The Great Culture War

Now that Donald Trump is about to clinch the Republicans nomination, the professional pundits, who got everything about this election wrong, are now busy trying to explain what it all means. The increasingly deranged Left is trying to jam all of it into their bizarre world view that says they are noble heroes fighting the dragon of oppression. On the Buckley Right, they are feverishly searching about for villains so they can avoid facing the reality of their position.

The one thing both sides agree upon is that Trump is being carried to the nomination by a wave of heroin addicts from the hill country. These snaggle toothed losers are angry at having been out-competed by the dusky fellows in foreign lands. Left out of the global nirvana, where well-scrubbed boys and girls take up positions in the media and think tanks, these hapless losers are lashing out by supporting Trump. It is the revolt of the hillbillies.

There is another thing both sides agree upon. Modern Progressives and Buckley Conservatives both hate the people to their Right. As Progressives have relentlessly dragged the Overton Window to the Left, The Buckley-ites have sprinted after them, fearful of being lumped in with the rabble to their Right. The window has been dragged so far to the Left that the number of people “on the right” is looking like a swelling majority. To the people peering out from their think tanks and limousines, however, we are on the verge of mob rule.

All of the wailing and gnashing of teeth over Trump disguises the fact that the American Left is collapsing. One place you see it is with their candidates. Hillary Clinton is a world class screw up planning to run as an old hen clucking about the men, with a mild whiff of lesbianism to spice it up. No wonder the 2000 year old man is giving her a run for her stolen money. The Left has nothing to offer so it coughed up these geriatric hairballs from the 1970’s.

In theory this should be good news for the Buckley-ites, but that has not been the result. Decades of trading away everything to the Left for a chance to guide foreign policy has left the Buckley-ites incapable of winning fights over cultural and economic issues. They have been surrendering for so long, it is now their default response. Worse yet, they have been trained to scold the rest of us about the need for compromise whenever the Left assaults a part of the culture.

There is another piece to this. Over the last quarter century, politics for both sides have become incredibly lucrative and largely unimportant. They risk nothing as money flows into Washington no matter which side is ascendant. When 90% of incumbents win reelection, there is never really much at stake for them. For the metastasizing pundit and think tank class, politics has been reduced to theater, like the battles at those medieval themed restaurants. Winning is not important. Putting on a good show for each other is what matters to them.

Outside the government class, it is a different story. Normal Americans are the ones paying the price for gesture politics. John McCain can be generous on immigration because he never experiences it. He lives in one of his wife’s twenty-three mansions, rides in government limousines and works in fortified government facilities. Men like John McCain live as strangers in this country. What they see of it is from a safe distance.

Similarly, the chattering skulls on television pull down six figure salaries and live in bunkered, whites-only communities. It is not an accident that they are crowded into the richest counties on earth, all of them around Washington DC. They are the petty royalty of the ruling class. To these people, normal Americans are aliens, indistinguishable from the people sneaking over the border.

The reality of the last quarter century for normal Americans is vastly different from the reality of the political class and the financial elites. Across the land has been a great stagnation, covered over by easy credit and financial legerdemain. For the average American, treading water has been a struggle, with many falling behind and losing faith in a system that no longer seems equitable. Mass media magnifies the yawning gap between the “winners” and the vast majority.

No one, on the Left or the Right, speaks to this. Instead, it is a repetition of the old platitudes from yesteryear. One side promotes minoritism at the expense of the middle and the other side champions globalist capitalism dressed up with libertarian moralizing. The tone and substance of the rhetoric suggests both sides see the common American citizen as the threat. It is as if we have been colonized. The rulers need us, but they detest us for it and can never trust us, because down deep, they are not one of us.

Almost a quarter century ago Pat Buchanan gave his infamous Culture War speech at the Republican convention. In it he said, “This election is about more than who gets what. It is about who we are. It is about what we believe, and what we stand for as Americans. There is a religious war going on in this country. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we shall be as was the Cold War itself, for this war is for the soul of America.”

It has taken decades, but the American people may be prepared to join the fight finally.

The End Is Near

I’ve always liked to think of the Hebrew Bible as mostly a collection of doomsayers who got lucky and were right. Lost to the mists of time are the thousands of guys who stood around Israel claiming that the end was near, only to live out their lives never seeing things get worse, much less come to an end. Ahijah the Shilonite’s grandfather spent his time claiming the son of David would turn out to be a no-goodnik so no one bothered to write his story.

Doomsaying seems to be a part of the human condition. John Derbyshire places it within the conservative tradition and that makes some sense. The Rousseau-ists imagine Utopia is just a few more committee meetings away from reality so doomsaying does not fit their style. Conservatives are naturally skeptical and therefore would imagine that disaster is much more likely to be awaiting the schemes of man. Then again, it’s easy to be skeptical of the doom and gloom claims too, so maybe Derb is wrong.

Still, you cannot deny that things have, from time to time, gone terribly wrong for mankind. The collapse of Rome set back human development for a thousand years. The Mongol Invasion exterminated Islamic intellectual life. It never did recover. The Black Plague killed off a third or more of Europe. The Sea People swept in from somewhere north of the Mediterranean, we think, and ushered in the collapse of Bronze Age civilizations.

That said, the last real threat to humanity was the Black Death and it probably made humans west of the Hajnal Line better in the long run. That’s hotly debated, but we did survive it. I guess you could put the nuclear standoff between the Russians and the US down as a near death experience for humanity. Whether or not it would have happened is debatable, but we survived that one too. So far, the doomsayers have been all wrong.

Then again, maybe we are long overdue for a great reset of the human condition.

The rise of robots and deadly viruses are among the threats that could wipe out swathes of humanity – but governments are failing to prepare properly for them, a new report warns

Catastrophic climate change, nuclear war and natural disasters such as super volcanoes and asteroids could also pose a deadly risk to mankind, researchers said.

It may sound like the stuff of sci-fi films, but experts said these apocalyptic threats are more likely than many realise.

The report Global Catastrophic Risks, compiled by a team from Oxford University, the Global Challenges Foundation and the Global Priorities Project, ranks dangers that could wipe out 10% or more of the human population.

It warns that while most generations never experience a catastrophe, they are far from fanciful, as the bouts of plague and the 1918 Spanish flu that wiped out millions illustrated.

Sebastian Farquhar, director at the Global Priorities Project, told the Press Association: “There are some things that are on the horizon, things that probably won’t happen in any one year but could happen, which could completely reshape our world and do so in a really devastating and disastrous way.

“History teaches us that many of these things are more likely than we intuitively think.”Many of these risks are changing and growing as technologies change and grow and reshape our world. But there are also things we can do about the risks.”

If there could be such a thing as a betting market for the next great calamity for man, I’d put my wager on disease. We have the technology now to look out into the heavens for asteroids and we know we are safe for now. Space aliens are probably too far away to ever be a threat, assuming they even exist, which is looking doubtful. That leaves the things that can occur locally as sources of the Apocalypse.

A financial crash is a good bet. The highly complex economic arrangements we have today have no plan B if things go wrong. A century ago, electronic transactions did not exist. Today they are the heart of commerce. If that breaks, we suddenly live in a world without money. That will spiral out of control so fast government could never respond in time to head off calamity.

Another take on this is a collapse of the electrical grid. The real currency of the West is the electron traveling over copper wire. If some Exploding Mohameds set off a nuke and collapse the grid, western civilization stops. A world without cellphones, computers and television becomes a world of shotguns, food riots and warlords. Just take a second to imagine a world without TV and the internet.

Of course, this brings up the old standby from my youth, the nuclear holocaust. This has dropped from the culture, but there are more than enough nukes in the world to wipe out humanity. The Pakis have nukes. The NORKs have the bomb and maybe an ICBM soon. The Russians have nukes and they are due for have a crazy Ivan gain control of the country. We don’t talk about it anymore, but nuclear holocaust is still an option.

For my money, the best bet seems to be disease. The Zika virus now flowing north from Brazil is a good example. Disease spreads best in high density areas. The modern world has loads of high density areas for diseases and all it takes is one lucky mutation and blammo! We have a new plague ravaging mankind. Something like Zika that is spread by mosquito is a great example. Even quarantine will not work against this kind of plague.

Another element we have to day that works well for pandemics is the mass movement of people. The Spanish Flu was most likely the result of the Great War. Troops carried the disease all over Europe and then back to their home countries. The exact source of this strain of flu is still unknown, but the mass movement of people is certainly the way it spread.

Millions of Muslims pouring into Europe, as well as millions of South Americans pouring into the US is already increasing disease rates. Things like Whooping Cough have shown up in America after a long absence. Some new flavor of an old disease, like Zika or Ebola, that can be spread by mosquitoes could easily unleash a new plague on humanity. In weeks these guys would suddenly expect to have books of the new Bible named after them.

The Automat of the Future

When my grandmother was young, she and her friends would go to the theater to see newsreels, which were the mass media of the age. The only other way to reach a lot of people was radio and newspapers. A common theme of newsreels was to talk about the glorious future of labor saving devices. A century ago, a new labor saving invention was coming every day so it certainly felt like humanity was accelerating forward.

The only reason I know about this is my grandmother would tell me about it when I was a boy. She liked to talk about how she would spend the day at the theater watching newsreels about the kitchen of the future that pretty much looked like her current kitchen. In 1920 having a blender in the kitchen was the driverless car of the day. By the time my mother was having kits, everyone had one.

The point my grandmother was making at the time is that the glorious future is never all that glorious when you get there. When she was a young girl, kitchen appliances would make being a wife and mother a breeze. That’s not how it happened. Being a wife and mother was pretty much the same, just with electric appliances instead of manual ones.

Of course, the American kitchen did not accelerate into the glorious future. It pretty much stopped around 1965 and has remained there every since. The fridge is a little better and dishwashers are better, but incrementally. The person of 1965 transported to today would not marvel at your Sub-Zero fridge. They would be stunned that it was unpainted, but that’s about it.

That’s something to keep in mind when listening to sermons on the robot future. The future is rarely as promised and when it is, it turns out to be rather mundane. My grandmother was promised a self-cleaning kitchen and instead got a dishwasher that required her to rise the dishes first. My mother was promised a kitchen that made food at a touch of a button, but only got a microwave out of it. The Jetson’s kitchen never arrived and probably never will.

The economics of technological innovation are what limit the result set. There’s not much to improve upon in a modern kitchen. The robot stove that delivers the turkey to the table would be really cool, but no one is buying one or reorganizing their house to accommodate it. The stove we have is good enough so there’s no reason to invent a new one. The microwave oven, the last great innovation in cooking, was an accident.

That’s what should limit enthusiasm for the robot future. Those self-learning machines from Skynet are going to enter a world of double-entry accounting. All of their advances will come with trade-offs. Those trade-offs are the boundary preventing you from having a jetpak and flying car. These things are possible, but the trade-offs make them unworkable. For as long as I have been alive men have been trying to solve the jetpak problem and all efforts have ended in tears.

The robot future will run into similar trouble as we see with the automated fast food restaurant. This is basically an Automat pitched as something new. When I was a kid, one of my memories was going to an Automat on a family excursion where you could buy food from a vending machine. By the time I hit adulthood, eating from a vending machine was for single men and drug addicts.

From the article:

On Tuesday, the Financial Times reported on an analysis by Deloitte that found that the UK had already lost 31,000 jobs in the legal sector to automation, and projected that another 114,000 jobs would be next.

It’s all happening very fast. In 2013, MIT engineering professor John Leonard told the MIT Technology Review that “robots simply replacing humans” would not happen in his lifetime. “The semi-autonomous taxi will still have a driver,” he argued. Today, Google’s autonomous cars have traveled more than 1m miles on public streets, and self-driving taxis seem all but inevitable.

Sharkey expects that the service industry will be particularly hard hit. He estimates that by 2018 there will be 35 million service robots “at work”.

A bartending robot named “Monsieur” is already on the market. A hardware store in San Jose, California has a retail associate robot named “Oshbot.” The UK salad bar chain Tossedreportedly announced this month that two outlets in London would have self-service kiosks instead of cashiers. On Thursday, Domino’s Australia unveiled a pizza delivery robot in Brisbane.

Notice no one every talks about the trade-offs. Let’s assume the Automat of the future is human-less, which is not the case, but we’ll pretend anyway. Who will be the customers for these things? Throw tens of millions out of work and they have no money to buy Extra Big-Ass Fries from the Hardees robot. That puts an end to the robot future in a hurry. Until that puzzle is solved, there will be no robot future.

Then there’s something else. I don’t want to buy food and drinks at the ATM. I rarely go out to eat for lunch, but when I do it is to get out among people. The girl at the local deli is cute and I enjoy ogling her. The waiter is friendly and I enjoy chatting with him. I like the fact that the Greek family that owns the deli is onto the third generation now. You don’t replace that with robots.

The future imagined at any time tells us more about the people imagining it than the people who will create it. In the 1950’s, fear of nuclear war drove sci-fi and horror movies to imagine all sorts of monsters born from technological error. In those newsreels a century ago, when people were more optimistic, the future was bright and happy for humans. Technological progress promises prosperity. The fact that we dream of electric sheep says a lot about us, but little about the future.

The robot future imagined by our overlords is nothing like that glorious future sold to my grandmother in newsreels. Her glorious future was a great time to be alive. American would be free from the mundane to conquer the world. The robot future sold today is sterile and joyless, a great time to take advantage of the suicide kiosk at the mall. The great minds of our age say the future is pointless. Instead of a singularity, it will be a nullity.

Unless humanity is hardwired to self-destruct, that will not be the future. Life always finds a way. If it is truly pointless, then we will follow the path of the panda, except we will have built our own enclosures. Then again, those young men streaming over the border are full of hope for their future so maybe they just displace the people working on the sterile robot future. It’s hard to know, but the future will not be what our overlords imagine, at least not for them.

Culture and Cycling

A good rule in life is that anything that has value is being faked. People in the collectibles business just assume everything is fake until proven otherwise. A fun book to read on art forgery is called The Art of the Con. Some of the scams described are rather outlandish, which makes it  fun read, but the theme throughout is always the same. If it has value, someone will find a way to fake it.

Of course, this is true everywhere. Baseball had a steroid scandal because there was money to be made in getting bigger, faster and stronger through any means available. If a drug could make you taller, then basketball would have a problem with it. Endurance sports like soccer and tennis have problems with players using drugs to increase endurance. The drug Sharapova used was to increase her cardiovascular capacity.

The thing with cheating is that the risk-reward relationship does not always make a lot of sense. In the art world, forgers will fake relatively cheap prints that make a small profit for them. They face the same risks as with faking a Rembrandt, but the rewards are relatively small. In sports, athletes will use steroids even though they are already at the top of their game. How much of a boost did Ryan Braun get from cheating versus what it cost him?

Some sports seem to have a culture of cheating, while others do not. Cycling and track and field are riddled with cheating. There are more great cheaters than great champions in those sports. Everyone cheats and that’s just the way it is. Golf on the other hand, has little cheating and actually relies on a rather austere honor code. Players have lost tournaments because they volunteered their own rule violations.

The thing that fascinates me is the cheating in cycling. No sport has the level of exotic cheating that we see here. It’s not just the Tour either. They cheat down in the minor leagues too.

A professional cyclist has been banned for six years after it was discovered she was racing with a hidden electric motor. Femke Van den Driessche was caught at the UCI Cyclo­cross World Championships in January, during an inspection of her pit area. A magnetic resonance scan, which Road.ccreports was conducted with a tablet, allowed officials to spot a battery and Vivax motor in the seat tube. Van den Driessche could have activated it using a Bluetooth switch concealed under her handlebar tape. She denied the allegations at the time, claiming the bike was given to her by mistake.

That’s complete nonsense, of course. Here’s a pic of how the motor was hidden in the bike.






The technology involved here is not something you do in your garage with some simple hand tools. The down tube is 31.6 mm in diameter so slipping a motor and battery into it required some smart guys with access to high quality machine tools. There is a company that makes this device, but it would not fit a racing bike. That and it costs $3000 for the cheap model. This level of sophistication is closer to $10,000.

The puzzle here is why would they go to these lengths? Cycling is not sport where the pros make big money. Even at the top level, the typical pro is simply living on an allowance of sorts. Their room and board is covered and they get to keep prize money, which is not a lot. They make more money selling their spare bikes and parts than they make off the tour.

At the cyclocross level, it’s a hobby, even though it is called professional. The sponsors cover the travel costs, room and board. They supply the bikes. This woman could expect to take home a few bikes after the season and sell them for enough to buy a used Toyota. Even if she was the greatest cyclocross rider in history, she was never going to make big money. Maybe she could hook on with a manufacturer one day in the marketing department.

Despite this reality, she and her team went to great lengths to find a tiny advantage. Realistically, how much of an edge could this device give her? The size limitation means the motor produced little power. The weight of the thing added about 10 kg to the frame, which makes a huge difference at this level of racing. Maybe the cheating helped this woman a tiny bit, but was it worth the lifetime ban and humiliation?

It’s another example of how any system that relies on humans acting rationally or purely in their self-interest is doomed to failure. Some people like cheating. Some people get off on the thrill of breaking rules. Every society has free loaders. More important, people are not always very good at discerning their best interest. Walk around my neighborhood on a summer day and you see that fact in living color.

There’s also the fact that culture is very hard to change. Cycling has been plagued with cheating for decades. Draconian punishments for drug use have only made the riders more clever at taking drugs. Track has a similar problem. There’s something about the people in the sport that leads to the rampant rule breaking. Barring imposition of a 24×7 surveillance of everyone involved, these sports will be riddled with cheating.

That’s the lesson here. Culture is not a collection of rules drawn up in a committee hearing. The rules of a society are the result of the culture, not the other way around. If you want an orderly society or an honest sport, populate it with orderly, high trust people. The results will follow. Similarly, introduce a bunch low-trust people and order will break down quickly. In the case of cycling, its biggest problem is it is full of cyclists.

Voting in the Ghetto

For years now I have been threatening to drop off the voting rolls, but I always find some excuse to vote every election. I have skipped some minor elections and I skipped 2012, but in the latter case it was mostly out of disgust. Standing in line knowing my vote counted for nothing and knowing I was expected to vote for the rabid pussies ticket was just too much. Maybe if the line had been shorter, I would have stuck it out and voted, but I bolted and skipped the whole election.

When you live in a one party state, voting really is a waste of time. The best you can hope to do is make some trouble. I vote against all of the ballot measures, for example. They tend to fail so I suspect I am not the only one who does it. In the primary, I will vote for the most deranged Democrat on the ballot. Again, this is out of pure spite. As a white man, the Democrat Party has nothing to offer me, but I can throw sand in their gears.

Voting in the ghetto has the added feature of seeing aspects of the underclass you do not often see. Even in the poorest neighborhoods, there are civic minded people. There is a nice black woman I see around town who works the polls every year. In the ghetto, the polling places are always run by black women. It makes sense. They are the people responsible for raising the children until they are old enough to go off to prison.

The other aspect of this is they love seeing honkies voting. I walked into the polling place and the nice black ladies lit up like I was a long lost relative. At some level, they sense that the presence of the honky is a good sign. We are the canary in the coal mine. When the honky leaves, your neighborhood is forever lost. Seeing me in the neighborhood and taking the time to vote means there is still some hope for the place.

I did not see any Hispanics voting yesterday. In past elections, I would see an organizer from the party ushering in the local illegals to vote for the party candidates. That is something our rulers never can grasp. They think all of these foreign imports will vote, but that is not how it works. People vote if they have a stake in the society and think voting matters. More important, they vote for one of their own so he can represent them.

All elections are theater and American elections are theater for white people mostly. Blacks participate, but solely as furniture for the good whites. All the signaling and language is aimed at whites and blacks. Neither party has the slightest idea how to do anything but the white-man overbite in front of these “diverse communities” during election season. Pandering and free stuff is just not going to get Jose interested in voting.

The funny thing I did see at the polling station was a couple of black ladies holding Trump signs. I have never seen anyone promoting a Republican in this neighborhood so that was a first. Trump being treated like ghetto trash by the party big shots is not missed by the black ladies. Black people are vastly more in tune with the subtleties of respect than the typical honky. Black people see what is happening with Trump and they relate.

That does not mean Trump will win many black votes. It just means they have no reason to fear him. That is why I suspect Hillary is in deep trouble. Blacks will vote for her over an old Jew, but they are not turning out in big numbers for her unless the Republicans run someone scary. Trump does not scare black people. In fact, blacks seem to respect him and appreciate his showmanship. It is a small thing but politics is a game of small things.

One of the goofier things yesterday is we are now back to paper ballots. The Left has been trying to shake down Diebold and ES&S for years. These are the firms that make the computer voting gear. Since they cannot get these companies to rig the machines in favor of the party, the party has made war on the companies. At least in Maryland, the campaign has worked so we are back to paper ballots. I guess if the paper company is found to be run by a conservative, I will be voting with colored rocks next time.

The other silly bit was how the party nominates delegates to the convention. I picked from a slate of women and a slate of men. By rule, the seven delegates voted to the convention must be four biological women and three biological men. You just know where this is headed. A few more turns of the wheel and there will be a list for the one tranny, the one left handed gay ginger and so on. The Democrats are the party of lunatics and black people now.

As to the results, it is pretty clear that the public has grown tired of the primary drama and has settled on Trump and Clinton. Sanders will stagger on for another month as he has the money and nothing better to do with his time. Cruz and Kasich will be looking to drop out in a week. The Trump sweep will give him momentum for next week’s Indiana primary, which is the last stand for the Cult of Never Trump.

Female Trouble

Looking back, we had, in the person of Teddy Roosevelt, the finest President in the history of this country. He had the spirit and determination that matched the times and the land. Then the women got the vote, and everything went to hell. While our boys was overseas fighting the Kaiser, the women got Prohibition put in. Drinking and gambling and whoring were declared unlawful. All those things which come natural to men became crimes.

–The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean

One of the more obvious aspects of the modern lynch mob is it is almost always composed of women. Sure, there will be men tagging along, maybe throwing in some shots of their own, but the organizers are always women. Maybe a homosexual male will start it with a point and shriek, but 99 times out of 100, the person organizing the lynch mob is going to be a woman. She will sound the alarm and the rest of the coven will arrive, ready to set fire to the wicker man.

The social justice warrior phenomenon is mostly a product of Facebook and Twitter, as these services made it easier for stupid people to get on-line and blast their idiocy worldwide. As a result, unhinged young women now have easy access to a megaphone. Whenever one of them gets the boo-hoos or feels slighted by a man, she can give a couple of blasts on the horn and before long we have #gamergate or some other nonsense controversy.

That’s the most striking feature of the social justice warrior phenomenon. It is young, unattached females. Put #gamegate into a google machine and the third hit is a blog run by a lonely, unstable female. In fact, feminism today is just that, lonely unattached females looking for a purpose to their lives. Instead of snagging  a husband and having kids, they kit themselves out like extras from the freak show and scream at men for not loving them. Instead of tending to children, they talk endlessly about their unused female parts.

Much of what is going wrong in the West is some version of what we are seeing with the endless hashtag campaigns run by women. The female of our species has a biological purpose. That’s to find a suitable mate, bear children and raise them to sexual maturity. That’s nature’s assignment to women. Anything else is either in support of that purpose, frivolous or in opposition to biological necessity.

The result of a century of feminism is a society that works against the interests of women. Young men are no longer obligated to get married and be family men. In fact, being a traditional male is routinely mocked by popular culture. All the pressure on men is to not get married. Instead, males have easy sexual access to females, to whom they have no obligation, other than cab fare to the abortion clinic.

It’s not just young females who are suffering from a century of feminism. Middle-aged women have always faced a difficult time. The kids leave and the mother’s purpose expires. Every man over the age of 40 understands that women often go bonkers at this stage of life. They get into weird causes or begin to obsess over trying to look young. Because we live in an age where so many women made it to this age without bearing children, we now have a surplus of women like Melissa Click.

At the risk of sounding like a neanderthal, Mx. Click should be somewhere doting on grandchildren right now, not out making a nuisance of herself. Instead, the self-defeating religion of feminism guides her into self-destructive behavior that has led to a life of frustration. That frustration comes from pursuing an endless list of causes and movements that can never satisfy the biological urge. Her life is an endless itch that can never be scratched.

We are learning the hard way that Aristophanes was right all along. A society run by women can never work. And the West is run by women, make no mistake. This pic of the defense ministers of Europe is a regular on twitter. The most powerful country in the EU is run by an old maid. The US could very well install an old lesbian as president this fall. Liberal men spend their days watching cuckold porn and trying on sundresses, while writing angry posts about bathroom laws.

This is not a stable arrangement, which is why the West is struggling to perform the basics of a human society. The women of Europe are demanding open borders, which drives up their mating opportunities. That’s biology. The trouble is the young men arriving see the women as utterly useless as women, beyond momentary sexual release. That’s the rapefugee crisis in a nutshell. The Muslims are right. The West is run by whores and homosexuals.

This will not end well.

The Prison Vote

The corrupt governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, announced the other day that ex-cons will be granted the vote just in time of the presidential election. His assumption is that identity politics being what it is, the ex-con vote will naturally flock to Hillary Clinton, supporting someone they see as their own. There has always been an assumption that convicts, if given the chance, will vote for people like themselves.

That is the assumption. The reality is something different. Ex-cons tend not to vote at all. Those who would be inclined to vote are those who have gone the other way with their lives, embracing religion or social advocacy to help ex-cons get on the right path. It is a small club that will not make a difference in an election. Their party choice will most likely be along racial lines. The honkies voting for the Christian Republicans and the blacks voting for Liberal Democrats.

What is really going on here is an attempt to energize the black vote, particularly the female black vote. There is an assumption among white plutocrats that because so many black men are in prison, black women are naturally soft on crime. Liberals have done the math and realized that Obama won states like Virginia the first time on the overwhelming turnout among black women. Without black women voting in large numbers, he may have lost in 2012.

The image of the wailing black woman, as her son is led away to prison, is what they have in mind. They think by being soft on crime, they can appeal to that voter. Of course, that same black woman will be the first one yelling that the police do not do their job, so it is more complicated than the rich honkies understand. That and the last time I checked; Hillary is not a charming black man. That is what these black women saw in 2008, not a cackling hag promising treats.

There is also an HBD assumption in the weeds here. Lefty will call you a racist for noticing that blacks commit an enormous amount of crime, but they base their political calculations on it. They make assumptions about blacks that would make the Aryan Brotherhood blush. Even the AB understands that not all black people think alike. That has always been the thing with Lefty. He talks like MLK but lives like the KKK.

Whether or not ex-cons should be allowed to vote is a tricky subject. On the one hand, we have the idea of paying your debt to society. You break the law and you pay the price for it. Once the price is paid, your rights are restored. Including the right to vote makes a lot of sense. The argument here is that we want to encourage ex-cons to become good citizens and the promise of a second chance is an incentive. Either you paid your debt or you still owe, there’s no in between.

Of course, the right to own a gun should also be restored, but you can be sure no one will ever ask Liberal Democrats about that issue. That is the reason the Wuss Right is in trouble. They simply refuse to go on offense. They should be attacking the Left on this very issue. Make it about the Left’s gun grabbing. That is how you win at politics. Always be on offense and force the other guy to defend his positions. But they are called the Wuss Right for a reason.

Libertarians would go even further and say we should not maintain public crime records. Once a person has fulfilled their obligations to the criminal justice system, they should not have to carry the burden of a criminal record. The argument here is a youthful indiscretion can haunt someone for the rest of their days and that is not in the public interest. Sealing the criminal records after the punishment has been served lets the offender rejoin society with a clean slate.

Keeping this stuff a secret, however, is now impossible. Put a name into Google and you can quickly find their criminal history. The Social Justice Warriors and the people who fight them use this basic tool all the time to unearth damaging information. Stop exposing criminal records to the public and a private firm will step in and do it. Imagine Apple running a criminal database. Tim Cook would expunge the records of the sodomites, but enhance the records of Christians.

Putting that aside, I am somewhat sympathetic to the argument in favor of restoring all rights to ex-cons. I have met more than a few men who lost their franchise due to being knuckleheads in their youth. They got into the drug game and eventually got busted. They went onto live normal productive lives, but were barred from voting and had to explain their criminal record to every potential employer. How that serves the public interest is hard to explain.

On the other hand, giving murderers and child molesters a clean slate is against the best interests of society. Sex crimes arise from deep psychological defects that can never be fixed. Murder is a crime against the very nature of human society that can never be truly forgiven. Housing these people in cages may not be practical, but ostracizing them via the scarlet letter is something the public will always demand. This is where my penal colony idea looks fairly good. Sex offender island would solve this problem.

You Will Not Live Forever

“The ordinary modes of human thinking are magical, religious, social, and personal. We want our wishes to come true; we want the universe to care about us; we want the approval of those around us; we want to get even with that s.o.b. who insulted us at the last tribal council. For most people, wanting to know the cold truth about the world is way, way down the list.”
–John Derbyshire

We like to believe we are past the time when wizards and shaman can make a living telling the future and conjuring miracles. We’re not like those primitives in our history books. We’re all about facts and logic. We rely on big data and analytics to tell us who won a ball game. No relying on the scoreboard for us. After all, who among us has not told our Facebook friends how much we bleeping love science!??

That’s all nonsense, of course. We’re just as prone to magical thinking as the people of prior eras. Instead of the court astrologer, we have economists. Instead of guys promising to make lead into gold, we have guys like Ray Kurzweil telling us we will live forever.

Ray Kurzweil, Google’s chief futurist, laid out what he thinks the next few decades will look like in an interview with Playboy.

Kurzweil is one of the biggest believers in The Singularity, the moment when humans — with the aid of technology —will supposedly live forever.

He’s chosen the year 2045 because, according to his calculations, “The nonbiological intelligence created in that year will reach a level that’s a billion times more powerful than all human intelligence today.”

But even before 2045, Kurzweil thinks we could begin the deathless process.

I believe we will reach a point around 2029 when medical technologies will add one additional year every year to your life expectancy,” he told Playboy. “By that I don’t mean life expectancy based on your birthdate, but rather your remaining life expectancy.”

As the boomers move closer to the grave, the market for life extending miracles grows. Inevitably that means the charlatans move in to fleece the desperate and stupid. Kurzweil has been working this racket for a number of years now and he is good at it. So good that he has a multi-million dollar perch at Google as “chief futurist” which sounds like something I’d write if I were making fun of someone like Ray Kurweil.

My observation is that forever life is a male thing. Most men I know started fretting about their health once they hit their middle years. They quit drinking, smoking and started exercising. The neologism MAMIL does not exist by accident. I see these guys every weekend in the summer, kitted out like they are on the Tour. P. D. Mangan is making a living popularizing research on anti-aging. My guess is his audience is all male.

My hunch here is men used to seek glory as the way to live forever. Die in battle and spend the afterlife with the gods. Alternatively, go out as a hero to your people and be remembered forever. In the Christian era, heaven waited the men who were defenders of the faith. Today being a hero or dying in battle is not in the cards and no one believes in an afterlife, so men want to literally live forever.

Women, in contrast, don’t seem to be into the living forever stuff. They want to look good forever. That makes some sense biologically. Females of our species are wired to gain the attention of males. Looking young and sexy is therefore the biological goal from the start. Extending that out into middle and later years would extend the “life” of the female. I’ll allow that I could be all wrong about this.

The funny thing about this is that science knows very little about aging, in terms of why our bodies age. But, there’s money to be made in pretending we’re close to figuring it out and arresting it. From that Kurzweil article:

A lot will have to happen in the next 30 years to make that a reality, but Kurzweil isn’t fazed: He predicts that nano machines capable of taking over for our immune system (to fix problems like cancerous cells and clogged arteries) and connecting our brains to the cloud will be available by then.

He likens that change as the next step in our evolution, the same way our ancestors developed to use the frontal cortex 2 million years ago. The benefits, according to Kurzweil, will be significant.

We’ll create more profound forms of communication than we’re familiar with today, more profound music and funnier jokes,” he tells Playboy. “We’ll be funnier. We’ll be sexier. We’ll be more adept at expressing loving sentiments.”

Notice the future is always a scaled up version of what the futurists think is cool. Many of my neighbors would like to create more profound forms of killing rival drug dealers, more profound gangster lyrics, etc. The funny part of Kurweil’s future is that most of us will not be in it. His paradise will be more highly selective than Allah’s. Maybe the rest of us will just have to be satisfied being re-animated zombies.

The Great Transition

Back in the 90’s, the set of things called conservative began to merge with the set of things called Republican. By the time George Bush the Minor was crowned, the two words were interchangeable. Liberals would start hooting “extreme right-wing Republican conservative” as soon as you mentioned Bush. It was not just liberals doing it. The Conservative Industrial Complex was happy to make the two things synonymous. It made it easier for them to raise money from GOP donors.

At the same time, the folks who had been the core of American conservatism were pushed out of the set of things called conservative. There was lip service paid to things like abortion or homosexual marriage, but traditionalism was reduced to a marketing concept. Big foot conservatives and the GOP no longer cared about social issues. Instead, they were obsessed with globalism and making war on the Muslims. “Conservative” became Frank Meyer fusionism without the traditional social conservatism.

I have written a lot about how Buckley Conservatism is exhausted. It existed primarily as an argument in favor of a tough line with the Soviets and secondarily as an argument against 19th century socialism. It was a reaction to American Progressivism, not an independent intellectual movement. The Soviets are gone and no one, not even Progressives, think the worker’s paradise is a worthy goal. Conservatism no longer has a dance partner so it staggers around looking for a reason to exist.

Buckley Conservatism is now a collection of slogans mostly, but it is also a massive money making racket. The collection of monasteries around Washington DC are still cranking out policy papers and think pieces for the political class. On the Left there is nothing to write, but their monasteries are still in place, just looking for tenants. They busy themselves now with Democratic party politics, but the rickety state of the party reflects the Left. It is an old woman clutching at power.

The result is we have a strange period in American life. The old binary style of politics that has been with us since the Civil War now has a vacuum on both sides. The Left has no economic arguments and the Right has no cultural arguments. The reason the two sides scream bloody murder at one another over trivial stuff is they have no other way to distinguish one side from the other. Both sides are a straw-man for the other.

That does not mean we are headed for the singularity. The neo-cons are still with us and they may be ready to make the return trip from neo-conservative to neo-liberal, by moving out of Republican politics into Democratic politics. Intellectually, the Left has been an abandoned building since the fall of the Soviets so there is a vacuum to be filled. The coalition of groups on the Left are emotionally hostile to traditionalism, but they are open to the authoritarian globalism favored by the neoconservatives.

That Tevi Troy piece is worth reading and is probably more wishful thinking/veiled threat at this point. We are not going to see the American Enterprise Institute change uniforms overnight. That is not how these things work. Instead, it will be a slow evolution as we see guys like Jonah Goldberg, for example, transition from conservative to moderate and then liberal or whatever label they settle on at that point.

I’m picking on Goldberg because he is already laying the groundwork for his break with the Republican Party this fall. You can almost see the wheels turning as he tries to figure out how to argue that sitting out the election is the “conservative” position, despite arguing against that same position for two decades. Many of his fellows in the Conservative Industrial Complex are struggling with the same dilemma.

Now, Trump and the groundswell carrying him to the nomination is not an intellectual movement. It is not really a movement at this stage. It is simply a reaction to the fundamental contradictions in the globalist world view. You cannot have national governments beholden to their citizens in a purely global economy. If national governments are not beholden to their citizens, there is no point in being a citizen. More important, there is no reason for people to remain loyal to their rulers.

That said, ideological movements always start this way. Most peter out or become narrowly focused on achievable ends. Still, we see a lot of very smart people writing out on the fringe. If you are curious about the world and are looking for arguments about what is happening, you are not reading the mainstream guys. You are reading the weirdos of the Dark Enlightenment. That is where the action is now.

Political and ideological realignments happen in fits and starts so Trump could fizzle out only to be replaced the next time by a more polished version that is more complete as a political leader. Alternatively, the Conservative Industrial Complex could go through a counter-reformation and tilt back toward the traditionalist-conservative side. There is a large and growing mass of people rejecting the status quo. It is a market that will be met by someone.


If you have been reading this blog regularly, you’ll know I’m skeptical about the long term prospects of the managerial revolution. It’s not just that technocrats have a poor history. Even allowing for the miracle of the meritocracy to correct past errors, the very nature of technocracy is antithetical to nature. It requires constant care and maintenance to keep it running.

As with anything that requires constant repair and defense, the cost of maintaining it eventually consumes all benefit. At the point of diminishing returns, it becomes a question of when, not if, it collapses. The most obvious example is the Roman Empire. Once they ran out of profitable people to conquer, they were left with the expense of empire, but no new revenues to offset those expenses.

To quote Gibbon’s summary of the decline of Rome:

“The number of ministers, of magistrates, of officers, and of servants, who filled the different departments of the state, was mul­tiplied beyond the example of for­mer times; and (if we may bor­row the warm expression of a con­temporary) ‘when the proportion of those who received exceeded the proportion of those who con­tributed the provinces were op­pressed by the weight of tributes.’ From this period to the extinction of the empire it would be easy to deduce an uninterrupted series of clamors and complaints. Accord­ing to his religion and situation, each writer chooses either Diocle­tian or Constantine or Valens or Theodosius, for the object of his invectives; but they unanimously agree in representing the burden of the public impositions, and par­ticularly the land-tax and capita­tion, as the intolerable and in­creasing grievance of their own times.”

I’m offering that up for the new readers, of which there are many, so you can know where I’m coming from when critiquing stuff like this from Ramesh Ponnuru, who is the dean of the “reform-o-cons.” To be fair to Ponnuru, he is one of the few in the Buckley Conservative ecosphere that has not made a fool of himself over Trump. He has been rather sensible in his opinions and forthcoming about his motivations. The sad fact of modern life is most public men do not come upon their opinions honestly.

Even so, Ponnuru is a technocrat who spends his days imagining technocratic solutions to the problems of the technocracy. Therefore he focuses on the technocratic stuff like moving commas around the tax code or crafting new regulations to fix prior regulations. For the men of the managerial class, every answer is a recursive solution that aggregates more and more to the managerial class, at the expense of those outside their class.

The result is a weird myopia that seems to come naturally to the bureaucratic mind and it is on display in this bit from the column.

But if some reform-conservative premises have been vindicated, reform-conservative policies have played almost no role in those primaries. Senator Rubio did the most to embrace those ideas. In mid 2014, he started echoing reformist themes: the need to apply conservative thinking in fresh ways, the potential of conservative reforms to reduce the cost of living and thereby make a difference in people’s lives. He came out for an Obamacare replacement that made it possible for nearly everyone to purchase at least catastrophic coverage while deregulating the system. He sponsored legislation allowing people to finance higher education in new ways. And he advocated tax relief for middle-class parents, not just high earners (although his plan also gave high earners very large tax cuts). He did not talk about these initiatives very much, however, perhaps viewing them as helpful in a general election rather than in a Republican primary. Rubio talked about his tax plan twice in the debates, both times in response to criticism. He was more associated with his 2013 immigration bill and a very hawkish-sounding foreign policy than he was with any domestic agenda. He came across less as an innovator than as a younger, more articulate, and Hispanic version of George W. Bush. He ended up doing well among affluent, college-educated Republican voters but not connecting with the more economically stressed and disaffected voters he needed.

That bit of self-delusion is probably popular with most members of the managerial class. It also shows why this phenomenon is inherently unstable. The only acceptable responses to the challenges facing America are those that require a massive jobs program for the members of the managerial elite and those seeking entry into the system. Reforming or reducing the managerial class is off the table, even when it is the source of social dysfunction.

Therein lies the central defect of the managerial revolution. It is a headless version of Diocletian’s innovation. Instead of a bureaucracy in support of the emperor, it is a bureaucracy in support of itself. It commands no loyalty outside of those it serves, which is strictly the managerial class. Policy proposals have as their underlying motivation the desire of the writers to send their kids to Princeton. If anyone else benefits, that’s a happy accident.

Class awareness brings with it the myopia you see in the Ponnuru column. The Left side has dropped their interest in economics because they can no longer imagine what it is like to be subject to the rhythms of the economy. They have no need to know. The right side has dropped the flag waving and calls to patriotism because they no longer know anyone who cares about those things. All that matters is advancement within a system that has no top. It is a snake eating its tail.