Between Barbarians and Fanatics

For most of human existence, the great conflict was between ordered civilization and chaotic barbarism. The Bronze Age societies had to contend with barbarians from the north. The Greeks and Romans had to deal with various barbarian tribes to their north and east. Medieval Europe had to deal with the Viking raiders and the Mongol invaders from the east. Then there were the Muslim invasions from the South that threatened Christendom. The story of the West has been the story of fighting barbarians.

By the time the West reached the Enlightenment, barbarian invasion was a thing of the past. In fact, it was inconceivable. The Nordic people were just as settled as the rest of Europe. Their days of raiding and pillaging were over. The idea of Asian tribes crossing through Russian into Europe was equally ridiculous. Of course, the Muslims had been beaten back and were no longer a threat. In fact, it was the West that was now heading south into the Middle East and Africa. The barbarians were no longer an issue.

Instead of organizing to keep the barbarians from coming over the horizon, it was the West sailing over the horizon to conquer the barbarians. The thing is though, all those years of organizing to defend civilization from the barbarians, however one wants to define the terms, meant a degree of internal vigilance. There could be no tolerance of internal actors and actions that weakened the social and political structures. Civilization was a near run thing so anything that weakened the West internally could not be tolerated.

The Catholic Church gets a bad rap for being intolerant of science during the Middle Ages, but that’s mostly left-wing nonsense. In an age when dissent could pull the support posts out from society, intolerance of troublemakers made a lot of sense. Of course, from the perspective of the secular rulers, a theological consistency, one that supported the order atop which they presided, was seen as essential. Anything that threatened the internal logic of the social order, even unintentionally, had to be treated very seriously.

That meant an extreme intolerance of religious fanatics. The post the other day about the Flagellants is a good example. The Church and secular rulers suppressed the movement because their fanaticism threatened order, by questioning the legitimacy of the Church. After all, if God was punishing people with the plague, that implied the Church was not on good terms with the Almighty. Throw in the fact the Flagellants were preaching about a coming age of bliss and it is easy to see why the Church suppressed them.

The point is, the West was good at policing the ranks for fanatics, because they had no choice. The very real threat from beyond the borders coupled with the fragility of the feudal order meant anyone coloring outside the lines was a mortal threat. As the alien threats receded, the need to impose a uniform intellectual order receded with it. While it resulted in a great intellectual flourishing in the West, it also let all the fanatics off their leash. The result is the West has been convulsed by fanaticism since the Enlightenment.

That’s how you have to look at radical ideologies like Marxism. These theories defy observable reality and imagine something that has never existed. There’s simply no way for a sober minded person to accept the idea of the worker’s paradise. Only a true believer is willing to commit their life to something that has never existed on earth. It is the same cognitive tool set that allows someone to think they can appeal directly to God or conjure miracles, simply because they believe. The fanatic is the fuel of radicalism.

In The Inequality of Man, the great natural scientist J. B. S. Haldane argued that fanaticism was a Judaic-Christian invention. That’s most certainly wrong, but he was not wrong to think it had been a feature of mankind for a long time. It is the fuel that drives a people to build a great culture. As we saw in the last century and now in our present age, it is also the fuel of great raging destruction. Other than allowing the rage of the fanatics to run its course, no one has yet to come up with a way to meet the challenge of the true believer.

That really is the challenge of this age. Lacking anything resembling a unified religion, our overabundance of fanatics are free to indulge in whatever is handy. One minute they are threatening order if gays are not allowed to marry. The next minute they are tearing down the borders, inviting in the barbarians our ancestors pushed over the horizon. It’s as if some strange mind virus is sweeping our societies, turning the afflicted into berserkers, beyond the reach of reason. As a result we edge closer and closer to collapse.

What’s happening in America, at least, is a replay of what happened in the Pennsylvania colony at the founding. The eastern part of the state was home to many fanatics, convinced they were part a project to immanentize the eschaton. To the west were the borderland people, living in the hills as pre-settled people. In between was where the civilized people lived, just looking to live peaceful, orderly lives. Eventually the middle aligned with the east to keep the hillbillies in the west from overrunning the middle.

To a great degree, this was true for the country as a whole. The emotional energy of the crazies, mostly located in the northeast, fueled the expansion across the continent. The Indians never stood a chance, not because of technology, but because the pale face was driven by a sense of destiny. It powered the northern conquest of the South and the expansion of America into a global power. It came with a price. Just as Pennsylvania is still dominated by Philadelphia, America remains captive to the Northern crazies.

That said, geography kept the crazies on their leash into the 20th century, with the exception of the Northern invasion of the South. As technology made it possible for the fanatics to extend their reach into every corner of the country, the threat of nuclear annihilation forced a degree of discipline on the elites. With that gone, the fanatics were free to run wild, pulling at every support beam and cable they can find. That’s where we find ourselves today. There are no barbarians at the walls, just our own fanatics.

If the West in general and American in particular, is going to survive this age, it will mean coming up with a way to control the fanatic. Perhaps it will mean finding a DNA test to look for the lunacy gene or simply change the culture to fear fanaticism. We were once willing to do what had to be done to ward off the barbarian.  Maybe we learn how to cull our herd in order to remove the crazies, no matter how unpleasant. Civilization lies between the barbarian and the fanatic. Both must be tamed if we are to survive.

The Seekers

The book, When Prophecy Fails, is a classic work of social psychology written in the 1950’s based on a study of a UFO cult called the Seekers. This group was led by a woman named Dorothy Martin, who claimed that aliens spoke through her to warn of a coming apocalypse. She employed something called “automatic writing” to channel the messages from the people of the planet Clarion. Through her, they were telling humanity that a great flood was coming and the world would end on December 21, 1954.

The study documented the believers and how they coped with the fact the word did not end on December 21, 1954. What they found is that instead of the group realizing they had been duped by a lunatic, they quickly developed an explanation for why the great event had not occurred and came to believe that with the same degree of intensity they had believed the original prophesy. In the case of the Seekers, within hours they were telling themselves and the world that their faith had convinced God to spare the world.

It is a useful thing to keep in mind while observing the actions of the America Left. Whatever it was, today it is a cult. We tend to assume cults have a charismatic figure at the top, but that’s not always the case. Hassidic Jews are not led by a charismatic leader, unless you consider the Rabbi a cult leader. In fact, that may not be a bad comparison, in that Rabbis come and go, temporarily holding the position of sect leader. Progressives swap out their chief lunatic as well. Look at their list of three initial heroes.

In the summer before the 2016 election, the Cult was sure Hillary Clinton would be anointed as their new cult leader. They were so sure of it there were people quitting their jobs so they could prepare to move to Washington and serve the new ruler. Then disaster struck and the prophecy failed. Like the Seekers, they waited all night for a miracle, but there was no miracle. Also like the Seekers, the cult has cooked up an elaborate explanation, rather than accept the result. Russian collusion is a coping mechanism.

It does not stop there with the Progressive cult. They have a new prophecy that they are sure will come true on the first Tuesday of this November. They believe the magical blue wave will cleanse the Imperial Capital of the sinners, who defend the evil Donald Trump, by concealing the Russian hacking scandal. It’s why fiction writer Bob Woodward released his book this week and why the NYTimes ran the fictional op-ed. These are intended to be evidence at the trial of Donald Trump, when he is impeached and removed.

It’s also why Elizabeth Warren was out demanding they invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump now. After all, if it is inevitable, why wait for the election? As far as she and the other hormonal crazies in the cult are concerned, the impeachment and removal of Trump is written in stone. True believers always succumb to the Tinker Bell Effect, because they believe so intensely, they inevitably begin to see everything as confirmation of their deeply held beliefs.  Fanatics see only that which confirms their fanaticism.

You’ll also note that these periods of extreme mania come and go. When Trump fired Comey, the Left was apoplectic for a week. Comey himself was out there casting himself in the role of martyr for the cause. Then it passed and no one talks about him anymore, outside of grand jury rooms. When Trump met with Putin, there was another week of fevered lunacy in the Progressive media. This week’s spasm of fervor from the cult coincided with the Kavanaugh hearings. Next week, all of this will be forgotten.

What’s happening is the cult is responding to disconfirmation in the same way the Seekers handled it. Rather than reevaluate their positions or beliefs in light of obvious reality, they escalate their intensity as a way to pull the faithful together. Firing Comey showed Trump was not about to resign, as the cult believed. When he met with Putin, it annulled their Boris and Natasha fantasy. Now that Kavanaugh is obviously going to be confirmed, it undermines their belief that his own party is about to abandon him.

Another aspect of the Seekers is relevant here. Dorothy Martin came out of the same cult that gave birth to Scientology. She later went on to reinvent herself as Sister Thedra and start a new cult called the Association of Sananda and Sanat Kumara. Progressives have similarly morphed into different things over the years. You’ll also note that spiritual cults tend to be led by women or have a lot of high profile females.  The same thing is happening with the Progressives. It is hormonal woman shepherding non-whites.

All of this is amusing, but imagine a country with a powerful army and nuclear weapons being run by nutters like Elizabeth Warren. Imagine a situation room that looks like the editorial board of the Huffington Post. There are no obvious remedies to having the ruling class succumb to mass insanity. The big challenge is accepting it. The public can accept that their rulers are corrupt or evil. It’s really hard to accept that they are insane. The proof of that probably comes too late as the loonies have already pulled the roof down us.

Puritans And Progressives

A list of major mass movements in American history would include women’s suffrage, the Social Gospel movement, abolitionism, the temperance movement, the efficiency movement, the New Deal, the Civil Rights Movement, the New Left and maybe Neoliberalism. There are others, but that is a good list of the big ones. What is remarkable, even looking at only the major ones, is the number. America is the land of reformers and proselytizers.

The movements in the 20th century, starting with the efficiency movement, are usually called progressivism. They get their own stall in the American mass movement bizarre, but progressive is a good umbrella term for them. In fact, you can lump earlier movements in with the latter movements. All of them trace some of their roots to the Puritan founding of New England. Unlike European mass movements, American movements are about communal salvation.

American mass movements always start from some version of “a society is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members.” This is part of its inheritance from the Puritans. While the Puritans that settled in America believed in predestination, clues about one’s fate could be found in good works, church attendance and prayer. Part of that was making sure others did the same things, as they sought to discover their destiny. It is why church attendance was mandatory for Puritans.

Individual grace meant an individualized reading of and interpretation of Scripture, which led to tensions, even open hostility, within the church. The solution was a strict hierarchy and consensus. If one could only find clues to their own salvation in a thriving community of believers, maintaining the community becomes paramount. That resulted in a forced consensus within each community. Dissidents were persecuted and even banished. A Puritan community functioned like a single organism.

It is a good example of how the practical application of belief can result in practices that appear at odds with the belief. The Puritans rejected the concept of free will, but they still judged one another’s action, because leading a righteous life might be an indication of God’s grace. The righteous would never tolerate an obvious sinner in the community of believers, so policing the ranks for sinners was a potential sign of God’s grace. Everyone, even Puritans, wants to hedge their bets when it comes to grace.

Of course, anyone paying attention to the modern Left understands that forced consensus is at the heart of their beliefs. The constant cries for “unity” and the railing against those who “divide” or “polarize” is an effort to enforce consensus. It is also why conservatives are so fond of purging people from their ranks. It is a purity test, but also a way of removing trouble makers from the community of the righteous. Instead of Quakers, it is racists getting run out of the community.

Another thing that you see in all Progressive movements, rooted in Puritan New England, is the hunt for Old Scratch. The Puritans believed that Satan was a real thing and played a role in human affairs. They saw Satan as a creation of God, that punished the wicked, but also gave purpose to the pious. After all, if your deeds had no impact on the disposition of your soul and there was no price to be paid for sin, what would be the point of virtue? Satan solved half that problem for Puritans.

The post hoc fallacy is not new to this age. If you believe that bad things happen because of a lack of piety, then the only reason for the bad things happening to the community is someone cavorting with Old Scratch. The Puritans were uniquely susceptible to the witch panics, because they saw a direct causal link between sinners in the community and bad things befalling the community. The Puritans were necessarily, but unusually paranoid.

Even though modern Progressives no longer explicitly talk about God or Satan, they still carry with them a fear of supernatural influences. The endless search for racists, for example, is just the same old hunt for Satan. If the community is not unified, it must be due to those polarizing types, who are responsible for white privilege, the glass ceiling or the rape culture. Now, suburban white mothers are fretting that their sons may be cavorting with bad people on-line.

Communal salvation, forced consensus and the fear of Old Scratch inevitably means a sense of alienation to the outside world. Read any description of Puritan life and you see a hostility to outsiders. This is another thing you see with all progressives mass movements and you certainly see it today. The modern Left is consumed with defining who is inside and who is outside their thing. The people inside are the righteous, while the people outside are all evil.

Like the Puritan communities, progressives are inward looking. Those outside the movement are assumed to be hostile. It is why they have so many words that simply mean “people outside the walls.” The phrase “right-winger” is used interchangeably with the word “Republican” even though they are almost opposites. To the progressives, they both mean outsider. Puritans did not waste a lot of time understanding the difference between Quakers and Episcopalians.

This binary world view has another effect. For progressives, there are only two possible answers to any question and they are mutually exclusive. There is the righteous answer and the false or evil answer. It is why they spend all of their time “debunking” human science. If they can defeat the evil answer, it means the righteous answer triumphs and, by extension, they are the righteous. It’s also why the concept of casual indifference is alien to Progressives. There can be no compromise.

This is a good place to note that a generation ago, progressives smugly put Darwin fish on their Subaru. Today, they shake their fist at the “scientific racists” using new findings in genetics to reveal the origins of modern people. Because unity is the promised land, anything that divides people is the work of Satan. It is why racism is the great bogeyman of the Left. The growing mountain of scientific data revealing the diversity of modern humans, is seen as a gathering storm, threatening the righteous.

There are other Puritan aspects to modern progressives, things like conformity and an affinity for black clothing, but the important influence is the spiritual one. The Puritans were utopians, when you strip away all of the mythology and lore. They came to the New World to build their ideal community. When Reagan spoke of the “city on the hill” he was speaking to a spiritual sensibility that started at Plymouth. It is a spiritual sensibility that is with us to this day.

Winners And Losers

Mass movements always reach a stage where they can break through and become legitimate social forces or they can fizzle out and die. They either take the next step and begin to attract a larger audience or they are a boutique fad. The neo-reaction movement of a decade ago is a good example of the latter. It was important on-line for a while, but then it lost steam and faded away. Its two main idea men have moved onto other things. The alt-right is at that point now.

If a movement is going to outgrow the pot in which it was a seedling, the people in leadership need to regularly reassess. The New Left in the 1960’s went through several such resets, finally becoming an intellectual and cultural movement that swept the major institutions of the country. One of the early re-thinks for successful movements is purging previous failed efforts and failed leaders. The New Left figured out why the old CPUSA guys failed and made sure to avoid the same mistakes.

Last summer the alt-right fell into the trap of Charlottesville and allowed themselves to be aligned with the bogeymen the Left has been using for generations to scare white people away from identity politics. Guilt by association is powerful stuff, because it works in a mass media culture. The result of locking shields with various white nationalist groups on TV was that the alt-right has become tied, in the public mind, to people who have been unstable and unreliable.

The alt-right, if it is going to be anything, is going to have to build its own thing, clearly separate and independent of the old white nationalist guys of the past. It has to stand alone and that means cutting all ties with the guys who like marching around in public pretending to be the freikorps. Whatever arguments can be mustered in their defense, there is no getting around the fact these groups have had half a century to make their case and they have failed miserably at ever turn.

Exclusively racist groups are not the only failures of the past. The paleocons were smart, creative and energetic, but they were outmaneuvered and eventually purged by the political elite. It is hard not to admire guys like Paul Gottfried and Pat Buchanan, who have spent their lives fighting the good fight, but it is also hard not to notice that they failed. Sam Francis was a great thinker and everyone should read him, but there is a reason these guys lost.

The reason they lost is they made the mistake of thinking the other side was reasonable and amenable to their arguments. The paleocons wanted to be in the club, not burn the club down. It was this desire to belong that was used to derail them. Even today, after all that has happened, these old guys still talk like this is just an argument between friends rather than bloodsport. If the alt-right is going to thrive, it has to accept that what comes next is revolution, not reformation.

Another useful lesson from past losers is the chain of causality. For as long as anyone has been alive, right-wing movements have started with politics first, hoping to rally people to sway elections. The result in every case was the effort being hijacked by political opportunists, who quickly set about trading the goals of the cause for entrée to the political class. The Tea Party is the most obvious recent example. It was an authentic grassroots movement that was quickly hijacked.

The one thing about rejecting the losers of the past is it clears the mind so you can objectively examine the winners. The winners of the post-war cultural revolution won for a reason. One reason is they built their politics on top of a cultural movement. The 60’s counterculture started long before the radicals of the 70’s started taking over Democratic politics. In other words, there were lots of people ready to support someone that spoke their language and understood their perspective.

I watched a documentary about the Weather Underground and one of the things that jumped out to me was a statistic. By the middle of the 60’s, Students for a Democratic Society had 100,000 members. The thing is, the group started small or grew quietly, focused more on building membership than activism. Groups like Identity Evropa may seem overly cautious, but the only way they can grow on campus is if the people in charge ignore them. Revolution grows in darkness.

Another valuable lesson from the New Left is they built independent organizations well outside the mainstream. Many of the fads of the era strike us today as being loopy and weird, but they served a valuable purpose. The radicals of the 70’s, who began invading the academy and politics, were born from these counterculture groups. Living outside the Eye of Sauron is even more important today, now that we have a full blown surveillance state.

Related to that last point is something else worth noting. The radicals of the 60’s and 70’s took every shot to establish who was inside and who was outside, especially when dealing with the media. They would charge establishment media a fee to attend their events but grant free access to their guys. They would use insider language in public events, to make sure you knew if you belonged. It was highly effective at attracting and keeping people in the movement.

The alt-right, mostly through serendipity and dumb luck, has a chance to be a legitimate right-wing mass movement. That is not going to happen if they keep blundering into unforced errors. The fiasco of the Traditional Worker’s Party should be a wake up call for the people leading the alt-right. They have to get smarter and they have to stop screwing up. The alt-right needs to get smart, or it will die. That means learning from the winners and the losers.

Letter To The Antisemites

From time to time, I am approached by an anti-Semite hoping to convince me to join their thing. Most people, of course, think antisemitism is the worst, but anti-Semites think otherwise. Recently, a person calling himself Lawrence has showed up in the comment section, inviting me to join the world of antisemitism. Given some posts related to this topic are in the queue, I thought it was a good time to respond to this generous invitation to become an anti-Semite.

First off, I do not think antisemitism is a great crime against humanity. I once worked for a guy who hated Greeks. Anything wrong in the world, according to him, was the fault of the Greeks. He was a bigot, of course, but as far as I knew he never caused anyone harm, not even Greeks. He was just a weirdly eccentric person, who had unusual opinions about the world. In the grand scheme of things, there are many worse vices a man can have, than a bias against another group of people.

Here is my favorite way of explaining this to people puzzled by my indifference to the great crimes of antisemitism and racism. Imagine moving into a new house. You find out the guy across the street is an anti-Semite. Now, imagine you learn that the guy to the left is a methamphetamine dealer. Which neighbor troubles you more? Only a nut would say the anti-Semite is the bigger worry. The point is there is a long list of things that are worse than holding negative opinions.

Now, as far as my opinion on antisemitism, I must admit I have a negative view of it, just as I have a negative view of racism. The mistake people make is in thinking that race realism is the same as racism. If I were a racist, I would not live in Lagos. I can be quite realistic about the nature of blacks, without holding black people in contempt. In fact, I have a great deal of sympathy for black people. The reason for that is I am well aware of the biological reality that underlies the plight of blacks in America.

Similarly, I am a realist, with regards to Jews in America. I have written quite bit on Jewish exceptionalism. I did a long podcast episode examining the alt-right’s arguments on the JQ. I have written critiques of Jewish social customs. I have had debates with Jews about Jewish issues. I stood in a room full of Jews once, explaining and defending the humor of Andrew Anglin. The point is that you can discuss, even as a non-Jew, all the issues involved in the JQ, without being an anti-Semite.

Now, many anti-Semites have encouraged me to “take the red pill” on the JQ so then I would come to appreciate what antisemitism brings to the party. The claim is that once you accept their claims, antisemitism fits like a glove. I generally assume to this to mean the theories of Kevin McDonald, the retired professor of psychology, who wrote the book Culture of Critique. John Derbyshire called him the Karl Marx of antisemitism, which is turning out to be prophetic.

Well, I have read Kevin McDonald. I think he makes an excellent case against Boasian anthropology, Freudian psychoanalysis, and Frankfurt School critical theory. In fact, his arguments against these intellectual movements should be required reading for anyone trying to understand the current crisis. Further, there is no disputing his observation that these movements were dominated by Jews. In fact, all of the monstrous ideologies of the last era had an over representation of Jews.

The truth is though, Jews are overrepresented in everything that requires a high level of math and verbal skill. Every intellectual movement, which was not explicitly anti-Semitic, saw an over representation of Jews. Movements attract smart people. They also tend to be located in urban areas, where Jews have always lived. Therefore, no one should be surprised that Jews are overrepresented in political and cultural movements, especially those of the radical variety.

The main argument of McDonald is that Judaism is a “group evolutionary strategy” engineered to promote Jewish interests at the expense of the host society. He argues that Judaism promoted eugenic practices favoring high intelligence, conscientiousness, and ethnocentrism, so Jews reached the late Middle Ages with these qualities in extraordinary surplus. Once Jews were allowed to participate in Western society, they were uniquely equipped to dominate intellectual movements.

This is possible. It also strikes me as a bit like intelligent design. This unique tool kit for undermining Western society evolved for the purpose of undermining a Western society, that only came into existence recently. In fact, this group evolutionary strategy came pretty close to getting all European Jews killed half a century ago. Jewish dominance today is entirely due to America opening up the country to Eastern European Jews at the start of the last century. Apparently, Jews really plan ahead.

The bottom line, with regards to Kevin McDonald and the general idea of Jews being a hostile and subversive people, is that it could be true. It could also be true that Jews have followed the pattern of all minority populations and gravitated to the people in charge, seeing them as protectors. In America, which means Yankee progressives, who have, in one form or another, dominated the country since Gettysburg. Jew just joined the bets club in the country.

As you can see, I am well acquainted with the arguments and I am not instinctively hostile to most of them. Like everyone with some knowledge of human evolution, I am a bit skeptical of group evolutionary strategy. It could be a real thing. It could also be total nonsense like phrenology. Within my lifetime smart people were sure you could be talked out of insanity. There have been a lot of nutty fads in human sciences, so skepticism is a prudent position until more data comes in.

Obviously, my resistance to antisemitism is not based in ignorance of the material or fear of the morality police. The main issue for me is that anti-Semites think “the Jews” is the answer o all problems. They are like a man who has only mastered how to use a hammer. He sees every problem as a nail. In the case of anti-Semites, everything is blamed on the Jews to the point of absurdity. It seems to me that in order to be an anti-Semite, one has to commit their life to it, like joining a gang.

While I bear no ill will to those of you who have become anti-Semites, I just do not think it is the place for me. My group evolutionary strategy, as it were, is to enjoy the fullness of life, even the parts that are not so good. Obsessing over Jews all the time seems like a waste of time. If there comes a time when I have to obsess over Jews all the time, then I will do what I must, but for now, I have lots of other interests. No hard feelings and the bets of luck in your project.

Warmest Regards


The Eternal Hive

The late Joe Sobran produced the metaphor of the insect hive to describe the group behavior of the Left. 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 Left began chanting in unison about the Confederate battle flag. Even the sober minded had to wonder if this was not a planned effort. 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 and then begins howling uncontrollably? Imagine what it is like to have no agency, in terms of how you react to public events. Presumably, there is something stimulating these people. Perhaps the swarm behavior releases endorphins, freeing the adherent from the torment of reality for a while.

It is an important 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 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. The difference is their devil is a shapeshifter, taking on new forms to fit every occasion.

It is 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 war on the 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 group 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 is 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. Social media now supplements the pheromones used to synchronize behavior. Twitter and Facebook are becoming neural pathways for the hive, so that far flung members can pick up cues from other members. “Trending on Twitter” is becoming a way for progressives to know what they are supposed 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, living a quiet life alone somewhere. When Lefty leaves 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 best warrior. Perhaps this small group instinct manifests in an organized society, as social fanaticism. In all times and all places, the reformer imagines himself protecting the weak from the strong.

Fanaticism has its utility. 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 useful in war. 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 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 have slaughtered 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 relationship reversed. 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 is left of society, only to not arrive at the promised land, they will find some new fantasy to embrace. The Hive is eternal.

The Social War

For most modern Americans, the issue of “rights” is talked about in spiritual terms, more than practical or legal terms. The concept of Natural Rights has lost all meaning to the modern person, even though our system depends upon the concept. That is not necessarily a bad thing. As Western societies have evolved since the Enlightenment, the concept of rights has expanded and evolved as well. Today, what we think of as “our rights” fall into three general areas, civil, political and social.

For Americans, the concept of civil rights has been tangled up in racial politics, mostly because of baby boomers nostalgia. As a result, three generations of Americans have been steeped in the mythology of the Civil Rights Movement, thinking it only applies to black people. Putting that aside, we expect equality before the law and due process. The law should apply to everyone equally and the administration of the law should follow a transparent and predictable process.

While civil rights are about equality before the law, political rights are about equality in formulating the law. That means having an equal shot to participate in the political process which creates the laws. Equality before the law is not worth a lot if your enemies have the exclusive right to dictate the law. The real change in the Civil Rights Movement was in the political realm. Blacks are now fully included in the nation’s political process.

As civil and political rights have expanded, social rights have contracted. The right to live your life unmolested by others is increasingly difficult. It used to be a given that a man had a right to anonymity. That is just about impossible today. More important, it is increasingly difficult to hold unorthodox opinions and beliefs. Half a century ago, people dreamed of a colorblind future, but today, people dream of not getting fired for posting FBI crime stats on Facebook.

This relentless intrusion on our social rights is in the news on a daily basis. This story from Tampa is a representative example. Here is a woman, hounded by bigots, because she holds unapproved opinions. You can be sure that the ululating fanatics will be badgering her school system to fire her from her job. We now live in a society in which thinking things that were commonly understood a generation ago, is used to ruin a person’s life, making them a pariah in their own community.

This erosion of social rights is not just in the public sphere. If a group of people holding unapproved thoughts wants to socialize privately, the bigots will seek them out and call down the rock throwers on them. This story from Michigan is typical. These people are going to great lengths to avoid drawing attention to themselves, yet the local progressives are hunting them down, hoping to prevent them from having a private dinner together. Iran has more social liberty.

Of course, the war on social rights is just the start. The orchestrated assault on the nation’s oldest political rights organization is one example of the effort to extend the denial of social rights to the denial of political rights. The ongoing legal effort to deny Americans their civil rights, based on their thoughts, is another aspect to this war on our general liberties. The plaintiffs are asking the court to create a new legal status for heretics, which denies them the rights and privileges of citizenship.

Now, the reason Western societies evolved political systems that respect civil rights and allow for near universal participation in politics is to reduce political violence. When the working class can organize around the candidates of their choice, they do not have to stage bread riots. When minority groups can expect equality before the law, they do not have to make war on the majority. Participatory democracy, in theory, gives everyone a stake in the system and a reason to defend it against subversion.

What is happening today is a unilateral declaration that a growing list of opinions and ideas are off-limits. Anyone that embraces them, or is suspected of embracing them, is outside the sphere to which civil, political and social rights apply. These outside people become fair game, as they have no legal avenue to seek redress. A person who loses his job because he agrees with what his grandfathers thought, is quickly becoming a man without a country.

In this Tucker Carlson profile, he makes the point that he lives in a great neighborhood with smart wonderful neighbors. It is America as it was in 1955, so naturally the people living there are deeply satisfied with their work as a ruling elite. The reason for that is they have no idea what is happening out in the hinterlands. They avoid the consequences of their preferred polices. If hordes of migrants show up in their schools, they will not be so self-satisfied.

The same logic applies to what is happening in this social war being waged against political dissidents. The people hounding schoolteachers out of their jobs can feel self-satisfied, because they get to avoid the same treatment. The people harassing companies to break ties with the heretics, have no skin in the game, so they are free to overindulge in righteous indignation. At some point, this leads to violence, either against the victims or by the victims.

That is why the current climate is so dangerous. Nature supplies more men with nothing to lose than any society can need. A political system that systematically marginalizes large swaths of young men, telling them they have no place in the world, is a society begging for political violence. Rebecca Klein of the Huffington Post may be feeling smug, for having “outed” a bad thinker, but she is not going to be so smug when her Prius blows up when she tries to start it.

During the Civil Rights Movement, there came a point where the people in charge faced a choice. They could let reasonable men on both sides find an accommodation, or they could let the unreasonable men on both sides fight it out. Today, the people in charge have that same choice. They can put their unreasonable people on a leash and deal honestly with the reasonable people in dissent, or they can continue to wage this social war and invite the war into their streets and their neighborhoods.

This will not end well.

Reality Returns

All of the usual suspects are freaking out over Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum. Most of it is by silly people. Some of it is simply the innumerate throwing yet another tantrum about the bad man who vexes them. Some of the hysteria is due to the fact that people in the chattering classes were sure they had talked this bit of reality into going away for good. Reality, however, is that thing that does not go away when you stop believing in it. The reality of trade is now back.

The amusing thing about trade debates among the chattering classes is that they never bother to mention the trade-offs that come with trade policy. Trade is like any other public policy. It is all about trade-offs. Our rulers, however, were sure they had sacralized their preferred set of trade-offs a long time ago. It turns out that the only people on whom this worked were the innumerate numskulls in the press. The rest of us remain skeptical about “free trade.”

Trade between countries is a net benefit to both countries. Open trade with Canada means they can sell more beaver hats and hockey sticks to Americans, thus making the typical Canadian richer. Similarly, it means Americans can sell more apple pies and boomsticks to Canadians, thus making the typical American richer. In reality, there will be Canadians who suffer from free trade with America and Americans who also suffer in the exchange. That is how the world works.

While the hockey playing folks of northern Virginia will benefit from cheap hockey sticks from Canada, the suddenly unemployed hockey stick makers in Minnesota are the ones paying the price for it. Similarly, the apple growers of Canada get stuck with the bill for the suddenly cheap apple products in Toronto. The hidden cost of free trade is a lot of people you do not know losing their jobs. When you are the guy getting the pink slip, the cost is not hidden and that has a social cost, as well.

Now, trade can be beneficial to both countries in that it promotes efficiency. The lazy and unscrupulous hockey stick makers in Maine, suddenly have to compete with the crafty canucks. This means better hockey sticks, but also less waste. Protectionism, like all public polices, comes with a cost too. That cost is more often than not carried by the consumer. Worse yet, it often promotes the sorts of corruption of public officials that erodes public trust in institutions.

That is why the ruling class is in a panic over the Trump trade policies. It is not about the cost of steel and aluminum. It is not about the possibility of retaliation. The real fear here is that Trump is re-opening the debate about trade. It means all of these trade-offs that come with trade between nations will have to be discussed. The billionaire class that has benefited from the current set of polices, is in no mood to defend their fiefs from the rabble. So, in waddles the clown army.

The current trade regime, has proven to be the boondoggle critics like Pat Buchanan warned about 30 years ago. Open trade with Canada, an English-speaking first world country, is mostly beneficial. Trade with Mexico, a third world narco-state that now operates as a pirate’s cove, has been a disaster. NAFTA has made Mexico a massive loophole in American labor, tax, environmental and trade policy. A loophole ruthlessly exploited by alien predators like China.

The current trade regime is also at the heart of the cosmopolitan globalism that seeks to reduce nations to a fiction and people to economic inputs. This neoliberal orthodoxy has eroded social capital to the point where the white middle class is nearing collapse. It is not just America. The collapsing fertility rates in the Occident are part of the overall cultural collapse going in the West. Slapping tariffs on Chinese steel is not going to arrest this trend, but it does open the door a debate about it.

That is the reality our betters would like to avoid. What defines France is the shared character and shared heritage of the people we call French. What defines a people is not the cost of goods or the price of labor. What defines a people is what they love together and what they hate together. It is the collection of tastes and inclinations, no different than family traditions, which have been cultivated and passed down from one generation to the next.

Even putting the cultural arguments aside, global capitalism erodes the civic institutions that hold society together. Instead of companies respecting the laws of host nations and working to support the welfare of the people of that nation, business is encouraged to cruise the world looking for convenient ports. There is a word for this type of work. It is called piracy. Global firms flit from port to port, with no interest other than the short term gain to be made at that stop. Globalism is rule by pirates.

That is the reason for the panic in the media. To question “free trade” is to question the arrangements that keeps the current regime in place. It may seem like a small thing, tariffs on steel, but it is the sort of thing that can unravel the entire project, because it legitimizes the sorts of questions that threaten the regime. To his credit, Trump seems to get this, which is why he has pressed ahead with this. He is flipping over an important table in this fight.

Not My President

There is a debate in dissident circles about the political acumen and the integrity of President Trump. One side looks at all the zigzagging and flip-flopping on DACA and concludes that Trump is just a liar, who has figured out how to con well-meaning white Boomers. The other side looks at the same issue and sees a strategy intended to move the ball forward on the immigration issue as a whole. His latest antics over the gun issue, however, suggest that is he is just a stupid bullshitter who got lucky.

The gun issue has always been the one thing in American politics where you can reveal both the integrity and the intelligence of someone. Gun grabbers are always very stupid or very dishonest. Sometimes they are both. The 2A people are often just reflexively opposed to gun grabbing, without having thought it through, but gun grabbers are never honest or informed. It is the main reason that the NRA has been successful. They have been blessed with an enemy incapable of honesty and unwilling to learn the facts.

Now, that enemy includes President Trump.

Trump knows even less about the gun issue than he does about marital fidelity, so no one on the 2A side figured he would be our champion. The assumption was that he knew enough to avoid the topic and not get in bed with the gun grabbers. On an issue like guns, doing nothing is usually the best course. Most states are sensible on guns, so letting the states handle it is good for us. Instead, it turns out that Trump is making the classic Republican error of taking advice from his enemies.

It would be one thing if Trump did the rope-a-dope, promising to sign a bill that everyone knows has no chance of becoming reality. Shining people on like he is doing with DACA is standard politics. This gun grabbing lunacy he is spouting is damaging to the cause of gun owners and it reveals Trump to be a mendacious blockhead, with no idea why he is in the White House. It is no longer possible to argue that his maneuverings are super-clever 4-D chess. Trump is simply an unreliable liar.

What is most offensive to the 2A community about what Trump is doing is that he is legitimizing that which our side has worked for generations to de-legitimize. One is using non-democratic methods to get around the people on gun control. His plan to ban bump-stocks by fiat is dangerous lunacy on its face. Worse yet, his endorsement of extra-judicial confiscation of guns on mental health grounds, elevates a crackpot scheme of the Left to something worthy of public debate.

Put another way, this jackass has undone generations of hard work by the very people who put him in office. Not even that feckless nitwit George Bush did something this egregiously stupid. Even Barak Obama was unwilling to go this far. This idiocy is right up there with Poppy Bush breaking his tax promise in order to get the Democrats in Washington to like him. It worked. They loved him, which was why he was a one term president. Trump is now setting himself up to follow Bush into the void of stupidity.

Now, the counter argument you will hear is that Trump is just playing more 4-D chess and this will amount to nothing. Well, a smart politician would know enough to not do that with this issue. This is not a parlor game. The pro-gun voter has no sense of humor on this stuff and they have zero tolerance for limp-wristed politicians too afraid of the girls to do the right thing. Speaking only for myself, I would vote for a gay black Muslim over Trump right now. That is right. I would vote for Obama over Trump.

I think everyone who voted for Trump understood they were getting a guy who would be long on bullshit and short on tangible accomplishments. The point of voting for him was to send a message, but also legitimize populist issues. Trump was the guy who would flip over the tables and discredit the status quo, opening the door for ambitious politicians to run on patriotic issues like immigration reform. Trump would maybe do a few things, but the real work would be up to those who come next.

So far, Trump is looking like he is not going to deliver anything other than blowing his own horn every day. Worse yet, the trade-off for his vanity will be the undermining of the one cause that truly defines what is left of old stock America. By legitimizing gun-grabbing and executive fiat, he has just made it possible for the next President Obama to DACA the gun issue, by issuing new gun laws via executive order. Trump is proving to be one step forward and ten steps backward.

The one lesson of the Trump era is to not put too much stock in what Trump says. He is, after all, a bullshitter. He is also a guy who will wheel on a dime if he senses he is on the wrong side. He is rather shameless in that regard. Still, the damage he has done to the cause of gun rights is incalculable and it will not be forgotten. Unless he eventually signs off on some bold pro-gun laws, lots of his voters will choose to spend next election day at the range, rather than cast a vote for a duplicitous gun grabber.

Post-Christian Liberalism

During the French Revolution, radicals made no bones about attacking the Church as a source of oppression and an obstacle to progress. Marxists, of course, were hostile to religion of all types, but they really hated Christians. In America, direct attacks on Christianity started in the early 20th century, as progressives abandoned the Social Gospel, in order to bring Jews into their movement. The point being, the Left has always had it in for Christianity.

We no longer have Jacobins. We still have a few Marxists kicking around, but they are mostly museum pieces. Exactly no one in a position of authority in the West embraces Marxism or communism. As for progressives, we have plenty of them in America, but their thing has morphed into a weird identity cult that hates white people. Of course, there are precious few Christians around, at least in the ruling classes. In fact, it is hard to find any Christian leaders in the West.

The West is post-Christian now. Leaders of all Western countries agree that Christianity has nothing to offer, in terms of public affairs. You never hear any of them make appeals to the deity or make references to Christian teaching. Every Western nation embraces some form of liberal democracy. Some nations lean toward social democracy, while others embrace neo-liberalism. American leaders will occasionally mumble something about freedom of religion, but otherwise, we are ruled by non-Christians.

The thing is, Christianity brought together certain cultural and political elements that made liberalism possible. There is a reason that things like equality before the law and representative government never took root in Africa. The Roman Republic and ancient Athens had some features of liberal democracy, but they were largely ruled by a collection of families of equal rank. While the Greeks were produced great genius, they did not produce liberal democracy.

To understand this, we need to start with God. The ancients were sure the gods picked sides, played games with man and did so without a grand plan. That means the gods did not see all men as being equal. Jews, of course, were really sure God picked sides, their side, as they are the chosen people. It was the Christians that refined the idea that all men were in equal in the eyes of God. That is the foundation of equality before the law and egalitarianism, at least as far as natural rights.

Another idea, essential to liberal democracy, is the concept of an ordered universe with fixed rules. This was a concept borrowed from Greek philosophy and carried through Europe by Christianity. Not only is an orderly universe essential for the development of science, but it is also essential for the development of rational government. If God has created an orderly universe, governed by immutable and discoverable laws, human society should follow those rules.

You cannot have a free society without contracts. The bargain between men certainly predates Christianity, but it was the Jews who produced the idea of a covenant, a contract that even God would abide. Christians inherited this. The idea that making a contract and sticking to it, because it would displease God to do otherwise, makes it possible to enforce contracts. You cannot have anything resembling liberalism without contract law.

Finally, morality without the divine is just a set of man made rules. Christians were certainly not the first to ascribe the moral code to the supernatural, but they expanded on the Jewish concepts to create a whole body of morality that elevated humanity in the eyes of God. Doing the right thing by your fellow man, even when no one is looking, because God will judge you in the afterlife, allows for the development of the hidden law, a moral code. It allows orderliness to spring forth organically.

That is an extremely broad overview, but the point is that what we take for granted about liberal democracy, has its roots in the Christian past. Within one lifetime ago, Western people expected to be ruled by Christian men. Even when the rulers were not very Christian, they kept it to themselves. It was just accepted that public character tracked with Christian morality. Now that we are ruled by post-Christian women, how long before all of these ideas wither away?

We certainly see some unraveling with the modern notion of egalitarianism. We have gone from men being equal before God, to all people being equal to each other. Lacking the limiting principles that come with religion, progressives are a click away from demanding that all of us pretend we are exactly the same. The story Harrison Bergeron has gone from satire to divine scripture. The Christian regard for the complexity of God’s creation has been completely lost in the post-Christian age.

We are seeing the return of occasionalist magic in the modern era. When the Left talks about “institutional racism” or “white privilege”, they are not talking about definable things that one can measure. These are mystery forces acting on man in the same way Old Scratch used to play the role of trickster. The difference is they assume humans lack the agency to resist these mystery forces. In many respects, Norse pagans were more empirical than the modern progressive.

This is a big topic, but it is something that is worth examination. It is assumed that the stock of human knowledge is always growing, but that does not mean nothing is lost. Western people have abandoned a large chunk of knowledge that had been formalized in Christianity. Some of it can be replaced with science, but the parts underpinning civil morality and our moral philosophy are not easily replaced by secular alternatives. Like the game Jenga, we may have removed a vital peg from liberalism.