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.

Not My President

There’s a long debate in Dissident Right circles about the political acumen and the integrity of President Trump. One side looks at all the zig-zagging 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’s just a stupid bullshitter who got very 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 so 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, to this point, was that he knew enough about politics to just 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 DACA rope-a-dope, promising to sign a bill that everyone knows has no chance of becoming reality. His moves on DACA are pure politics and done with an eye on an eventual Supreme Court hearing. 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 4-D chess. Trump is simply an unreliable liar.

What’s most offensive to the 2A community about what Trump is doing is that he is legitimizing options our side has worked for generations to de-legitimize. One is the option of using non-democratic methods to get around the people and impose gun control. His determination 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’d vote for a gay black Muslim over Trump right now. That’s right. I’d vote for Obama over Trump, just to send the 2A message.

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 build his wall, end some of the egregious immigration abuses, 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 and maybe dodging prison in the Mueller probe. Worse yet, the trade-off for his vanity will be the undermining of the one cause that truly defines what’s 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’s 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 the election day at the range come 2020, rather than cast a vote for a duplicitous gun grabber.

President Mugabe

Martin Luther King is treated like a saint these days. According to popular mythology, he was the Progressive version of Jesus, sent to cleanse the sins of the white man. The truth is, he was far from a saint. By most accounts, King was a lot like Al Sharpton. He was personally corrupt and a degenerate. His great gift was a talent for manipulating upper middle-class whites, while at the same time appearing to oppose them on behalf of the blacks. Whites believed they could deal with him and blacks trusted him.

King had was a sixth sense about the ruling class whites. He knew that they lacked the appetite for confrontation and were generally in favor of dismantling segregation. Northern whites wanted it gone because they hated southern whites, but upper class southerners wanted it gone too. These whites wanted to be accepted in the national elite and saw segregation as an obstacle. King understood this and played on that divide as you can see in his Letter From Birmingham Jail.

The subtle point, made in the context of the events that got him locked up, was that whites had a choice. They could negotiate with him or fight with the brothers on the street. At the same time, the message to northern whites was that blacks would not submit, so it was safe to back them against southern whites. This two cushion bank shot had the desired effect of weakening the resolve of southern elites, who were put in the same impossible position as South African whites a generation later.

In the end, King’s great gift was not his ability to rally and uplift blacks, but his ability to pit one groups of whites against another. The faction willing to fight would be abandoned and used as a scapegoat. Later, guys like Jackson and Sharpton turned this trick into a racket. They would threaten to riot outside a corporate headquarters until they got paid. Jackson became a millionaire shaking down large companies. Sharpton is less rich, but he certainly lives well scaring white liberals into paying his way.

In post-Colonial Africa, there was a similar phenomena, but in a different context. The white colonials were looking to put a black face on their possessions and went looking for the best and brightest Africans. The Brits went so far as to send them back to England for training and education. Eventually, some rose up and took control as the colonials withdrew. The story over and over with the new African leaders was they all possessed an ability to sooth the fears of the whites, while appearing as authentic Africans.

Time after time, the colonials were lead to believe that these guys were more like them than the typical African. They held no ill will toward them and would continue on the policies established by the whites. Ian Smith of Rhodesia, a skeptic of British policy, was even won over eventually. Once they gained power, however, the new black rulers set about slaughtering anyone they thought was a threat. Eventually, that meant turning on the white farmers and administrators and eventually genocide.

We are seeing something similar with Barak Obama. It turns out that his only real skill is the ability to make upper-middle class white liberals do stuff for him. Otherwise, the guy is incompetent. You see it in this story from the LA Times, of all places.  This is the basic stuff of governance. Governments spy on one another. They get caught. They are always prepared for both so as not to look foolish. Yet, this administration is incapable of this basic duty. This is statecraft 101 and the administration can’t master it.

As an aside, a trouble pattern seems to be emerging with regards to the use of the intelligence services in this administration. They seem to have a flagrant disregard for the normal protocols. The reason those protocols exist is to avoid these sorts of diplomatic blunders. The story makes quite clear that the White House deliberately broke the rules in order to spy on European leaders. That suggests a cavalier attitude toward the limits of the state. Who else are they spying on and what other rules are they breaking?

Anyway, pick an item and the only thing Obama has been able to do well is rally upper-middle class white liberals to defend him from his critics. Everything else has been a mess. He had an opportunity to radically alter government in his first two years and blundered so badly little was accomplished. Even his most slavish fans grumble about the blown opportunities. It turns out that replacing whites with non-whites has a real impact on the basic functioning of western-style governments.

Americans are now getting see up close why Africa has failed. We elected the Robert Mugabe of America politics as President. He’s not threatening genocide, at least not yet, but there are trouble signs that his administration is about to unleash a torrent of anti-white rhetoric. His talk about going “Bullworth” is all about taking the gloves off with regards to race. The last thing America needs is race talk from the mulatto president. That could very well be the price of incompetence. A simmering race war.

The Bob Seger Lesson

I was getting a haircut on Sunday and the chit-chat with the barber was about music. She is my age, mid-40’s, so she thinks the new pop music is mostly crap. Her son is listening to hip-hop, which is degenerate crap. That was never said, but the thought was in the air, so to speak. Whatever artistic merit there was to hip-hop, if any, disappeared when white boys in the suburbs became the prime demographic for music about the ghetto. That and the performer cannot sing, read or write music or string together comprehensible lyrics.

There’s lots of crap in pop culture, so hip-hop is just one example. To paraphrase John Derbyshire, pop culture has always been filth. It’s also always been a racket to skim middle-class whites of money. Read the book The Wrecking Crew and you will learn about how the early rock music was mostly manufactured by middle-aged Jews from the Jazz era. The difference between now and previous eras is that there used to be talented musicians and groups producing some quality stuff.

A good example is Bob Seger. He got famous in the 1970’s with a bunch of hits that still get airtime today. Go into a college bar and you will still find a few Seger songs getting played. Seger was before my time, for the most part, but my generation was playing his stuff in the 80’s and 90′ so it is not like he is a newly re-discovered fad because of a TV commercial. The reason he had some staying power is the quality of the music. Even doggerel put to a simple ditty can aspire to the sense of the timeless.

I was never a big fan, but I have been listening to his greatest hits lately. The lyrics and pacing are phenomenal. It is what you get when experienced professional musicians with talent make records. In all probability they hammered out each song on a piano and then brought in the rest of the instruments. The studio sessions were about getting the sound on vinyl, not making bad voices and bad musicians sound good. Seger and his collaborators had real talent and produced a quality product.

That got me thinking about what is and what is not quality pop music. There are probably dozens of examples from each decade that you can point to like this. The 1950’s were dominated by manufactured pop hits, but Chuck Berry made the electric guitar do things unheard of before his time. Fifty years from now people will find his licks beguiling. The Stones, The Who, and Hendrix will hold up and have held up. The 70’s had Zeppelin, which may have been the most sophisticated rock band ever.

Nothing in pop music rises to the level of Beethoven, of course, but there and bands and performers in most decades with artistic talent. That seems to have slowed in the mid-70’s with the rise of disco and hip-hop. I’m not sure who from the 80’s would be in the same club as the Stones or The Who. The 90’s saw things fall apart completely, as there were no dominant acts. That could simply be my age showing, but I was till plugged into pop culture in the 1990’s, so I don’t think I’m falling into geezerism here.

This apparent decline in high end quality music the last two decades is a mystery that goes without notice. Instead, the pop industry just turns up the hype to eleven figuring young people will not notice they are being sold synthetic pap. It’s not an accident that the “hype man” has become a feature of everything from sports to movies. There are thousands of people paid to tell us that the latest movie, TV show or pop act is the greatest thing since the invention of the wheel.

Still, where are the talented musicians going if not into the garage or basement to create something good? Part of the answer is nowhere. Young people are simply not picking up instruments as they did in the past. When I was a kid, everyone played something, even in poor neighborhoods. It was just the way. I was started on the trumpet at six and took lessons until I was 12. Most kids dropped it for sports or other stuff, but many stuck with it.

Today, the only kids I see with an instrument are Asian girls carrying violins. Blacks have abandoned the guitar and seem to be losing interest in the drums.  Whites have dropped music entirely. This old post describes the plight of the guitar in music. As white culture recedes, pop culture has changed to appeal to non-whites. As pop culture has become a formal part of state control, garage bands no longer have a place, so white kids don’t bother wasting their time learning to play instruments.

Another argument is that computers are filling the void. Anyone can now sit down at their PC, load some software and create the sound of drums, guitar, piano, etc. They can make their voice sound like something other than a bag of cats. There’s no longer a need to learn to read music or play an instrument. Certainly studios stopped using drummers when they could use computers instead. The problem here is the computer does not improvise, experiment or make adjustments.

Again, this a reflection of the culture. As whites become a minority in their own lands, their culture switches from that of a confident majority to that of a captured minority. There can be great art to emanate from a defeated people. James Joyce was a man from a captive people. Southern literature reflects the culture of a defeated region of old America. Maybe pop culture will change to reflect the plight of whites in the West. Alternatively, American Indians never produced a pop culture after their defeat. They just died out.

That brings me back to Bob Seger. He did not hit it big out of the womb. He kicked around for years learning how to play music that people enjoyed. Good musicians have an ear for what others will like. That comes from many nights in many clubs. Dragging your computer gear into the club and “DJ’ing” is really not the same thing. When you get down to it, you’re just wearing another man’s suit, pretending you look better in it. A vibrant people make for a vibrant culture, which makes a Bob Seger possible.

Like America, our pop culture is dying with autumn closing in…