blame on Protestantism. Their emphasis on original sin and man’s natural limitations minimized man’s role in the world. This focus on man’s wretchedness was useful in channeling our urge to labor and create into useful activities, thus generating great prosperity, but it left us with a minimalist view of human accomplishment. We are not worthy to aspire to anything more than the base and degraded.

It is certainly true that the restraints of Christianity limited the sorts of behavior that are common today, but he may be putting the cart before the horse. The emergence of Protestantism in northern Europe was as much a result of the people and their nature as anything else. Put more simply, the Protestant work ethic existed before there was such a thing as a Protestant. The desire to work and delay gratification evolved over many generations out of environmental necessity.

Still, culture is an important part of man’s environment and environmental factors shape our evolution. It is not unreasonable to say that the evolution of Protestant ethics magnified and structured naturally occurring instincts among the people. With the collapse of Christianity as a social force in the West, the natural defense to degeneracy and vulgarity has collapsed with it. As a result, great plenty is the fuel for a small cohort of deviants to overrun the culture of liberal democracies.

Even so, there does seem to be something else. Liberal democracy has not produced great art or great architecture. The Greeks and Romans left us great things that still inspire the imagination of the man who happens to gaze upon them. The castles and cathedrals of the medieval period still awe us. The great flourishing of liberal democracy in the 20th century gave us Brutalism and dribbles of pain on canvas. The new century promises us primitives exposing themselves on the internet.

There is something about the liberal democratic order that seeks to strip us of our dignity and self-respect. Look at what happened in the former Eastern Bloc countries after communism. Exposed to the narcotic of liberalism they immediately acquired the same cultural patterns. Fertility collapsed. Religion collapsed. Marriage and family formation collapsed. These suddenly free societies got the Western disease as soon as they were exposed to western liberal democracy.

The reaction we see today is not due to these societies being behind the times, but due to seeing the ugly face of liberal democracy. It is much like the reaction to the proliferation of recreational drugs in the 1970’s. At first, it seemed harmless, but then people realized the horror of unrestrained self-indulgence. That’s what we see in the former Eastern Bloc. Their leaders still retain some of the old sense of things and are trying to save their people from the dungeon of modernity.

That still leaves us with the unanswered question. What is it about liberal democracy that seems to lead to this loss of dignity? It is possible that such a fabulously efficient system for producing wealth is a tool mankind is not yet equipped to handle without killing ourselves. Maybe we are just not built for anything but scarcity. Want gives us purpose and without it, we lose our reason to exist. Either way, without dignity, we cannot defend ourselves and the results are inevitable.

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Human Progress

One of the most remarkable and perhaps most relevant aspects of communism is how it regressed from an idealistic and inspirational world view to nothing more than a deeply flawed engineering project. Communism started out as a set of beliefs about liberating mankind to reach its full potential. It was not about material goods or political power, but human accomplishment. By the time the Soviet empire collapsed at the end of the 20th century, it was about making enough toilet paper and boots.

The early communists, including Marx, looked at work and the pursuit of material goods as a burden on mankind. Capitalism turned men into slaves to their own desires for wealth and property. This crude desire for material goods made them easy to exploit by the capital class. The point of overthrowing the capitalist system and replacing it with communism was to free man from that burden. The resulting material prosperity of communism would allow mankind to reach its full creative potential.

The Soviet empire that emerged from the Second World War was noticeably short on talk about mankind reaching its full potential. The practical necessity of feeding, housing and clothing its people consumed the regime. The great dream of a post-scarcity world of mankind united in brotherhood had given way to figuring out how to produce enough necessities to prevent rebellion. The last half of the 20th century was communism trying to keep pace with capitalism in the production of consumer goods.

In contrast, what we call western liberalism or liberal democracy started from the opposite end. Dating and locating the origin of what we call liberalism is a topic for endless debate, but it is reasonable to say it is an English thing. The rise of parliament in England as the counter to aristocratic rule followed by the Industrial Revolution is as good an origin story as any for liberal democracy. Its purpose was to increase individual liberty so men could pursue their own material interests.

Similarly, the American revolution was about government control of economic activity and tax policy. There was plenty of grandiose language in the Declaration of Independence about the human condition, but the founding generation had no dreams of a post-scarcity world or the universal brotherhood of man. The end game for liberalism was to leave people to live their lives in peace. Liberalism was about freeing men from their duties to grandiose schemes of other men.

The Jacobins, of course, had grand notions about the universal rights of man, but that was all about the individual. Sure, a political system that respects the natural rights of man would be fairer and more equal than monarchy, but that does not necessarily lead to some great advancement in the human condition. A free society of equals would be free to just live mundane lives as farmers and merchants. More important, they have no duty to advance mankind past his present condition.

That’s the funny thing about the last half of the 20th century. The progress of the two great competing ideological systems was in the opposite direction. The idealistic communists gave up their big dreams and focused on the basics of providing material goods for their societies. The practical minded liberals slowly abandoned the simple goals of individual liberty and started to dream of spreading democracy to every corner of the globe. Liberalism emerged as the great dram of mankind.

At the end of the Cold War, it was largely understood that central planning and communism were unworkable as economic policies. Only a fool would compare the material results of communism to capitalism and think the former had any hope of competing with the latter. As Fukuyama explained, the West has reached the end point of its intellectual development. Liberal democracy had triumphed over all competing ideologies and was now the only moral option.

You can probably write a very long book on how liberalism evolved, developed and matured in its struggles from the Magna Carta to the end of the Cold War. Maybe the starting date would be the English Civil War. It first triumphed over aristocracy, then fascism and finally communism. In the end it matured from a simple desire to set men free to pursue their own interests and individual potential into a fully developed dream of setting mankind free from his natural condition.

That would be a great book if it were written in the first years after the Cold War, but the decades since have revealed something else about liberal democracy. That is those grand dreams are nothing more than decorations. Having reached the post-scarcity world dreamed of by the communists, western liberals look around and see that there is nothing to inspire them. There is no moving past the human condition into some next phase of man. There’s just work and consumption.

The last few decades can best be described as a thrashing about by the American ruling class and to a lesser degree the minor ruling classes of Europe, looking for a reason to exist. Having conquered nature and want, defeated all ideological challengers, liberal democracy looks around asking what was the point? If the end of the long cycle of history was simply work and consumption, why did mankind make the journey and struggle to get to this point in its development?

Of course, it must be noted that the high point of communism was citizens lining up at stores only to find the shelves mostly bare. It was order being imposed by neighbors spying on neighbors. The great triumph of liberal democracy is now people lined up outside stores that are increasingly short of product. Like the communists, the liberals now rely in neighbors to spy on neighbors and the fearful to bully the skeptical. There’s no getting around the fact that America is no longer a free society.

Maybe in the end this is the fate of all ideology. The communists started with lofty goals and dreams of transcending the human condition. They descended to the greatly reduced goal of making enough stuff to survive. Liberal democracy starting with the practical goal of individual liberty, got the ideology bug and began to dream of a world beyond the human condition. It too is now collapsing into less lofty goals, like maintaining the basics of civil society and material existence.

Perhaps the great lesson of the long intellectual development known as the Enlightenment will be that the danger to humanity is the ideologue. Genuine human progress is the systematic removal of those who dream of something beyond the human condition. True enlightenment is the embrace of man’s humanity and his innate desire to work, enjoy the fruits of his labor and spend his short existence with friends and family. Human progress is simply the embrace of humanity.

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

The Plague Of Heroes

Given the facts emerging about the Chinese flu virus, the panic should be subsiding, but too many people are too invested in the panic, for personal and political reasons, to let this thing go away quietly. Instead we have a new round of drama as the heroic politicians listen to the heroic TikTok workers about when they can safely stop tormenting people over what is looking like a real life example of this famous quote. If it ever was, it is no longer about public safety. Instead it is about the drama queens.

Here in Lagos, the local dictator has issued an edict requiring everyone to wear their underwear over their heads if they go outside. That’s a slight exaggeration, but not that much of one. The requirement to wear masks, something unavailable for months, means people are wearing all sorts of outlandish get-ups. More than a few times I have seen women with what looks like feminine napkins on their face. There have undoubtedly been men wearing briefs on their heads just to go outside.

At this stage, demanding that people wear masks is nothing more than a punitive measure to humiliate the public. That move may have made some sense two months ago, but at this point there is no health reason for it. Instead, the politicians and TikTok heroes have got to justify what is turning out to be something closer to the infamous War of the Worlds panic than a legitimate public emergency. To admit reality at this point risks bruising their tender psyches, so we suffer on.

The plague of heroes is just not limited to crooked politicians and portly women in hospital scrubs. Corporate America has decided to remind us that they are not there to make money selling product. That’s crazy talk. No, they are here as a good steward of the community, because they care. They really care. You see, we’re in this together and in this time of crisis, nothing is more inspiring than videos of corporate commissars looking concerned while wearing masks and standing six feet apart.

At the retail end, it appears there is a race to see which company can come up with the most ridiculous ways to torment their customers. At the market I normally solicit, they now require people to line up outside, like the Soviets were fond of doing. That means an hour wait to enter the store, not because it is busy, but because only if we are united can we beat the virus. That’s on a sign outside the store. There’s a good bet the senior management is not heroically standing in any such lines.

I can’t help but think that is part of what’s happening. By turning the nation into a weird form of North Korea. the new class gets new perks. Instead of standing in long lines dressed like idiots, they will soon have private shops where they can shop like normal people in a normal society. The next phase of liberal democracy is concierge shopping to go along with concierge health care. You see, who we are is a nation of equals with one set of rules for the Cloud People and another for the Dirt People.

The hero nonsense does not stop with the boot to the masked face. Just as happened in communist societies, fanatics are now rising up among us to hector the rest of us about our adherence to the new rules. This plague first started on-line with the “Cucks and Karens”, as one commenter called them, tone policing anyone questioning the mass idiocy we see all around us. Now they have spilled into the real world, furiously looking to heroically tell people to keep their distance.

Since I will not stand in the idiot line for the market I usually solicit, I went to another market that is not as heroic. They have a fat broad making sure everyone entering is dressed like a train robber. The greeter has not become the enforcer, but you don’t have to stand outside like a moron. This store serves the working and middle-class, while the really heroic store serves managerial types. There is a strong correlation between class and the willingness to suspend the sense of disbelief.

Inside the store they have arrows on the floor, meaning you have to walk up and down every aisle in a specific order. Apparently, heroism now means having to examine every product on every shelf before you leave the store. This is actually dumber than the Soviet-style lines to enter the store. No one is going to traverse the whole store because they forget to get something in aisle one. As a result, people are violating the edicts and going about their business like sane people used to do.

I was one of those sane people, going against an arrow to get something when a Cuck and Karen in their TikTok costumes said something to me about the arrows. The Cuck did the “Sir! Sir!” bit, but I just ignored him. After I got what I wanted, I turned around and he was saying something, but I could not hear it because my hearing is not good and he was talking through his sissy rag. I was ready to ignore him, but then he did the same “Sir! Sir!” bit to an old guy who was violating arrow policy.

Having reached the age where I no longer bite my tongue in public, I said to the guy, “It is bad enough we have to put up with nonsense, we don’t need idiots like you pretending to be the police of us.” He then heroically said something about it “being about all of us” and I reminded him that the most likely way for him to end up in the hospital was to keep talking. The old guy, heroically chimed in with a vigorous “Fuck you, asshole” and a middle-finger at Cuck and Karen.

The Boomers get a lot of grief from certain people and some of it is surely justified, but the only rebels I see in my travels these days are old-timers. This was not the first time I’ve seen an old person tell one of these prissy heroes to do an unnatural act when confronted about a mask or other dumb stuff. All the butch young guys are sheltering in place, heroically self-isolating while whining about the Boomers. The growing protests we see are almost all old people. Zoomers ain’t our heroes.

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The Spirit Of The Age

There are two general ways in which people follow the law. One group is careful to stay within the letter of the law. If there is any question about their compliance, they have well thought-out arguments about the precise meaning of each word and phrase within the law in question. The other group is concerned with the spirit of the law. They understand that language is not always precise, so they think about what the lawmakers intended when they crafted the specific law in question.

Both approaches, as is true of every human activity, are prone to corruption. The letter-of-the-law side will play fast and loose with the definition of words, often feigning ignorance about the meaning of common words. The famous sociopaths Bill and Hillary Clinton have always been fond of this. Bill famously challenged the meaning the word “is” in one of his depositions. This is probably the most extreme example of tactical nihilism ever committed. The Clintons were trail blazers.

Corrupting the spirit of the law is a tougher process. It requires the corrupt to recast history in order to mischaracterize the intentions of the lawmakers. The usual form this takes is another type of tactical nihilism, in which the corrupt claim the people who wrote the law never intended its current use. The gun grabbers like to play this trick when talking about what the Framers meant when the put the right to bear arms in the Bill of Rights. They simply lie about what can be easily confirmed.

Because restating the past is difficult, the corrupt tend to congregate in the letter-of-the-law end of the pool. We see that with the seditious conspiracy to overturn the 2016 presidential election. The people involved were wholly invested in finding loopholes and exceptions in the letter of the law. During the virus panic, some information has been declassified, showing how these guys parsed the law. Supposedly there is an investigation into all of this, but that is probably a myth.

The dynamic at work leading to this conspiracy was something like this. Someone high up in the Obama administration decided to use the surveillance agencies for domestic spying, which is in direct violation of the law. There’s a mountain of testimony from lawmakers, who crafted the laws creating these powers, that they were to never be used to spy on Americans. Even today, grammar school children are told that only despots spy on political opponents, so the intent of these laws is clear.

That’s why the Department of Justice, the FBI and the CIA have ignored the spirit of the laws and instead focus in the letter of the law. Like Bill Clinton warming up for a deposition, they pored over every word of the regulations in order to craft fraudulent warrants and court filings. They did so in a way that could allow them to muddy the waters if they got caught, by claiming simple errors of fact were just honest mistakes, not an effort to mislead the court and get around the law.

This is the nature of the subversive. The reason he focuses on the letter of the law is because he is at war with the spirit of the law. His first step in killing the law and what it represents is to strangle its spirit by denying it exists. First, he denies it in his mind then he denies in his actions. You see that with the FBI agents involved in the Spygate conspiracy. They hated that they could not spy on Americans, so they first denied they should not be doing it then found a way to do it.

This is not a unique to the FBI. It is just one of the many corrupt institutions in present day America. You see this hatred for the spirit of the law in the Senate’s conduct during the FBI scandal. They surely know the laws in question were never intended to be used as political weapons, but they don’t care about intent. From their perspective, the law is for the commoners they try hard to avoid. You’ll note that Richard Burr sits on that committee, the guy fond of trading on his insider information.

In The Spirit of the Law, Montesquieu observed that every form of government has a principle that motivates the citizenry. In despotic societies, it is fear of the ruler that inspires the people. In aristocratic societies it is the love of honor or the desire to attain greater rank and privilege that inspires the people. In republican societies, it is virtue that inspires the people. By virtue, he meant the willingness to put the interests of the community ahead of private interests. To sacrifice for the greater good.

Montesquieu can be forgiven for not anticipating the development of what we now call liberal democracy. Even the most radical mind of his age would have scoffed at the idea of giving women and criminals the franchise. They would have doubled over in fits of hysterical laughter at the assertion that all people are equal. They surely would have assumed you were mad if you suggested there were more than two sexes. Not so long ago, what we take for granted was beyond the realm of imagination.

Still, it is worth considering what it is that motivates the citizen in the liberal democracy, as it is certainly not virtue or honor. We see that with our public officials. They may seek rank and privilege, but only through the most craven and dishonorable means available to them. They are happy to sacrifice your interests for their greater good. In fact, the only time they work together is when it is time to siphon off more of your greater good in order to top off their tanks of greater good.

That leaves us with fear as the great motivator, but not fear of the despot. Instead, it is a fear of the law itself. Every new law brings new opportunities for the liberal democratic ruling elite to torment the public. Since words have no meaning and the spirit of the law is strangled in its crib, the law is whatever the ideological enforcers happen to think it means in any given moment. The public is left to the mercy of a ruling class filled with self-righteous anger at the people over whom they rule.

This is the spirit of our age, the liberal democratic age. The great fear of the law is actually a fear of order and stability. A hatred of it, in fact. The liberal democratic regime needs to feed its sense of necessity and it can only do so in a crisis, so it creates panics and emergencies. What we are seeing in this virus panic is the full flowering of liberal democracy. It is a world of the forever present, because it is without law and a world without order. It is a world with no tomorrow.

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Cosmopolitan Provincials

In a time of crisis, whether self-inflicted or naturally occurring, you learn a lot about people in how they react to the crisis. They say pressure reveals character, but in the context of something like this pandemic crackdown, pressure reveals your place in relation to the center of cosmopolitan globalism. Not in a physical sense, but in the economic and cultural sense of it. The closer you are to the center, the more enthusiastic you are for the mandatory shuttering of society.

It is one of those things that transcends politics, in that you see people who normally disagree sharing the same side now. The people involved in political media, for example, are all on-board with the crackdown. In fact, they think it should go on forever, as it gives them something to squabble about in a meaningless way. The people in the vast unproductive sector of the economy, like the media and politics, have no stake in the economy, so this is just another thing to fill their time.

In another sense, the cultural sense, this event has revealed the provincialism of the typical city dweller. It is fair to say that if the hot spot for the virus had been Appalachia, it would barely rate a segment on the cable chat shows. Because the center was New York City, the home of the media centers, it is the only thing worth discussing. The most provincial people on earth live in New York City and media people are some of the dumbest, making for the perfect storm.

For example, the people protesting the crackdown are people with a real stake in society, as in a job and bills to pay. They are not motivated by esoteric debates about political philosophy. They don’t have a walk-in closet full of moral signifiers they use to display their membership in narrow identity groups. They just try to live their lives the best they can under the conditions set for them. The conditions are becoming untenable now, so they are making as much noise as they can about it.

The typical cosmopolitan looks at these protests and just assumes the people doing them are ignorant and confused. “Don’t they know how dangerous it is out there?” the cosmopolitans incredulously demand. The fact is, the protesters know exactly how dangerous it is out there – not very dangerous at all – and they are willing to bet on their own judgement about it. The cosmos, on the other hand, know only what is told to them by the mass media. They let the system decide these things for them.

That is one of those things that does not always turn up when times are easy. If you live in or around an urban center, you grow used to being bossed around. You get used to depending on the system. The Manhattan media employee rides subways, walks past cops and relies on a vast system to supply her with food. She thinks she is tech savvy because she has a lot of cool apps on her iPhone. In reality, she is like an oxpecker living on the rhinovirus of the cosmopolitan system.

In contrast, the guy living in a distant suburb or flyover country spends most of his time away from the state. He depends on the supply chain, like everyone else, to put stuff in the stores, but he works in the supply chain. He has some idea how the stuff magically appears on the shelves. He drives his own car to those stores and has to rely on himself to get it repaired when necessary. His days are not filled with self-actualizing, but rather the mundane tasks of living.

Real or imagined, the person living far away from the epicenter of cosmopolitan globalism has a sense of independence. Government is not a visible part of his everyday existence, so he does not instinctively trust it. The boys and girls living outside the economy, whether on a campus, in a government job or in some corner of the vast, unproductive part of the economy, they trust the system completely. They have to, because it provides so much of what makes up their life.

Who is more deluded about reality is debatable. We may get to find out if the crackdown lasts much longer. Parts of the supply chain are breaking. It will not be long before shelves are empty of essentials. The people sure they can make it without government may get to test that theory. On the other hand, the cosmos living in the urban areas will find out if the system that makes their life possible can protect them. Cosmopolitan globalism is about to enter the blast furnace of reality.

This raises a question, of course. The system imagined for us by our ruling elites is highly urbanized and dominated by the government and its agents. Social credit systems may be run by tech companies, but they do so on behalf of the same people who control government. They imagine the future being a cleaner, glass and steel version of Manhattan, where people are like corpuscles in the system. In such a system, does it make sense to maintain the charade of democracy?

The current crisis gives us a hint. The people constantly yapping about “our democracy” were quick to pull the plug on the primaries. If you’re willing to send cops after people walking on the beach, just to make a point about who decides who can go outside, you’re probably going to have no qualms about ending the voting charade. What’s the point of asking the people when you don’t really care what they think? You can be sure that the urban rubes will go along with it.

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The Mule’s Work

When Trump miraculously won the election in 2016, the smarter observers saw that he was not going to be a reform agent, but a chaos agent. Through the ballot, the public had injected a foreign body into the political system. How the system would react to that foreign body was unknown, but after three plus years the results of the experiment are coming into focus. What we are getting is chaos. Everything about the old order is suddenly in question, as everything about it is breaking down.

The most obvious example of the chaos is the old political order. For almost a generation, national politics was Red Team versus Blue Team. Both sides agreed on most everything as they were financed by the same people. Red Team wanted to be more naked in its slobbering than Blue Team over the men behind the curtain, while Blue Team wanted to be more hysterical than Red Team. Otherwise, no matter which way the people voted, the policies never changed.

Three plus years of Trump and we have prominent national politicians calling for a moratorium on immigration. Trump just claimed he signed an executive order temporarily halting all immigration. Whether or not this is true is entirely unknown, as Trump says all sorts of things that mean nothing. That’s not the point. What matters is that things that were forbidden just a few years ago are now being said in public by people who care very deeply about the taboos of modern society.

Of course, the chaos that will soon matter most to people is the chaos in the economy, which is beginning to get real and real fast. When oil futures hit levels never seen in our lifetime, we are in a different world than existed a few years ago. The nonsense about oil trading below zero is just news hype, but there is no avoiding the fact that the world is suddenly awash in BTU’s. What’s just as significant about this event is that according to the experts, it was not supposed to happen.

That’s the thing to keep in mind about the chaos that is raging all around us. The emerging liberal democratic order promised stability and predictability. Instead of booms and bust in the economy, it was supposed to be gentle slopes up and down as the central bankers steered the ship. Oil markets would no longer be the victim of forces beyond the control of suppliers. Instead, prices would be steady as producers coordinated with world government to temper supply.

What happens in a world suddenly awash in BTU’s? No one knows. Similarly, no one knows what happens when world government tries to turn the economy back on after they have had enough of the pandemic. In fact, no one knows if they will actually try to do it voluntarily. Local officials have gotten the whiff of authoritarianism in their nostrils and they like it. They may find out they like suppressing the minor protests that have been flaring up the past week. We are in uncharted territory.

What we are seeing is the work of The Mule. In the Asimov novels. The Mule is a special character, so special in fact that he is assumed to not exist. In fact, according to the known rules of the universe, he cannot exist. Because he does exist, thus invalidating the rules of the universe, he is the ultimate destroyer of worlds. His ability “is to reach into the minds of others and “adjust” their emotions, individually or en masse, using this capability to conscript individuals to his cause.”

This is Trump. In the primary, he won mostly by causing the Republican Party to go insane and destroy itself. In the general, the media went nuts and convinced the Democrats they had nothing to fear. In Washington, the establishment has taken every opportunity to discredit itself in a mad quest to deny the reality of Trump. In this pandemic, the masters of the universe seem to be determined to do everything they can to invalidate themselves and legitimize their enemies.

The madness of self-invalidation is probably just starting. Due to the crack down on economic activity, things like advertising buys have halted. So much of the internet economy, particularly the media, depends on the belief that money spent on ads and marketing is money well-spent. It was never true, but the new reality will suddenly bring that into focus. In whatever comes next, spending lavishly on ads and marketing data harvested by social media companies will be minimized.

To date, no one has figured out how to make a large-scale media enterprise work on subscriptions alone. Small-scale operations can make it work for the same reason small business can make it work. They have low overheads and focus only on providing the customer with what they seek. Mass media is mass propaganda, financed by corporate ad dollars. In other words, it is not just the political establishment finding itself in a new chaotic world of uncertainty. Its media arm is there as well.

Obviously, the biggest bit of chaos that the people in charge have yet to confront is the world after the crackdown is lifted. We have about 30% unemployment at the moment and the signs of increased economic slowdown. People forget that in the early weeks of the crack down, there was a rush of economic activity. That has subsided and firms are now starting to hear crickets. The curve benders fear a second virus wave, but wait until they get a look at the second layoff wave.

At the various lemon parties, the sobbing and moaning about Trump was understandable, as they never understood what Trump meant. Their politics are immature and based solely on what is presented to them in the media. Like children, they giggle when happy and cry when sad. Similarly, the “Orange Man Bad!” loons could never get past their hurt feelings to grasp the significance of Trump. As the chaos rages, these two camps now cheer like toddlers at someone shaking keys.

For the simple minded, the rising chaos brings to mind their preferred result, which they imagine is right around the corner. In reality, we are just entering the interregnum described by Guillaume Faye, in which the West lurches from crisis to crisis as it tries to reconcile the incoherence and contradictions of liberal democracy. In other words, Trump is not just the end of the old order, but the starting point for a period of chaos, as the world tries to create a new “logic of the universe.”

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Binary Thinking

In the movie The Usual Suspects, the wily main character utters one of the most memorable movies lines in recent times. “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” The line is allegedly lifted from the 19th century French poet Charles Baudelaire. According to the Quote Investigator, versions of the line have been used by Christian ministers before Baudelaire. That seems plausible, given the inclinations of reformist Christian ministers.

Something similar can be said for radicalism. Perhaps its greatest trick is to convince the world they did not win and rule the West for the last century and a half. Instead, the radicals go from triumph to triumph, convincing their adherents that the fight must go on, as well as convincing their opponents to fight future battles in a way that is guaranteed to result in their defeat. It really is a remarkable thing, when you stop and think about the past century or so of political conflict.

One trick the Left has used is to alter the shared consciousness in such a way that everyone is a binary thinker. That is, every issue, not matter how trivial, is assumed to be one thing or the other. Whatever the issue, there are only two options, so if one is made invalid, the other is the right answer by default. Therefore, everyone participating in political discourse is forced to defend one side or the other. Further, they think they advance their side by discrediting the other side.

The classic example of this was the homosexual marriage debate. Before anyone knew what was happening, the beautiful people were insisting that anyone opposed to the idea must hate homosexuals. In fact, anyone not embracing everything about the homosexual lifestyle must be a hate-filled bigot. This binary thinking has now extended to men dressed as women. The only options for the debate were one extreme position or the other, which obviously worked to the advantage of the Left.

Another example is the current debate over the pandemic lock downs. The alarmists insist that the choices are lock everyone in their homes until there are no more sick people or allow people to die in the streets from the virus. Most people have happily accepted this framing, so that anyone questioning the lock down is viewed as a dangerous nut. The idea of a third or fourth position is no longer possible, as those are lumped into one extreme or the other by the two sides.

Yet another example is one that has turned up in fringe politics. Those opposed to the current economic order are cheering the lock down, as they assume it must be bad for those they blame for the current economic order. This urge to harm their perceived enemies is so intense, they seem willing to harm themselves and their friends in an economic collapse, if it harms the bad guys. Any questioning of this is characterized as a defense of the current order, possibly even a betrayal.

Probably the clearest example of this binary way of thinking is something you see from the intelligent design people. They assume if they can discredit evolutionary biology, their preferred explanation of life must be true. They make no effort to prove their claims about a great designer. They just assume that if they discredit the alternative, they must be proven correct by default. It is why they invest all of their time and energy into attacking evolutionary biology. Theirs is an either-or worldview.

There’s almost always a strong moral component to binary thinking. Side A looks at Side B as immoral, perhaps evil. We see this now with the lock down. Those questioning the policy are accused of being indifferent to their fellow humans or even putting lives at risk with their crazy ideas about going outside. The same moral signaling was at play with the homosexual marriage debate. In the binary worldview, there are only good guys and bad guys, black hats and white hats.

This hyper-moralized binary thinking can have some bizarre results. The Left is endlessly mewing about the danger of right-wing authoritarianism, but cheers what can only be described as authoritarianism during the lockout. Right-wing opponents of cosmopolitan globalism are now embracing left-wing schemes to crash the system, like rent strikes and overloading the welfare system. The so-called hard-right now sounds like a bunch of leisure suit wearing Progressives from the 1970’s.

The reason for this is the hyper-moralized world of binary thinking must necessarily be detached from anything resembling fixed truth. If all that matters is opposing the bad guy, then the only truth that matters is they are wrong and therefore the opposite of what they say is the truth. In a world of binary thinking, everyone is defined by who they hate and what they oppose, not by objective truth. In the great dance with the Devil, he leads by simply existing in the mind of his partner.

That is the great trick of the radicals. By convincing the world that politics is a constant struggle against some enemy, the corrective of factual reality has been abandoned in favor of binary logic. Since radicalism itself is rooted in the endless revolution against something, societies in a constant struggle to find some new devil to oppose must always embrace radicalism. The very identity of a radical society is rooted in the constant struggle to move past some evil onto the next.

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