Buddha’s Children

In his interesting post on Robert Mugabe’s intelligence, the blogger calling himself Pumpkin Person notes “One reason for thinking he’s in the upper end of this range is that he was a Marxist, and left-wing politics are positively correlated with IQ (at least if you control for race and income).” This does not imply that all Marxists are highly intelligent. He is simply noting the observation that left-wing politics of the radical sort highly correlate with intelligence. Smart, educated people tend to be radicals.

This is an assertion most people have heard, if they have gone to college, spent time on a college campus or consumed popular culture. The assertion, that intelligence and radicalism are traveling partners, is a part of the cultural bath in which every western man swims. It certainly holds up when you look at the data. Whoever the Democrats nominate for President, no matter how nutty and deranged, that person will win more than 80% of the vote in every college town of America.

Now, normal people chafe at this assertion as the obvious implication is that stupid people oppose radicalism. That’s certainly what the usual suspects have always claimed, until biology became a taboo of late. Anyone over the age of forty probably recalls being told something like this in college. Of course, it was never just a passing observation. The link between radicalism and intelligence was always supposed to put critics on the defensive, as if they are inferiors.

The power of this can be seen in how Bill Buckley adopted the over-the-top WASP intellectual style. The point of it was to inoculate himself against the claim he was too dumb to understand what the Left was claiming. George Will’s silly bowtie or Kevin Williamson’s quill pen act are other recent examples. These affectations are intended to signal the person is smart and therefore cannot be dismissed by the Left. It’s Athena’s shield for the right-wing Perseus of left-wing politics.

It is certainly true that the data supports the claim. The voting patterns of the educated bear this out. There are exceptions from time to time, but generally speaking, the more credentials you have acquired, the more likely you are to be on the Left. Since credentials are a pretty good proxy for IQ, the original assertion holds. The smarter you are, the more inclined you are toward radical politics. Or, if you prefer, the smarter the person, the more open they are to radical politics.

The problem with this observation is that it a logical fallacy. Specifically, it is the fallacy of association. A famous example of this fallacy is the observation that hardcore drug takers usually start with marijuana, so pot is a gateway drug. All hardcore drug takers start life drinking milk, but no rational person would say milk leads to smoking crystal meth in adulthood. In other words, there is no causal link established between IQ and radicalism in politics, no matter how much the Left would wish it so.

Then there is the issue of how one defines left-wing politics. Every single establishment right-winger would have been called a radical a century ago. Two centuries ago the radicals in the West were people advocating liberalism. All of these terms used to describe politics are relative and their definitions shift over time. To pretend that Left and Right are timeless categories is to reveal a total ignorance of history. Even figuring out the relative poles in each era is not always possible, as we see today.

There is another angle here that is more important to the topic. People are social animals and we are a self-segregating species. People of like mind will tend to congregate with one another out of instinct. This is obvious to anyone who has been in a lunchroom of a large public school. This is not just true of mature humans. Even babies are attracted to their kind. This is why the college campus is so intolerant of free inquiry and dissent. Over time, it has boiled off those with contrary opinions.

What this means is smart people are naturally going to end up in areas around other smart people, like the college campus. The ornery and disagreeable will usually be boiled off for all the natural reasons. Most, however, will be as open to peer pressure as everyone else, maybe more so. Most smart people tend to live sheltered lives, insulated from the harsh reality of the human animal. If they are not left-wing when they hit the college campus, they soon adapt to their new friends and new culture.

This is such an obvious thing we have memes for it. The know-it-all coed, back from her first year at college, is a standard type in American culture. It’s a stock character in television and movies. Then you have the modern meme of sweet little Suzy heading off to college and coming back and blue-haired lesbian with a nose ring. This happens less frequently with males, which probably explains why the college campus is looking more like a hormonal coven these days than anything imagined by Aristotle.

Another thing to consider is that 500 years ago, if one were to use modern techniques to measure IQ and politics, the correlation would look much different. Instead of the intelligent tending toward radicalism, they would tend toward monasticism. The smart men of the age, if they were not the first born, often ended up in the Church. That’s where smart, curious men of the age went to be around other smart men. Maybe they would end up in the court of their king, defending the natural order.

Putting it all together, the reason radicalism and intelligence seem to go hand-in-hand in this age is that radicalism is the secular religion of this age. Just as the best and brightest of a prior age would have been great theologians, the smart set of this age seek to advance the secular religion of today. That means coming up with novel ways to justify it in the face of observable reality. Of course, there’s always profit in being the defender of the faith, so the Left attracts the most ambitious too.

The reason we currently observe a correlation between left-wing politics and intelligence is because left-wing politics is the secular religion of this age. In America this has been true since Gettysburg. In Europe, neo-liberalism has been the dominant faith since the end of the last war. To be in the high IQ world means embracing the religion of the high IQ world. If tomorrow, those people become Buddhists, the smart young people of tomorrow will suddenly trend toward Buddhism.


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Civic Anti-Racism

In modern America, there are two things that are on display simultaneously in the realm of public debate. One is the celebration of the fact that white people and the interests of white people are in sharp decline. The other is a growing fear of white people. It is a strange combination at first glance, as this should be a time for the coalition of the ascendant to celebrate their looming hegemony. Instead, they endlessly talk about themselves, but in the context of a prophesized white backlash.

The root of this is the strange obsession with racism that has become a religion of its own over the last two decades. The anointing of Obama as the completion of the Second Founding, the event that was supposed to wash the stains of slavery, segregation and racism from America, instead ushered in an era of race panic. The Left is in a near frenzy over racism, which they now see everywhere. It is an obsession to the point where even the so-called Right is infected by it.

The recent outbreak of hysteria over white supremacists allegedly plotting a violent revolution is a good starting point. This post at Reason Magazine, after the El Paso shooting, is a good example. The libertarians used to take a pass on the race issue, preferring instead to obsess over weed and sexual deviance. They avoided it because preaching about free association regarding race would get them in trouble. Today, they are right there with Left hooting about white supremacy.

Now, libertarianism was always just a Progressive heresy, but it attracted a lot of conservatives. Operations like Reason had to pretend to be on the Right. That’s no longer the case, as actual conservatives have abandoned libertarianism for dissident politics. Perhaps they now feel free to let their guard down. The Koch Brothers have abandoned the GOP and are now backing left-wing candidates, so maybe this is part of their scheme. Still, the turn to berserk anti-racism is notable.

The so-called conservatives are not being left out of the panic. Right-wing goblin Ben Shapiro has been all over the white supremacy scare. He is working his tiny little fingers raw explaining why his grift has nothing in common with those really bad people to his Right. As is always the case with this guy, he takes the latest Progressive bogeyman and assigns it to his competition on the Right, so his motives always suspect. Even so, it feeds into the general hysteria over race.

Confidence men like Shapiro may not be the best examples, but it is clear that unhinged anti-racism is becoming a conservative principle. A rising star among conservatives is a guy calling himself Joshua Tait, a doctoral candidate at North Carolina, who is fashioning himself as a historian of conservatism. He turns up all over posting articles about various aspects of conservative intellectual history. Of course, he is an enthusiastic anti-racist and obsessed with those bad people to his Right.

That’s the remarkable thing about his writing. It is infected with a weird obsession about race that used to be cringe inducing when done on the Left. This piece reads like a panic attack over Amy Wax noticing the realities of immigration at the National Conservatism conference. This piece reads like a sobbing apology for the fact that people on the Right used to hold sensible opinions about race. The fact they have been proved correct over the last few generations goes unnoticed.

Now, to most readers, Joshua Tait is an unknown, but he is being groomed to be the next generation of so-called conservative intellectuals. Like we see with the more pedestrian stuff from Ben Shapiro, the so-called smart conservatives will be every bit as hysterical about race. The religion of anti-racism will be a core conservative value. Put another way, a rhetorical trick to rally the tribes of the Democrat coalition is quickly being turned into the organizing ethos of the new political class.

An interesting aspect of this new civic religion of anti-racism is it is mostly built on the assumption that whites, at any minute, will go bonkers and start attacking black bodies, while erecting old statues. The anti-racism of Joshua Tait is not rooted in something practical like greed, as in the case of Ben Shapiro. It’s not the product of cowardice, as you see with the Reason Magazine crowd. It’s a genuine sense that whites are a ticking time bomb that have to be monitored.

In this sense, the new anti-racism is like the old communist obsession with opponents of the revolution. With commies, the opponents of the revolution did not have to exist, but they must be made to exist. That is, if they could not find real counter-revolutionaries, they invented them. Something similar is going on with the anti-racists. They can’t find actual white supremacists, at least not in quantity, so they hunt for signs of it, like an evil spirit lurking on the fringes. The price of anti-racism is eternal vigilance.

It is tempting to think that this all about rallying the tribes of the Left, but it is probably the symptom of a different problem. What’s happening is white people are disengaging from the ruling Left. The old game of Team Blue fighting Team Red, where whites cheered for Team Red, is falling part. The cheering section of Team Red is shrinking. The over-the-top anti-racism is an effort to draw those disaffected fans of Team Red back into the game in order to maintain the old dynamic.

The problem, of course, is that Team Red has been designed to keep as little space between themselves and Team Blue as possible. They are children that can never be out of sight of their mother. As Team Blue races shrieking into the darkness of multicultural fanaticism, Team Red is racing after them. The old political arrangements, animated by hyper-anti-racism is a civic religion of the ruling class that is based on a hatred of sixty percent of the people over whom they rule.


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Politics and Aesthetics

The Democrats are about to kick-off their fashion show for picking their next presidential candidate, so the experts are trying to set the tone for the season. The fashion show is a good analogy at this stage. Designers don’t always come up with new styles that work with the public, so they try different things, hoping for one or two that work. They hope to come up with something that catches the attention of a taste-maker, like a Hollywood starlet, then all of a sudden they have a hit with the public.

Steve Jobs figured this out the second time around with Apple. It was not about cutting edge technology or making a better product. That was a field with too many big money smart players. His game was going to be as trend setter and taste-maker. He tailored the company to be the symbol of the smart set, the people who fashion themselves a cut above the masses. These are the people who determine the latest styles. The lowly music player soon became a fashion and cultural statement.

Politics often works the same way. In 1992, Bill Clinton won the presidency largely on the cool factor. He was young, as far as Baby Boomers were concerned. He was also hip and cool. He played the sax on TV wearing sunglasses! Voting for Clinton became a fashion statement for the Left. Tony Blair played the same game in Britain with the “Cool Britannica” stuff. He was young and new and the future of Britain, despite being the man, who would usher in the end of Britain as an English country.

Politics and aesthetics are tightly wound together in any form of democracy, as selecting people for elected office is a popularity contest. The winner of the beauty pageant is not objectively better in some way than the others. She just has some way of appealing to the voters in the moment. The iPod was not some great innovation or invention. It just looked cool to the right people at the right time and became the standard for music players. Barak Obama was not a great statesman. He was just the right style at the time.

It’s not just left-wing politics in America that relies on an aesthetic to carry it forward with its supporters. In 1976 Ronald Reagan lost to the dour Gerald Ford in the Republican primary. The same Reagan won in 1980 and ushered in a great cultural revival called the Reagan Revolution. In 1976 men had sideburns and wore garish leisure suits. In 1986, men wore traditional men’s suits, bathed every day and kept themselves properly groomed. The political revolution had an aesthetic.

This has always been true in the era of liberal democracy. The two great movements of the early 20th century, fascism and Bolshevism, had distinct aesthetics. The quintessential communist a century ago was a shabby looking cosmopolitan, with round spectacles and a few too many phobias. In contrast, the quintessential fascist was the beer drinking bourgeoisie hooligan, who disdained books in favor of the Faustian existence. Both sides were fighting over an aesthetic, as much as for power.

This is an important thing to understand about politics in any age, but especially in this highly democratic age. It’s about flattery, as much as anything. The people flocking to your banner do so because it validates an opinion of themselves. This piece in the Atlantic, celebrating Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg is a good example. The intended audience for that article are the sort of people, who want to belief their politics are controlled by facts and reason, rather than superstition and emotion.

The fact that both Warren and Buttigieg are pseudo-intellectual posers is not only not a liability, but it is an asset. The people they seek to attract are themselves supercilious dilettantes and poseurs. They get their opinions from the MSNBC and NPR, while claiming to be avid readers of the New York Times. These are the people who decorate their apartments with books they never read. Around a real intellectual, they are made to feel inferior, but around Warren or Buttigieg they are validated.

The argument that the democrats are heavily reliant on the super educated is what’s called flattering the reader. Democrats rely on blacks, foreigners and white people too dumb to realize they are being destroyed. That is the base of the party now. Warren and Buttigieg know they have no shot at those voters, so they hope to win the beautiful people in the party. They may not connect with the rank and file, but they can appeal to the trend setters, who have the tools to convert that into popular appeal.

Another way to see the entanglement of politics and aesthetics is look at the street battles between the alt-right and Antifa. One side kitted themselves out as preppy suburban fascists. The other side was a comical mélange of Italian Black Shirts and skateboard park anarchists. Neither side had a coherent, positive identity, so they cherry-picked styles and symbols from past movements. They could just as easily have faced off with one side in leisure suits and the other side wearing spats.

In fact, what characterizes this period is the lack of a political aesthetic that is authentic and original. This is an interregnum, where the old order is slowly giving way, but a new order has yet to form. More precisely, the battles lines between the contestants for a new order have yet to form. Instead, it is one side protecting the status quo and one side dissatisfied with it. The former has no reason to defend the old order, other than habit, while the latter has no conception of what should come next.

If there is to be a coherent political and social movement rise out of the dissident right, it will have to be more than narrow political arguments and meta-political commentary on social media. It will need a look that signals to the curious that it is a movement with a future for itself and its adherents. Just as men in traditional suits signaled a break from the 1970’s and the radical chic of the New Left, the new aesthetic will have to signal a break from the old political paradigm and the old Progressive morality.

If you like living off the sweat of others, then ignore the following. On the other hand, if you care about your community and want to support those working hard on your behalf, consider supporting my work by donating the price of a beer or a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. Unlike those mega-corporations, I will not use your money to destroy your family and community. Or, you can send money to me at: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. Or, PayPal.

Understanding The Left

One of the strange contradictions of modern life is how the Right, generally defined as not-Left, is sure they understand the Left, while they are convinced the Left has no understanding of the Right. A standard job in Conservative Inc. is the position of explaining every event in terms of the Left’s motivation for or against it. Cable chat shows have a roster full of these guys they use to pad out their segments. Often, this is someone employed at some minor league operation in Conservative Inc.

The argument from the Right is that the Left controls everything, so it is impossible for normal people to escape left-wing proselytizing. At your work, it is angry single women and bitter minorities lecturing you on diversity. At school, it is the same, supplemented by emotionally unstable coeds. In pop culture, it is the usual suspects peddling the latest Progressive fads. There is no escaping the tidal wave of cultural and political sewage that gushes from the Left, so everyone understands it.

On the other hand, so the argument goes, the Left lives in their isolated bunkers, free of contrary opinion. This is why they are hell-bent on stifling opinion on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. They wish to be free of dissent and have the ability to isolate themselves from it, so they live in ignorance of opinion and culture outside their bubbles. There is a lot of truth to this, given how they describe people like Gavin McInnes and Stephen Crowder as no different from very bad people like Mike Enoch and Richard Spencer.

The truth is though, the not-Left really does not understand Left at all. People outside the Left continue to believe, for example, that the Left has good and logical reasons for the things they do, like woke capitalism. In that post, Sailer goes through the possible reason for the sudden rise in wokeness, using statistical data to illustrate the emergence in the late Obama years. He does not settle on an explanation, but the underlying assumption is there is a good, or at least logical, reason for it.

Now, by good reason, it is not to imply morally good in an absolute, transcendent sense of the idea. The Unabomber had good reasons for sending bombs through the mail, at least as far as he was concerned. From his perspective, there was no good reason for not mailing bombs. As nutty as that was, it is comprehensible. The same can be said for logical reasons. They may not be, strictly speaking, logical, but they are at least understandable. The desire for power, sex, money and so forth.

This way to trying to understand the Left, however, has one flaw. The Left is not reasonable or even thinking through this stuff. There was no meeting at the NY Times back in the late Obama years where it was decided that they would run Emmett Till stories every time black crime became a national story. There was no meeting among the heads of Big Media to agree upon a strategy of pushing the Russian collusion hoax after the election. The Left is not motivated by good or logical reasons.

Instead, it is better to think of them as a school of fish. When you watch a school of fish or a flock of birds, that is another useful analogy, it appears as if they are coordinated in their actions. It’s as if one of the fish is the brain, operating in secret communication with the rest of the school, to have them dart left or right through the water. It’s almost as if they were designed to be of one mind. We know, however, that there is no conspiracy of fishes secretly controlling the school using secret communications.

Instead, it is one fish responding to the fish around him. When the fish on the outside of the school twitches, those around him twitch. The cascade of movement happens so fast it is imperceptible to the observer on the dock. The same is true of birds. That murmuration of a flock of starlings looks like a highly coordinated ballet, but in reality it is the result of a million reactions within the flock. That’s how the Left operates like a highly coordinated religious cult. They are tuned to react to one another.

This is why facts and reason are useless weapons against the Left. People in the 2A community have all had the experience of carefully explaining the facts and arguments of gun control to their lefty friend or relative. They nod along, seeming to understand what has been explained. The next time you see them, it is the same old shibboleths, as if they have no memory of the last conversation. The reason for this is the very definition of who they are is their membership in a civic religion.

A part of every religion is ritual. Even the crudest, most simple of religions have some rituals that reinforce the belief system. Those ceremonies and rituals are physical manifestations of the shared belief. Step inside a synagogue and it is nothing but ritual and ceremony. The same is true of the Catholic Church. Old religions have had a long time to develop and fine tune their rituals and ceremonies. Without those rituals, the religion ceases to exist, just as the death of the body kills the consciousness.

That is the power of Progressivism. It is a self-contained, self-validating shared reality for the adherents. It’s why so few people break from it. More important, its immune system has evolved highly complex defenses against the way in which the Right prefers to debate. Those appeals to facts and reason are quickly turned into fuel to energize the believers into huddling closer in common defense. It’s how the Left maintains its power. It has turned the enemy’s best weapons into fuel.

It is why engaging with the Left is a tactical error. As much as dissidents like to accuse the Buckley conservatives of being controlled opposition, they never really got the value of the Buckley types to the Left. They were not their designated punching bags. They were the ritualized manifestation of the devil, the universal threat against which the Left is organized. It is a reminder of why they believe, why they must stick together and why they must fight by any means necessary.

An authentic alternative to the Left will therefore not confront the Left, but hide from it, refusing to engage in the traditional way. More important, it can never manifest in the traditional ways. Those white boys in fashy haircuts at Charlottesville were the best controlled opposition the Left has had since David Duke. They were what the Progressive prophesies foretold, thus confirming the shared beliefs of the coalition of the ascendant. It’s why Charlottesville looms so large for the Left.

The authentic alternative to the prevailing orthodoxy will have to evolve in the shadows and evolve its own immunity from the weapons of the Left. Instead of being attracted to confronting the Left, it will have to be repelled by it. The decisive weapon will be never manifesting in a way that allows the Left to anathematize it. Instead of playing the role carved out for them by the Left, the successful dissidents will seem formless and inexplicable. The people in charge will never see them coming.

If you like living off the sweat of others, then ignore the following. On the other hand, if you care about your community and want to support those working hard on your behalf, consider supporting my work by donating the price of a beer or a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. Unlike those mega-corporations, I will not use your money to destroy your family and community. Or, you can send money to me at: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432.

Negrophilia

In Paris, during the interwar years, the avant-garde and artists developed a passion for what they saw as black culture. Part of it was due to the trade in exotic items from French colonies in Africa and part of it was due to exposure to black troops from America and Africa during the war. The word negrophilia is derived from the French négrophilie that means love of the negro. The modern and fashionable of the day would collect African art, listen to Jazz and hang out at clubs where the Charleston was popular.

A century later, a similar sort of frenzy has gripped people who fashion themselves as sophisticated and fashionable. Instead of Jazz, they listen to hip-hop and worship black sports figures. Instead of collecting African art, they collect African orphans. More important, instead of admiring the cultural products of blacks, they have developed an unconscious worship of blacks. They have elevated them to minor gods, who must be protected at all cost. The protection of these gods is a sign of righteousness.

This new form of negrophilia is entirely a conservative thing. That’s conservative as in right-wing Progressive, not historic conservatives. These are the people who see Candace Owens as something of a shaman. So much so allegedly sober minded people are willing to embrace nutty academic fads in order to prove their love for her. It’s not her specifically, but black exceptionalism in general. Any black who embraces the habits of white bourgeois society becomes something sacred to be defended at all costs.

You see that with the so-called principled conservative crowd, who are suddenly up in arms about the media harassing someone for their political opinions. Those principled conservatives took to their quill pens to denounce the Daily Beast for posting personal information about a black Facebook user, who mocked Nancy Pelosi. He either created or doctored a video of Pelosi, which showed her slurring her words. The Left was very upset by it, as it mocked their octogenarian leader.

Up until this point, the principled conservatives were silent on the campaign of harassment by the Daily Beast against other people holding taboo opinions. The reason is those victims were white and their opinions are pro-white. Conservatives were not just silent about the social media purges of pro-white users, they celebrated it. They wrote snickering posts about how private companies had the absolute right to censor speech and the victims were free to create their own platforms.

The obsequious David French tries to find some principles that makes it OK for the media to harass white people, but not black people. All he is able to do is insert himself into the story as an alleged victim of mean people on-line. His effort to defend the sacred black man is just autoethnicgraphic groveling. For those unaware, when the term “cuckservative:” was popularized, French was one of the first guys to see it turn up in his twitter feed. He has never recovered from it.

One thing to note is that none of these principled conservatives can be bothered to defend a principle here. Theirs is an emotional response. They see a sacred black in distress and they naturally rush to his aid. It’s what drove them to slobber over Diamond and Silk, the black YouTube performers. It’s what made Sheriff Clark a star. Sure, it is a way for them to shout “DR3” as they hiss at the Left, but the driver is not just the desire to zing the Left. These people worship an idealized black.

This fever has gripped them to the point where they are unable to defend their own ideas, what few of them exist, without finding a back to confirm them. Conservative Inc. has been vexed by the rise of white identity politics, but could never muster much of an argument against it. The reason is it would require attacking left-wing identity politics and they can’t risk that, so they now have a black to do the job for them. Blacks are always used as a cat’s paw by principled conservatives.

Of course, the cause of this is a phenomenon that started on the Left in the 1980’s, when liberals moved past the street theater of radicalism. Instead of going to the ghetto to link arms with people like Jess Jackson, the new radicals wanted to invite blacks into their world. Not just any blacks, of course. They preferred the talented ten percent, who would be happy to confirm the sensibilities of bourgeois radicalism, by aping the opinions and mannerisms of the bourgeois bohemians. Barak Obama says hello.

Forgotten to the mists of time were Obama prototypes like former Baltimore mayor Kurt Schmoke. Back in the 1980’s, he was the first of a new breed of black politician. He was Ivy League educated and more comfortable in the boardroom than the ghetto. As the saying went at the time, he was black, but not, you know, black. His role was not to be the voice of black America in the ruling class, but instead to be the symbol of ruling class virtue. White politicians loved having their picture taken with him.

Because today’s principled conservatism is just yesterday’s Progressive fads, the modern conservative now embraces the negrophilia of the 1980’s. Just as the liberals of yesterday were interested only in an idealized black, today’s conservatives only care about blacks who play a similar role. They ignore the blacks who the Left employs to attack white culture, as they fear being called a racist. Instead they worship people like Candace Owens and Diamond and Silk, who are willing to confirm their virtue.

That’s not to say that Sheriff Clarke or Candace Owens are dishonest in their presentations or running a con on white people. They seem sincere in their beliefs. According to all accounts, they are genuinely nice people. The thing is, what they say is not remarkable. The reason they are stars is they are black people saying the same things Sean Hannity says every night. These principled conservatives love these people because they assure them they are not going to be called a racist.

The one big difference between the Left’s negrophilia and that of these principled conservatives is self-awareness. For the Left, these good blacks were just useful pawns in the culture war. They were a means to an end. For principled conservatives, these sorts of fads are an end in themselves. That’s because principled conservatism is a defensive crouch, not a set of ideas aimed at a goal. Despite all of their howling about their principles, principled conservatism is just a pose.

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The Post-Citizen World

Steve Sailer likes to promote an idea he calls citizenism, which is the general idea that a government should place the interests of its current citizens ahead of the interests of non-citizens or potential future citizens. It is pretty much what we call civic nationalism now, but a dozen years ago that meme did not exist, even though the concept has been with us since the founding of the country. The Founders certainly thought the point of government was to serve the interests of the current citizenry and their posterity.

Civic Nationalism is largely a reactionary idea today. Like various forms of socialism, it lacks a root system in the soil of the current culture. In a world in which people of European heritage are a tiny minority and increasingly minorities in their own lands, bourgeois notions of fair play and orderly debate are anachronism. We see that whenever a populist candidate or party wins power. The rules go out the window and the ruling elite goes to war with the rebels, using any means necessary to stop them.

An orderly debate about what is best for the citizens of a country is impossible because the people in the ruling elite of the West define themselves in opposition to the notion of citizenship. That’s what it means to be a post-nationalist Progressive. The whole point of it is to oppose those antiquated notions of citizenship. Those are exclusive and the new global person is open. Worse yet, citizenship is hierarchical, placing the interests of some over the interests of others. That’s probably racist.

You can get a sense of this in the response to Tulsi Gabbard’s decision to run for the Democrat nomination in 2020. Civic nationalists are programmed to think she is bad, because she makes unapproved noises about economics. They will no doubt says she is a socialist. That’s the result of being trapped in a forgotten era. None of that will matter to the people in charge, particularly those involved in Democrat politics. They see her as a threat to their conception of the new global citizen. Here’s an example.

“But Gabbard’s almost singular focus on the damage these wars inflict domestically, and her comparative lack of focus on the carnage they wreak in the countries under attack, is troubling. It is nationalism in antiwar garb, reinforcing instead of undercutting the toxic rhetoric that treats foreigners as less deserving of dignity than Americans.”

You’ll note two things that turn up in the Progressive criticism of Gabbard. One is her roots are inauthentic, as far as they are concerned. She does not have the appropriate struggle narrative. An essential element of the left-wing mindset is the assertion that only the oppressed have authenticity. Therefore, to assume a leadership position in the forever revolution of the oppressed, the leaders must have overcome oppression. Gabbard has lived the standard American middle-class life, so she can never be trusted.

The salient issue lies in that highlighted section. Gabbard’s opposition to fighting wars in the Middle East is pretty much the civic nationalist view. Those wars are not good for America or Americans. They may have some benefit to the ruling elite of the empire, but they have no benefit to Americans. Further, the people being sent to fight these wars are suffering for a cause that has no benefit to them. In other words, to sacrifice for your people is noble and heroic. To suffer for strangers is pointless.

To the ideological core of the ruling elite, this is an abnegation of who they are, which is why you will hear lots of “this is not who we are” in response to her over the coming months. Just as the Left refused to defend Sanders against attacks from the Buckley conservatives in 2016, the Left will stand silent as the warmongers of neoconservatism hint that Gabbard is an alt-right anti-semite. Her assumption that citizenship is a real thing implies that nations are real things and that’s unacceptable in a post-nationalist world.

This is why civic nationalism is a dead end movement. It’s trying to reanimate an Enlightenment concept that was killed off by the post-war cultural revolution of the last fifty years. Reviving the old notions of civic identity is about as promising as reviving the monarchy in Germany. Thinking about it is a nice escape for those struggling to face the reality of identity politics, but that’s all it is, a fantasy. The world created by the Left is a post-nationalist world and therefore a post-citizen world.

In fairness to the cosmopolitanism globalists, they are not wrong about citizenship having no place in the future West. It can continue on in the Visegrad countries that have escaped the migrant invasion, but even there it is more of a tribal response, an identity politics of an ethno-state, than civic nationalism. Otherwise, citizenship makes no sense in multicultural, multi-racial societies. Tribalism is not just part of the human condition, it is part of our biological reality, and therefore the future is some form of tribal politics.

Another glimpse of this will come from the alt-right, who will be enthusiastic supporters of Gabbard this year. They see her anti-war rhetoric as a sanitized version of their own opposition to Israel. In other words, there remains a great shallowness to the alt-right in these matters, but that shallowness is a glimpse of future politics. That is, who you are will be as much about who you oppose as who you support. Anyone familiar with the politics of Lebanon has a sense of what comes next for the multicultural democratic empire.

The Religious Divide

Way back in the olden thymes, “spiritual” people eschewed traditional religion, in favor of pseudo-paganism and Eastern mysticism. Along with it came sub-cults like saving the whales or saving the environment. Concern for people and things over the horizon is the hallmark of new age religion. Most of these people were miserable to their families and friends, but they had nothing but love for mother earth, nature and oppressed people living far away.

All of that nonsense from the 60’s and 70’s was just religion for people who liked the benefits of public piety, but were not into any of the sacrifices. They had special outfits to wear in public, signaling their goodness. They ate strange foods and got into meditation and yoga. Bumper stickers were a big thing. it was a way for them to impose their values on you without taking an risk. That’s the thing with the self-righteous and publicly pious. It grace without sacrifice for them.

Still, they were a minor nuisance, for the most part. Cleaning up rivers and protecting wildlife is the sort of stuff rich societies can do without causing too much trouble. It is what economist call public goods. Despite the fact the people behind these efforts were mostly monomaniacal weirdos, like Ralph Nader, the goals appealed to people’s Christian sense of duty.  It’s the same way the social-welfare laws tag along on the people’s sense of Christian charity.

This arrangement started to change in the 1990’s. Bill Clinton felt it necessary to be open about his Christian faith. It was, in part, to make inroads into the South, but also appealed to northern Catholics. By 2000 Al Gore was dismissive of religion entirely while Bush was the Evangelical. That’s the source of the great divide that has roiled the nation ever since. People who worship the old gods versus those who worship the new gods and have zero tolerance for the old gods.

Obama comes along in 2008 and is clearly non-Christian. Maybe he is a Muslim or maybe he is simply not religious. His membership in the crazy black church hardly qualifies as religious. The clear message was that unlike the people who put Bush in office, Obama was not a Christian. The last election featured a man who never attends services and a man who belongs to a weird cult that is alien to the Judeo-Christian traditions of America.

The point of all of this is to underscore just how far Christianity has fallen in public estimation. In 1980, Reagan seeded his talks with references to the Bible, on the assumption everyone would know what he meant. His opponent was a deeply religious man who felt comfortable discussing his relationship to God on television. Today, it would seem strange to see a presidential candidate discussing his relationship with God or his duties to his church as a Christian man.

One thing you learn when reading about population genetics is religion is near universal. We have evidence of religious practice going back as far as we have evidence of modern human activity. Science thinks religion evolved as one of the first human traits. If you take a step back and look at religion as a subgroup of mass movements, then it is even more obvious that faith and belief are necessary human traits that are integral to our understanding of the world.

Religion was most likely the first solution to the free rider problem. Not only does guilt and moral suasion push the free loader to pull his weight, it justifies taking harsh action against those who take more than they give. Belief in the common gods and common morality would have obvious reproductive advantages. A natural bias toward religiosity would, over many generations, bake belief into the human animal. Like all traits, it would manifest itself more prominently in some and less so in others.

That brings me back to the collapse of Christianity in America. Take a look at church attendance by state. Where are you more likely to find, for example, global warming fanatics? Vermont or Mississippi? If you look at the bottom ten states, there you find the most deeply committed liberals and the most deeply committed warmists. Gaia worship, manifested as climate concern, is the religion filling the void left my Christianity for the people least connected to Christian faith and heritage.

Whether you want to call AGW the master cult, encompassing the lesser cults of environmentalism, or you lump all of it into the same bucket with the other progressive fads, there’s no escaping the religious overtones to all of it. Here’s an interesting bit from a hard core believer site called Think Progress. These are the sort of folks who invest a lot of time counting heretics. Their map is revealing. It is not just party preference dividing the nation. It is religion.

The question is whether it was the vacuum left by the collapse of Christianity in these areas that allowed this pagan faith to spread or do the causal arrows point in the other direction? The American Left has been hostile to Christianity since the end of World War II, mostly in order to include Jews in their cause. Perhaps as the people of these areas became more liberal, church attendance dropped and these weird fads spread or maybe as Christianity died, the people went crazier.

New Age Nonsense

This was in the link list post at Marginal Revolution. It is a wonderful example of authentic new age gibberish. It is all emotive, synthetic language that is popular with the managerial class these days. It’s the sort of therapeutic language that is supposed to both validate the people using it and establish them as insiders in whatever it is they are promoting. This sort of gobbledygook is common now in corporate America, to the point where there are websites fro generating it.

Astra Taylor is the author of “The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age,” a new book on how information technology and market changes are reshaping art and culture.

Here is the bio of Astra Taylor:

Astra Taylor is a Canadian-American documentary filmmaker, writer, and musician, best known for her 2005 film, Zizek!, about the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek, and for her 2008 film, Examined Life.

Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Taylor grew up in Athens, Georgia,[1] and was unschooled until age 13.[2] She attended Brown University for a year and holds an MA in Liberal Studies from the New School. She has taught sociology at the University of Georgia and SUNY New Paltz. Her writings have appeared in numerous magazines, and in 2006 Filmmaker Magazine listed her as one of “25 new faces to watch.” She is the sister of painter and disability activist Sunny Taylor,[3] and is married to Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel.[4] Taylor performed with Neutral Milk Hotel during the band’s reunion tour of 2013/2014. She is the author of the book The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age, published by Metropolitan Books.

The “unschooled” bit is amusing, as it could only come Astra Taylor or maybe fellow feminists. they like the pseudo-language stuff.  If you are going to make up a nonsense biography, calling yourself “unschooled” is a good start. The links in her Wiki page go nowhere so a little search reveals this video. Mostly third-wave feminist nonsense, bit we learn that “unschooled” means home schooled. In her circles, “home schooled” is equated with Walmart and gay bashing so they use a neologism.

Right out of the shoot, the interview takes on the vibe of a couple of hens yapping at one another while waiting for their kids at the Montessori school.

HF – At many points in the book you suggest that new technologies, far from leveling the playing field, are creating their own forms of inequality. How can open technologies lead to very unequal outcomes?

AT – It’s true that our new communicative technologies can create space for many voices, but the Internet also reflects and often amplifies real-world inequities. It is open but also unequal.

Contrary to all the hype about the “long tail,” the cultural playing field hasn’t been leveled so much as rearranged. What we are seeing is the emergence of the “missing middle” (a phrase I’ve taken from the political scientist Matthew Hindman). Online the bandwagon effect intensifies: the big can get bigger than ever before, and there are lots of tiny interesting things on the margin, but the in-between is hollowing out. The Internet is a global distribution medium.

Now, the Interwebs has been with us for two decades. The first browser was dropped in the early 1990’s. Not many people were on-line back then compared to now, but it was not a tiny community. When Astra was discovering middle-school, adults were discovering the Internet. Now she is “educating” the rest of us about how the Internet is changing the world. This is a hilarious phenomenon that is popular with feminists for some reason. maybe it is empowering.

I try to highlight a contradiction in the contemporary media ecology. On the one hand, a handful of businesses are rising to become new info-monopolies. Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook are now among the biggest companies in the world, siphoning revenue away from other local economies to Silicon Valley or Seattle or wherever, concentrating wealth in the process.

On the other, even as this remarkable concentration is playing out, our relationship with media is becoming more personalized. No one can tell you what to click on, Web sites reflect your preferences, and everyone has a glowing screen of their own. Yet these catered services generally rely on centralized vendors and services, like Amazon or Apple, that control the hardware we are using and the content we consume. This creates a kind of vertical integration behind the scenes. Certain barriers to cultural participation have been removed, and we can all post on social media or comment on articles, but massive asymmetries of power persist. Individually we glean benefits that are orders of magnitude smaller than the benefits for the platform owners who can collect and harness the “big data” generated by our communications.

There are certain buzzwords that are popular with these new age hustlers. One of them is “ecology.” The reason is it conjures images in the mind of plants and fuzzy cute animals. People like plants and fuzzy animals. Then there’s the old standby, the false dilemma. The specter of the global mega-corporation versus granny viewing pics of her grandkids on Facebook.

Of course, we see the liberal use of neutralizing words. A “kind of” vertical integration is, logically, no vertical integration, but the point is to have it both ways. It is a way of taking both sides while allowing the listener to assume whatever ever they find pleasing or validating. Obama speeches are full of this sort of language. The text is largely meaningless, so the listener can make it about themselves.

Ordinary Madness

Within living memory, a normal person could have a civil conversation about politics with someone identifying as liberal. It was not that everyone got along. It was that everyone seemed to agree on the value of civil debate. Only far out wackos thought you were evil for voting for Reagan or favoring tax cuts. Liberals did not like conservatives, but they did not hate them and they did not treat them like lepers. It was still possible for people to disagree without despising one another.

In the 1990’s that began to change. The vulgarity of the Clinton crowd made civility difficult. The culture gap became a chasm in the 1990’s. If you voted Republican it was not just because you happened to like their positions or the candidate. Party affiliation became tribal identification and the debates, therefore, were not about facts and reason. They were about which side you were on in the culture war. The roots of the great divide between use them started in the 1990’s.

On television, the public affairs shows turned into shouting matches. The liberal would talk over everyone, ignore the questions and just chant the slogans the Left was embracing at the moment. They called it spin, but it infected everything. This filtered into daily life and it became impossible to maintain a friendship with a lefty, because who they were was now defined by their hatred of normal people. The Left became an identity cult based on hatred of normal white people.

These days, the only way to maintain a civil relationship with a lefty is to avoid anything but sports and weather.  Anything that bumps up against the tenets of the faith, even tangentially, has to be avoided. Everywhere you turn a lunatic is preaching at you about gay marriage, the war on women, racism, white privilege and on and on. It often feels like the book I am Legend. Instead of raging vampires, we’re surrounded by lunatic liberals shaking their piety bracelets at us.

This post over at The Spectator does a good job analyzing the ratcheting lunacy we see around us.

It has long been clear that expressing certain views has been a form of social signaling, although social media has made this far more explicit. Holding what might be loosely called politically correct opinions on a range of issues suggests that the holder is more likely to be well-educated, wealthy, young, probably attractive, and possessing social nous (ie in touch with social trends).

But Kristian’s theory also explains one aspect of political correctness: the speed at which the accepted and acceptable view moves, heading in an ever-more extreme direction.

It goes further. Ever notice the speed with which buzzwords and catchphrases get popular among the Left? Obama used the word “shellacked” after the 2010 election and every lefty in America was littering their language with it. Another example was “gravitas” after that idiot Biden was picked to be Obama’s running mate. Language no longer has the same meaning for them as the rest of us. instead, it works like incantations signifying membership in the faith.

He uses the analogy of the music fan who, once the band he’s into has been discovered by everyone else, must find some other obscure outfit as a positional good. Once a wacky idea becomes accepted, the high-status politically correct brigadier must stand out with some new area of concern; this he or she does with one of those articles or blogs in which it is argued that, while progress has been made in one particular battle against prejudice or bigotry, the real war is now against racism in food labeling or the lack of transgender dolls for my children. It doesn’t matter if the issue at hand is inconsequential or, more likely, impossible to overcome; in fact the more so, the better.

Unlike with music, however, the trend is always in one direction and there is no re-centering; it would be as if the mainstream of elite taste in music went from Led Zeppelin to Black Sabbath to Metallica to Slayer and onto Napalm Death. Politically that’s what much of the commentary in places like Slate sounds like to me – just some guy atonally screaming in my ear about some micro-injustice.

Not a bad example. Thatcher called it the ratchet effect.

Another aspect of this mindset is the desire to punish people who have insufficiently correct views on doctrine, even if the beliefs they hold were orthodoxy ten or five years ago. I’d really like to conduct a Stanford Prison-style experiment in which people were rewarded (perhaps with a dopamine hit) for punishing those with heretical views, and to see where it led. To make it more interesting, only people with unorthodox views on only one side of the political spectrum would be punished, to see how extreme a group would become towards the other direction in a short space of time. Soon they’d be sacking people for disagreeing with an idea that didn’t exist anywhere in the world before 2001 – oh whoops, sorry, that was real life.

There are examples of the public simply going mad. Athens leading up to the Sicilian expedition is an example. The Athenians appear to have lost their minds and threw away their advantage on a crazy idea cooked up by a conman. The Abolitionist Movement is something closer to home. Large numbers of whites in the north wanted to murder the whites in the South and would not be deterred. Prohibition is another example from the American past. Maybe there is something wrong with our grain.

Yes, It Is A Religion

Thinking of Progressivism as a religion is useful, but it gets a lot of resistance from so-called conservatives. Talking about it as a cult gets even more push-back. The truth is, few liberals know much about why they believe what they believe. They just do and they don’t spend a lot of time examining it. That’s how religion works. Few Catholics understand why they take communion. They just do. The same applies to the Left, even more so, in that examining the faith is treated as heresy.

If you look at the most liberal states in the country, you find the lowest levels of church attendance. On the other hand, states with highest church attendance tend to be the least inclined to vote Left. For example, the last election featured six continental states where Obama won more than 60% of the vote. That’s California, Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island, New York and Vermont. Everyone of those states, except Maryland, is at the bottom of church attendance numbers according to Pew.

At the other end of the spectrum, the states that went for Romney in the last election are Utah, Wyoming, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Arkansas and Kentucky. These are states with high church attendance. You have to get down to 20th on the church attendance list before you find an Obama state. Even if you assume religion is simply falling out of favor, traditional culture is also a good indication of voting habits. Steve Sailer tied together marriage and voting, which tracks close with church attendance.

If that’s not compelling, here’s a NYTimes profile of former Mayor Bloomberg.

Michael R. Bloomberg, making his first major political investment since leaving office, plans to spend $50 million this year building a nationwide grass-roots network to motivate voters who feel strongly about curbing gun violence, an organization he hopes can eventually outmuscle the National Rifle Association.

Mr. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, said gun control advocates need to learn from the N.R.A. and punish those politicians who fail to support their agenda — even Democrats whose positions otherwise align with his own.

“They say, ‘We don’t care. We’re going to go after you,’ ” he said of the N.R.A. “ ‘If you don’t vote with us we’re going to go after your kids and your grandkids and your great-grandkids. And we’re never going to stop.’ ”

He added: “We’ve got to make them afraid of us.”

That’s obviously insane. When you’re a billionaire, saying crazy things maybe makes you eccentric. If he was still hustling a sales route and was saying nutty things like this, they would lock him away. But, he is rich and he is a member in good standing of the Progressive faith. His fanaticism is therefore seen as a sign of his virtue.Again, that is how religions work. it’s about belief, not facts and logic.

Mr. Bloomberg was introspective as he spoke, and seemed both restless and wistful. When he sat down for the interview, it was a few days before his 50th college reunion. His mortality has started dawning on him, at 72. And he admitted he was a bit taken aback by how many of his former classmates had been appearing in the “in memoriam” pages of his school newsletter.

But if he senses that he may not have as much time left as he would like, he has little doubt about what would await him at a Judgment Day. Pointing to his work on gun safety, obesity and smoking cessation, he said with a grin: “I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”

That sounds a lot like a religious crusade. The reason it sounds that was is it is a religious crusade. In a difference age, Bloomberg would be wearing a black hat and reading the Torah all day. In a different place, he is a Zionist agitating for Israel. In a different America, most Progressive are Congregationalists or our preaching the social gospel as  part of their reform movement. Maybe they were heading out to Utah as part of a Mormon sect. Progressivism is the religion of this age.