Ghosts and Goblins

Thirty years ago, everyone knew what it meant to be a liberal. They wanted to tax the rich and spend the proceeds on the poor. They wanted to regulate business so they could not exploit their workers or harm the environment. That meant favoring unions in the law. On foreign policy, liberals were the doves when it came to dealing with the Soviets. Of course, everyone knew what being a liberal meant when it came to social issues. The point being, liberalism was a well defined list of policy positions and opinions.

Today, what it means to be a liberal is a complete mystery, even to the people who proudly say they are on the Left. The Netroots Nation was this weekend, so all of the grandees of Progressivism were in New Orleans to pitch their ideas. Take a look at the agenda. Other than the promises to oppose Trump, most of it focused on building traffic for their websites. “Digital Security For Organizers Of Color” sounds amusing, but mostly because it has that familiar paranoia that has come to define the modern Left.

If you bother to watch any of the speeches, the tone is what you would expect from people facing the end times. One after another it was a rallying call for the fight against some monster, real or imagined. At least the ranting about Trump includes a real person, even if the bill of indictment is insane. When you think about it, the Russian collusion business is just an updated version of “cavorting with the devil.” Their argument is that Trump made a deal with the evil one, who magically altered the outcome of the 2016 election.

That’s what liberalism is these days. It is a weird collection of superstitions about various ghosts and goblins like racism and white privilege. Racism no longer means prejudice against another race or even antagonism toward another race. Racism is the evil spirit that is somehow responsible for unequal outcomes. White privilege is just another name for the same mysterious force. It’s how millionaire black athletes can be victims of racism because the white middle class fans stop watching them over the anthem protests.

Another aspect of this is the extreme paranoia. Listen to the Left these days and you get the impression America is now the movie The Purge. The faithful spend every night in their bunker homes. Here is a story from Breitbart about Bill Maher claiming that the United States is turning into Iraq. He does not mean the post-war Iraq. He means the the Saddam version where his Al-Bu Nasir tribe ruled over the nation. In Maher’s version, Trump, the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch rule over Maher’s oppressed majority.

Now, Maher is a cynical provocateur and opportunist. He was a hack comic for a long time until he figured out how to stoke the fears and fantasies of liberal fanatics. It is debatable as to how much he believes any of the stuff he says. In this case, he is clearly trying to appeal to his audience, by naming three hobgoblins of the Left. The fact that Charles Koch despises Trump and Murdoch was a Hillary supporter makes his theory as nutty as the Russian hacking nonsense, but his audience is not rational.

This vision of themselves as the put upon minority is integral to Progressive identity politics. Not only do the constituencies needs to believe they are victims, the Judeo-Puritan project is rooted in a bunker mentality. Their sense of the world is of a righteous people holed up in a New England town, as the imperial forces encircle them, while they pray the oil holds out until the golem arrives to free them. It is a dogs breakfast of both spiritual and mythological strains that make up modern Progressivism.

Again, Maher does this because he knows his audience is stupid and this stuff works on them, but it speaks to something about the modern Left. Conventional conservatives like the go on about how the Left has no ideas now. That is true in the nuts and bolts public policy sense. The Left is no longer a political force. It’s made the turn and is on its way to becoming the Cult of the Supreme Being. Unlike Robespierre’s invention, this version is esoteric, mysterious and oriental. There is no defined supernatural, just a sense of it.

It’s also very feminine. The hysterical shrieking about the hobgoblins that haunt the Left is reminiscent of the old Blondie cartoons, where the woman would stand on a chair shrieking about a mouse in the kitchen. In a more sophisticated age, the readers knew that the woman’s performance was just that, a performance. It was an acting out and reinforcement of traditional sex roles. Today, when the Progressive climbs onto her chair and shrieks, there is no mouse and no man to rush in and comfort her. It’s a lonely act.

This collapse of Progressivism into a feminine mystery cult is why conventional conservatism has collapsed. Conservatism was never a genuine alternative. Their role was as a foil to the Left. That worked as long as Progressives had a policy agenda, but that is not longer the case. Listen to the leading figures of the Left and their policy proposals range from comically ridiculous to vaguely aspirational. Again, you see the feminization. The Bernie Bros are now Bernie gals like Ocasio-Cortez and Sarah Smith.

What this says about what comes next is hard to know. Spiritual movements are a part of the human condition. Anthropologists think belief is one of the earliest modern human traits, co-evolving with language. As Christianity fades in the West, something must replace it. Maybe we are seeing the birth of the next great religion. Alternatively, the ranting and raving against nature could be the death howls of a culture that has reached its terminal point. The end is a people huddled in darkness, afraid of the goblins outside.

The Power Of Delusion

Way back in the olden thymes, I was going back and forth with a liberal acquaintance about a topic related to his cult’s recent fixation on diversity. I no longer recall the details of the conversation, but at some point he said, “The reason we moved to Arlington was so our child could experience diversity.” He was speaking of Arlington Massachusetts, one of the whitest places on earth. He had moved to honkeyville, but he had somehow convinced himself that it was a rainbow community of racial and ethnic diversity.

Being a polite person, I laughed in his face. There are limits to civility. I doubt he has ever forgiven me for not only laughing at the ridiculous claim, but then proceeding to point out the demographic reality of his new home. Arlington is roughly 85% white and 10% Asian and those Asians will be college professors and professionals. The tiny black and Hispanic population is clustered in one area of town. You can drive around the place all day and never see a brown face that is not riding a lawnmower or leaf blower.

Now, I have no doubt that my former acquaintance and his Progressive hive-mates glorified one another on a regular basis for their embrace of diversity. You can bet they swapped stories about how their kid had a black friend at school or about their supposed friendship with the Muslim coworkers. He actually tried that one on me once. Because it was nothing but virtue signalling, they never faced any push-back. In fact, they got nothing but confirmation from their hive mates, so their delusions were always reinforced.

When people outside the hive wonder how people in the hive can believe the nonsense about diversity and the blank slate, it is important to keep in mind the power of magical thinking. They want this stuff to be true, so they tend to gravitate toward others who have the same fantasies. It is exactly how cults work. The doubt or concern of one member becomes a reason for the rest to double up on their belief. Progressives are people in search of purpose and identity, so they tend to clump together for support.

Whether you call it self-delusion, magical thinking, wishful thinking or whatever, this is powerful juju. My old Progressive acquaintance was not fazed by my mockery or the facts I later sent him. In fact, he has only grown more deluded over the years. He’s now one of those old guys who still wears an “I’m With Her” t-shirt and tells people he is a moderate libertarian. It’s not that he is a liar or crazy, it’s that he so desperately wants this image he has of himself to be true, that he has convinced himself it is fact.

It is not just lefty cult members who are prone to self-delusion. Magical thinking is just the grease that makes the gears of life turn smoothly for people. All of us engage in some degree of it. In fact, it may be a requirement of leadership. Read the biographies of great leaders and you almost always find that they had an extreme over-confidence in their abilities. Often, they believed it was their destiny to achieve greatness. It was what pushed them to conquer the world or accomplish some great contribution to humanity.

At the same time, over-the-top belief in some cause is the driving force behind the great evils of history. Stalin was not mindlessly evil. He believed he was on the side of the righteous, just as the Nazis, Chinese communists and other murderous movements of the last century believed they were on the side of good. The Allies in World War II incinerated cities full of women and children, in order to break the will of the other side, because they thought they were fighting a just cause. The self-righteous make the best killers.

The power of self-delusion is not just the belief in some cause, but belief in the face of available evidence. It’s the conflict between the delusion and reality that is the chemical reaction, releasing energy the believers harness. The American Left refers to themselves as the “resistance” even though they are in complete control. It seems that the greater the gap between observable reality and the delusion, the more fanatical the believer. That conflict between reality and the delusion releases energy in relation to its contrast.

This is a useful thing to keep in mind when dealing with lefty relations. Your well-intended efforts to break the spell, only serve to make it stronger. It is counter intuitive, but the best thing you can do for a deluded friend or relative is to act disinterested. If you argue with them, they see that as proof they are speaking truth to power. If you agree with them, even on a small point, they see that as confirmation. Indifference throws water on that chemical reaction and robs them of the energy to carry on in the face of reality.

This is why the Left forces everyone to pick a side. For example, you cannot be indifferent to the various crotch fads. You are either enlightened or a homophobe, open minded or a gender-normative bigot. There can be no middle ground, because the delusion that fuels these causes depends upon the conflict. The indifferent are the black swans of the delusional. It’s not simply hive-mindedness. It is a need for the conflict between their beliefs about themselves and the reality of the world in which those beliefs conflict.

The Faith Of The Left

An argument I have been making for a long time is that the reason the Left has gone from triumph to triumph is that they are not motivated by reason. Instead, they are powered by a quest for salvation. The social issues that they champion, regardless of any practical considerations, are always cast in moral terms. The issue itself is immaterial. It is being on the right side of the issue that matters. Politics is an endless series of tests they must pass in order to remain on the path of the righteous, leading to the promised land.

This story about Obama’s reaction to the election is a good example.

Riding in a motorcade in Lima, Peru, shortly after the 2016 election, President Barack Obama was struggling to understand Donald J. Trump’s victory.

“What if we were wrong?” he asked aides riding with him in the armored presidential limousine.

He had read a column asserting that liberals had forgotten how important identity was to people and had promoted an empty cosmopolitan globalism that made many feel left behind. “Maybe we pushed too far,” Mr. Obama said. “Maybe people just want to fall back into their tribe.”

His aides reassured him that he still would have won had he been able to run for another term and that the next generation had more in common with him than with Mr. Trump. Mr. Obama, the first black man elected president, did not seem convinced. “Sometimes I wonder whether I was 10 or 20 years too early,” he said.

This is a recurring theme with the American Left. It is the reason they embraced the term “Progressive” as their preferred label. They start with the unspoken belief that the story of man is written. It is the duty of the righteous to live it out in order to reach salvation. It’s why “being on the right side of history” comes up so often. They think of the struggle as between those on the side of the great historical force and those who are standing in the way of it. The righteous are always looking forward and moving forward.

It is also why they think of the past as a dark age dominated by the sinners. There is no romanticism on the American Left, because the past is by definition further away from the glorious future. Instead, the past is filled with monsters that were either slain by the righteous, or locked away, but ready to return at any moment. For example, they remain forever vigilant about the return of Nazis, as if they are a real thing that still exist. In the mind of the American progressive “Nazi” is just another name for Old Scratch.

Notice in that Times piece that the Trump voters are described as “left behind” rather than unhappy or in disagreement. In other words, the people voting for Trump did so because they were sad for having been left behind by the righteous. Voting for Trump was a cry for help. It’s tempting to see this as part of Obama’s narcissism, but in reality his narcissism is also the result of this deep belief in the flow of history. He was chosen to lead the faithful, so of course he is a narcissist. What savior would not be a bit full of himself?

You’ll notice that Progressives are forever warning about some attempt to “turn back the clock” and return us to a former state of sin. It resonates with Progressives, because for them, the eternal quest for salvation means going forward, breaking away from the degraded past. Trump’s “turning the clock back” is viewed as the wages of sin. Obama thinks he tried too hard to deliver his people to the promised land. The result was the great leap backward into Trumpism. It is a lament and call to redouble the efforts of the faithful.

American Progressives are the purest form of true believers, because they have disconnected their beliefs from practical considerations. Therefore, they are immune to facts and reason. When you examine the language they use to describe politics and the culture, you see the extreme mysticism. Obama does not even really know what “left behind” means, but he is sure it is a bad thing. For him, it is a purely a spiritual issue to be thought of in those terms. Practical considerations simply have no salience for him.

The error the Right has made for generations is to think it is possible to prove the Left wrong, and therefore force them to abandon their agenda. That’s like thinking you can disprove sections of the Koran and cause the Muslims to abandon their faith. In fact, efforts to do so will always be met with a fierce defense of the faith. Practical arguments always embolden the righteous, as it confirms their belief in themselves as moral agents in a holy cause. Your irrational resistance is proof they are on the righteous path.

It’s why the Left have been so effective since the end of the Cold War, but also why it has become so extreme and bizarre. Defending socialism meant ceding authority to objective data like the unemployment rate or GDP growth. That served as a check on the more unhinged elements. Once free of these objective measures, it became a race to come up with the most extreme and bizarre identity group to champion. Lacking a limiting principle, and untethered from practical reality, the Left got increasingly extreme.

While it looks like the left is headed for some sort of crack up or possibly a dormant phase, it is important to remember that people have to believe in something. The reason conservatism was such a flop is it never tried to appeal to this aspect of man’s nature. It was the ideology of the bookkeeper. No matter how fat, dumb and happy, people will always yearn for the eternal. If there is to be an alternative to the prevailing orthodoxy, it is going to have to offer an alternative to those who desire to be on the side of angels.

Prince Rupert’s Revenge

In my youth, it was possible to have cordial and even friendly relations with people in the Progressive cult. I spent many hours debating my lefty friends over drinks, about the defects of various central planning schemes. Anyone my age or older remembers the way these debates would go. One side talked about economic justice for the working class, while the other side talked about the glory of free markets. Usually, the “right-winger” would bring up the Soviets, as an example of the failures of central planning and socialism.

Often, one side or the other would get mad, but it was rarely personal. People get hot in political debates, mostly because we are social animals. Conflict with people inside our group vexes us. It makes us uncomfortable. That was the thing. Liberals and non-liberals could operate in the same peer group. The reason is the Left and Right back then, agreed on the goals. Both sides wanted prosperity. The Left believed socialism produced equitable plenty, while the Right believed a rising tide lifted all boats.

Thinking back, a strange thing happened in the 1990’s, with regards to my own debates with lefty friends and acquaintances. The debates in the 90’s were almost all about the peculiar personal lives of Bill and Hillary Clinton. The Right was always scandal mongering and the Left was conjuring novel defenses for the degeneracy of Bill Clinton and the personal corruption of Hillary. These revolved around Red Team/Blue Team scat fights, that had little to do with policy or ideology. It was just ritualized tribal warfare.

That changed instantly with the 2000 election. All of my lefty friends and acquaintances went insane overnight.  They hated Bush with the intensity of a fanatic. The wars made it impossible to have a discussion with the Left, outside of things like the weather. Granted, many of us were naive about the lunacy of the neocons and what they were planning, but the Left’s opposition was never more than shrieking madness. How does one debate someone who thinks Halliburton controls the weather and attacked New Orleans?

I remember thinking my lefty friends would return to sanity after Bush left office, but that never happened. A few stopped foaming at the mouth, but for the most part, they crossed into a realm from which there is no return. In the Obama years, they went from one peculiar fad to the next. One week it was homosexual marriage, while the next week it was claims about sex being a social construct. There’s simply no discussion, much less debating, the racial and sexual utopia that is now the center of the Progressive cult.

Looking back, it’s useful to think about the fight between the official Left and the official Right as a set piece battle on an agreed upon battlefield. At the center of both lines was economics. The Right had religious archers and the constitutional conservatives on the flanks, but the center of the army was formed around economic issues. Similarly, the Left had race hustlers, second and third wave feminists on the flanks, but their main line troops, the center of the line, were economic Utopians. They were the main army.

The collapse of the Soviet Union had an enormous impact on the ruling classes of the West. In America, it meant the center of the Progressive army broke and fled in all directions. The flanks, however, the racial justice warriors, the gender dragoons and exotic identity battalions rushed into the center, forming a new main line of the Left. The Right, despite carrying the day, was too busy setting up battlefield trophies to notice that the Left had reformed around sexual and racial fanatics, so they promptly surrendered.

A curious thing is happening to this new center of the Progressive battle line. Their moral certainty about the innate equality of man and his infinite malleability, is crumbling in the face of scientific reality. The release of David Reich’s book is the latest direct hit on Boasian anthropology. The response from the soft sciences, which has been a key intellectual authority for the blank slate Progressives, looks like a panicked flight from the battle field. They simply have no answer to what genetic research is revealing about man.

The tent pole holding up modern Progressivism is the assertion that all humans are essentially the same and that the observable differences are trivial. All of the Left’s arguments spring from that belief. It’s why they insist the magic of white privilege is the reason black crime is so high or rape culture is why girls don’t go into STEM fields at the same rate as boys. In other words, magic is a plausible answer, as long as reality is ruled out as an option. Biological realism explodes the center of Progressive theology.

That’s what we see happening all over the human sciences. Twenty years ago, some guy in a cardigan could claim that racism was learned behavior and their was no biological basis for race. He could be held up as an intellectual authority and therefore, a moral authority. Genetics is undermining the intellectual authority of those preaching cultural anthropology, multiculturalism and the blank slate. The main line of the Progressive army is suddenly looking like a bunch of primitives chanting oogily-boogily.

It’s tempting to say I’m getting ahead of myself, but we have millions of people relying on DNA services to map their ancestry. Genetics is promising new cures for disease and soon, people will be able to get their intellectual destiny for $50. It will not be long before some clever fertility lab begins offering bespoke artificial insemination, using donors with desirable traits, based on their genetics. There’s some of that happening now. People are becoming habituated to the idea that humans are different, because of biology, not culture.

The question, of course, is where does the Left go now. In the late 19th and early 20th century, what we call Progressivism was mostly a Protestant crusade. In the 20th century, they shifted to embracing  the economic utopianism of socialism, with racial and sexual politics as side acts. For the last three decades, the dream of sexual and racial utopias has been the dominant theme of the Left. Once the blank slate is broken on the wheel of biological reality, what comes next? What replaces the center of the line?

The answer could be nothing. There are many currents to American history, but the dominant one is what John Derbyshire calls the Cold Civil War. It is our inheritance from the mother country. The story of America has been the good whites and bad whites, the Roundheads and Cavaliers, fighting for control of the country. It’s also a conflict of visions, where the Roundheads always embraced extreme egalitarianism, while the Right has embraced the natural hierarchy of man. Maybe the end is a Cavalier victory after all.

The Eternal Hive

The late great Joe Sobran came up with the metaphor of the insect hive to describe the group behavior of various sorts of Progressives. It was a useful way of describing the spontaneous cooperation that has always been a feature of the Left.  It is the dominant feature. Progressives will suddenly flock to an issue, all chanting the same lines and howling the same protests, as if they are a trained army of lunatics unleashed on the rest of society. It is a behavior that looks coordinated, but it is spontaneous and instinctive.

The most recent example of this was the reaction to the Dylann Roof shooting at the black church. All of sudden, as if commanded by a super villain from a secret lair, the nation’s Progressive loonies began chanting in unison about the Confederate battle flag. Even the sober minded had to wonder if this was not a planned effort, all setup and ready for the signal from HQ. Within a few hours we went from indifference to Confederate symbols to roving bands of lunatics toppling over statues and digging of Confederate graves.

Imagine the sort of person, who, upon hearing about a shooting, immediately thinks it is time to topple over a statue in their local park. What sort of person sees their coreligionists howling about something and then begins howling uncontrollably as well. Imagine what it is like to have no agency, in terms of how you react to public events. Presumably, there is something stimulating to the person who does this. Perhaps the swarm behavior releases endorphins, freeing the adherent from the torment of reality for a while.

It’s not an unimportant question. A generation ago, Progressives were programmed to swarm over economic issues. Socialism still provided the general framework of their imagined utopia, so they regularly launched into assaults on business, claiming to defend the interests of the working class. Yet, when socialism collapsed, Progressives quickly shifted from socialist utopianism to sexual and racial utopianism. The same people who used to put Darwin fish on their Subaru, now howl about scientific racism.

Sobran was correct to point out that Progressives have the same reaction to perceived threats as bees when they fear a threat. The resulting attacks are not indiscriminate, but they are excessive. The Progressive has a binary view of the world, where those inside are allies and those outside are enemies. In this regard, Progressivism functions like cult, where the focus of the adherents is always on a devil, real or imagined. The difference is, their devil is a shape-shifter, taking on new forms to fit every occasion.

It’s tempting to assume that a pattern must have some causal agent, some intelligent force behind it. It is the nature of man to confuse cause and purpose. In fact, this is why efforts to oppose the Progressive war on the American culture have always failed. The defenders assumed an intelligible purpose behind the actions of the Left so they invested their time in defeating those arguments. In reality, the cause of Progressive rage was always a biological response to what the groups has determined to be a threat to the hive.

Another way the Left functions like a hive is how individual members react to being cut off, even temporarily, from the hive. A lefty in a room full of people it perceives as hostile will become very passive. Reverse the roles and put a normal person in a room full of Progressives and they will attack him relentlessly. It’s why far left TV shows have a narrow, but loyal following. It is how the isolated Progressive can connect with the other members of the hive. These TV shows are the televangelists of the Left

This is probably why the Left has become obsessed with purging dissent from the Internet. Social media now supplements the pheromones used to synchronize behavior of the group. Twitter and FaceBook are becoming neural pathways for the hive, so that far flung members can pick up cues from other members. “Trending in Twitter” is becoming a way for Progressives to know what they are suppose to like and, more important, what they are supposed to hate. Right wingers on social media scramble the signal.

Even though observed patterns may not have a central control mechanism, they must have a cause. In the case of Progressives, it is clearly something biological. Even those who manage to leave the cult, never really lose the hive mindedness. Like reformed smokers, they usually direct this instinct to criticizing their former hive mates. You never see a former Progressive activist that is now disconnected from social causes, living a quiet life alone somewhere. When Lefty leave the hive, it is to serve another queen.

Most likely, this behavior traces back to the dawn of man. A deep, emotional commitment to the group would have evolutionary advantages. Status within the group would be higher for those who were most ferocious in defending the group. Well into the agricultural age, the leader of a people was often the most celebrated warrior. Perhaps this small group instinct manifests in a organized society, as a form of social fanaticism. In all times and all places, the reformer imagines himself protecting the weak from the strong.

Fanaticism, of course, has its utility to organized societies. The Greeks figured this out when observing that warriors were most ferocious when fighting on their own land. When advancing into foreign lands, they became more conservative. A focused, controllable fanatic is very useful in warfare. Similarly, organized religions can never have a shortage of those willing to risk it all to spread the good word. More than a few zealots ended up in the cannibal’s pot, but there were always more zealots ready to convert the cannibal.

This innate hive-like behavior of some elements of Western society has obviously not been a detriment to progress. The thing is though, there has always been a transcendent set of limiting principles, operating like a leash on the fanatic. Christianity, for all its faults, puts hard limits on what people can do to one another. When that is removed, the zealots are free to attack perceived enemies without restraint. Like Africanized honeybees, utopian socialists of various types slaughtered tens of millions they saw as threats.

The key insight of Sobran was that the hive-like behavior of the American Left was not caused by socialism or radical ideology. The causal relationship was the other way around. The hive-like behavior was a constant, a part of the American biology. When the socialist paradise collapsed, the Left switched to sexual and racial utopianism. That means when the current rage heads burn what’s left of society, only to not arrive at the promised land, they will find some new fantasy to embrace. The Hive is eternal.

 

Things Are Looking Up

A pretty good rule of politics is that your enemies will always give you terrible advice. It is a lesson the so-called conservatives and Republicans have never learned. The Left offers them advice and they jump at the chance to take it. The corollary to this is you know you are doing something right when your enemies try to steal your issues. The Tories figured out that UKIP was getting traction on immigration, so they moved right on the issue and offered a referendum on Europe. It worked, even though it tanked Cameron’s career.

We have not seen much of that since the start of the populist revolt led by Trump in the GOP primaries. In fact, the GOP went the other way. The higher Trump’s polls rose, the more they rejected Trump’s issues. It was a weird thing, but the Republicans are not called the stupid party by accident. Even after he won, his own party is struggling to come to terms with the new reality. The Left, in contrast, is good at politics, so seeing some rumblings on the their side about adopting nationalist themes is interesting.

Across the Western world, center-left parties are in trouble: In Germany, Austria, France, and the Netherlands, social democrats have suffered historic electoral defeats. Right-wing populists, meanwhile, have scored a series of victories, including Trump’s election, the vote for Brexit, and the continuing erosion of liberal democratic institutions in Hungary and Poland.

But while many people take for granted an inherent contradiction between nationalism and left-wing politics, there simply isn’t one, either historically or philosophically. Throughout the 20th century, progressives mobilized for social justice most successfully when they spoke in the name of national solidarity rather than focusing exclusively on class-based interests or on abstract notions of justice. Left-wingers often cite the adage that patriotism is the last resort of the scoundrel — and with good reason. But it is important to also remember that a deep sense of national commitment underpins the egalitarian institutions we hold dear.

The historian Michael Kazin put it mildly when he wrote that patriotism “is not a popular sentiment on the contemporary left.” The influential British left-wing commentator George Monbiot has equated patriotism with racism: To give in to patriotism, he writes, is to deny the plain truth “that someone living in Kinshasa is of no less worth than someone living in Kensington.”

Yet in giving up on appeals to national solidarity, the left has forgotten the basic political argument that served it so well in the past: that out of the ties that bind together our national communities emerges a deep commitment to the well-being, welfare, and social esteem of our fellow citizens. This recognizes a basic moral intuition: We have deep and encompassing obligations to those we consider our own, based on a shared sense of membership in a community of fate — or more simply, based on our shared national identity.

American Progressives are pegged as fanatical ideologues, but that misses an essential feature of the American Left. They can turn on a dime and reverse course if it has practical value. In the Clinton years, Bill Clinton scoffed at homosexual marriage. Even Obama seemed to be revolted by the idea. Yet, they spun around on a dime and embraced the whole rainbow collation of sexual deviants when it suited them. Hillary Clinton ran her 2016 campaign on the not so subtle theme that she was an old lesbian.

Bernie Sanders did a lot of damage in the 2016 primary because he had a reputation for left-wing populism. You can be sure that he regrets abandoning his closed borders position that he held for decades. There’s a good bet he would have done much better if he had embraced a halt to immigration as a way to help the working class. The alt-right guys will tell you that some of guys came to their thing from the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democrat coalition. You can bet Democrats have noticed this as well.

None of this should suggest the Left is about to go alt-right, but when old liberal warhorses are on the ropes, because the “New Americans” are voting for their own, you can be sure there is some soul searching going on now. The math says the coalition of fringes only works if the fringe types are just a supplement to the core white vote that has always voted Democrat. Once the fringes decide they want to be in charge, and they have the numbers to make it happen, there’s no room for whitey at the top of the party.

It’s hard to know where this will go. The Left is committed to identity politics and to open borders, but that does not mean they cannot find a way to adopt populist and even nationalist language. On the other hand, the Left has pivoted on issues when practical politics demanded it. Regardless, It really does not matter from the point of view of populists and nationalists. If the other side is trying to figure out how to steal these issues, it means these issues are working. It means we’re doing something right.

Imagination Land

All of us live in a silo of our own making to some degree. We read news sites we like and we like them because they tend to cover the stuff we think is important, in a way we hope is accurate. We admire opinions with which we agree. We hang out with people who share our interests. That’s normal. It’s also normal to know it and know others have different opinions and interests. Most normie conservatives get that Fox News is biased toward the Republicans, but they know all of the other stations are heavily biased to the Democrats.

This self-awareness has never applied to the Left. Every normal person has had a conversation with a Progressive friend where they claim the news is biased against them or is too easy on some conservative they currently hate. They will argue that Fox News is poisoning the minds of the public. When you point out that 90% of the mass media is run by hard left true believers, they scoff and say you’re nuts. The hive mind of Progressives has always allowed them to pretend they are surrounded by a sea of their enemies.

One point made by some on the Dissident Right is that this blinkered view of the world has infected the so-called conservatives. They are blind to the intellectual revolution going on over here, because they stare at Lefty all day. Like people looking directly into the sun, they are blind to everything else. As a result, the legacy conservatives carry on like it is 1984 and Dutch Reagan is riding high. Much of what so-called conservatism is these days is just a weird nostalgia trip, celebrating a fictional past with no connection to the present.

There are many reasons why so-called conservatives are becoming irrelevant, but the main reason is that their good friends on the Left are racing off into a fantasy land of their own creation. Listen to a modern Progressive talk and it is a weird combination of echolalic babbling and paranoia about dark forces that are imaginary. Replace “Russian hacking” with “work of the devil” and their howling makes more sense. Things like “foreign meddling” and “institutional racism” are just stand-ins for Old Scratch.

This increasingly weird disconnect between the Left and this place we call earth shows up in their main propaganda organs. Those old enough to remember reading English versions of communist newspapers can recognize the unintended humor on the front pages of the New York Times and Washington Post. This front page item from last week is a good example. Everything in that “news” story describes a world that only exists in the fevered imaginations of the Left. It was a fictional account of present reality written for believers.

This Andrew Sullivan piece bumps up against this reality a little bit, but from a different angle. His argument is that the fantasy land of academia is casting a long shadow over American society, so it is imperative that the college campus be reformed to look something like reality. His framing of things is mostly wrong because he is just a slightly less berserk member of the hive he is trying analyze. His description of the dynamic on campus, though, is correct. It is a world untethered from reality.

The fact is, the college campus is the apotheosis of Progressive spiritualism. It has been dominated by the Left for as long as anyone has been a live. The constant flow of credit money into American higher education has removed all restraints on the people in charge. They are free to indulge whatever fantasies they have at the moment, as no one ever gets fired and the money spigot stays open. As a result, the American college campus is the full flowering of the Progressive imagination. It’s Wakanda for cat ladies.

This lurch into madness is the result of plenty. Up until recent, the threat of nuclear annihilation and the lack of universal prosperity has reined in the excesses of the Left. In order to win elections, Progressive politicians had to focus on better economics and expanding opportunity. Of course, the Cold War kept everyone focused on practical reality, as a mistake could have set off a nuclear exchange. That’s no longer the case as prosperity is near universal, in human terms, and there are no looming threats.

Progressivism has always been a spiritual movement. It is the quest for cosmic justice based on the notion that we are only as good as the weakest among us. That is a fine and noble sentiment, as long as it remains a sentiment. The reality of scarcity has always kept this spiritualism in check. As we enter into what appears to be a post-scarcity world, Progressives are free to explore the far reaches of their mysticism. The result is a ruling class that is looking more like eastern mystics, than pragmatic rulers.

It is why civic nationalism is a dead end street. You see it in the Andrew Sullivan piece about the campus culture. What he is arguing in favor of is the same things we hear from civic nationalists. They all agree with Progressives that we need a unifying religion. They just want a debate about the contours and end points of the religion. The fact that no one has ever pulled this off without ushering in a bloodbath never gets mentioned, Instead, all of these folks prefer to frolic in imagination land, where all their dreams come true.

Dealing With Lefty

Most of us have a Progressive or two in our lives that we have to deal with on a regular basis. No matter how hard you try to avoid talking politics or current events with them, it always happens and you come away frustrated by the experience. The reason for this is Lefty is nothing but political, so even discussing the weather can lead to them veering the conversation into something like global warming. Progressives have politicized every nook and cranny of life, so dealing with a liberal means wrangling over Progressivism.

What makes it doubly frustrating is that normal people tend to treat people as if they are normal, rather than members of a bizarre religious cult. You forget yourself and make a reference to current events and all of a sudden you’re wrangling with Lefty over some topic in a way you find deeply frustrating. Usually they take something you have said and twist it around so that you find yourself trying to defend something you never thought much about or you never intended to discuss. It’s as if they exist to be a social irritant.

That’s the first rule when dealing with Lefty. As soon as you realize you are dealing with one of these people, accept that everything they say is somehow the opposite of reality. The Progressive mind is a lot like the mind of a criminal, in that it assumes its own guilt and acts accordingly. The criminal says things to lead prying eyes away from their own culpability. The Progressive will accuse others of things he or his cult is mostly like doing at the moment. When they accuse X of something, it means Lefty is probably doing it.

The Russian hacking stuff is turning out to be a great example of this. Exactly no one in America thought about the the possibility of Boris and Natasha scheming to upset the last election, until out of the blue, Progressives started saying it. A year later we have learned that it was not Trump working with the Russians, but members of the cult inside government that were scheming with the Russians. None of this would have come to light, but the guilty minds of the Left compelled them to accuse others of their criminality.

Similarly, the Progressive, on an individual basis, will seek to shift the focus from the topic at hand to something related, but far enough away from the topic to send the conversation off on a tangent. The most common method is “What about X?” Mention some failing of Progressives and Lefty will blurt out “what about X among your right-wingers?” Normal decent people respond to questions and Lefty uses that decency to avoid addressing the failings of his cult. Lefty naturally shifts the focus off himself.

Another trick Lefty will use is to start talking about exceptions. This is another way of distracting from some obvious truth, like the fact blacks commit a lot of crime, to a debate about exceptions and outliers. The alt-right boys call this tactic NAXALT, as in Not All X Are Like That. As with the above tactic, this is all about shifting the focus from an unpleasant topic for Lefty. Put the two together and in a few questions, Lefty can shift the conversation so far from the original topic, you no longer remember what you were saying.

This is why you always avoid answering a question from Lefty. The surest way to send him into a panic, is to respond to the “What about X” trick with “Let’s not lose focus” and then return to the original point. An alternative is “We can talk about that, but first let’s focus on” and then get back to the issue. This almost always causes them to spasm as they are being forced to address an unpleasant topic and what they thought was an easy escape is now turning into a trap. Often, they just walk away or explode in anger.

That’s the thing to keep in mind when dealing with Lefty. You can no more convince them to question their faith than you can talk a schizophrenic out of being crazy.  All they can be for you is a prop, or, if you get good at tormenting them, a toy to kill some time when the you have time to kill. This is the hardest thing for normal people to accept. Normal people think they can cure Lefty by presenting facts and evidence. There is no cure. These people are forever lost to a form of mental illness. Just accept that and act accordingly.

Most important, when dealing with Lefty, always make him the focus. A good tactic is what that British dunce Cathy Newman tried to do to Jordan Peterson. “So what your position is…” is a good way to focus on Lefty in a very personal way. They hate this. They want to believe they are simply accepting transcendent truths, rather than their own individual opinion. That’s the thing with people in cults. They hate themselves. That’s why they are in a cult so they no longer have to face themselves or have their own identity.

By personalizing the topic, re-framing it as their opinion or their belief, it has the effect of separating them from the herd. Often they will become quite passive and even submissive. That’s because Lefty has no opinions of his own. He truly is the Borg and the Borg is him. He sees no separation between himself and the faith, so isolating him rhetorically makes him feel detached from his true identity. It’s why liberals always set their chat shows up as a gang attack on some helpless non-liberal.

Finally, always insist on clear, plain language. A central tactic of the Left is to disrupt the opposition by sabotaging the language. The habit of expanding the definition of words to include fringe or dubious examples, then contracting the definition to exclude the original stuff. The use of modifiers to turn definitions on their head or neologism that conjure banal or even pleasant images for negative things. The game is to force you to accept their language, which is a back door way of forcing their moral framework on you.

Somewhere To Run

One of the themes of this post at American Renaissance last week, was that there is no where for the race aware white person to go in America. The war on whiteness is happening at every point on the social structure and in every town in the country, even the rural areas where whites dominate. Wherever white people congregate, a cosmopolitan wrecker will be there to try and brown the place. Therefore, there is no running away from the slow moving white genocide being perpetrated on us by our rulers.

The generally accepted view of this process is it will play out in one of two ways. One version has Team Brown, which is the coalition of blacks, Hispanics, miscellaneous foreigners, Jews and white feminists, will become the new ruling class. The alternative, the Alt-Right version, holds that whites will become race aware and unite against the dusky hordes to form an ethno-state. In fairness, there is a CivNat version, that argues in favor of unicorn riding leprechauns, but no adult takes them seriously.

Looking at the current fight over immigration, it is not hard to argue with either vision of the future. Team Brown is unwilling to give an inch on their plans for unlimited non-white immigration. The only justification for this is they are seeking to replace whites in America via the miracle of open borders. Logic further dictates that even the dumbest tricorn hat wearing BoomerCon will eventually wake up to this reality. Think about how many people you know who were CivNat a decade ago, but are race realists today.

Neither of those scenarios sound appealing and that’s an important thing to keep in mind when looking down the road. Given enough time, human organizations faced with two bad choices will evolve alternatives. It’s a natural result of seeking to mitigate the costs of each choice by addressing the underlying premises. In the case of American racial conflict, the underlying premise is that the future is a transcendent, winner take all, fight that will be decided in Washington and imposed on the rest of us.

That’s not the only future and probably not the likely one. Look at what is happening in the states. The other day I wrote about one of the consequences of the marijuana legalization efforts at the state level. Here we have, for the first time in generations, the states forcing policy changes on the Federal government. In fact, the most likely result is the states will force the Feds to retreat from this area of civic life. The regulation of recreational drugs will be a local issue. Replace “marijuana” with “discrimination” and the enormity is clear.

Another thing going on in the states is the idea of disaggregation. When you look closely at the CalExit thing, what you see is not a secessionist movement, but a reductionist movement. California is too big to manage as a whole, so the culturally homogeneous areas will be broken off from the culturally Progressive zones, to form at least two states, but there is no reason the concept could not result in three or four states. California has 40 million people. Rhode Island has a little over one million people.

What’s going on in California is possible because of something that has been going on with Progressives for the past thirty years. They have been self-ghettoizing. The ethnic cleansing we see going on in coastal cities is so Progressives can have swanky urban centers in which they can live. When you look at the last electoral map, at the county level, you see the slow re-segregation of the country between Team Brown in urban areas and Team America everywhere else. The blues will get bluer while the reds get redder.

This cultural reorganization of America is undermining the premise of a unified national culture dictated by our coastal elites. Therefore, that winner take all fight is becoming less and less likely. Further, the Progressive instinct to leave, unless they can dominate all others, an instinct they inherited from their Puritan forebears, is one cause of this reorganization. It’s why Progressives are talking about abandoning the national model in favor of the smaller, local, more autonomous model. Peaceful separation, so to speak.

It’s important to keep in mind that Team Brown seized on open borders and mass immigration when they began to lose the support of white ethnics. Progressives controlled the national government from the Civil War forward, but had to rely on urban white ethnics for building a coalition. Once those voters started joining Team America, Team Brown needed new voters and we got the 1965 Immigration Act. Then twenty years later they built on it with the 1986 amnesty. Open borders is a defensive strategy.

If Trump is able to strong arm Republicans into ending wholesale immigration, Team Brown’s strategy for dominating the nation is foreclosed. When even minor setbacks, like the 2016 election, results in calls for retreat, it is not unreasonable to wonder if the Progressive pendulum is about to swing the other way, away from national dominance back toward local autonomy. It’s been a little over 200 years since the Hartford Convention. Perhaps this is the end of a long cycle and the return to normalcy.

An Immoderate Age

Last week, this ridiculous article in the New York Times generated some attention on alt-right social media, mostly because it allowed for some petty bickering. Anytime the media does a story on alt-right people, the guys not mentioned take the opportunity to say bad things about the guys that were mentioned in the story. John Derbyshire said everything that needed to be said about the Times piece in this post at VDare. In it, he referenced his old column on the topic and the corresponding version from Jared Taylor.

Taken together, it is good example of how the hive mind is unable to address reality on its own terms. Mx. Audrea Lim, of the New York Times piece, cannot consider the possibility that there could be more than two opinions on a subject. For her and the others in the Progressive hive, there are good people, the people inside the walls, and bad people, those outside the walls. The good people hold the correct opinions, while the bad people have other opinions, that are all bad. That’s as much of the world she needs to know.

As you see with Derb and Taylor, there is a wide range of opinion on the Dissident Right about subjects like race, identity, immigration, race-mixing and diversity. Even the alt-right has a diversity of opinion on these subjects. Calling any of these people “white supremacists” is about the dumbest thing possible, but it is just one of the many scare phrases Lefty has for those outside the walls. Not only are there few, if any, white supremacists on the Dissident Right, there are more than a few non-whites.

The fact is, the Dissident Right, in all its permutations, exists because our Progressive overlords lack the capacity to understand nuance. Take miscegenation, for example. It is a fact of life that some very small number of females, of any race, will have a mating preference for males outside their race. Males are far less choosy, as their biology favors the shotgun approach to reproduction, while the female favors the rifle approach. This reality is just salt in the stew of life and if left alone, nothing anyone need worry over.

For people in the hive, this is an impossibility. You either completely and totally embrace something, or you completely and entirely reject it. It is why they squeal about homophobia if you are not enthusiastic about the latest perversions. The Progressive mind cannot accept the possibility of being indifferent to something. It’s why our television shows and movies are now packed to the gills with race mixing. Even though our rulers live like Klan members, there is no limit to the amount of race mixing they will pack into the culture.

The hive minded also struggle with abstract reasoning. Richard Spencer likes using the concept of an ethnostate to explain his opinions on race and identity. It’s a useful way of getting people to break free from the concrete world of the here and now to imagine an alternative ordering. Spencer is not advocating for a new country to be carved out of Canada as a new white homeland. It is a mental model meant to illustrate certain points about race and identity. The hive minded, however, assume he wants a honky homeland.

Diversity is the salt in the stew. Some races like more than others, but no people wish to be overrun by people not like them. The Chinese have always been careful to limit the number of non-Chinese into their lands and limit where they can go in China. Africans tend to murder anyone not in their tribe. Europeans, in contrast, are fine with cosmopolitan cities, where you see lots of diversity, as long as the home team remains in charge and atop the social structure. Like seasoning, diversity works in moderation.

That’s the core problem in the modern age. Our rulers lack anything resembling moderation. If a little immigration is good, then they want unlimited immigration. If a few temporary guest workers is good, they want the entire white workforce replaced by helot labor from over the horizon. The vulgarity of having Americans train their foreign replacements at places like Disney is driven by a near total lack of moderation. If one Hindu is good, a whole building full of them will be heaven on earth!

We live in an immoderate age. We saw that in the past election and we are seeing it now in the efforts to craft immigration reform legislation. No one would oppose a small, limited amnesty for some illegal invaders, who have been here for a long time. As long as it comes with tough measures to limit further invasions and protections against future backsliding on the issue. Trump’s wall creates a permanent lobby in Washington in favor of border protection. Programs like e-Verify alter the hiring culture to prevent labor abuse.

The package of proposals from the White House is reasonable and sensible. It is a practical response to a public policy problem. If the the compromise includes legalizing a few hundred thousand invaders, a civilized people can accept it. But the people in charge are incapable of moderation, which is why they blew up the talks and are demanding a blanket amnesty with no conditions. Again, the hive minded can only understand the world in binary terms. It is those inside the walls versus those outside the walls.

There is no reasoning with fanatics. As much as many on our side want to believe that practical issues are what’s behind the multicultural madness, the fact is the people pushing it are not reasonable people. They are all or nothing people. That’s why this cannot end well. The people in charge either succeed in pulling the roof down on the rest of us, or the rest of us are forced to do what is necessary to dislodge the lunatics that have seized the high ground of the culture. Moderation is not the answer to fanaticism.

This will not end well.