The Revolutionary Potato

In his essay, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon, Karl Marx famously described the French peasantry as a sack of potatoes. This was in response to calls from fellow socialists and anarchists to focus on radicalizing the peasants. At the time this was a big topic of debate among European radicals. One camp thought the peasants held great revolutionary potential as a class, while the other camp thought the urban workers were the only revolutionary class.

The title of the essay refers to the Coup of 18 Brumaire in which Napoleon Bonaparte seized power in France, linking it to the French coup of 1851 in which Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte assumed dictatorial powers. In addition to the topic of the peasantry, Marx was discussing current events in the context of the history of revolution in France and the future of the socialist revolution. That last bit was the main concern of his intended audience of socialist radicals.

As far as the peasantry of France, Marx observed that they formed an enormous mass whose members lived in similar conditions but “without entering into manifold relations with each other.” As small independent farmers, “their mode of production isolates them from one another instead of bringing them into mutual intercourse.” These small farmers lived independent from one another, despite being organized into villages. In this way they were like a sack of potatoes.

What Marx was getting at was the sense of identity among these small landowners versus the sense of identity among the urban working class. Unlike the proletariat, the peasant had a sense of independence that defined his relationship with his fellow peasants and his relationship with the state and society. The peasants lacked the sense of togetherness and commiseration of the industrial workers, as they did their work as individuals for their own purposes.

There was something else that made the peasants a tough nut to crack as far as the socialist revolution was concerned. Because they owned something, they had something to lose, which made them risk adverse. Unlike the urban worker, the peasant was unwilling to break with tradition or custom. According to Marx, this is why they supported strong men like Napoleon Bonaparte and Louis-Napoléon. A strong state was good for their narrow interests.

This insight into identity has remained a part of Marxist thinking to this day. The post-Marx culturalists that now run the West are always scanning the fields for identity groups that they view as anti-democratic, which is just the modern way of saying counter revolutionary. People make the mistake of thinking individualism is the opposite of collectivism, but that is false. The real enemy of Marxist collectivism is the alternative identity group, rooted outside of economics.

Putting that aside, the Marxist understanding of the 19th century peasant is useful in this age for understanding the revolutionary potential of normie. Like the peasant, the suburban white guy remains a frustrating element in politics. He understands that he is under assault from inhuman forces but refuses to band together with his fellows in order to defend his interests. Instead, he spouts the morality of the enemy, while hoping a hero arrives to save him from the bad guys.

This was most obvious with Donald Trump. The bad guys clearly understood what Trump could represent, which is why they despised him. He could radicalize normie, they thought, and get him thinking collectively, but in a way that would oppose the interests of the narrow ruling elite. It is why they insisted he was Hitler, despite the absurdity of the claim. Like Hitler, they saw Trump as a radical alternative to the radical assault on normal society.

What Trump represented to normie was the low-risk savior. He would be their Napoleon, but he would not ask anything from them. They could continue to grill, watch sports and consume the cultural products of the regime, but Trump would make sure their small plot in the suburbs was safe. From the perspective of normie, Trump was the low-risk defense against the predation of the people they saw on their televisions burning down cities and assaulting people.

Like the 19th century French peasants Marx observed, the modern suburban peasant is atomized and isolated. He lives in a manufactured house. A dozen or so houses make his neighborhood. A hundred or so houses makes his development, always named after what was destroyed to build it. A collection of developments makes for a socio-economic zone important only to the people who sell them product. The suburban peasant is a potato in sack.

Unlike the French peasant, the suburban peasant has been stripped of his cultural, ethnic and moral identity. His church is the television and his traditions are limited to whatever he can manage among the strangers that make up his world. His spiritual fulfillment comes from playing make believe on-line. The 19th century French peasant had the stability of his environment. He stood where his ancestors stood. The modern peasant stands wherever he is told.

The main difference between the 19th century peasant and the modern suburban peasant is communications. The French peasant could go weeks or months without speaking to neighbors. The suburban peasant cannot go five minutes without information bombarding his senses. The same information storm intended to keep the suburban peasant suspended within a solution of information, often insulates him from his conditioning, resulting in radicalization.

Marx was right about the French peasants. They were never much use for the revolution, something the Bolsheviks would eventually learn as well. For the modern dissident, there may be some portion of the suburban peasantry that has radical potential, even if he is immune to direct radicalization. The phenomenon of normie going from zero to eleven on the radicalization scale after an incidental encounter with forbidden material is well known.

This subset of the suburban peasantry, the alternative to normie, is what the sociologist Donald Warren identified as the Middle American Radical in the book The Rad­ic­al Cen­ter: Middle Amer­ic­ans and the Polit­ics of Ali­en­a­tion. These are people who defy conventional political framing, so they are often ignored. They are noticed when a Pat Buchanan, a Ross Perot or a Donald Trump comes along. It is why all efforts are made to funnel them back into the chute of conventional politics.

In the end, the portion of the suburban peasantry called normie will have little use for the cause, but there is a portion of the peasantry that has potential. They see the futility of trying to exercise power within the system, but they lack the structure to develop into an alternative moral order that challenges the system. The guy with the Gadsden flag on his house is a potato in a sack. The neighbor who reads old books and no longer has a cable sub is a normie with revolutionary potential.


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


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Above Time Coffee Roasters are a small, dissident friendly company that makes coffee. They actually roast the beans themselves based on their own secret coffee magic. If you like coffee, buy it from these folks as they are great people who deserve your support.

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

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

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


Affirmative Musings

The upcoming midterm elections are sucking most of the oxygen out of the newsroom and what is left is consumed by the usual drama, but the big story looming on the horizon is the Supreme Court race cases. The court has been hearing oral arguments on two related cases. One involves Harvard’s anti-Asian admission policy and the other involves North Carolina’s antiwhite admission policies. Both schools are fighting to maintain their race based admissions system.

The makeup of the court and prior statements by current justices on the matter strongly suggest these polices are in trouble. In fact, it has been clear that the court has been skeptical of affirmative action for a long time, but the thinking was that legislatures would eventually solve the problem on their own. There is no way to square these policies with equality before the law, if the law says you cannot discriminate based on race, even in private matters.

People who follow the court have thought for a long time that the Supreme Court has been waiting for the right case to junk the whole regime. Now it has two cases and oral arguments suggest the court is looking to do something dramatic. Even the regime toadies on the bench expressed skepticism. The lawyers defending these policies are struggling to justify them. In this corrupt age, one can never be sure of anything, but it does look like affirmative action is doomed.

Most people assume that the court in this area has been struggling to balance equality before the law with the moral claims about race. These policies were based in good intensions to right past wrongs, but they slammed into the basic principle of equality before the law. Punishing someone alive today for things someone long dead may or may not have done is patently immoral. It is a blood libel. It is the central contradiction of what the progressives call restorative justice.

There is some truth to this but the real issue the court will eventually face with regards to this issue is the private versus the public. Where is the line between what a citizen can do as a private citizen and the duties of every citizen. In other words, where does private action end and public duty begin? Put another way, where does one’s public duty give way to private preference? This is an age old question that every human society must solve in some way.

In the case of racial discrimination, no one thinks you should be required to date outside of your race or have friends from other races. On the other hand, it is considered immoral for a restaurant to deny service on the basis of race. If you put up a sign that reads, “No Asians”, you will go to jail. Why is the first example entirely acceptable but the last is not acceptable? Why must you invite people you do not like into your business, but you can bar them from your home?

The answer, in part, has always been that the business is a public accommodation, but that was simply a way to avoid the issue. This bit of civic theology is not applied to most other areas of business. The tech companies and banks actively discriminate against white people and promote antiwhite bigots. The two universities defending their race based admissions proudly discriminate against whites and Asians in the most public of public accommodations in America.

Clearly, the public accommodation principal is a farce. This is why the court decision next spring to junk affirmative action is just the beginning. The court will probably say that the state cannot discriminate based on race. Harvard is a private college, but they get government grants and their students get government loans, so current law makes them a government entity. At least it makes them subject to the same limitations that the law places on government institutions.

Harvard could simply stop taking government money. Religious schools have taken this road to avoid anti-Christian discrimination. Hillsdale College famously foregoes government money. Harvard could do the same and then fight this fight in the courts all over again, but this time as a private entity. The question at that point would be the question at the core of all of this. Where is the line between private rights and public duties with regards to these moral questions?

If the court were to say that a private college is free to select students by whatever criteria they choose, then they would have overturned the entirety of antidiscrimination laws, including things like hate speech and hate crimes. On the other hand, if they extended the prohibition against discrimination to the private sphere, then that would mean no one can express their preferences in private. Your dinner party would be subject to claims of discrimination.

This gets back to the public accommodation issue. Is a private college really a public accommodation when it is designed for a narrow purpose like religion? How about private clubs, which have been banned due to discrimination? Would a male-only club be allowed if it is private? At some point, a clear line has to be drawn between what is private and what is public. The real issue in these race cases is where does that line exist and how best to codify it in the law.

This raises a much larger issue, in that liberal democracy relies on morality as the spring to motivate the citizens. Aristocratic systems rely upon the desire to attain greater rank and privilege, bestowed from above. Authoritarian systems rely on fear of the people in charge of the state. A republic relies on the willingness to put the interests of the institutions ahead of private interests. Liberal democracy relies on the submission to a common morality.

If there is a line between the private and the public, it rules out a commonly held moral code to which all must submit. After all, simply going along with the latest thing to avoid trouble is different from embracing the new morality. We see this all the time with the various social fads. Being indifferent to antisemitism, for example, is unacceptable because it suggests you may not be enthusiastically opposed to it. You have to show your opposition in a public way.

If all of a sudden, we have a clear line between the public and private, it means you can oppose public morality in private, but play along when out in public. This makes public morality a polite fiction. The fact is morality only works if people either believe it or fear falling outside of it. One does not do the right thing when no one is looking if one does not think it is the right thing or fear it may be the right thing. Simply put, acknowledging the private sphere undermines democracy.

That, of course, leads to another problem. If all of a sudden, colleges have to use objective criteria to select students, everyone knows what will happen. What happens when fire departments and police departments are forced to follow suit? Even if they fashion a way around it, the implication is clear. It means that all men may be equal in the eyes of God, but they are not equal. Some are smarter, stronger, bigger, faster and this tends to track with sex and race.

The entirety of the affirmative action regime rests on the assertion that people are amorphous blobs that can be shaped into anything. Overturning affirmative action exposes this nonsense to public view. All of a sudden, the quest for diversity is nothing more than a private preference masquerading as a public good. It has no basis in reality and often contradicts reality. Another piece of the liberal democratic moral superstructure is yanked away.

No one should be deceived into thinking the court will swing a wrecking ball through the liberal democratic order. Even if they overturn the concept of affirmative action, which seems likely based on the current court, all they will have done is tip over the first domino in the process. Even so, it does suggest we may be nearing an end point to the last surviving ideology of the 20th century. Like the others, its internal contradictions will eventually succumb to the realty of the human condition.


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


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Above Time Coffee Roasters are a small, dissident friendly company that makes coffee. They actually roast the beans themselves based on their own secret coffee magic. If you like coffee, buy it from these folks as they are great people who deserve your support.

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

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

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


Times Are Changing

Note: The Monday Taki post is up and this week it is somewhat related to the topic in this post but from a different angle. Sunday Thoughts is up behind the green doo so if you do not have a subscription, get one. SubscribeStar and Substack.


Last week the people in charge of Penn State University decided to get in the way-back machine and relive the alt-right days. They invited onto campus a bogeyman so that the usual suspects could engage in performative protesting. They invited internet performers Gavin McInnis and Alex Stein to talk to a student group. A group of entitled children was then invited to throw a tantrum outside the event. Eventually, the school cancelled the event for security reasons.

The only people interested in any of it was the regime media that has yet to find a new set of bogeymen to replace those from the Trump years. McInnis went along with it because it is all he has at this point. His edgy right-wing guy act fell apart with the Proud Boys fiasco and dissidents have no interest in him. Alex Stein is trying to be the Matthew Lesko of ambush comedy, so this provided him with a chance to do his act in front of some purple faced coeds for the streaming audience.

The main takeaway from the event is that the white supremacist bogeyman act has run its course and the regime has found nothing to replace it. As a result, the usual suspects are resurrecting old villains like McInnes. The term “Proud Boys” is still something of a dog whistle for the crazies, even though the rest of the world lost interest in the whole thing years ago. It is sort of like how Nixon remained a villain for the crazies well into the 1980’s, after the world had moved onto Reagan.

Of course, the point of these manufactured dramas is for the people running the college campus to pretend they are in a state of emergency. The college campus is the safest place on the planet, but the inhabitants need to feel they are under siege. The forces of darkness are closing in so they have to heroically defend their abracadabra word from the enemy of the abracadabra word. They stage these events so that they can have a few minutes where their fantasies seem real.

If it were anything other than a performance, they could easily handle these things by either not hosting the speakers or putting an end to the protests. There is no reason for a college campus to have these sorts of people on to talk to students. In theory, at least, the students are there to learn, not hear hacky gags from an aging comedian and an internet prankster. Not only are these two not bringing anything to the campus, their act is easily accessible on-line.

On the other hand, the campus could end the protest business by expelling those who create trouble. The students are there to learn and this event was a good time for them to learn that it is immoral to prevent people from speaking or prevent others from hearing a speaker. Expel a few of the troublemakers and the protest culture comes to a screeching halt. This is a state college. These are not future leaders. They are there to get a credential in order to get a middle-class job.

What these sorts of events amount to are something like the historical reenactments around events of the Civil War or Revolutionary War. Historical reenactors enjoy learning the fine details of the period. They spend hours getting their costumes right and working with others in the subculture. Another part of it is escapism. They get to spend the weekend pretending to be a person in another era, an era they find more interesting than the current era.

That is what we have seen on campus for half a century. The long march through the institutions put the old protestors in charge, so they set about recreating the events of their youth, except this time they were the cool administrators. Unlike the squares running the place in their youth, they were down with the cause, at least until something got broken or someone got hurt. Decade after decade this farcical game of make believe gets rebooted on the college campus.

That said, this nonsense may have run its course. One of the weird side effects of the Covid panic is it broke the pattern. For two years no one was allowed on campus, so they could not stage these dramas. The attention whores that agree to play the bogeyman role for these shows have had to move onto other things. Penn State was left with what can charitably be called D-list bogeymen. Instead of playing weddings they jumped at this campus gig.

There is also a growing regime fatigue. That is another consequence of Covid and the events of the 2020 election. The endless lying from the media has shifted public opinion away from this sort of drama. When people thought the campus was simply biased, they could justify people trying to get on campus to counter the bias. In a world where people use the term “regime” and assume everything that comes from official authority is a lie, these dramas make no sense.

Of course, the January 6 pogrom has changed minds as well. In a world where the state will arrest you for being attacked by regime agents posing as protestors, going onto the street to speak your mind is a fool’s errand. Even the flag and costume crowd has figured out that they cannot march around in public. This leaves the regime elements on their own, which makes for a boring performance. Without a bogeyman to attack, they are left to stare at one another.

All of this points to a slight maturing of dissident politics. Guys like McInnis are not getting attention anymore. He staged his own arrest and the response was mostly indifference at his pathetic play for attention. Similarly, more and more dissidents are simply tuning out of regime media. These dramas only work if there is an audience and that audience is drying up. Slowly, it seems, dissidents are disconnecting from the machine and accepting the new reality.


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


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Above Time Coffee Roasters are a small, dissident friendly company that makes coffee. They actually roast the beans themselves based on their own secret coffee magic. If you like coffee, buy it from these folks as they are great people who deserve your support.

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

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

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


Managerial Reality

There is a Hollywood plot where a troubled ventriloquist either begins to think his dummy is real or the dummy has actually come to life. The dummy then begins to direct the ventriloquist to do terrible things like kill people. Another take on this is where actors in some sort of fantasy performance get sucked into what appears to be a real life version of the fantasy world. The underlying premise is that playing make believe for too long causes one to lose his grasp of reality.

There is some truth to this concern for unreality. Extremely rich or famous people often cut themselves off from the world. In the case of the rich guy, it simply becomes a haven from the hassles of the real world. For the famous person it is the one place they are free of the fans. Over time they become increasing detached from reality or overindulge in drugs and alcohol. Howard Hughes is the famous rich guy example, while Elvis and Michael Jackson are famous people examples.

The French Revolution provides a more general example. The king was certainly divorced from reality, while clearly not insane. His actions were rational, based on the rules of the world in which he lived. The same can be said for the aristocracy that was competing with him for power. The trouble is that world was separate from the reality of France at the time. The Ancien Régime was operating in an unreality, based in rules that were quickly being washed away by events.

Of course, the comparison between this age and that age is common on this side of the great divide because of the general weirdness of the managerial class. Normal people, regardless of their income, are concerned with things like rising prices and the dramatic spike in violent crime. Meanwhile, the people running for office are telling you that their penis is imaginary and climate change is our greatest challenge. “Let them eat cake” sounds reasonable in comparison.

What is not well known or at least not discussed in the history books, is if the Ancien Régime invested a lot of time in story telling. That is, did they spend their days spinning tales that confirmed their version of reality? Were there people responsible for telling the important people that the peasants were running out of steam and soon they would fall back in line? Did the official information guy at court tell everyone that the unrest in the countryside was transitory?

It sounds ridiculous but look around the mass media. So much of what passes for the news is just a form of wish-casting. The stories, opinions and analysis are all designed to buck up the ruling class in the face of disconfirmation. When inflation began to rage, they were falling all over themselves to preach the gospel of transitory. It was obviously ridiculous but they wanted to believe it, so everyone in the managerial class put on the transitory face and explained how it was all transitory.

The last two years has been an elaborate game of Covid charades. It seems like a million years ago, but at the start they were claiming the hospitals were overrun and people were dropping dead in the street. None of that was true. In fact, the opposite of that was true with regards to hospitals. We wrecked our medical system because the managerial class believed the scary stories they were telling one another. In retrospect, the whole thing was a deadly and expensive farce.

We are seeing a replay of this with the Ukraine. For close to a year the media has been brewing up one whopper after another about the war. A batch of fake stories are released about Ukrainian babushkas destroying Russian tanks with household products and Western capitals erupt in celebration. According to the storytellers, Russia has been running out of missiles since February. The whole thing looks like a deranged game of make believe to console the managerial class.

This is not a new phenomenon. Way back in the Obama years, the Democrats passed a big spending bill to fund “shovel ready projects.” That was in the winter and by spring they had all the stuff ready for a big party called the summer of recovery. They expected to have Obama roam the countryside, standing in front of construction sites for new bridges while he talked about his great polices. Their narrative said he would be the new FDR, along with the new Lincoln and new Jesus.

They were so sure their stories were true they spent tens of millions on materials for the expected rallies. Things like signs and t-shirts with the “Summer of Recovery” printed on them in Team Obama colors. They were using the slogan into the early summer, despite the reality on the ground. It was as if they thought they could will their preferred version of reality into existence if they just pretended it was happening. The script said it would happen, so it was going to happen.

This has been the pattern for a long time now. Someone in the managerial class creates a pleasing narrative. It catches on and before long everyone is repeating the pleasing narrative in public. Experts are brought in to explain why this pleasing narrative is realty and then other experts are brought in to present proof. It is as if they think that once everyone agrees that the pleasing narrative is reality, then reality has no choice but to submit to the new moral consensus.

Again, Ukraine provides examples. A month ago, the Ukrainians launched a series of counter offensives. The mass media was instantly full of stories about how the Russian army was collapsing and the Ukrainians would soon be in Moscow. Retired generals were brought in to confirm the story. Analysts with funny names wrote columns about how the war has turned decisively against Russia. Everyone was sure it had to be true because they believed it was true.

Getting back to that old Hollywood plot, the managerial class seems to be in a pattern where they create a fantasy and then the fantasy convinces them it is real. Like the ventriloquist who believes his dummy has come to life, the narrative makers seem to be sure their alternative reality is more real than reality. They have come to believe that a good narrative is something like an incantation. If it is repeated enough, the narrative bends reality to fit the plot line of the narrative.

The assumption is that the endless telling of whoppers is to shape public opinion, but that is just a story normal people want to believe. No one in charge gives a tinker’s damn what the people think about anything. There is no evidence that public opinion has any impact on public policy. After the next election, all of those new faces in office will melt away revealing the same old faces behind them. Public opinion will have changed nothing about Washington.

A better reason for the explosion of narrative realty in the managerial class is that this is how the managerial elite controls the system. The people with complicated titles and inscrutable qualifications control the vast leviathan that is the modern managerial state using tales of what lies just over the horizon. The millions in the system, like ants in a colony, response and act accordingly. The leviathan moves in the desired direction with the help of a million administrative hands.


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


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

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

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


Surf & Turf

Since ancient times, the great civilizations have been divided into two distinct categories, land powers and sea powers. The best example is the rivalry between Athens and Sparta that culminated in the Peloponnesian wars. The Peloponnesian League was led by Sparta, the dominant land power. The Delian League was led by Athens, the dominant sea power. The great ancient conflict still casts a shadow over the West because the dynamic is still with us.

To be a great sea power requires different human capital than what is required of a land power, which makes them cultural opposites. As a result, they look at war differently and they fight their wars for different reasons. Sea powers tend to be driven by profit while land powers tend to be driven by cultural forces. Culture and economics play a role for both, but the priorities tend to be reversed. The sea power is moved to act by money while the land power is moved by cultural issues.

The Athenians were arguably the first financial empire. They built their power through shrewd business relations with the other city-states. The alliances that were established to fight the Persians quickly became a business for Athens. They provided security while their “allies” provided money and men for the ships. Their aggression toward the other city-states was driven by opportunities for trade and profit. The Athenian empire  was as much about business as Athenian culture.

The Spartans, on the other hand, were not driven by profit. Their willingness to join the rest of Greece against the Persians was purely in defense. When the Athenians wanted to take the fight to the Persians after the Greeks had successfully driven the Persians back across the sea, the Spartans were not interested. Their eventual war with the Athenians was purely defensive from their point of view. It is probably why they chose not to obliterate Athens after they won the war.

We see the same dynamic today. The Global American Empire is the new Delian League, spreading democracy to the world at gun point. The Russian Federation is the new Peloponnesian League. The Cold War was often cast the same way, but it did not work as an analogy. The communists were just as obsessed with spreading their form of utopian politics as the West. This time it works as the Russians are at war with an ideological and financial empire.

The clash of cultures is clear. The GAE just assumed the Russians would do what the GAE always does in war, which is systematically destroy the civilization of the opposing culture with air power. The West is still puzzled as to why the Russians never unleashed shock and awe at the start of the war. Further, the West concluded that the incremental approach was due to a lack of resources. The GAE is a sea power so it thinks like a sea power and fights like one as well.

The Russian Federation is a land power, so putting on a big symbolic light show to start a war makes no sense to them. Sea powers move like the sea, while land powers move like the land, slowly and incrementally. This is why the Russians had not bothered to put together a public relations campaign for the West. They saw no point in it as their purpose was to force the Ukrainians to submit. That happens at the bargaining table and on the battlefield, not on Twitter.

Another contrast in the two sides is in the weapons. The Russian have the best air defenses in the world. They have the best artillery in the world. The GAE has the best air force in the world and the best navy in the world. This contrast is due to the assumptions of both sides. The Russians assume their great wars will be defensive while the GAE assumes its great wars will be offensive. The two contrasting worldviews results in two entirely different military postures.

This contrast in warfighting is turning up in the weapons. Land powers assume long wars of attrition so they plan accordingly. That means squeezing the maximum from the resources available. The Russians are famous for making cheap, reliable weapons that can be used by anyone. The Kalashnikov is the prime example. The new drones the Russians are now using follow the same pattern. They are cheap, easy to operate and extremely effective against enemy targets.

Sea powers have to assume short wars. You can only keep a fleet at sea for so long so you have to inflict maximum damage up front. A naval battle is not going to last months like a land battle, so you need to prepare for the short haul. In the old days, ships were expensive, complex weapons. Today, the jet fighter is the cutting edge of technology and human organization. All of America’s best weapons are complex systems that require lots of training to utilize.

The flip side of the time preference aspect is that sea powers can take a loss and bounce back quickly, while land powers take time to recover. The GAE suffered a humiliating defeat in Afghanistan, but quickly shook it off. The loss in Vietnam stung for a few years, but then the war machine was back in business. In contrast, the Russians needed decades to overcome the failure in Afghanistan. It has only been in the last decade that they have moved past it.

What that means for the Ukraine is that barring a collapse of the EU or the global financial system, the GAE will shake of this failure too. Whatever is left of Ukraine will be ignored and the GAE will turn its sights to some new opponent. Land powers must always be on defense, because it is their nature. Sea power must always be on offense, because it is their nature. That means when one war ends a new war must start, regardless of how the prior war ended.


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


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

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

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


Societal Collapse

Note: The long awaited release of my talk with Greg Hood of American Renaissance has finally arrived. You can listen to it here.


Most people think of societal collapse as something like a zombie apocalypse where everything suddenly stops working. Instead of people turning into brain eating zombies, they stop going to work. The “system” collapses, so everyone just stops doing what they normally do all of a sudden. The next day, people divide up into gangs and begin to guard their turf using what is left of modern weapons. Life quickly returns to a hunter-gatherer existence with modern clothes.

This image of collapse is a powerful one. Google the phrase “United States collapse” or some version of it and you get results going back many years. Most of them start with economics but some start with culture. Right now, the people we call the Left for some reason think America is on the verge of collapse because they cannot force people to nod along with their weird morality. Many normal people think collapse is coming because they see the food bill every week.

Of course, there is a market for taking the contrary view. This is a popular gag for internet characters on what we continue to call the Right. They counter the claims from their fellow anti-leftists with arguments for why the “founding principals” will prevail and avoid societal collapse. Maybe they will point out that the magic of the free market has conquered communism, so it will conquer whatever is happening now. It is a form of strategic gainsaying to get attention.

The thing is societal collapse is a real thing that does happen just as civil wars, revolutions, wars and social upheavals are real things. Thirty years ago, the Soviet Union collapsed and we got to watch lots of it on television. When people suddenly realized that the guards were not going to shoot them if they tried to escape to the West, it did not take long before order broke down. Once the process started, there was no way to stop it and the system collapsed.

The thing is it did not happen overnight. The collapse actually started much earlier but people did not notice it. Little things stopped working. For example, people in Hungary began to notice that the border to Austria was not always guarded. Maybe the guards were there and ignored their duty or they just abandoned their post. Over time the border was not much of a border. Similar breakdowns of small systems became common over the course of the 1980’s.

Of course, the collapse of the Soviet Union did not send these societies back to the stone age either. Politics became increasingly chaotic. Law and order broke down to the point where criminal gangs were imposing their will on whole cities, because the police no longer had the ability or desire to stop them. The people got poorer in many small ways, but mostly in the breakdown of trust. They could not rely on the system, so they slowly abandoned it for alternatives.

We do not think of social trust as a part of the poverty equation, but in realty it is the key component of social happiness. High trust societies may not have unlimited consumer goods, but the people trust the system, because they trust one another. This allows for long term planning. Africa will never be rich, despite having massive natural resources, because social trust is near zero. Finland will never be poor because the Finns can count on their fellow Finns to always be Finnish.

Social collapse, like war and revolution, will reflect the material relations of the age because those reflect the resources of society. Revolution in the 18th century was peasants with pitchforks, because that is how you can revolt in an agrarian society operating under feudal rules. In the 19th century revolution was workers hurling homemade bombs and shooting at the authorities, because that is how you can stage a revolt in an industrial urban society.

This is the information age, so revolution will reflect the weapons we choose to use in this age, which will be money and knowledge. Money in all of its forms is a type of information that says things about the general state of affairs. In completely financialized societies like the West, money is the big weapon. It is also other information, like the government hiring clowns and carnies to nudge people in the “right direction” during the Covid panic.

The great tumult in the West over the last decade has been centered on the things that are important in the information age. The rise of a new group of oligarchs was made possible by the technological revolution. Just as agrarian people measured wealth in land and industrial people measured wealth in capital, technological people measure wealth in control of information flows. The reason Mark Zuckerberg is richer than Bill Gates is he controls something more valuable than PC’s.

Societal collapse in the information age will, at least at the beginning, reflect the socioeconomic relations of the age. Trust in what we are told by the media has collapsed, because it is easier to see the lying than in prior ages. In 1985 you could think the New York Times was biased, but predictably so. Today, you cannot trust anything they say because it is false in unpredictable ways. Trust in the media has collapsed because their information is chaotically false.

The slow collapse of trust in our information is spreading. We used to think that the courts were predictable, if not always fair. Poor people might not get the same justice as rich people, but the reason was understood. If you could afford a competent lawyer, he would get the most from the system for you. Today, no one knows what the hell will happen in a courtroom. Alex Jones just got fined a billion dollars because the regime supporters are still salty about the 2016 election.

Of course, trust in government is collapsing not because they do not fix the streets or make the buses run on time. Trust is falling because they lie. It is not about politicians lying, which is expected and predictable. It is the government itself. For example, they appear to be faking key economic data. Their inflation numbers are laughable as anyone who buys food will tell you. They also like to change the meaning of words, which puts an Orwellian spin on the lying.

Getting back to the topic of collapse, what happens in the information age when no one trusts the information? In a world where your bank may close down your account because they claim you hold the wrong opinions; how can you trust them to be straight about anything else? If the government is faking economic data, how can we trust anything else they are doing? When the people responsible for 100% of disinformation claim to be fighting disinformation, who can we trust?

When the Soviet system began to collapse, it was the symbols of its power that first came under pressure. When people stopped fearing the border guard, they slowly stopped fearing the system behind it. The same will be true in this age. When people stop trusting the information that runs this world, they will slowly begin to stop trusting the system behind it. It is at that point the system begins to slowly unravel as alternative trust networks form up to fill the void.

The bottom line is those waiting for collapse are mistaken. It is not a thing that is looming over the horizon. It is a thing that is happening now. Every day there is a new reminder that the system cannot be trusted. Maybe it is ten dollar gas in Germany or skyrocketing food prices in England or demonstrably false claims from the drug makers with regards to the Covid jab. These things chip away at trust in the system and like the game of Jenga, the result is inevitable.


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


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

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

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


The Demon Of Democracy

Notes: The Monday Taki post is up. This week is a post about the natural coercion that takes place in any democratic system. Sunday Thoughts is up behind the green door, covering some news items of the day. SubscribeStar and Substack.


It has become trite to point out that the lovers of democracy have a one way relationship with it. When the results of an election are favorable to the ruling class, they praise democracy. When the results are something other than what the rulers wanted, then you can no longer trust the process. The United States has spent the last six years torn between these two competing forces. The 2016 election was rigged while the 2020 election was the most bizarrely pure result ever.

We are about to get another dose of this in Europe as elections go the wrong way for the people who actually run Europe. In Sweden, the normally passive Swedes decided to send a very mild message to their ruling class by giving a bunch of votes to the Swedish Democrats. This allowed a moderate coalition to form up and depose the Social Democrats, which has been the ruling party for decades. For the usual suspects, this means snow Hitler is around the corner.

An honest assessment of the Swedish election would start with why it has taken so long for the Swedes to push back against the system. Decades of immigration have turned Sweden into the rape capital of Europe. Large swaths of Swedish cities have become no-go zones thanks to the migrants. The city of Malmo has become famous for its problem with grenade attacks. Rival gangs of migrants use their skills learned at home to turn the once peaceful city into a war zone.

At least some of the Swedes have decided that they can risk being called bad things in order to send a message. For this to happen, however, the Swedish Democrats had to drop all of their tough talk and position themselves as reformed heretics who will only gently rock the boat a tiny bit. It is a good reminder that whoever controls the moral framework, controls the moral consensus. In order to participate in democracy, you must submit to the moral consensus.

This past weekend, the Italians did the unthinkable and elected a female as the next leader of the country. Before the election, the unelected president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, warned the Italians that she has a particular set of skills and is not afraid to use them if they vote the wrong way. The Italians being Italian were happy to give her the now famous solute and vote for a block of right-of-center parties in Sunday’s elections.

Giorgia Meloni, head of the Brothers of Italy party, will be the next prime minister, as her party received about 25% of the vote. Salvini’s League and Berlusconi’s Forza Italia will give the coalition a majority of seats in both chambers. The Brothers of Italy managed just four percent of the vote in the prior election and has been viewed as a fringe party with little impact on Italian politics. Suddenly, their pro-family and anti-immigration message is resonating with Italians.

Of course, the usual suspects have branded Meloni a fascist. You see, anyone who falls outside the moral consensus is a fascist. To her credit, this has not had to desired effect on Meloni’s rhetoric. Her victory speech was refreshingly moral. “Yes to natural families, no to the LGBT lobby, yes to sexual identity, no to gender ideology, yes to the culture of life, no to the abyss of death, no to the violence of Islam, yes to safer borders, no to mass immigration, yes to work for our people”

The same people who tell Europeans they must heat their homes with candles and get used to cold showers in the name of democracy in Ukraine, will now set to work undermining these two democracies. The Swedish Democrats have been accused of apostacy with regards to Russia. Silvio Berlusconi has been accused of being a Putin ally by the usual suspects. It is not hard to see where this is going. If you vote the wrong way, you are on the side of Russia.

Getting back to Ursula von der Leyen, you can be sure she will start pressing the new governments to pray at the feet of the moral consensus. Her primary weapon is financial, which she is now using against Hungary. The voters there support Viktor Orbán, who is no fan of men in dresses chasing girls in public toilets. The EU has thus declared that Hungary is not really democratic, despite their democracy. This means the EU will not begin withholding tens of billions in money.

All of this should be familiar to Americans. Voters sent a message to the ruling class in 2016 when they put Donald Trump in the White House. The message was received and the ruling class has been making war on those voters ever since. In a democracy, a legitimate result is one that pleases the permanent ruling elite. Anything that even questions the elite moral consensus is a threat to our democracy. The Swedes and Italians are about to learn this lesson.

The reality of Western democracy is that it is a weird form of colonialism where the rulers demand regular affirmation from the ruled. The point of elections is for the people to thank their rulers for their service. The rulers are naturally offended when the voters fail to hold up their end of the bargain. The social compact in Western democracy is that the ruling class commands and the voters obey. Anything else is a threat to our democracy and requires any means necessary to thwart it.

This is why elections have had no impact on policy in America. This exhaustive study from 2014 makes plain that voting means nothing. “Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.” As the saying goes, there is no voting your way out of the problems of democracy.

It is not all bad news. The continued support for Trump in America and now the elections in Europe suggest the people are slowly beginning to slip free from the tentacles of the imposed moral consensus. Even the normally passive Swedes are starting to look their masters in the eye and ask, “who says?” If enough people begin to wake up from the nightmare of liberal democracy, they may begin to break free from the underlying morality of it.

What the West will need to save itself is not bureaucrats promising to worship a system, but leaders who understand it is not how, but who. It is not how decisions are made, but who makes them. For Italy to regain itself, it must be Italians who make the decisions, not Brussels bureaucrats. For America to reclaim its nature, it must be Americans making the decisions, not an alien managerial elite. The demon of democracy is it leads people to forget this basic reality of life.


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


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

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

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


Lesson 230

Way back in 1996 when the Communications Decency Act of 1996 was being contemplated, no one imagined the outsize role of the internet. In fact, few of the people debating the bill had ever seen this internet thing. The internet as we understand it was in its infancy and only tech savvy hobbyists were using it. Most homes did not have a personal computer at the time. The only thing everyone was sure about was that the internet had to be free to grow.

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act made a lot of sense to all involved, because it gave the new internet companies relief from parasitic lawyers who were already sinking their fangs into the industry. Giving the public platforms protection from liability allowed them to host the public platform without having to edit everything the users posted on the platforms. At the time, the tech companies claimed they lacked the resources to monitor user behavior.

The logic made sense as long as that last bit was true. If the people creating these public platforms could not edit what was posted, then they could not reasonably be held accountable, as we do for newspapers and magazines. The New York Times controls its content, so in theory it is responsible for it. As a practical matter they are never held accountable and libel people daily as we saw with the Sarah Palin case a few months ago, but that is a topic for another day.

In a quarter century, much has changed. Not only can the tech platforms edit what is posted on their sites, they now aggressively monitor content. Not only that, but they also promote content on the platforms and they create their own content. The millions of bots used to boost some content over others is a form of content. It is similar to a newspaper making the editorial decision to post some stories on the front page and relegate the real stories to the back pages.

The Section 230 protections were specifically tailored on the assumption that the platforms could not control what was posted. Therefore, someone could not reasonably sue them for defamation. It would be like holding the building owner liable for something someone write on the walls outside. In theory, the platform, like the building owner, would take reasonable steps to remove the material. If the court asked, they would try to identify the person responsible.

Of course, we live in a different age and therefore the laws crafted for the prior age no longer make any sense in this age. No one in 1996 could contemplate a world where an oligopoly in Silicon Valley controlled political discourse. Further, no one imagined the oligopoly being controlled by crazy people. This is why the matter is working its way through the courts in various conflicting cases. In fact, it will probably end up in the Supreme Court in the next term.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit upheld a Texas law barring companies from removing posts based on political ideology. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit overturned a similar Florida law on the grounds that it violated constitutional protections for tech companies. The question is whether these private firms that get the same protections as all other private firms or are they private firms operating public accommodations and therefore can be regulated.

Morally, this would be a simple question if not for the racial double standard that has become nearly universal. Facebook regularly hosts livestreams of black people hunting a killing white people. This happened most recently with the Memphis spree killer who livestreamed his rampage on Facebook. On the other hand, a white guy uses the wrong pronouns when describing a public degenerate and he is banned. In the age of Jim Snow, everyone knows the score.

Before the Jim Snow laws, when Section 230 was created, no one imagined the sorts of double standards we now accept. In 1996, everyone agreed that a public accommodation had to accept everyone as long as they did the minimum that was required of the enterprise. Restaurants could require a dress code, but they could not ban people for holding the wrong opinions. If they violated their own rules, then they could be held accountable in the courts.

Ultimately, the court will have to fashion a new standard. If Facebook is a public accommodation, then what are the rules that define such a thing? If it is a private company, then how can it have special privileges? The simplest solution is to clarify how one can claim Section 230 protections. A platform that does not edit the content of users would qualify, while a firm that censors the users would not qualify. This would be the logical solution, which is why it cannot happen.

Instead, the court will end up supporting the tech companies, because the so-called conservatives will be so high from chanting “they are private companies” that the crazies on the court will write the decision. We will end up with a new standard that says private companies can viciously and aggressively discriminate, as long as it is not against protected classes. At this time, there is one class left unprotected in the law, which is the class known as while people.

In fact, there is a good chance that the court creates a new framework that requires public platforms to aggressively censor content in order to get the protections offered under Section 230. That would mean a site like Gab is wiped out unless they apply the same standards as Silicon Valley. It would also mean that hosting companies are required to monitor the content of their users. This would be the first example of “common good conservatism” in the law.

This sounds terribly negative, but it is realistic. Stalin allegedly said that it is not the votes that count, but who counts the votes. He probably never said it, but it is something he would have grasped. He was a communist, but he eventually came to see that who decides counts for more than how things are decided. That is what we see in the current age with things like censorship. It is not the rules that matter, but who is enforcing and interpreting the rules that matters.

If the tech firms were run by the same sorts of people who were running what passed for big tech in 1996, none of this would matter. The internet pioneers were civic nationalists and libertarians. They were on-line to get away from people who wanted to police free expression. They needed Section 230 to keep the internet open, but they were replaced with people who want to close it down, so one way or another, speech will be closed down on the internet.

Finally, this is a good reminder that when a society begins to debate the letter of the law, it no longer respects the spirit of the law. Put another away, if the people in charge are so corrupt that they need written rules to behave themselves, they are corrupt enough to find a way around those written words. This is where we find ourselves with the current ruling class. They see the rules like they see the truth. If they are useful, they enforce them. If not, then not.


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


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

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

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


The New Reactionism

Notes: The Monday Taki post is up. This week is a post about cultural vandalism, a term that I would like to see more often. Sunday Thoughts is up behind the green door, covering some news items of the day. SubscribeStar and Substack.


Since roughly the French Revolution, the dynamic of Western politics has been the conflict between radical forces and reactionary forces. The radicals, armed with liberal ideas, seek to change social arrangements for the better. The reactionaries, fearing what change could bring, instinctively oppose these changes. This description is entirely self-serving, which is why “radicals” love it. The point is to frame politics as good guys, the radicals, versus bad guys, the reactionaries.

In this age it does not hold up as a logical construct because the people waving the flag of radicalism control the institutions. The so-called reactionaries cannot be working from fear for what change will do to their social power, when they have no political or social power to conserve. This does not stop the radicals from pretending their victims have power, but it is a self-serving game of make believe. The people on the receiving end of radicalism know who has the whip hand.

This is why the old Left-Right framing makes no sense. The people claiming to be on the Right these days are not monarchists. They are not in genuine opposition to the people on the Left. They simply prefer a slower pace of change. The Left is certainly not opposed to institutional power, like all prior left-wing movements. They worship institutional power and act in defense of it. To maintain the old framing, the dissidents are the New Left and the regime is the New Right.

Recent events support this new framing. The election integrity protests during the 2020 cycle looked like every other protest against power. The people in control of the institutions certainly saw it that way. They still carry on like January 6 was a failed Bastille Day or the echoes of 1848. In response, they are acting like institutional power always reacts to threats. They are rounding up opponents, abusing the rights of their citizens and threatening retribution.

A good example of this new reactionism is in the paranoid chanting about threats to “our democracy” that are a feature of the current regime. Those old enough to remember the 1980’s or even the 1990’s see this fetish for democracy as novel. The standard response from so-called conservatives whenever someone said America was a democracy was to correct them and say it was a republic. Even the Left would make this point, lamenting the lack of democracy.

All of a sudden, as if there was a secret meeting of the ruling class, America is a democracy and that democracy is under assault. This started in the Obama years when his backers pushed the nutty idea that white people would oppose him strictly on the grounds that he was a black Muslim from Africa. Even though he gained a bigger majority of the white vote than Bush or Clinton, they persisted in this claim, saying his opponents opposed the democratic process.

Of course, what solidified the new language was 2016. The man who won the election based on the rules of how we conduct elections, was deemed a threat to the process that put him in office. This is not what they meant when they said Trump was a threat to democracy. What they meant was that he was a threat to the established order and the people it benefits. The word “democracy” now implies the established order and the semi-permanent ruling elite.

This is no different from how genuine reactionaries in 18th century Europe responded to the threat of socialism. They used the same sort of language and they used the same sort of tactics we see today. The point of their rhetoric was not to persuade the masses to side with the old order, but to persuade the people running the institutions to use their power to defeat the radicals. In other words, reactionaries do not seek to win arguments, but rather to rally elites to wield power.

Here is an example in the New York Times. David Leonhardt is employed by the “paper of record” to inform the managerial class. His archive is full of stories that would be of use to people in power, but utterly worthless to everyone else. His job at the media shop that serves the regime is to set the tone for other regime outlets and to help set the priorities of the regime. Normally he worries about how to keep the peasants fed, but this post is about “threats to our democracy.”

The reactionary quality is clear in the first so-called threat. He claims, “a growing movement inside one of the country’s two major parties — the Republican Party — to refuse to accept defeat in an election.” The New York Times literally created a bureau in 2016 to cover the Russian collusion hoax. The point of their existence, and that of all regime outlets, was to undermine the legitimacy of the Trump presidency. The word “hypocrisy” does not scratch the surface here.

The second threat somehow manages to be even more contradictory. “The second threat to democracy is chronic but also growing: The power to set government policy is becoming increasingly disconnected from public opinion.” On the surface this sounds fine, but he does not mean public opinion as in elections. He means the perception of public opinion as held by the people in power. His example is the recent Dobbs case, which he claims runs counter to public opinion.

When you interpret “democracy” to mean “established order” when used by regime elements, this makes sense. There is a Burkean flexibility in defense of the status quo in the face of public discontent. That is, they acknowledge the rules and the rights of the people, but only as far as they are reasonable. If the rules or the exercise of rights threaten the established order, then they are unreasonable. You can have whatever political system you like as long the people in charge agree

This new reactionism is what lies behind the weird social fads and assaults on decency that have become common. The claim by the people behind these things is that they are trying to subvert the old order, when in reality they are useful idiots. Their job is to keep the people occupied with these controversies so they do not start thinking about why their schools are a mess or why two incomes are no longer enough to provide a middle-class life. it is defensive distraction.

Historically, reactionism is something that flowers at the end of an age when the old order feels threatened. That is one way to read the current crisis. The people leading the charge to defend “our democracy” are decrepit old people who represent the dire warnings about managerialism. They are mediocrities raised up to the top of the social order, yet fully aware of their mediocrity. It is a system now dominated by highly insecure managers paranoid about everyone around them.

The reason reactionism turns up at the end phase of a regime is that it often works fairly well to blunt the forces of change. Reaction is what drove the response to Napoleon, eventually leading to the restoration in France. Reaction held back the tides of socialism in the 19th century into the 20th century. Reaction is what defeated Trump and put Joe Biden in the White House. Fear is a powerful motivator and powerful people in fear for their position make for a powerful force.


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The Indignity Of Democracy

Note: The comments have been getting bombed by Ukrainian bots, which is why moderation has been so immoderate. This was part of the public relations campaign around the recent offensive. It is slowly abating, but for now moderation will remain tight to prevent a flood of nutty comments.


In the old television series MythBusters, there was a scene where the crew was doing something disgusting. The setup of the show was to explain the “myth” they were testing then follow them along as they set up their tests. A big part of the show was sight gags, so this meant putting the hosts of the show in foolish situations. In one of these setups, the camera is following one of the hosts and he looks at the camera and says, “there is no dignity in show business.”

It was a memorable moment because we live in an age where performers are treated like conquering heroes. For most of human history, performers were at the very bottom of the status ladder. They were treated worse than slaves in many societies, as it was assumed that people willing to humiliate themselves for the entertainment of others were people of low moral standards. If someone has no respect for himself, then he is unlikely to respect the standards of society.

Today the opposite is true. We worship celebrity. The Republican Party is running three celebrities in big elections this year. Hershel Walker, the former football star, is running for Senate in Georgia. Doctor Oz is running for Senate in Pennsylvania. In both cases, their reason to be in the race is they are famous. In Arizona, Kari Lake was a local TV anchor before running for governor. Her party switching suggests she is willing to do anything for applause and your vote.

Of course, politics in a liberal democracy is just entertainment. It is like the talent shows where the viewers are asked to vote for the performer they liked best, but only after hearing the opinion of celebrity experts. Naturally, most people follow the lead of the celebrity experts, which is why they are there. Politics works exactly the same way, except the celebrity experts are called pundits. Their job is to shape public opinion around the two party system.

That line about there being no dignity in show business still applies. It is why our politicians look more like carny trash than serious adults. The coin of the realm is attention and eventually, you have to degrade yourself to get it. People who have no qualms about making themselves the object of mockery just to entertain the masses will be naturals in the political game. Politics in a democratic system naturally selects for people willing to trade their dignity for applause.

This is most obvious in the pundit class. These are people who dream of one day being an extra on a good television show. In other words, unlike the people who run for office, these people think even less of themselves. It is why their opinions can easily change from one election to the next. If this season the smash hit is angry black guy, then they will sign on for a role in angry black guy. If next season the show is strong female, then they will audition for that show.

You see this with so-called conservatives. Fifty pounds ago, S. E. Cupp played the role of naughty female libertarian on Fox. She would show a little skin, put on the glasses and repeat libertarian lines about socialism. That show closed so she is now playing the role of matronly MAGA hater on CNN. Many of the people in this

declaration of war against Trump voters switched to being Trump supporters. There is no dignity in show business, so they had no trouble with it.

There is a funny thing about a world of no standards. In addition to drawing in people willing to play any role just to get on stage, it seems to draw in people who seem to enjoy degrading themselves in public. Self-declared super genius Tom Nichols is probably the best example. He seems to get a weird thrill out of making an ass of himself in public. It does not appear to be just about getting attention. He really likes to humiliate himself on-line.

Just look at the first line of that Twitter post. “In forty years of studying Russia the thing I always struggled to get my arms around is that this remarkable and immense nation, a source of cultural and scientific genius, is also so riven by ignorance and insecurity that it is incapable of living in peace with the world.” This is a man who lives in a country that has been at war with the world for most of its existence. His cult is responsible for more dead people than Genghis Khan.

That whole series of posts is like someone had decided to lampoon the Trotsky cult we call neoconservatism by conjuring an absurd character that embodies an exaggerated version of its qualities. That ridiculous person then does ridiculous things to highlight the absurdity of his group. Tom Nichols is the Mr. Bean of neoconservatism and he is thrilled to play the part. One gets the sense that if Bill Kristol says the role could use some clown nose, Nichols is dressing as a clown.

It is possible that Nichols is so devoid of self-awareness that he does not see the absurdity in his act. In fact, this is a possible clue to why many celebrities seem to think highly of themselves, despite what they do for a living. Ocasio-Cortez, for example, thinks she is a world historical figure. It could be that a total lack of self-respect rests on a total lack of self-awareness. If you cannot tell when they are laughing at you rather than with you, then it does not matter.

The Founders never imagined that the country they were creating would one day lead to rule by circus freak, but they understood the risk of democracy. They knew that a system that relied on the shifting opinion of the masses would attract those who are good at appealing to the masses, but not good at governing. We see this today as our political system looks like a bad TV show. It is full of people who are good at getting public attention, but they are not good at anything else.

What no one anticipated is that rule by circus freak has degraded all of society, along with the people on the stage. To sit in the crowd, applauding as a man humiliates himself for your amusement, debases you as much as the performer. You cannot seek to raise yourself up from your base condition when you are simultaneously cheering for others to reduce themselves to their base condition. In a democracy, we all sink into the ooze together because there is no dignity in democracy.


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


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

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

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