True Believers

If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you know a theme here is that people are more often driven by irrational belief than cold hard reason. Evolutionary biology tells us the belief is one of the oldest cognitive traits, probably co-evolving with language. The quest for salvation, grace and glory are at the heart of human history, because they are the things that drive men to dominate other men.

In the current age, formal religion based on the supernatural has mostly fallen away. Look at the empty churches across what we used to call Christendom and it is hard not to see the West as post-Christian. With some exceptions, the leaders of the free world, as we used to call the West, are secular men and women, lacking any identifiable attachment to a Christian sect. The exceptions are usually attached to modern sects that have found a way to wrap Christianity around the core of Rousseau-ist theology.

This “secularization” does not mean that men are less fanatical or lack belief. It just means it is untethered from the traditional constraints of organized religion. Christianity was particularly good at modulating belief, as well as directing it into useful habits. Of course, the Catholic Church was very good at rooting out the dangerous fanatics. The suppression of the flagellants is a good example and one relevant to our current age.

My favorite example, as an aside, is Konrad Schmidt, who claimed to be Frederick II and baptized himself in the blood of his followers. His band of fanatics abandoned their normal lives and spent their days praying in preparation for Judgment Day. The Inquisition had them burned at the stake before they caused too much trouble. For most of human history, people understood that the unhinged fanatic was more dangerous than the barbarian at the gate.

It is one of the many things we seem to have forgotten in the modern age. The bombings in Belgium once again remind us that the fanatic is the most serious threat to human civilization. I don’t mean the fanatics who self-detonated in the airport. I mean the fanatics who invited them into the West and now demand that we invite ever more of them into our lands. The bodies are still warm and the open borders fanatics are demanding even more immigration.

Read that Vox article and the only conclusion is that the writer is so committed to open borders she can no longer accept reality. Instead, she is forcing reality into the world she believes is just over the next hill, the fulfillment of prophesy. Amanda Taub may be harmlessly crazy, but the people running Western countries are just as unhinged as she is over the topic of immigration. Open borders is now a religion for these people. They will die for it, or at least let you die for it.

What other conclusion can be drawn from current events?

There’s no economic argument for importing foreigners. Wages in Western countries have been flat for decades. There are no unfilled jobs that can only be filled by foreigners. The demand for unskilled labor is falling, as automation take over in the West. Importing millions of illiterate young men who have no usable skills and the IQ of a grapefruit adds nothing but a burden to the economies of the West.

The other side of this is who has ever heard someone demand that their town or village invite foreign settlement? Were the residents of Amsterdam demanding their government fill up their city with Moroccans? Were Germans in Frankfurt organizing rallies in the 80’s demanding the importation of Turks? Did the people of Lewiston Maine ever get a chance to vote on the importation of Somalis?

Of course not. There never has been a practical reason to import foreigners into the West, much less hostile, low-IQ savages from the Middle East. Whatever contributions have been made to the Belgian economy by Muslims were just blown to bits by a pair of suicide bombers. There are now rivers of blood because the leadership of Europe has been overrun by what looks increasingly like a suicide cult.

Angela Merkel, who will be remembered as one of history’s greatest monsters, is a good example to study. This piece on her from a few months ago walks you through her “evolution” from mundane Christian lady to a prominent deacon is what amounts to liberation theology, centered on the annihilation of the West as penance for generations of oppression.

Merkel is not alone, of course. The religion of the West, at least for the people in charge, is the toxic blend of egalitarianism, multiculturalism and anti-racism. The more the bodies stack up, the more they are convinced they must somehow atone for the sins of the West. Each new blast renews their faith. There’s no reasoning with them and there is no bargaining with them. They are true believers.

No Country for the New Men

Going by my own experiences, my sense is Europeans fall into three groups with regards to the Muslim invasion of Europe. There are those who are moderately xenophobic about the whole thing and are not afraid to say it, even if they are called Hitler for their trouble. These are people who have long ago grown tired of explaining the basics of human behavior to their betters so they no longer bother. They just oppose immigration. These are the Old Europeans.

The second group are those who are emotionally moved by immigration to the point where they seek out positive immigration stories in their news so they can feel good about it. They see a story of a European being kind to a migrant and they are filled by a warm glow, like the feeling you get when you drink liquor on a cold day. Like the first group, these people no longer bother explaining their position. If you do not get it, you are probably a racist so who cares what you think?

These are folks who call themselves New Europeans, but like everything else about them, that is a lie. Their imagined future does not include Europeans. Instead, it is a mythical world where dusky fellows speaking gibberish operate the machinery of Western civilization, without any of the hard work and intellect that is required to maintaining it. The European is just an avatar, forever basking in the grace of the world he created for the benighted.

There is a third group that never gets into the news, because they do not participate in the great debates over the Muslim invasion. At least they do not show up on the street waving banners or on the television screaming at members of the other group. This is the silent majority, so to speak. Most Europeans are in this group and most would just as soon never discuss this issue. These are the New Men of the New Europe.

On the one hand, generations of hectoring by the beautiful people have made these folks instinctively fearful of being lumped in with the xenophobes and racists. They do not think about it. Like trained animals, they simply react to commands. Their logical parts can hear the arguments against immigration, comprehend them and agree with them, until they hear the cry “racism” and they hit the panic button, erasing everything they have in their mind on the topic.

On the other hand, these folks look at the trial of Geert Wilders and they know this cannot end well. Whatever one wants to say about his positions or how he goes about stating them, you cannot have a civilized country while throwing people in jail for holding an opinion. The only difference between what the fascist did and what is happening now is the fascists were honest about it. The Dutch authorities are slathering on a frosting of lies to go along with their thuggery.

The New European has grown accustomed to working out these contradictions. It is what defines him. There is always a good reason for not joining on one side or the other. Generations of abuse by their betters have left them unable to look their betters in the eye. At the same time, generations of groveling have made them too weak in the fight against the xenophobes. They are dispensable Europeans.

And they are being dispensed with at an accelerating pace. When European leaders are not coming up with news reasons to snuff out their own people, the Muslims are taking a more basic approach to clearing out towns and villages they would like to occupy. Set off enough bombs and those still alive get the message. That message is, “You’re not welcome. This is our country now.”

There are dozens of families who will never see their loved ones again, thanks to the leaders of Europe. They created this. They invited this and they refuse to address it. They want that warm feeling so bad they are willing to sacrifice as many of their people as is necessary to get it. Like heroin addicts, they cannot get enough of the opiate of multiculturalism. It is always more and more, while life gets worse and worse.

The New European Man will read these words and wave them off. “Our leaders will figure it out eventually. They are just trying to do the right thing, the humanitarian thing.” That is what is called wishful thinking, the thing you cling to when you got nothing else or you are unwilling to consider anything else. It is why the New European Man will not be a part of what comes next for Europe. They may not even be in the stands for the big game.

The Muslims have figured out that European leaders are paper tigers. They will not fight. Eventually, the xenophobes will figure this out as well. The guys joining Pegida, Sons of Odin and similar groups will learn the same lessons the Muslims have learned. Then they will adopt the same tactics. This is a civilizational disaster unless the New European Men figure out that the future belongs to those who show up.

The Clinton Crime Family

In small town America, politics has never been a great way to get rich, but it has been a great way to avoid poverty. Get yourself elected mayor and you get to hand out jobs and contracts to people who will make sure you are kept in a lifestyle you feel you deserve. That could me cash under the table or maybe gifts like merchandise or jewelry. The mayor signs off on your government contract and you give him a Cadillac and a Rolex for his birthday.

This sort of corruption is harder today because it is hard to hide large amounts of cash. Even cash leaves a paper trail. Mayor Jones has to figure out how to explain that deposit in his checking account to the tax man. Similarly, that cash came from somewhere and that has to be explained. People are going to notice that the mayor is living well beyond his means. If the people noticing are in law enforcement, then the mayor has trouble.

The way around this is to use cutouts. The mayor has power so he trades that for cash, in the form of investment opportunities, business deals and jobs for friends and family. The rich guy hires the mayor’s kid into a high paying no-show job and the mayor signs off on the government contract for the rich guy. Alternatively, the mayor gets in on a business deal that pays off handsomely. He then does a good turn for the guy who hooked him up in the deal.

To make this look clean the mayor will rely on a trusted friend to work the deals so the mayor is not seen in the same room as any of the players. That way, he just looks like a blind investor. Even if the deal itself turns sour and the authorities start snooping around, the mayor can show he has clean hands and maybe even claim to be a victim. This is an age old way to monetize political power without taking bags of cash.

This pattern is familiar to public integrity investigators. Whenever they start looking at a public official, they immediately start looking at the target’s finances. The same is true of espionage. Even spies driven by ideology charge a fee for their work and that money has to show up somewhere. Since almost all government corruption is about money, the best way to figure it all out is focus on the money. Figure out the money and the rest usually comes into focus.

That is what has always struck me about the Clinton e-mail scandal. These are grubby, vulgar people. That is clear by the types of scandals we see with them. In Arkansas, Bill was raping women and Hillary was running real estate frauds. His corruption was all about sex and her corruption was about money. Politics for them has always been small time, even when they were in the big time. Sex and money are why they got in the game.

In Washington, the two big scandals were sex and money. Bill was raping interns again and Hillary was selling national secrets for campaign cash. People forget about the Chinese money, the satellite deal and missile technology scandal. They even had that sap Al Gore out shaking down Buddhist monks for cash. On their way out the door they tried stealing the White House furniture.

This e-mail scandal looks a lot like an influence peddling scandal. Hillary had something valuable, which was access to national security information. In order to monetize it, she needed some way to hide the money and someway to conceal the theft of intelligence. The former was handled by the “charity” they created and the phony-baloney speeches Bill was giving to foreign entities. No one wanted to hear that old hillbilly speak, but they wanted access so they gave generously to the foundation.

The hard part of it was how to pilfer and disseminate the intelligence without getting jammed up on espionage and treason charges. That is where this bathroom server comes in. Eventually, government people would be sending sensitive information to this system. Letting multiple people have access to her e-mail means the chain of custody for this information is now broken. Sloppy handling becomes a way to camouflage what was happening.

Loyal soldiers like Sid Blumenthal and Huma Abedin were probably the cutouts in these schemes. Maybe they knew, maybe they just thought they were getting to play cloak and dagger for the boss. They would pass on intel to those people hiring Bill for speeches. Alternatively, Blumenthal appears to have been selling himself as a connected guy to foreign interests. He could grease the wheels for their business in front of the Department of State.

When you take a step back and look at how the Clinton Crime Family has done business over the decades, this looks just like another money caper. Instead of selling favorable government rulings on business deals, they were selling access in exchange for contributions to this phony charity. The Clintons get to live like royalty, without having to worry about the tax man wondering where they got the cash. This is why RICO laws were created.

President Napster

Over the weekend I checked in on the news and saw that a Soros rent-a-mob was causing trouble in Arizona, trying to disrupt a Trump rally. I did not see this on TV. I saw it on Twitter. I then went to Drudge who had some links. I then went to some other sites and then finally back to twitter to see and join in on the snarky commentary. I still have a TV subscription, but it did not occur to me to turn it on for the news.

I am a big sports fan and I will watch just about anything. I used to joke that I would watch ants wrestle if they put it on TV. There was a time when that was true, but as you get older the endless hype and proselytizing in games is tough to take. ESPN has become unwatchable because of it. The solution for me is I follow games on-line via various score sites and, of course, twitter. Once the game gets to crunch time I can watch it, often on-line.

The NCAA tournament is a great example. I used to love watching this thing and I still do, but I do not watch it like I once did. Instead, I have it on-line so I can keep tabs on the games and jump to the one that is going to have a tight finish. That way I skip all the nonsense hype and I can do other things while tracking the games. Again, part of it is age, but the bigger part is technology. I can now easily filter out the proselytizing and hype so I do.

In the political realm, I have not watched the Sunday chat shows in so long I no longer know their names or the performers they have playing the various roles. The evening shout shows are just about unknown to me now. I can consume all the political news I need on-line from sources that are more intelligent and interesting than anything conventional media has to offer.

There is one other little thing to ponder before I get to the point. I have a vast music collection. Much of it came from the days when Columbia House would send you ten CD’s just because you filled out a card and gave them a fake name. Another big chunk came when “sharing” music got hot in the 90’s. I have also bought a lot of music too. I still do through Amazon, but as individual mp3’s, not physical disks.

I am a Pandora user so when I hear a song I like, I will add it to my list and either buy it from Amazon or rip it from YouTube. I prefer to buy it, but if it means buying a whole CD then I steal it like a normal person. The only exception is classical or maybe some old blues where you want the digitally mastered quality, but otherwise I buy songs, not bundles of songs. I do not want or need the extra. If it adds no value, I do not buy it. Music has become commodified.

The music industry was collapsed by the mp3 and gnutella. Suddenly, the layers and layers of expense around the single song could be stripped away, unless it brought value. Most of it did not so it was slowly sloughed off. It did not happen without a fight, but it eventually happened. Performers are back making money performing and the music business is much smaller. The songs are now the marketing expense for the live shows in many cases.

We are seeing something similar with the news media. A 40 minute podcast from John Derbyshire can be consumed anytime and anywhere. John is a super smart guy with a real talent for podcasting. He works out of a tree-house. Anthony Cumia is running a radio network from his basement now. Adam Corolla is a millionaire from podcasting. A lot of what is on new media is crap, but the best parts are vastly better than anything offered by traditional media. Most important, they are cheaper.

That is the thing. The cost of reaching each customer is collapsing, which in turn is dropping the barrier to entry. Fox News exists because it can tax you through your cable bill. Cord cutting and ad hoc, on-demand video is the response to that, which drives up their cost of reaching each customer. On the other hand, a guy like Mike Cernovich can quickly raise money for a media project, because his costs are collapsing.

This brings me to Donald Trump. He posted something on twitter over the weekend about Obama’s trip to Cuba. Every news personality retweeted it and it probably reached ten million people in an hour. Donald Trump has 7.1 million twitter followers. The echo effect means he can reach tens of millions of people from his phone, blowing past the media industrial complex. In fact, he has enslaved them with twitter, turning them into his PR firm.

In some respects, Trump is the Napster candidate. He may not win, but he is blowing a hole in the system. The layers of barnacles on the news industry are a lot like the layers of waste in the music business. Technology is going to force a scraping off of these barnacles for the underlying entity to survive in the new mass media age. If you are one of these barnacles. Trumpster is Satan, just as Napster was the great evil of the music business. But when it comes to technology, the news always displaces the old.

Race Unrealism

I’ve often argued that anti-racism has become a religion, maybe something of a cargo cult. The adherents keep replaying the events of the Civil Rights Movement hoping something magical happens. The obvious stuff is the weird obsession with Hitler and the KKK. Every public figure they don’t like is Hitler and every group they don’t like is the KKK.

Then you have the hilariously insane stuff like calling the NBA diverse while baseball is lacking diversity. The word “racist” simply means “bad” for gentry liberals. This Jeff Jacoby column is worth reading for this sort of loony race mongering.

Do gender quotas pose that problem? No. But racial quotas certainly do.

American society is awash with race-based quotas, check-offs, preferences, and diversity policies. In countless settings — from college admissions to workplace hiring, from government contracts to legislative redistricting — opportunities and benefits are tied to racial percentages.

Twelve decades after Plessy v. Ferguson, the notorious Supreme Court decision in which eight justices upheld the constitutionality of racial segregation, Americans are labeled and sorted by race more obsessively than ever. It was in Plessy that Justice John Harlan delivered his ringing dissent: “Our Constitution is colorblind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. . . . The law regards man as man and takes no account of his surroundings or of his color.”
Harlan’s fierce insistence that Americans are not to be treated differently on the basis of race became the great objective of the Civil Rights movement in the 20th century. “Racial criteria are irrational, irrelevant, [and] odious to our way of life,” argued Thurgood Marshall on behalf of the NAACP in 1950. “There is no understandable factual basis for classification by race.”

Marshall’s statement was even truer than he could have imagined. Today we know for a fact what scientists in the 1950s could only have surmised: Race is not biological. It is a social construct, not a genetic reality. The DNA of blacks cannot be distinguished from the DNA of Asians or the DNA of whites. Unlike our sex, which is stamped in our chromosomes, our racial and ethnic identities are purely subjective.

“I am an African-American, but in parts of Africa, I am white,” says Stanford professor Duana Fullwiley, an anthropologist of science and medicine. When research in West Africa requires her to fly from California to France to Senegal, she told Harvard Magazine in a 2008 interview, “My race changes as I cross the Atlantic.” In the United States she is black; in France she is considered métisse, or mixed-race; in Senegal, everyone regards her as white.

Of course human beings vary widely in their appearance. Populations from different parts of the world differ notably in their skin color, facial features, and hair texture. But those distinctions are superficial, not racial. They have no immutable significance. They contribute no more to “diversity” than right- and left-handedness do. To rely on such criteria when hiring employees or drawing electoral maps or assessing a corporate board is about as sensible as consulting a Magic 8 Ball.

Exactly no one in the quantitative fields thinks race is not genetic. There’s a debate whether race is the right word as there is great diversity within races. East Africans, for example, are very different from West Africans. East Africans dominate distance running, for example, while West Africans dominate sprint races. This is just one group difference that is well known in quantitative science.

Jacoby may have lost his marbles, but my recollection is he is the token normal at the Boston Globe. To balance his hate speech, they have a thousand hooting maniacs from the Cult of Modern Liberalism. That’s diversity! So, Jacoby may have gone native, but my sense is he is having some fun mocking the the Cult for their anti-racist irrationality.

This is why anti-racism is a religion and not a tactic. From the perspective of the political Left, racism is highly useful. I’m not just talking as a shaming tool. I mean as a political wedge. Demanding proportional representation in legislatures, for example, benefits the Left politically. Demanding head counts by race would help bust up natural rights and replace it with the authoritarianism of positive liberty. But, they can’t do it.

That’s the thing with the religious impulse. It’s largely a theatrical concept. The faithful would rather face the lions than renounce their faith because just before the jaws clamp on their throat, they see the adoration of their coreligionists. Anti-racists would rather damage their own cause than compromise on the faith. It’s what defines them.

Hari Seldon Wants In The Game

As a general rule, I counsel against optimism. In fact, i tell people that the wise course is to imagine the worst case and then figure that to be the best case. That said, there are reasons to be cheerful sometimes. This story floating around the Imperial Capital is one example.

Republican leaders adamantly opposed to Donald J. Trump’s candidacy are preparing a 100-day campaign to deny him the presidential nomination, starting with an aggressive battle in Wisconsin’s April 5 primary and extending into the summer, with a delegate-by-delegate lobbying effort that would cast Mr. Trump as a calamitous choice for the general election.

Recognizing that Mr. Trump has seized a formidable advantage in the race, they say that an effort to block him would rely on an array of desperation measures, the political equivalent of guerrilla fighting.

There is no longer room for error or delay, the anti-Trump forces say, and without a flawlessly executed plan of attack, he could well become unstoppable.

But should that effort falter, leading conservatives are prepared to field an independent candidate in the general election, to defend Republican principles and offer traditional conservatives an alternative to Mr. Trump’s hard-edged populism. They described their plans in interviews after Mr. Trump’s victories last Tuesday in Florida and three other states.

The names of a few well-known conservatives have been offered up in recent days as potential third-party standard-bearers, and William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, has circulated a memo to a small number of conservative allies detailing the process by which an independent candidate could get on general-election ballots across the country.

Among the recruits under discussion are Tom Coburn, a former Oklahoma senator who has told associates that he would be open to running, and Rick Perry, the former Texas governor who was suggested as a possible third-party candidate at a meeting of conservative activists on Thursday in Washington.

Bill Kristol is not a dumb guy. He is not much of an American at this point, but he is not stupid. His interest in America is only as a source of men and money to attack the Muslims. That’s what neo-conservatism has been reduced to in the post-Cold War era. They will go along with any crackpot scheme that lets them throw bombs at the muzzies.

Still, Kristol is not stupid. He know there’s no chance he could even launch a third party, much less stop Trump from getting the nomination. This is proof of that. He’s hoping to deal himself back in the game with this largely worthless threat. The hope is that Team Trump, through an intermediary, will make nice with these guys, maybe promising gigs in the Leviathan if he wins.

An important component of the commentariat is the fiction of having influence. Kristol get paid largely on the myth that he is a mover and shaker in Republican Party politics. He made millions off taking credit for Sarah Palin being named McCain’s running mate. Trump is putting the family business at risk so Kristol is scheming for a way back in and this is his gambit.

This suggests that the pros are now coming around to the idea that Trump will not only win the nomination, but win the general election so they want in on the action. I have no idea how this game of chicken will play out, but the numbers suggest Trump is in a position to wait and let these guys vent their spleen for a while longer. They want in so he just needs to win and then make a deal.

There’s always the possibility that Kristol has simply lost his fastball. That happens to all of us. He is closer to being worm food now than his prime. The fact he is talking about comical losers like Perry and the near-dead Coburn suggests maybe all of them have lost their marbles, but that’s not the way to bet. Kristol is the Hari Seldon of neo-conservatism and even in his dotage, he probably has more on the ball than 90% of the schemers in the game.

It’s Not Us, It’s You

In 2000 I was living in Virginia and not terribly interested in the upcoming election. The reason was twofold. I was not a big fan of Bush and all of the down ticket candidates were uninteresting, but harmless. I think my state rep had been in office for decades and was running unopposed, because no one had a reason to throw him out. He was harmless and sensible, a rare thing in politics.

Even so, I went off the morning of the election to my polling place and I was surprised to see a line. It was one of those times when you suddenly realize you are wrong about things. Clearly, people were not like me and indifferent to the election. They were engaged, because they thought it was important. Bush won Virginia, but not as handily as one would have expected.

What came next was eight years of Progressive crazies screaming at us that Bush was a mix of Hitler and Satan. On the other side were conservative media defending everything Bush said and did, even the stuff that was contrary to conservative dogma, which was most of it. It was in the Bush years that “conservative” lost all meaning and became a brand label to sell the GOP, as well as ties, coffee mugs and so forth.

Part of the reason Donald Trump has risen to the top of the GOP field is he has largely run against conservative media. It has been an article of faith among media conservatives that the public hated the liberal media. Michelle Malkin has said “lame-stream media” so many times it could be her nickname. Much of what Fox News and talk radio do everyday is rail about the liberal media, seeing that as red meat to their fans.

It turns out that the public actually has grown to hate all political media equally. It is why the screaming about Trump has backfired. The conservative public has been doing a slow burn for eight years over the Bush debacle. They feel they were sold a pig in a poke. The people selling it were the folks in conservative media, who tried peddling Mitt Romney four years ago. They were ready to sell Jeb Bush this time.

It appears that conservative media may be slowly figuring it out as we see in this article by the neo-con pundit John Podhoretz. He cannot bring himself the admit the invade the world/invite the world ideology of his people is the real problem, but he does inch toward blaming Bush for the current ructions. Now that Hari Seldon’s top lieutenant has said it is OK, I suspect others will begin to plow this ground over the summer.

The gist of the Podhoretz article is that the bank collapse and mortgage meltdown still haunt the GOP because no one was ever brought to account for it. Instead, Republicans blamed Clinton and Democrats blamed greedy bankers, who were never charged. Instead, they were bailed out with borrowed Chinese money. The argument is that this “revolt” of the Dirt People is a delayed response to this.

Well, that is some of it, but the 2008 nonsense was part of a larger trend we have seen for decades. In the 80’s, many people went to jail over the S&L Crisis. In 2000 hardly anyone went to jail for the dot-com fraud and the accounting scandals. People have been watching the rich and powerful avoid the law for a long time now so the mortgage collapse was just part of the larger mosaic.

The bigger issue is that conservatives were told for generations that the only way to roll back the welfare state and restore order was to get control of Congress. That happened for the first time in 50 years when the GOP won the House in ‘94. They did some good things and slowed spending considerably, but Clinton was still in the White House so rollback was off the table.

That was the argument for Bush from conservative media in 2000. Bush with a GOP House and Senate could pass real reform and big parts of the conservative agenda. Instead, we got wars of choice that staggered on endlessly and a massive expansion of government not seen since LBJ. To top it off, we got the start of the security state in the form of the Department of Homeland Security.

This crap was sold and defended by conservative media for eight years. The warmongering has been defended throughout the Obama years. All the big-shots in conservative media were preparing to sell the voters on Jeb Bush until the Dirt Monster showed up and busted up the party. It is why the screaming and hooting from conservative media has fallen on deaf ears. No one believes them anymore.

To add insult to injury, the surge of Trump has been cast as racist and prol by the pajama-clad social justice warriors of conservative media. If you are a rank and file conservative, you cannot help but wonder if conservative media is just a big fraud run by the DNC. Browse through National Review and you can only assume it is a well coordinated and financed attack on the voters.

People who work with numbers have an old gag, “quantity has a quality of its own.” That is what is happening to conservative media. They can be clever and smart and have access to the best media tools. That is not much use when 99% of the people no longer believe them. Unless and until conservative media comes to terms with the fact they are on the wrong side of their customers, their star will continue to fade.

It’s Not That Complicated

On Friday a jury in Florida ruled that Gawker Media harmed famous person Hulk Hogan by publishing a sex tape that featured Hogan. The news accounts are all over the place about the legal issues, mostly written by people with zero understanding of the law. From the best I can tell, the case was about whether or not Gawker had the right to post the video. If not, then they harmed Hogan and are liable for damages.

The answer as to whether they had the right to post the video is obvious. Gawker does not own the video so they cannot possibly have a right to post it. All the blather about the First Amendment simply does not apply. There is no constitutional right to theft. The video is the property of the woman, Hogan or the person who filmed the two. This is not a complicated issue.

There’s well established law on this matter. The video was of two people engaged in a private act. They had an expectation of privacy. They either gave permission to the person that recorded them or they did not. The burden of proof is on the filmmaker who would have had both “performers” sign a release. If he failed to do that, then he does not have ownership of the video.

Unless Gawker could prove they bought the video from the rightful owner, the performers or the filmmaker, they were in possession of stolen property. It is no different than if Gawker sold Hogan’s car or his personal belongings that they had stolen from his home. It is not their property so they have no right to profit from it. When they decided to publish the video, they were liable for the consequences.

The usual idiots are wringing their hands over this case, claiming it is a chilling of the press. They are wrong in that the press does not have the right to steal or the right to harm people for a profit. Gawker had every right to report the existence of the tape and the events surrounding its creation. That is legitimate journalism and protected by the First Amendment.

Further, Gawker could have reported what they saw on the tape. If Hogan has a micro-penis, for example, they could have made jokes about his micro-penis. They could have said he was a terrible lover or wore socks to bed. If Hogan sued, he would have to show that Gawker lied or misrepresented him in some way. Those are loser cases, assuming the news outlet did not deliberately lie or manufacture facts.

This is not about press freedom. This is about theft. Frankly, Gawker should have been charged with theft. After all, if Nick Denton were found to be driving around in Hogan’s car, he would have been charged with possession of stolen property, unless he could establish had the permission to possess the car. In America, you have a duty to establish the provenance of property when you take possession of it.

This is why pawn shops have to take reasonable steps to make sure you are the rightful owner of whatever it is you are trying to pawn. They get your ID and run your property through the hot sheets, if available. The risk is that if the property turns out to be stolen, the pawn shop forfeits it without compensation. That is because no one has a right to stolen property. That includes news organizations.

As far as I can tell, Gawker never tried to establish their legal ownership of the tape. They were never required to disclose how they obtained it. Frankly, this is a bigger problem than the so-called chilling effect on the news. We do not want to live in a world where some weirdo can record your private doings and then sell the video to a website. They are starting to be people in jail for this now. Reporters should not be exempt.

Now, it is probably better that Gawker will be shuttered and the owner ruined. From what I understand, he is personally liable for some portion of the judgement. He will be a great example to remind other tabloid sites that they have to follow the law. Even if Hulk Hogan has a micro-penis, he has rights like everyone else.

The Surplus Value Of Robots

The very, very abbreviated version of the Marxist concept of creative annihilation is that capitalism not only destroys previous economic orders to make way for the new, but also that it must ceaselessly devalue existing wealth. The manufacturer that implements automation destroys the value of plants that lack automation. When the fully automated plant comes online, the semi-automated plant loses it’s value.

For Marx and those who followed him, this seemed rather obvious. Acme Widget pops up to make a new gadget that eliminates the need for some old gadget. The plant making the old gadget would close and the workers would be fired. The new and better had to displace the old and that naturally meant capital always declined in value. The math would follow. At least from the perspective of a man in a rapidly industrializing world, it felt that way.

The trouble with Marxism was not so much that it had everything wrong, but that it could never square basic tenets with observable reality. The new gadget was, in fact, better than the gadget it replaced. Capitalist societies did, in fact, experience a general, as well as a specific, increase in material wealth. Clearly something else was going on which is why we have the phrase, Schumpeter’s gale.

The core of Western economic thought is that two things are essential to a thriving economic order. One is a growing population and the other is the multiplier effect from technological advance. The value created by each unit of labor, in turn makes subsequent units of labor more productive and thus more valuable. The value of the buggy whip factory may have been vaporized, but the value of the fuzzy dice factory that replaced it is much higher.

Libertarians, of course, will bore the hell out of you preaching about creative destruction. To some degree, we all accept it, even the socialists. It’s impossible not to as we have seen the process with our own eyes. The fax machine makers followed the typewriter makers into the dustbin of history, but you can now read this off your phone. Even old school socialists understand this now.

A very hard thing for people to understand is the idea that things can be true for a while and then stop being true. Alternatively, something can be true and important today, but unverifiable and insignificant tomorrow. Feudalism made a lot of sense in the 7th century, but then stopped making sense in the 14th century. By the 19th century no one really cared about it anymore. In other words, lots of things are true and important for a while, but not forever.

That’s where we may be headed with economic growth. The whole point of pushing for economic growth was to increase the general welfare. Sure, some people getting rich was nice, but that was a necessary evil. The point was to increase the overall bounty in order to make your society prosperous. Reducing scarcity has been the goal of man since the dawn of time. Even Marx accepted this as the starting point of political-economy.

We are reaching a point where vast segments of a modern economy can be turned over to robots. Japan is building indoor farms that are almost entirely automated. Automating warehousing is just about here. Driverless car technology will make driving a truck a thing of the past. Read the news and you can see the future of manual labor. It has no future. In a generation, maybe two, it will all be done by robots. More important, it will be done better, faster and cheaper.

Of course, financial transactions can be automated now, eliminating the gambling aspects of finance. It has not happened for a number of reasons, but it is coming. We talked about the law last week and how it is slowly being overrun by algos. Health care is another profession where automation will be making a huge impact over the next decades. Dr. Google is already the first consult for many people. Put in the symptoms and out pops hundreds of sites full of useful information.

Instead of the value of the widget factory being vaporized by the essential processes of capitalism, it is the value of human labor, both manual and cognitive. In fact, cognitive labor is what will most easily be replaced with automation. Instead of having the value of our labor stolen by greedy capitalist, mankind is about to have the value of its labor vaporized by our own inventions.

We are already seeing hints of the problems to come from mass automation. America has a record number of people not working. This is causing disruption in our politics and our economics. It’s hard to pitch the American Dream to people who are on an allowance from the state. More important, it is impossible for people to maintain the habits required of citizenship when they are on an allowance from the state.

The bigger challenge is how to distribute the bounty. Human societies from the dawn of agriculture have distributed wealth based on the value of labor. The great warrior who saved his people would be rewarded with lands he could pass onto his heirs. Today the smart guy who is good with the language gets rich in the law or on TV, while the smart guy with high math skills gets rich on Wall Street.

How do we distribute the bounty of society when everyone’s labor is worthless? There are a few possible answers, but none of them include maintaining cultural items like a work ethic or self-reliance. Free markets would also become an artifact for the museum. In other words, the robot future will require an entirely different culture based on the value of labor being zero. That may require a different type of human too.

The War On Biology

Feminism, we are told, comes in three forms. The mild form, or First Wave Feminism, was all about expanding basic legal rights to women. The self-destructive form, Second Wave Feminism, was about busting up the cultural protections for women. This was based on the ludicrous idea that women are simply men lacking a penis. Finally, the absurd form, Third Wave Feminism, is a shrieking tantrum against biological reality, largely the result of the destruction caused by Second Wave Feminism.

When looked at in its totality, particularly with the human genome and mountains of anthropological data in mind, feminism is about as sensible as humoralism and that’s probably being unfair to the Ancients. Humans don’t just come in two sexes for the mechanical purpose of reproduction. Males and females are cognitively and physiologically evolved to serve very different roles in human societies.

Despite lots of feminists demanding we know how much they “bleeping love science!” by posting this phrase on their Facebook pages, feminism remains an extended tantrum against biological reality. Feminist women are bitter because they lack a penis. Feminist men are bitter because they have one. The result of this is feminism is just endless harping about men and slimy attempts to accuse men of misdeeds.

This ridiculous war on men is at the heart of the homosexual activism we have seen over the last couple of decades. It’s never been about homosexuals or their rights. It is about the war on men that has been waged by feminist nutters and their Progressive enablers. Normal men are mildly intolerant of homosexual males, with many men openly hostile. The whole point of pushing homosexual rights is to irritate and marginalize normal men and their opinions.

Here’s an example of what I mean.

The St. Louis Cardinals said they are taking allegations from a former pitcher in the organization that he quit baseball because of anti-gay comments “very seriously.”

Tyler Dunnington, who is gay, told he did not come out while he was pitching for the Cardinals in rookie and Class A baseball in 2014 but eventually left baseball after overhearing derogatory comments from teammates.

“I was also one of the unfortunate closeted gay athletes who experienced years of homophobia in the sport I loved,” Dunnington wrote in an email to the website. “I was able to take most of it with a grain of salt but towards the end of my career I could tell it was affecting my relationships with people, my performance, and my overall happiness.

“I experienced both coaches and players make remarks on killing gay people during my time in baseball, and each comment felt like a knife to my heart. I was miserable in a sport that used to give me life, and ultimately I decided I needed to hang up my cleats for my own sanity.”

Dunnington, 24, spent most of his career with the Cardinals organization at rookie-level Gulf Coast League. He left the organization after the 2014 season and retired before 2015 spring training.

The Cardinals said they will look into Dunnington’s allegations and work with MLB ambassador for inclusion Billy Bean, a former major league player who came out as gay after his playing days were over. No active major leaguer has ever publicly come out of the closet.

“This is very disappointing and our hope is that every player, staff member and employee feels that they are treated equally and fairly,” Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said in a statement. “Given the nature of these allegations, I will certainly look into this further.”

Men on a sports team, in a military unit or just hanging out drinking beer can and will be rotten to one another. It’s a normal part of male behavior. Sadly, some men are born homosexual. Others are cowards or wimps. Nature does not dispense her gifts equally. What this means is that in all-male environments, some men will find themselves on the receiving end of some unpleasant hazing. It’s as much a part of human biology as eye color.

Now, it would be nice if all men could be conditioned at an early age to know when to back off their natural instincts so that homosexual males like Tyler Dunnington don’t feel blue, but that’s like training lions to be vegetarians. The lion will only go along with it until the trainer makes the mistake of stepping into the enclosure. All the brow-beating that goes on in schools and the workplace will not alter 200,000 years of evolution. Instead, it’s these endless witch hunts and shaming sessions.