Irreconcilable Differences

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Viewing the after action reports on cable news and on-line, I can’t get past the fact that the chattering class remains thoroughly perplexed by what they are seeing. The script says they are supposed to coo over Farina and her poll numbers will soar. Then they will put on the serious face and tell us why one of the dwarfs is the only sober choice. The dwarf will win the nomination and they will all live happily ever after.

Instead, it’s as if someone has removed the CPU from the robot. Rather than working as expected, it is running amok, smashing up everything and threatening to kill the soft graceful people who inhabit the world of the chattering classes. The only thing missing from these reports on Trump is to have the chattering skulls huddling together as they read from the prompter.

Part of what we’re seeing is the chasm between the managerial class and the rest of us. The folks on TV or writing for the mainstream sites imagine they have a good bead on things. After all, they read each others blogs, books and columns. They talk to all the smart people that traipse through the studios. They even send foreign correspondents out to places like Cleveland and Denver to report on what’s happening out there, beyond the perimeter.

Another part is that they are programmed to think that politics is simply a fight between the two sides of the ruling class. Their bosses engage in ritualized combat over who gets to be in charge for a while. Instead of fielding champions to battle it out in the pit, they give each other tongue lashings on TV. The peanut gallery still gets to give the kill sign, but it really does not matter who wins as they largely agree on everything anyway.

That’s what is so confusing to them. Most of these people are simply unaware of the vast body of opinion outside the their bubble. They have this huge blind spot that the rest of us call reality. The chattering classes don’t get the Trump Effect because it’s not supposed to exist. In fact, it can’t exist. Contemplating it is on par with noodling over the existence of magical elves riding unicorns.

What we’re seeing on TV and the Interwebs is just the glitter path. There’s a huge chasm between the ruling class of American society and those over whom they rule. It’s not simply a disagreement over the direction of society. In many respects, the duty of the ruling class is to guide their subjects to the right policies. In a sane society, the people in charge are smarter and more knowledgeable so they better be more right than the masses.

No, the dispute today is over the nature of society and it is an irreconcilable dispute. The ruling class of today imagines a world that does not include a thriving, rambunctious middle class that participates in the decision making. They imagine a world that looks a lot like feudalism, where  the people are kept, like pets or farm animals. It’s a world that cannot accommodate the English speaking world’s idea of a citizen.

The choice before us is a simple one. Either the ruling class gets a new people or the people get a new ruling class. The ruling class, to their credit, have figured this out a long time ago. Mark Zuckerburglar is not spending millions to thwart reform efforts because he is a greed-head. It is an article of faith among the billionaire class that their survival depends on ending the concept of citizenship and that’s best achieved with open borders and mass migration.

The people may be finally catching on and that’s why patriotic parties are rising up in Europe while America is having Trump-a-paloosa. The people supporting these efforts are committed to working within their traditional processes. That means winning elections, passing new laws and reforming the ruling class. The people supporting Trump are not ready to cross the Rubicon and have a boiled rope party – yet.

Social reform works when the people in charge are driving the reform. There are no examples of successful reform movements that were not supported by some elements of the ruling elite. That’s important to keep in mind when analyzing what’s happening in the West. Similarly, most bottom-up reform movements have been crushed by the people in charge. The exceptions are those that ended in revolution.

The other night, one of the dwarfs quoted Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail. “One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”  This was in reference to the civil disobedience over homosexual marriage.

The irony, of course, was lost on all of them. In that letter, King was making a point to the white ruling class of the South. That point was this. They could either negotiate with King and dismantle the legal discrimination or they could deal with the mobs in the streets. King was betting that they lacked the stomach to open fire on the mob, which meant they had only one way out.

Donald Trump is not Martin Luther King and there are no mobs in the street yet, but the situation facing the ruling elite is the same. The ruling class has been slowly diluting the value of citizenship by extending the benefits to millions of non-citizens. The hope was that sentimentality or fear would keep people from noticing. That’s no longer the case. People have noticed. From here, the ball can only roll down hill one way.

The Fall Reset

Watching the debates, I wondered how many of the Trump people really cared much about any of it. My sense is the Trump vote is just the immigration patriots plus the red pill conservatives.The former only support Trump because of immigration. The latter support Trump because its fun to watch Judge Smails have a stroke over it. I’m obviously in the latter group.

Reading the news today, it’s pretty clear that the press has no idea how to talk about Trump. They prefer to talk about Farina and Carson, as they fit neatly into their respective boxes.There’s also a sense that Farina could cut into Trump’s support, but that’s a fundamental misreading of things. Some of the media is still hoping to revive one of the dwarfs, but that’s not a fun task at the moment.

Anyway, this debate is the start of the fall campaigning season. The next debate is the end of October, then another in the middle of November and another in the middle of December. They have a debate tentatively scheduled for January, but that’s the final stretch to the first batch of primaries. The next four weeks will make the field for the 2016 election season. So, where are we?

The Dead

George Pataki will not take the hint. They gave Gilmore the wrong date and time for the last debate so he would not clutter up the stage. If Pataki does not take the hint, he will wake up with Gilmore’s head in his bead. My bet is they find some way to exclude him from the next round or he just throws in the towel. Maybe he and Gilmore can open a B&B together.

Caitlyn Graham‘s disturbing performance is not going to go unnoticed by his friends in the party. Graham is a reliable vote for the establishment so they don’t want him going bonkers and maybe needing to seek professional help. He’s also 60 and can hold that seat for another 20 years so they will have the talk with him and he will drop out before the next debate.

Rick Santorum was thinking he could live off the land through the fall and then make a run at Iowa. His appeal is to the cultural conservatives who vote against abortion and the homos. The trouble is those voters are more vexed over the Latinos than the homos and Huckabee is splitting what’s left. The Huckster has the connections to the churches so look for Santorum to get the hook or drop out next month.

Watching Christie on the main stage, I saw a guy who knew it was over and this was probably his last day in the spotlight. He was loose and goofy, just enjoying himself. A lot of Yankee Conservatives like him, but there are too many guys striving for this vote. There’s no money to keep him going so my guess is he quits and opens a muffin shop on the Jersey Shore.

The B-List Establishment Men

Jindal has been playing an interesting game. He has spent nothing so he can hang around as long as likes. His talk radio work has been to defend the party, promote his brand of reform and trash Donald Trump. Everyone knows he is running for a cabinet spot so it’s not about polling with him. He wants to get one shot at the big stage and hope to catch people’s attention. With his coevals in the group faltering, it’s not a bad strategy if he can hang around for another month.

The collapse of Walker is a good example of how mass media has warped modern society. Walker is a dork with a bald spot so voters are turned off by him. He also has a nasally voice which reminds people of the IRS guy at their audit. He raised a lot of money and he showed a little spunk of late, but he has another month to figure out how to not be Ned Flanders or he’s a goner.

Kasich is another guy on thin ice. The party men all thought he was going to be a great alternative to Bush and encouraged him to join the, telling him he would be the VP for Bush at the worst. If Bush faltered, Kasich would the next man up and get the nomination. That whole plan is unraveling now as Bush sinks and takes the rest of the establishment men with him. Kasich has no money and he needs to start producing or he will be out of cash by Thanksgiving.

The A-List Establishment Men

Bush has such a huge war chest, he can hang around until 2020 regardless of his polling. His problem is he is the second choice of a lot of voters who are currently backing other establishment guys. Once the lesser lights drop away in the next couple of months, his numbers will rise. That’s the plan at this point. Play the rope-a-dope and get to January as the sole Establish Man left in the race. If the other choices are yahoos like Trump, so the theory goes, the voters will come home to Bush country.

I put Rubio in this category simply because I can’t think of another place to put him. He’s got enough money to stick around through the first wave of primaries. He is an establishment guy that the party really wants to succeed. His trouble is he The Beaver to Jeb’s Wally. Since Bush is not going anywhere, I just can’t see how Rubio breaks out and becomes the company man. But, he has nothing to lose so he will stick around hoping for a miracle.


I’ve wanted to like Rand Paul, but let’s face it, he is a weird little dude. As I said during the debate, Rand is that guy in the neighborhood everyone suspects when a kid goes missing. It’s not what he says or his position on things. It’s that his priority list seems to be completely out of kilter. He’s deeply passionate about weed laws, but seems indifferent to immigration or taxes. He’s why most men outgrow libertarianism a few years after college. He will stick around until New Hampshire and then quit to focus on his Senate run.

Huckabee is another strange man. I just can’t look at him without thinking about him “marrying” his wife a second time so he could game the gift ban, treating the bribes as wedding gifts. Like other grifters from the Ozarks, he is tenacious and resourceful. Gypsies would be awed by him so he will stick around hoping to win the Evangelical vote in Iowa and get himself into the race as the morality candidate.

It pains me to put Ted Cruz in the weirdo category, but where else does he fit? He’s hated by the party and he only appeals to fringe weirdos like you people. His game is to be there when Trump collapses to pick up his vote as the rebel leader. He has the money and smarts to keep that plan working through the end of the year. As long as he sticks close to Bush in the polls, he can plausibly raise money and get into the debates.


Ben Carson looked like he was stoned during the debate and it was so bad that even the rump-swabs in the conservative press had to admit it. Unlike Trump, Carson is a novelty without a purpose. He has no signature issue and no real reason to be running. When you think about it, Caron’s argument is he is simply the most moral man on stage and therefore he should win. I suspect his vote starts to decamp to Farina now that she is the new shiny penny on the scene.

Farina is a gold plated phony, but she is now seen as the dragon slayer by the party. Farina worked for John McCain for a short while so she has party connections. No one seriously thinks she can be the nominee, but she could steal enough of Carson’s vote to be treated as the hot new alternative to Trump for a while. Her job therefore is to be the dutiful straw, appealing to Trump voters, but pulling her punches against the establishment men.

Trump is the most interesting political story in my lifetime. He’s the anti-candidate. None of the normal rules apply as he is now the symbol of protest. What should scare the party is that 30% number. That’s a lot of people who are ready to blow the party up to spite the establishment. The thing to watch is the polls over the next two weeks. If Trump keeps climbing, it’s time for Rinse Penis to turn on the bat signal as the party is in deep trouble.

The Bull Mouse Party

I’ve never been a fan of the “esoteric writing” concept. In theory, it sounds great, until you think it through. Free thinkers, constrained by the orthodoxy of their day, communicating to one another in a secret language. That way when the authorities show up to inspect their books, they find nothing that could get them time on the rack. Prisons around the world combat this problem so it is hardly black magic.

The reason I tend to be skeptical of the “philosophy between the lines” stuff is it opens the door for all sorts of mischief. If I’m a 15th century monk writing heretical thoughts using secret language, it can only work if the readers can decode my secret language. If some monk in another land a century later can decode my text, then my contemporaries could as well.

I realize there was a lot of it, but it was mostly just smart people speaking over the heads of the less savvy. That’s a different thing than what the esoteric writing guys claim, which is where the mischief comes into the mix. It’s one stop short of deconstructionism, from there you enter a world where words have no meaning.

The point of bringing this up is a related topic is the idea of the deep state. The idea that a secret club composed of high-level elements within the intelligence services, the military, the academy, business, etc., who control the public institutions in various ways. It makes for great movie villains, but it contradicts observable reality.

That said, like minded people with common interests will work together. In government, relationships are what make the gears turn. A citizen can easily be stymied by the machine, even though he has pressed all the right buttons at exactly the right time. He calls his local congressman and magically, the machine springs to life and everything works like magic.

What happened is the congressman’s office has people who know people in all the nooks and crannies of the bureaucracy. You don’t work for a congressman unless you have contacts. Your job is either to raise money or make some part of the machine work when asked. If you are really good at either of those, you can go very far in government, further than elected office.

A guy who knows lots of people who know lost of people is Bill Kristol. He has worked the Acela Corridor his whole life. In addition to running the Weekly Standard, he has had stints in government and he knows lots of people who know lots of people. Bill Kristol is the quintessential establishment man. In Steve Sailer’s universe, Kristol has a shaved head and strokes a cat while plotting the course of the country.

The Weekly Standard has a new sugar daddy these days so they have been a little less neo-con and a little more con, but Bill Kristol remains the Pope of Neo-Conservatism. Given that the Bush Party is pretty much everything Bill Kristol’s father imagined, it’s worth paying attention to what Kristol has to say about things. He was the first Beltway man to mention Sarah Palin as a running mate, for example.

That’s what makes this interesting to me.

If frontrunner Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination, one of the biggest names in the Republican Establishment, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, says he “doubts” he would support the Democrat in a general election but would “support getting someone good on the ballot as a third party candidate.”

“I doubt I’d support Donald. I doubt I’d support the Democrat,” Kristol told CNNMoney via email. “I think I’d support getting someone good on the ballot as a third party candidate.”

The old GOP Establishment hotness was demanding Trump pledge in writing to support the Republican nominee, even if it isn’t Trump. He has since done so.

It now looks as though the new GOP Establishment hotness is threatening to support a third party candidate if Trump wins — the same third party maneuver the Establishment loudly and repeatedly assured would mean a Hillary Clinton victory if Trump chose that route.

…but if the plotting and planning among the GOP Establishment is to run an Establishment candidate as a third party in the event of a Trump nomination victory, by their own shrill admissions over the summer, the Establishment is consciously prepared to flip over the entire boardgame and hand the White House to Democrats in 2016.

Unless of course they were all lying with their loud claims that a third party run would result in a sure-fire Republican loss. I don’t think so. All the polling shows that any breach between Trump and the Republican Party means — and by a safe margin — four years of President Hillary Clinton.

Either way, a very large part of the Republican base has already lost complete faith in the GOP Establishment. Kristol’s warning or trial balloon or whatever it is  will only further alienate the Party from its own base.

While Trump looks to expand the Republican Party, Kristol’s comments will appear to many like a childish threat to annihilate the Party if the GOP Elite don’t get their way.

Would a guy like Kristol work to create a third party if Trump is the nominee? Probably not. Getting on the ballot in every state would be impossible. That means co-opting existing third party tickets and that’s not easy either. It would require an enormous amount of cash and the emotional commitment from establishment men to burn down their fishing lodge in order to keep it out of the hands of the riff-raff.

What it probably means is the establishment would sit out the election. Trump (or Carson) would find party organizers at the state level unwilling to do much to help them get out the vote. Ironically, it would look a lot like what happened to the Muslim Brotherhood when they took over Egypt. Suddenly, the gears of the state stop spinning and no one who knew how to make them spin was available to get them spinning. That’s what would happen to Team Trump.

This would signal a show down where the Old Party tells the neophytes they can either get back in the traces or the Old Party is going off to become the Bull Mouse Party. Or, go to the Democrat Party and form what would be the Coastal Party. Put another way, there’s no room for compromise. If the revolting carry the day, the revolted will go nuclear.

Damascus on the Chesapeake

Baltimore city is a rough place in the best of times. It’s most famous for the TV show The Wire, where local crime lords murder one another over the right to poison one another with drugs. In real life, it’s most famous for the cops killing some local hood, setting off a short riot in the great tradition of #blacklivesmatter.  Baltimore is a shit hole.

This was not always the case. In the 1950’s and into the 60’s, it was a thriving working class city. Then a lot of smart people decided that the polices that had worked for so long had to be thrown out and replaced with stuff they learned in college. The blacks rioted, burned big chunks of the city and the whites fled to the suburbs, taking their tax dollars with them. Baltimore never recovered from the 60’s.

The proof of that is the Freddy Gray incident. A reasonably stable community can handle things like a corruption scandal, a police scandal or a natural disaster. There’s enough human capital available so that resources can be temporarily diverted to the problem. You throw out the crooks, reform the cops or clean up the flood and then get back to business.

Dysfunctional cities on the knife’s edge can’t take a punch. In the case of Baltimore. the Freddy Gray incident sent the local government reeling, they blamed the cops, who then stopped doing their job, which is to hold the line against the barbarians. The result is a huge spike in crime. Baltimore has become a killing field again as the gangs figured out that the cops are not going to intervene.

There have been a lot of “solutions” tried for cities like Baltimore, none of which are based in observable reality. The hard cold truth is the place is like it is because it is run by the people running it. As Lee Kuan Yew observed, men are not equal in talents and only God can change that reality. The best we can do is make the most of what nature provided. In the case of Baltimore, the most the population can produce is a city similar to Lagos.

One way to not fix Baltimore is to import a bunch of new people, like Syrians for instance, into the city and hoping they can level the place up a notch.

The war in Syria is forcing millions to flee their homes, and the United States is working to accept 10,000 of the fleeing refugees over the next year.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Baltimore has resettled more than two dozen Syrians so far this year, and they are preparing to help more.

“They are desperate to seek safety,” the IRC’s executive director, Ruben Chandrasekar, said. “They are desperate to be given a new chance at a new life.”

The International Rescue Committee in Baltimore has welcomed 26 Syrians by providing them with the tools to succeed, including a furnished apartment and even employment.

They say their program is successful because refugees are eager to start their new lives free from persecution.

“They want nothing more than to get employed, play their taxes and be able to do the normal stuff you and I take for granted,” said Chandrasekar.

Nearly 90 percent of the refugees the IRC assists become self sufficient, which in turn helps Baltimore thrive as a city.

The word “thrive” is not what comes to mind, but perhaps in relative terms they are correct. Living in a blown out row house in East Baltimore is a step up from a blown up mud hut in the Near East. That and Syrians are unlikely to start street gangs based on the stylings of the hip-hop community. In a generation or two some will strap dynamite to their chest and run into the local Synagogue, but that’s a long time from now and whatever.

What you’re seeing here is a total disregard for the locals, who are a dumpster fire on their best days. Adding another burden to a city that can barely maintain civic order is criminal. Of course, the reason people like Ruben Chandrasekar think it is great is they live in the county and they get to feel like saints by helping foreigners come to America, without it costing them a dime.

Ben the Magic Negro

Spike Lee popularized the term “Magic Negro”, 15 years ago as a way to describe the noble black guy character so popular in movies. Richard Brookhiser probably deserves credit for describing the concept in this piece from 2001. It may go back much further, but I have not found anything further back than last decade. Jim from Huckleberry Finn may be the first appearance of this character in American fiction.

I’ve taken to calling black people “sacred people” because of the widespread embrace of this literary concept of the magic negro. It’s a lot like how middle aged women will get into Native American spirituality or Chinese medicine. It’s a weird form of worship based on ethnicity, that is wholly untethered from the reality of ethnicity.

Anyway, this came to mind when I saw this post on National Review the other day. The author and many of the commenters are falling all over themselves to praise Ben Carson and his immigration plans.

With respect to “cutting off the goodies,” there are a number of “goodies” that are all but impossible to cut off. As I’ve noted, many illegal immigrant households receive welfare benefits through American-born children. There is no realistic way to withhold those entitlements. With respect to the illegal immigrant population residing in the U.S., Carson’s plan does seem far more practicable than Trump’s (which, it is worth noting, was not in the immigration plan released by his campaign). But it’s not clear whether Carson’s alternative will be amenable to conservative voters.

If you read Ben Carson’s book, he makes clear he is in favor of wholesale immigration. He also makes clear that he has not thought much about the issue so he just repeats the things he heard on TV because they sound nice. His repeated call for a guest worker program, suggest he does not know there are two dozen guest worker programs in place right now.

Carson’s immigration statements are mostly gibberish. In fact, his positions on everything make little sense. He claims blacks are arrested for driving while black and largely agrees with the claims about police mistreatment of blacks. This is the sort of stuff you see on TV, not the sort of stuff you see when looking up the facts. In other words, Be Carson is not very well informed.

No one dares say this, of course, because that would be bad, very bad. In fact, not gushing over the man is very bad too. The only appropriate response to Ben Carson is to compete with everyone else complimenting him on his wonderfulness. Conventional conservatives are going through what Progressives went through eight years ago. They think they have found their Black Jesus.

In fairness to Carson, I don’t think he is playing it that way, but he is riding the wave for now. He does strike me as a decent man with good intentions. I have no idea if he is really as nice as he appears on TV, but I have found nothing to suggest otherwise. By now someone would have come forward if Carson had a dark side or a bunch of skeletons in his closet.

None of which changes the fact that he is where he is because he is a black guy being nice to conservatives. If he were an Irish guy with the same resume and presentation, he would be this guy or this guy. No one would have any reason to know him and friends would assume he has lost his marbles. But, he is a sacred person and that means he gets to be on the big stage running for president.

Unintentionally, Carson is proving a point the revolting have been making for a while now. That is, Conservative just the dull-witted little brother of the Progressives, tagging along behind them, imitating whatever they do. The Left got their magic negro in 2008 and the Right gets their magic negro in 2016. The fact that neither man has any business being in the White House is off-limits because only bad thinkers say such things.

The shame of it is that Carson is a great story, regardless of his race. He should be running for Senate right now in Maryland. Having a smart guy who knows about the medical system in America, serving in the Senate would be good for the country. Baltimore City, where he lives, is in need of a mayor and in need of a sober sensible man to address that city’s troubles. Carson could probably do a lot of good in either of those roles.

Instead, he has been carried up on multicultural thermals purely for the pleasure of the chattering classes looking for grace on the cheap. Inevitably, they will tire of him and he will be replaced by some other novelty. Multiculturalism is the B-side of racism, in that it addresses the same emotional itch. The object in both cases is stripped of their humanity and they become nothing but a means to an end.

We’re Revolting

The other day, C-list conservative chat-bot Quin Hillyer made a comment in National Review Online stating that the publication has been on the forefront of immigration restriction. He made it in the comments of his article in which he tries to ball-gargle Bobby Jindal. Hillyer is one of those guys who hangs around the local Fox studio on weekends, on the off chance Fox needs a talking head for one of their segments, so there’s no reason to pay attention to him.

What got my attention though was the assertion that NR has been anything but stone silent on the issue of immigration. They used to run Steyn and Derbyshire, who have written eloquently on the details of the topic. Mark Krikorian is given space in their on-line blog to post immigration numbers. Otherwise, the official position of the magazine has been to give it a good leaving alone.

John Derbyshire has often talked about editorial meetings at NR when he was employed there. He was the only person to ever raise the topic and when he did, everyone would slide their chairs away from him, like he had just farted. To be seen sitting next to a bad thinker can only be remedied by looking horribly uncomfortable whilst doing it. That way, the other good thinkers know you are a good thinker just stuck in the same room with a bad thinker.

It’s why I call it the “I” word. Immigration has been sacralized on the Right as a magic talisman that wards off the charge of racism. After all, how can you call these good thinkers racist when they are forever championing the people of the world to come to America? Open borders has become the anti-venom that lets them tangle with the Progressive snake handlers on the chat shows and on-line.

You see that in this Jonah Goldberg column from last week.

If I sound dismayed, it’s only because I am. Conservatives have spent more than 60 years arguing that ideas and character matter. That is the conservative movement I joined and dedicated my professional life to. And now, in a moment of passion, many of my comrades-in-arms are throwing it all away in a fit of pique. Because “Trump fights!”

That’s a very revealing comment. You note there’s no mention of winning. The point of political movements is to win political fights and move the polices and presumably the country, closer to what the movement imagines is best. What Jonah reveals, unintentionally I suspect, is that his game and the that of his coevals does not include winning, at least not winning political fights.

Instead it is an intellectual and spiritual exercise. As the Left runs up and down the field, the Right is supposed to stand aside, congratulating themselves on being men of ideas and character, unlike the the uncouth lefties winning all the battles. In other words, the end game of conservatism, according to Goldberg, is to be a good sport and losing with dignity. Conservatism is a form of assisted suicide where the adherent accepts defeat as a condition of joining the movement.

Of course, what radiates from these columns is the class issue. Jonah Goldberg, despite being a big hulking guy, spent his youth in NYC in fear of the street toughs. Those crude sounding bullies of his youth have suddenly risen up in the form of Donald Trump, threatening to take his lunch money away all over again. The refined men of taste who thought they outran the reality of the street are horrified at the prospect of a proletarian bully moving in on their movement.

All of this reminds me of the scene from Brave Heart where Longshanks confronts his feminine son and his “assistant” after Wallace sacked York.

The Professional Right has a revolt on their hands because they have failed. Their response to the revolt has been a hissy fit that confirms, in the minds of the revolting, that they are right to replace these men of no action. It’s not that the replacement is better or more likely to win. The first step in every revolution is to first exact revenge on those responsible for the current conditions.

That’s why we are revolting.

Ruminations on the Russians

I’ve been reading a little bit about The Great War, when time permits. The 100th anniversary has unleashed a lot of good books, articles and even a podcast on the subject. Dan Carlin’s series on the war is excellent if you’re into podcasts. I have a dozen books on my list, that have come out in the last few years, unread on my shelf, but I’m hoping to knock them out in the fall.

The Great War is on that list of things you have to know about in order to be an educated man. The 100 Years War, the Thirty Years War, The English Civil War, the American Civil War and the Great War are events you simply have to know in order to know the modern age. You don’t have to be an expert, but you need the basics. In the case of the Great War, I don’t know if you can be an expert. The Battle of the Marne is enough to keep a first rate mind busy for a lifetime.

What has always intrigued me about this war is two things. One is everyone went into it, even the German military, with out of date notions on warfare. Some of their attitudes were pre-Napoleonic, in regards to the rules of war. The biggest error was in not understanding how the changing technology would change war fighting. They could not imagine it. Instead, they learned it in a massive bloodbath.

This is not a post about that war, but about our next one. At the start of the last century, lots of smart people thought war was no longer a possibility. Globalization, trade, “smart” managers and technocrats had made territorial expansion unprofitable and counter productive. Norman Angell wrote a very influential pamphlet arguing that the integration of the economies of European countries had grown to such a degree that war between them would be entirely futile, making war obsolete.

We hear the same arguments today. The addition now is that American military hegemony, along with the nuclear stockpiles of China, Russia and the US, makes war an impossibility. No one would risk it. What everyone hangs their hats on is the global capital markets. War at any scale would make the global elite poor and that means there will never be another war of any scale.

Just because these claims echo those of 100 years ago does not make them invalid. They may be right, as it seems unlikely that we will see tanks racing across Germany again, but that’s not the way to bet. Great economic upheavals have always ended in great wars so this great economic upheaval is probably going to end in a great war. The question is what will it be like?

I think the place to start is with the Russians. Again, hailing back to the Great War, Russia, like the Germans 100 years ago, is the country trying to get a place at the table, but is instead being ignored. France and Britain controlled 70% of the globe a century ago. Today, the West controls 100% of the world economy. Finland gets more respect from Western powers than Russia. They have a lot of reasons to cause trouble.

The way the Russians handled Crimea and Ukraine should be one of those things that keeps western planners up at night. It was asymmetric warfare at a level no one thought the Russians possessed. It’s not just that they have evolved their military strategies; its that they have clearly learned a lot about how Western strategies have evolved. Those “little green men” who popped out of nowhere did not pop out of nowhere. That was well planned and well executed.

What the Russians clearly learned is that the old rule of war is still true. The side that gets there firstest with the mostest usually wins. In the case of Crimea, the Russian got their forces in control of the ground before the West knew what was happening. Instead of tanks and infantry units, the Russians used irregulars in anonymous uniforms, mixed in with local elements sympathetic to the Russians

Now we see the Russians, to everyone’s surprise, are putting boots on the ground in Syria. They have tanks guarding an airfield that they appear to be building up, presumably for the purpose of basing fighter planes. Coincidentally, there are a million Syrians heading to Europe as refugees. Those refugees will certainly maintain links back to the home country. Inevitably, Russian intelligence will be working with Syrians in the region, developing lots of contacts that could be used later.

This may sound far fetched, but consider another example from the Great War. The guy who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand was a guy named Gavrilo Princip. He was part of a conspiracy run by a member of the Black Hand. Their leader was a man named Danilo Ilić, who was controlled by Serbian intelligence. The people who poisoned Alexander Litvinenko with polonium are not going to fret about running Syrian terrorists in the heart of Europe.

This partnering with locals the Russians are doing has another benefit. It lets them cheaply extend their influence to weak spots of the West. Setting up camp in Syria means they can create mischief through the Middle East and North Africa. They are, in effect, extending the front lines north to the Baltics and south into the Mediterranean. Instead of being surrounded by the West, Russia and its partners is now surrounding the West.

The Industrial Revolution ended with two massive wars that nearly obliterated civilization. If not for the Anglosphere, civilization would have ended. maybe the technological revolution ends with something less dramatic. Maybe the next great war is a low grade affair between irregulars. I don’t know, but it seems like the folks to watch are the Russians.

German Suicide

I have a lot of weird interests. One of them is to imagine, as best I can, what it was like at some crucial moment in history, wondering if it was possible to know you were at a crucial moment in history. It seems to me that smart people, for example, would have known that the attack on Fort Sumter was ushering in war. In fact, lots of Southerners knew this and warned against it. Still, even the smartest did not foresee the bloody mayhem that was to follow. If leaders on both sides could have foreseen Antietam, would they have gone to war?

But what about the average guy? The people running ports, shipping operations, teaching school and so forth had access to newspapers. They knew about the world and the events that were happening in their country. Did they know, when news of Sumter got to them, that their world was about to be convulsed? That everything they knew was about to change and that in a decade they would live in a foreign country?

A good test of all this is World War I. The Austro-Hungarian government waited three weeks following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, before issuing its formal response to Serbia, which comprised a harsh ultimatum that could never be accepted. The men in charge of European affairs knew perfectly well what would happen if war broke out in the Balkans. Even the dimwitted Kaiser understood the enormity of the situation immediately after the assassination of Franz Ferdinand. Yet, the ultimatum was issued.

The leaders of Europe also had the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War as examples of the bloody madness of modern warfare. They knew war in Europe was suicide, even if they did not fully understand what was coming. The Franco-Prussian War had close to a million casualties. Simply adding in the machine gun and the howitzer had to mean millions of dead. They had to know this, yet they moved ahead with war anyway.

The Great War is so interesting because it is full of examples where it is nearly impossible to understand how the actors could be so stupid. Obviously, hindsight prejudices us, but even accounting for that, it is hard to understand many of the things that were done by allegedly smart people. The example that always comes to my mind is how the French dressed up their officers so they were easier to see on the battlefield. They wore red pants and white gloves.

It’s hard for us to understand these things because the people of 100 years ago believed things about the world we no longer believe. In fact, we no longer remember many of the things they believed. The Kaiser was ruler of a new country and he believed Germany was ready to take its place atop the world order. National pride drove the Germans, but it also drove the response to the Germans. This is unfathomable to us today, but its inverse is all around us.

The Muslim invasion of Europe is irrational in every way imaginable. The obvious answer to this problem is for France and Germany to come to the aid of the periphery, particularly those countries in the south and south east. This is not the Mongol Invasion of the 13th century. These are economic migrants sensing weakness so they are making a run for the border. A modest amount of resistance would end the flood.

Such a move by France and Germany would do wonders for the strained relations within Europe. This is a common issue that could show the benefits of working in concert to solve continental problems. Instead, the Germans are trying to commit suicide and demanding everyone else join them. The result is new strains to an already strained relationship. Hungarians, Poles, Czechs and Slovaks are not awash in blood guilt so they see no reason to follow the German lead.

Doing the sane thing would require self-respect and that is as alien today as the national pride of a century ago. Angela Merkel’s popularity in Germany and Europe is due, in large part, to her ability to express national shame better than anyone else. It is an integral part of her appeal as the German leader. Elites all over the West envy her ability to figuratively grovel on behalf of the rest of us at the feet of the third world.

Nationalism is usually the blame for the two world wars. Excessive national pride, filling the void of religion, drove sensible men to slaughter each other by the millions. There was simply no other way to beat that belief out of them. The sin of nationalism could only be cleansed by the blood of the nationalists.

What about the sin of excessive, compulsive all-consuming shame? That certainly seems to be driving otherwise sensible people to the brink of madness. Germany is a country of 80 million with about 2 million Muslims. They are taking in another million and history says that these millions will anchor another four to five million through family reunification. Will that be enough to satisfy German shame? Or will it take tens of millions more?

The answer, of course, is there is no number high enough that will lead the Germans, at least the German elite, to say the sins have been paid. For the German elite, the sins of their ancestors can only be cleansed with the blood of their countrymen. The invitation of tens of millions of Muslims to settle in Germany is a slow motion human sacrifice. What’s unknown is if the German people will go quietly.

The Trump Effect

When Donald Trump started making noises about running for president, I remember thinking, well, nothing. I have never been a Trump fan. I’ve had no reason to not like him, but I’m not a consumer of popular culture. Therefore, I never had need to come down one way or the other on Trump.

My sense was that he was like every other successful pitchman I’ve known. A harmless phony that is good at making people feel good about giving them money. In the case of Trump, he is a pitchman for himself and his brand, which helps sell real estate.  Nothing wrong with it, but nothing for me to care much about one way or the other.

When Trump started talking about immigration, I cringed a little. Trump has never struck me as a deep thinker so having him lead the charge on an issue of this magnitude struck me as a bad idea. I know a lot about it so I have a certain bias toward people who share my level of knowledge on the subject.

The reaction from elites, however, changed my mind. The pearl-clutching and fainting on all sides of the ruling elite has been stunning and enlightening. I’m not alone in this. My sense is much of Trump’s support is the result of this, a result of the Trump Effect.

The most obvious example of this, one I have written about a few times, is Kevin Williamson at National Review On-Line. He has been driven to madness over Trump, writing a dozen columns calling Trump everything from an ape to a Nazi. National Review finally put an end to it, apparently, as he is back to writing about unicorns and flying carpets.

I used to enjoy his articles, but his bizarre Trump columns, and to a lesser extent the strange Sanders columns, had me wondering about his sanity. Williamson was not alone; he was just the guy leading the parade. All of the allegedly conservative cognoscenti were making unhinged ad hominem attacks on Trump in what looked like a coordinated assault.

People notice things and a lot of people noticed that the Professional Right was treating Trump like a black guy at a Newport yacht club. Trump was Rodney Dangerfield and the members of the Professional Right were taking turns being Judge Smails. It was country club snobbery, not thoughtful and respectful criticism.

The other thing people noticed was that the hooting and bellowing sounded just like what they heard last decade from the Left with regards to George Bush. Kevin Williamson called Trump a “witless ape” and that sounded a lot like when the fever swamp types called Bush a chimp.

Seeing the blonde harpy from Fox prattle on about the “war on women” did more for Trump’s candidacy than anything else, I suspect, because of the images it conjured of bygone battles with the Left. She sounded like a cast member from MSNBC, ranting about Dick Cheney and the Haliburton Hurricane Machine destroying New Orleans.

The galling aspect of the Cult’s dismissal of Bush was the condescension. It was the beautiful people versus the normals. It was not George Bush they were dismissing, but his voters and their issues.The Left regularly made sport of the rubes and hicks they blamed for George Bush.

We’re seeing the same thing here with the Professional Right and Trump. The sneering dismissals don’t even bother to discuss immigration, the plight of the middle-class or the war on traditional culture. Our betters will not stoop to that level. It’s just sneering condescension.

There’s an aspect of the Trump Effect that makes it different from the reactionary support of George Bush by many middle Americans last decade. It is who is doing the hooting and to whom they are hooting it.

Normal middle Americans who watch Fox News, for example, are horrified to learn that the genteel types on their television think they are stupid prols that better know their place – or else. Jonah Goldberg thinks the listeners of Rush Limbaugh are not worth his time as they are insignificant bugs.

The biggest criticism — in terms of quantity, not quality — is that I am a RINO squish faker fraud no-goodnik lib sucking at the teat of the establishment blah blah and blah. These usually take the form of angry tweets and e-mails. So I’ll fold my response to this silliness into my responses to the longer-form stuff. One of the most popular rejoinders comes from the Conservative Treehouse, a site I’ve liked in the past. But if it weren’t for the fact that Rush Limbaugh enthusiastically plugged it on air, I’m not sure it would merit much of a response.

A 2,000-word “Open Letter to Jonah Goldberg,” written by someone named “Sundance,” it devotes barely a sentence to responding to anything I actually wrote. Nor does the author really defend Donald Trump — or his supporters — from my criticisms. Instead it is a long and somewhat splenetic indictment of the “establishment.” Sundance writes: “The challenging aspect to your expressed opinion, and perhaps why there is a chasm between us, is you appear to stand in defense of a Washington DC conservatism that no longer exists.” He then proceeds to conflate the GOP’s record with “Washington conservatism” as if they are synonymous.

This strikes me as projection and deflection and nothing more. The whole thing is a non sequitur masquerading as a rejoinder. He lays down a tediously long list of questions

The sneering is impossible to miss. Jonah’s view of himself is as a man of the sophisticated class. His critic is a man of the servant class. The snotty reply is not intended to correct or even educate the critic. It is a dismissal.

Goldberg’s audience in that piece is not the critic or the critic’s readers. The audience is his coevals in the chattering classes, who have locked arms in defense of their class against the Trumpian onslaught.

That’s the Trump Effect.

What offends the tender sensibilities of Jonah Goldberg is not the issues Trump has championed. To Jonah, those are not to be taken seriously. What offends Jonah is that Trump is a low-class prol rallying the field hands in a revolt against the master and his house boys. If you look carefully at Fox, you can see George Will and Charles Krauthammer clutching at their pearls, muttering “how dare he!” whenever Trump is the topic.

I don’t think the people supporting Trump think of him as their champion. My guess is most would rather vote for someone less caustic and improvisational.But, it’s not really about Trump and I think they know it. Trump is a means to an end, they hope.

Middle Americans are looking through the windows of the farmhouse and seeing Progressives and Conservatives sitting together eating and drinking together as one. They cannot tell the Conservatives from the Liberals because their faces seem to be the same and they are saying the same things.

There was the same hearty cheering as before, and the mugs were emptied to the dregs. But as the animals outside gazed at the scene, it seemed to them that some strange thing was happening. What was it that had altered in the faces of the pigs? Clover’s old dim eyes flitted from one face to another. Some of them had five chins, some had four, some had three. But what was it that seemed to be melting and changing? Then, the applause having come to an end, the company took up their cards and continued the game that had been interrupted, and the animals crept silently away.

Mass Stupidity

Way back in the olden thymes, I kept getting invitations to join Facebook. I had no interest in joining Facebook, which made me a weirdo. Friends would ask me why I was holding out and I’d tell them “I’m just not that interesting.” I did not realize it, but I was subtly insulting my friends by breaking the unwritten rule of social media. That is, none of us are so interesting that we should be on social media. No one I know, except me apparently, can face up to the fact that their life is not all that interesting.

I finally relented for a while, but then I quit and no one noticed. The same is true with Twitter. I have two accounts. One for sports and one for this blog. I rarely tweet anything. When I do read the twitter (I love calling it “the twitter” for some reason), I mostly see strangers posting what they hear on TV or say on the Interwebs. It’s an echo chamber of snark and stupid.

A good example of the latter is Razib Khan, who is a super smart doctoral candidate in genomics and genetics. This is mighty tough material tackled by the very brightest people in the world. On the twitter, however, he comes off like a teenage girl with a bad attitude. The reason is he spends most of his time commenting about what other people are tweeting. Dogs and flees.

I think there is merit to the wisdom of the crowds. I’m a human and humans are social animals. We take cues from those around us about what is and what is not acceptable and preferable. Restaurant reviews are the most obvious example. Bad reviews count for way more than good reviews, because we are wired to look for taboos and dangers. “I had a great burger” tells me nothing. “I found a rat in my soup” tells me everything.

Unlike many on my side of the fence, I’m not in favor of shuttering the TV stations and closing down the Interwebs. The young and the stupid need entertainments and it keeps them busy. We live in an age with lots of idle young men and idle young men get into trouble. Having them play video games and watch car chase movies is probably a good idea. It keeps them off the streets, at least for a little while. I’d rather have them on Facebook than on my street corner.

This is something the people in charge have long understood. The first thing the Reds did in the 19th and 20th century was take control of the media organs. The Cult of Modern Liberalism controls mass media in America because if you control the media you control the country. The CIA works hard to control social media because they understand that it is the key step in controlling the people. Having the title “Director of Internet Sock Puppetry” must make for some laughs in the Langley locker room.

The trouble is we are awash in mass media, meaning we are floating in a sea of bad information. Republican voters often carp about the low-information voter, but most of the people voting GOP believe all sorts of nonsense, mostly because they see it on Facebook. They think they are holding the correct opinions because people they see on TV or on-line hold those views and those people seem nice or smart or cool or whatever.

Men of the Right have been complaining about the stupidity of the people for a long time, which is why the Right has always opposed democracy. It’s indisputable that half the people in any society are below average in IQ. Giving them the franchise is inviting trouble, but as long as the smart fraction controlled the mass media, society buggered along without too much trouble. The dimwitted got their cues from the local paper or TV about which way to vote, thus mitigating any damage they could cause by backing a nut or a deviant.

That’s not really the case with social media. Twitter and Facebook are platforms run by the masses, mostly by the portion of the masses with free time. It is the nature of man to trust what is said to him and that makes all of us susceptible to the mass stupidification of mass media. If you spend all day listening to blockheads on Facebook or Twitter, you’re likely to get caught up in whatever the other blockheads are doing.

The so-called Arab Spring is a good example. The claim at the time is it was driven by social media. How did that turn out? Egypt had a nice blood bath with a brief period of control by Muslim lunatics. The same thing played out across the Maghreb. One could argue that the unrest in the Maghreb is in some small part responsible for the mass invasion of Europe from the Near East. It turns out that a million nitwits can be wrong.

That’s the Arab world and easy to dismiss, but the evidence says the West is getting dumber and the Internet is probably a part of it. All of my Progressive friends get their “facts” from Wiki and Facebook. They think their ability to Google something makes them brilliant. This make them dumber than nature intended because instead of being ignorant, they are ignorant and certain. Smart people are always uncertain. It’s when the stupid become confident that things can get out of hand.