It’s Good To Be Bad

The other day I spotted this on the legacy website PJ Media. I expected to be a recitation of the hate thinkers they think they have “purged” from their thing. PJ Media is not as bad as many others, but it is still firmly locked into the old mindset of the “respectable Right”, which is to say they are not in business to challenge the prevailing orthodoxy. They worry more about the trouble makers to their Right than they do the supposed enemies on the Left, because they never want to get in trouble with the Left.

Instead, it was something entirely different. It was a list of mostly Conservative Inc sites allegedly being targeted by social justice warriors. The gist of the piece was to assert that the poodles of Conservative Inc are now being accused of blasphemy just like the toughs over on the alt-right, because, you know, they are just as hip and cool as the bad boys over at Breitbart. It is a fine use of the associative property to claim credit for things they have spent the last two years opposing, but failed to stop. Now they want in.

It’s not just PJ Media. National Review, noticing the collapse of their traffic, has decided they better figure out a way to get in on the action. They have been holding a mock debate among themselves about the role of nationalism, even giving the Tribe the needle a little over the issue of Israel and borders. Rich Lowry is clearly trying to figure out how to get the magazine back in front of the people they pretend to be leading. He has even warmed to Trump, saying nice things about his C-PAC speech.

None of this is shocking. So-called Movement Conservatism is a zombie movement, shuffling along until someone has the decency to put it out of its misery. That does not mean the army of people who have made a living peddling it over the last few decades are going to retire. They are looking for some way to weasel their way into the new thing. They look over at the cool kids raising hell on-line, building their own thing and the old guys of Conservative Inc are naturally jealous and want to be a part of it.

This is not an easy task. Buckley Conservatism was revealed to be nothing more than the candy coating to the Progressive nut inside the prevailing orthodoxy, when they went all in on the NeverTrump nonsense. It’s not that the cool kids will not forgive them. It is that there is no point to it. These are yesterday men with nothing to offer. National Review is one of those abandoned houses in Detroit. It’s only purpose is as a reminder of past mistakes. Otherwise, it can be plowed under and not one will care.

The current relationship of this new thing on the Right to the old conservative movement is a lot like what David Horowitz described as the relationship between the New Left and the old reds from the previous generation. When the New Left got going in the 60’s and people noticed it, suddenly every old commie in the country was trying to get in on the act. They were rejected not because they were old, but because they had nothing to offer.

The Reds of the early 20th century were all about communist orthodoxy and economics. It never made it too far away from being a parlor game for middle-class intellectuals, a hobby to add some spice to their lives. The New Left wanted to smash things, flip over tables and freak out the squares. They were a cultural phenomenon with a vaguely defined political agendas. The old Left was about party discipline and rules, while the New Left was about freedom and action.

That’s why the New Left of the 60’s could not borrow from the old commies and why they could not include them in their thing. Part of what defined the New Left was its rejection of the Old Left. That’s what’s happening today. This new thing going on is a break with the conservatism of Bill Buckley and the Reagan Mystery Cult. The young guys getting banned from twitter are not interested in hearing about how Dutch gave Tip O’Neil the business. They don’t care.

That’s the one thing that the new kids have going for them. They don’t care about the tastes and sensibilities of the people defending the status quo. There’s a delight in getting tossed from social media and an energy to the alternatives. This comes from being outside the rules. There’s a counter-culture vibe to what’s happening because the alt-right, or whatever you want to call it, is a cultural movement lead by young guys with everything to gain and old men with nothing left to lose.

Women’s Sports

The other day, Steve Sailer had a post about the WNBA and various ways to make the sport more attractive to sports fans. I pointed out that the main issue is spatial awareness, as men are more abstract in modeling their environment, while women are more concrete. Knowing where the herd is going to be when going on a hunt is different than remembering where the berries are when going on a pick. The part of the brain, which controls the perception of speed and the mental ability to rotate 3-D objects, is larger in men as well.

Anyone who has tried to watch women’s basketball understands that it is terrible in just about every way imaginable. Basketball is about speed, jumping and obviously shooting. Fans go to NBA games to see freaks of nature, who can leap from the top of the key and dunk the ball over some other freak. The women’s game is described as low and slow, meaning the style of play is pretty much the opposite of what fans of basketball want to see. The girls look like they are nailed to the floor most of the time.

Of course, in a sane world we would not demand that girls do all the same things men do, but we no longer live in a sane world. Even with the lunacy, there used to be popular TV sports for women that got good ratings. Women’s figure skating used to be a big deal, often put on against football and basketball. The logic was that men would watch football and their wives would watch skating, which was usually the case. Twenty years ago figure skating had better ratings than the NCAA basketball tournament, head to head.

Skating used to be a ratings monster for TV, but that’s no longer true. Today, not even the big events get on TV. Not only have ratings collapsed, but interest in youth figure skating is at an all-time low. Something similar has happened to gymnastics. It used to be that everyone knew the name of the top female gymnasts. Every Olympiad there was an American ready to take her place in the long line great female gymnasts. Today, Simone Biles would have to rob a bank in order for people to know her name.

You can even extend this decline in women’s sports to tennis and golf. The former was huge into the 90’s, but it has fallen on hard times. Women’s golf was never wildly popular, but golf junkies would watch the big events. The big stars were known to casual fans. Tennis still has the William’s sisters, but their popularity is based solely on their value as props in the culture war. Golf has no stars that anyone can name. The top US player is Lexi Thompson, whose name in a google search generates less than a million hits. Sandy Leon, a backup catcher, generates 17-times that number.

Now, all of these sports can point to various reasons for why they have fallen off the map in our culture. Figure skating and gymnastics has been plagued by weirdos and a culture that makes beauty pageants seem mild mannered. Women’s basketball was never popular and sports like golf and tennis have been in decline for a generation. There’s also a demographic issue. Popular female sports tended to be popular with boomers, who had kids. As the Boomers age off, their interest in these things has declined.

Even so, there’s no getting around the fact the female sports are at their lowest in terms of spectator interest. It could indicate a decline in women participating in competitive sports. It is impossible to get reliable numbers on this as the Title IX crazies are worse than the climate change nuts when it comes to fake data. Youth participation in sports has been in steady decline for decades so perhaps the declining interest in sport among the young is showing up first in the least popular spectator sports.

There’s also the possibility that biology is returning serve in the multicultural war on reality we have witnessed the last few decades. Women are wired to compete with one another in order to gain the attention of men. Our competitive sports are designed by men for men. It could simply be that the long war against femininity is coming to a bad end for the culture warriors. The girls would rather watch other girls be catty with one another in a TV drama than watch sweaty lesbians fight over a ball.

That would not explain the the decline in things like figure skating and gymnastics, but perhaps those were just early casualties in the feminist war on reality and as the fever breaks, these sports will make a comeback. These things also go in cycles so as the more reactionary Generation Z reach adulthood and start having families, perhaps sensible activities for girls will make a comeback. This is something you notice when looking at the social media of young alt-right types. They appear to be attracted to more traditional sex roles, despite the howling from their parents.

Essential Knowledge: Part VI

One of the challenges that arises when trying to list the things an educated man should know about the past is that the past keeps happening. By that I mean we keep expanding what we know about the past and updating our views about what is important. It used to be that the period after the fall of Rome was the Dark Ages, meaning that nothing much happened that anyone needed to know. Now, the early Middle Ages gets a lot of attention because it helps explain why the West came to dominate the world.

The fall of the Western Roman Empire used to be thought of as a collapse of civilization, leaving a great void into which swarmed barbarians. Out of the rubble, the people of Europe slowly rebuilt civilization into what we think of as the Middle Ages. The reality is the fall of Rome was a process. Roman rule was replaced by something else, something local and indigenous. A good way to start thinking about this is with The End of Empire: Attila the Hun & the Fall of Rome.

The first significant, post Roman, population to cast a shadow on our time are the Franks, who can probably be credited with the Christianisation of Europe. That’s debatable, but they played a large role in spreading the new religion. The Franks also gave us an important legal tradition. Frankish law was overwhelmingly concerned with the protection of individuals and less concerned with protecting the interests of the state, a sharp departure from Roman legal tradition, which was focused on the state.

The required reading when it comes to the Franks is Gregory of Tours. If you want something a bit easier to read, then this is a pretty good book for the casual reader. It’s short and covers the important bits. Reading up on Germanic tribes almost always means references to the Goths. While they did not leave much of an impression on the West, beyond the name, this is an interesting book on them that is worth reading. Of course, you cannot know the history of Europe without knowing about Charlemagne. This is the best book I’ve read on the subject.

Once you get to Charlemagne, you get to his British analog, King Offa and the history of Britain. For the general reader, this is a great book on the topic. Free of endless footnotes and scholarly jargon, it covers the material and makes it fun. This is a great time to introduce an excellent podcast. The British History Podcast done by an American lawyer, if you can believe it, is well done and entertaining. He plans to carry on until the present, but he does a great job with the early, post-Roman history of Britain.

The text most commonly used for learning about the Vikings is the Gwyn Jones History of the Vikings, but it is more than a little dry. It was written when acquiring knowledge was supposed to be painful. It does cover everything, without the PC claptrap you get from modern histories of the Norse. A more readable book that is good for an airplane ride is The Sea Wolves: A History of the Vikings. The truth is, the Norse were not all that interesting, but their impact on the West was very interesting. They changed Britain and northern Europe in very important ways.

In a similar way, the Mongols are not all that interesting as a civilization, but their impact on the world is interesting. Like the Norse, they also did some outlandish things, that still characterize them to this day. Everyone has heard of Genghis Khan so it is a good idea to know something about him and the Mongols. I know of no book that is as good as the Dan Carlin podcast on the Mongols. For $10 you get more than twenty hours of great entertainment and a great lesson in history.

It is impossible to know anything about the history of the West without knowing the history of the Catholic Church. In Part II of this series I suggested Paul Johnson’s History of Christianity, but for a history of the Catholic Church that is specific to this period, How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization is a great read. If you are more ambitious, you can take on the three volume The Founding of Christendom: A History of Christendom, but it is a bit of a slog, unless you are a faithful Christian with a strong interest in the subject.

Of course, you cannot study the history of the Church without learning about The Crusades. A pretty good podcast is on iTunes conveniently called The History of the Crusades. Strangely, there are not a lot of good books on the subject. Most are multicultural nonsense polemics against the Church. The best book I’ve read on the subject is The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land. It is a big book that covers a lot, but it is free of the nonsense and it is written to be read.

One of the most important events in the medieval period is the Hundred Years War, because it is the first flicker of nationalism in the West. The idea of a nation that transcends tribal identity was born in the war between the English and the French from 1337 to 1453. The start of the war featured multi-ethnic armies, led by kings, facing one another in what is now France. At the end, it was Frenchman versus English, two nations at war. The best book on the subject is The Hundred Years War by Desmod Seward.

Similarly, the Thirty Years War is one of those great events that still casts a shadow today. It was one of the deadliest conflicts in European history and arguably began the process of de-Christianization in Europe. It also gave us the Peace of Westphalia, which established concepts like national sovereignty, balance of power diplomacy and the prohibition against intervening in the domestic affairs of other states. The definitive book on the subject is C. V. Wedgewood’s The Thirty Years War.

Finishing up, it is a good time to mention the History of Germany podcast. It is the only podcast I know of that covers the early history of German tribes. Like the British History Podcast, it covers much more than this period, but it is one of the few that bothers with early Germanic history. If you really prefer to get your history via audio, this series is supposed to be one of the best. The Great Courses series is mostly for adults, who want to learn something about the topic, so they are excellent introductory resources.

The Plight of the Parasites

Probably since the dawn of settled society, there have been people who found some way to live off the labor of others. Even hunter-gatherer populations had some freeloading, as some members of the group would be less productive than others. Settled society made freeloading a bit easier. Settled life required rules, which required enforcement and that meant government. Even the most streamlined administrations had extras and hangers-on, who figured out how to game the system so they could get paid to do nothing.

In modern America, government is a form of workfare for the most part. There are roughly 2.8 million Federal workers, not including uniformed personnel. When you add in state and local government, there are roughly 22 million people employed by government in the United States. The labor force is roughly 150 million so that means 15% of the nation’s workers are employed by government. Of course, literally no one knows the size of the contract workforce. The best guess is about 5 million, but it could be much more.

Then you get into the vendor side of things. The Imperial Capital is ringed by companies that do nothing but serve the government. It is not uncommon to run into firms that have done business with no one other than government. Some of these firms exist solely to fulfill diversity clauses in government contracts. There are firms around DC that don’t actually do real work. They just provide the right amount of color to the vendor pool as subcontractors in a contract. How many of these exist is an unknown.

The fact is, about a third of the people working today are in jobs that exist because of government. The fact that blacks are over represented in these fields is well known and deliberate. In cities across America, a city job has been a form of workfare and patronage for generations. If the government was ever pared back to just what is needed, the essential services like police and road maintenance, tens of millions would be thrown out of work and we would have riots in our major cities. A government job is riot insurance.

The thing is, even without automation, most of these jobs are pointless. There’s no getting around the fact that we support millions of freeloaders this way. The cost of the job is not the only cost. There’s the nuisance factor and the damage caused by battalions of government bureaucrats meddling in the productive economy. Then there is the layer of senior bureaucrats that sit atop the workforce, dreaming up ways to game the system so the managerial class can skim from the economy. This is very expensive riot insurance.

Of course, this leads to the basic question of where is the tipping point? At what point does it become prohibitive to carry all of these freeloaders? That’s been a libertarian topic for generations. A bigger question though is what happens when the essential point of government becomes less important? In a town with no crime, for example, there’s no need for cops. If renewing a driving license can be done at a kiosk or on-line, what’s the point of having a department of motor vehicles fully staffed with bureaucrats?

Smart people like to wring their hands in public about the robot revolution eliminating jobs for the Dirt People, but there’s a similar force working on the Cloud People and their army of soldiers known as the bureaucracy. It’s not just robots taking the jobs of functionaries at the Post Office either. It’s changes in society that are eliminating the need for constant supervision by our rulers. Crime is the most obvious example. For instance, car theft has collapsed as a criminal pastime due to technology. The same thing is happening with home security systems that make burglary a high risk, low reward occupation.

It is not just the government end of the managerial state that will come under extreme pressure from the changes wrought by technology. Look at the media. CNN draws an average 2 million viewers for its top shows. They get a little over a buck per month from every cable household, even though 99% do not watch CNN. Cord cutting is blowing up this model, which means technology is threatening 95% of CNN’s revenue base. This is the crisis facing every cable TV channel. When the damn breaks and those revenues disappear, it means jobs for media people disappear with them.

Just look at the pop music business. Technology obliterated their business model. The mp3 revolution killed the album business and now less than half the number of people are employed in the music business compared to twenty years ago. Not only that, there’s less music being produced. It turns out that all those extra people in the music business were busying themselves making records that no one bought. In other words, the changes that come with technology seem to be closing off the points of entry for freeloaders.

The thing is though, the Dirt People have been adjusting to automation for decades. The dreaded private sector is already very automated and efficient as anyone with a job can attest. It is not unusual to walk into an office of an old company and see a lot of empty desks. The reason is they used to have many more people but automation eliminated the need. The real impact for Dirt People has been the slowing of job growth, not so much the elimination of existing jobs.

The world of the Cloud People, on the other hand, has always been littered with freeloaders. In fact, it is a world where most are freeloaders, which is why they invest so heavily in the self-actualizing part of the career. In the Cloud, you are not defined by your work product, so much as by your titles within your field. A “senior correspondent” for CNN does the same thing as a correspondent, but the “senior” modifier to his title confers extra status. Title are coveted in the Cloud because hardly anyone does real work so titles are how they keep score.

There’s a lot of extra that can be cut even before technology knocks the legs out from under them. This is why newspapers went through round after round of layoffs in the last 20 years. Long before technology undermined them, they suffered from what all monopolies suffer, a lack of cost control. As a result, there was much that could be cut, but a resistance to doing it. When the red ink spread, we saw wave after wave of cuts and downsizing. The same fate awaits many parts of the Cloud economy.

Much of the Cloud infrastructure has value to the people in charge so they will seek to maintain much of it. Billionaires buying dead newspapers being an obvious example. Other parts of the system will she sloughed off, like the vast army of vendors and contractors that work as a shadow government. Just as technology made private enterprise more efficient and more ruthless, the world of the Cloud people is about to get smaller and much more ruthless, with one another at first and then with the rest of us.

The Confluence

Everyone likes to think they live in interesting times, but it is really hard to know as you can only really know your age. You can read about the past, but you really can’t know what it was like to be alive in a prior age. What we come to think of us great eras or important periods are usually when one period ends and another begins. That means the violent end of some portion of the established order and the noisy birth of its replacement. The French Revolution is an obvious example.

A decade ago, no one would have thought the West was entering an important moment. Most experts were still talking about the end of history and how the whole world was headed for that central collection point of democratic capitalism. No one talks like that now for obvious reasons. What we call capitalism is just global feudalism and democracy seems to be on the run, in one fashion or another, just about everywhere. Maybe it is temporary and unimportant, but it does feel like something important is happening.

In America, one thing that does appear to be true is the old ruling order is beginning to crumble. After the Civil War, the established order was that the nation would be ruled by the Yankee north or at least by people who accepted that world view. This made sense as the South was in ruins and the industrializing North was not only victorious, but prosperous. At the founding, the South and Tidewater dominated the new country. After the Civil War, it was the North that dominated the nation.

This arrangement probably should have faded away by the early 20th century, but the Industrial Revolution kept the South relatively backward. Instead, the two great industrial wars and then the Cold War locked things in place. The South slowly modernized, but the political culture of the country remained as it had been for a century. It is not an accident that the only Southerners to have success in national politics have been liberals or people who embraced Progressive causes.

That appears to be changing. Progressivism, the civic religion of the North, has degraded into a lunatic cult and marginalized itself. The leaders still control the high ground, but they are under assault. Buckley conservatism, which has served as the ideological enforcers for the Left, is imploding. These people may not be packing their bags, preparing for exile, but the 2016 election map makes clear that the old Yankee hegemony is coming to an end. The sensibilities of the rest of the country will have to be included in the political culture.

Now, it is possible that Progressivism is on its death bed. Unlike Europe, the American Left has never been about economic equality. It was always about spiritual equality. The radicals on the Continent were always obsessed with busting up the class structure. The radicals in American have always been focused on saving the immortal soul of the nation. Economic equality was never anything more than a a political tool for the reformers to use as a way to get control of the culture in order to impose their moral vision on the nation.

In order for this to work, the Left has always needed victims and oppressors, saints and sinners. In the 20th century, they could champion black civil rights and women’s issues. Then it was onto gays and now foreigners. The trouble is, they are running out of victims to champion. Black guys getting pushed around by rednecks at the polling booth make for sympathetic victims. Mentally unstable men in sundresses wanting access to the girl’s toilet are not good victims. They are ridiculous and championing them makes the champions look ridiculous.

There’s also a noticeable lack of villains. Donald Trump is supposed to be the 12th invisible Hitler, returning to impose a dictatorship on America. The trouble is, Trump sounds like a Jewish guy from Queens and his kids converted to Judaism when they got married. So far, his most enthusiastic supporter among world leaders is the Prime Minister of Israel. They ain’t making Hitlers like they used to. This comes after the nation twice elected a black guy president. The unhinged hatred of white people that has carried the Left for generations has descended into madness.

Something else that is working against the Yankee hegemony is the collapse of the blank slate. Progressivism rests on the assertion that people come into the world as an amorphous blob that can be shaped and trained to be anything. That means a just society has virtuous people at the top to make sure the citizens are properly shaped and trained. This imperative has always been the source of authority for the American Left and now it is unraveling as science unlocks the human genome.

It is impossible to overestimate the impact of genetics on moral philosophy as everything about Western culture depends on free will. Democracy assumes that all people are equally capable of participating in the civic life of a people. While most people have always sensed that this is not true, scientific proof that it is not true changes everything. You cannot have egalitarianism and multiculturalism without assuming humans come into the world as a blank slate. If people are not endlessly malleable, there’s no point in trying to mold them.

Long term trends like these do not change overnight so this great confluence of events may play out over generations. It could turn out that the natural order is for the North to dominate the political life of the nation. Genetics could find the “free will” gene and validate everything Progressives have claimed for generations. It is impossible to know, but it is not the way things are heading. Right now it feels like three great trends in American cultural life are coming to a conclusion at roughly the same point.

My Advice to the Alt-Right

Back in the 1980’s, when I was a young man, being a young conservative was the best of times because it felt like the war had turned. The enemy’s lines had broken and we were on our way to a great final victory over the forces of darkness. Every right-wing hack in America had a laundry list of things that had to be done, once the battle was over and our tropaion was placed on the battlefield. First the military would be rebuilt, then we would win the Cold War and then we would roll back the welfare state. Party time.

Young people can be forgiven for getting ahead of themselves, but there were plenty of old coots talking about the triumph of conservatism in the 80’s. Even though Reagan did nothing to tame the welfare state or even slow its growth, it felt like we were still on the right side of history. Once the Soviets cracked, it just seemed like a matter of when, not if, the great return to normalcy would happen. Of course, that did not happen. The Left regrouped and the Right sold all of us out for cushy jobs in Washington.

That’s the first bit of advice I offer to the alt-right. Trust no one. In the Reagan Revolution, it was impossible to tell the grifters from the committed. Lots of people attached themselves to conservatism, as writers, thinkers and commentators, simply because there was money in it. The term “Conservative Inc.” did not exist in the 80’s, but the idea of it sure did. Just ask Charles Krauthammer. He was a liberal speech writer for Walter Mondale and then he changed teams, because there was more money in being a right-winger.

Related to this is the recent Milo flap, where he was cut down by previous statements he made in one of his “look at me I’m outrageous” performances. He was ever so close to finally getting onto the big stage, making it to the show, but now he has been sent down to the minors and his career is in doubt. The people in charge of the stage have strict rules about who gets on and what they say while on the stage. You either submit to these rules or they toss you from the stage.

Conservatives in the 80’s made this blunder. They truly thought they would be accepted into the club if the public embraced them. The people in charge don’t give a damn about the public’s opinion. They care about controlling the message and the media stage is the platform from which the message is broadcast. If you want onto the stage, it means signing a blood oath to promote the message and there is no room for compromise. There are two sides in this, pick one and live with the choice.

That’s why it is important to no-platform the people in charge. It would glorious if all Trump voters dropped their cable sub this month, but that’s not happening. People like their entertainments. What you can do is build your own media platforms by relentlessly supporting the new ones coming on-line now. Gab is becoming a useful platform that is beyond the control of the Cloud People. Vox Day is starting a news service designed to curate news stories in a way that undermines the media model. .

Supporting the media that supports you means looking for a friendly source before going to the mainstream source. It also means the leaders and big shots of the movement need to stay the hell off the mainstream platforms. Milo doing Maher did everything for Maher and nothing for Milo. Anyone who tries to get onto the big stage and mix it up with the mainstream media should be suspect. It is the Golden Rule, the man with the gold makes the rules and in media, it is the man who owns the stage who makes the rules.

The big lesson from the Reagan Revolution is that optimism is easily used as a weapon against the optimistic. All the “Morning in America” bullshit in the 80’s fooled a lot of people into thinking the fight was over and the results were a foregone conclusion. Young people were convinced they had been born into the springtime of a cultural revolution, when in fact they had been born into the early winter of a declining civilization. Instead of being clear eyed about what was possible, people got caught up in the excitement of the times.

It will never be morning in America. The alt-right will never amount to anything unless it maintains a clear eyed view of its own position. It was a failure to grasp the reality of our age that allowed a legion of hustlers to rush in and turn the conservative movement into Conservative Inc. We live in an age where charlatans take advantage of fools, while pedants lecture the critics on matters of style. There’s no sweeping this away in order to start fresh. The question of the modern age is how will the story end.

Finally, the key to lasting success for any mass movement is to take over the institutions that can be re-purposed and destroy those that cannot. The institutions of society are the high ground of every civilization. The Left co-opted the schools, government, media and finance. They obliterated religion, local institutions and, to a great degree, the family. The grand success of this weird religion offers a lesson for the alt-right. It’s not enough to fight and build alternative institutions. You have to begin to infiltrate the exiting ones.

The Masons, for example, are constantly advertising for members. That’s the sort of opportunity a young a vibrant Left would have infiltrated and re-purposed. The point is to organize a million Jacobin societies by taking over what has been abandoned and infiltrating what is not well guarded. The demolition of twitter is a great example of how to destroy an organization by turning its rules into a weapon. Twitter is now now the dying brand of vinegar drinking prudes. That’s the lesson. If you cannot own it, destroy it.

What About Bill?

The other day, Bill Kristol took to twitter to announce his support for a coup against President Trump. Kristol has become fond of this sort of thing, leading some to wonder if he has lost his marbles. Alternatively, it could just be a lonely old man looking for attention as no one seems to care about his opinions these days. It’s hard to know, but Kristol is still taken seriously by people in Washington, especially with the neocon cabal that still occupies a lot of space in the media and the GOP. Here’s the tweet:

Regardless of his intentions, Kristol is a good example to keep in mind when wondering how to judge the opinions from the commentariat. Bill Kristol has been wrong about most everything for the last 25 years. He was a champion of Bush’s big government conservatism, which meant doing all the things the Left dreamed of doing, but calling it principled conservatism. He also championed the invade the world/invite the world polices that resulted in losing at least two wars of choice and flooding the nation with low-IQ hostiles from the third world.

That’s a lot of wrong for one little man. There are two questions that arise when looking at the disastrous career of a guy like Kristol. One is how was he allowed to wreak so much havoc? People like Pat Buchanan warned about the lunacy of neo-conservatism from the onset, but Kristol and his cohorts in the movement not only outmaneuvered the paleocons, they had them banished to the void. That raises the other question. How is it that people so wrong could be so good at maneuvering their way to positions of authority?

An answer to former question can and will fill up many books. The latter question is far simpler. The policy experts and political wizards of our age are men who possess no standing outside the very narrow field of politics. In the higher reaches, none of them have made a mark in a field outside of politics, like science or business. They prefer to restate, in slightly different terms, the views of a hundred predecessors, so they can invest all of their energies into currying favor with the powerful.

It is often argued that the appeal of politics is that it allows people to gain power and wealth, without having to invent a better mousetrap or figure out a better way to build a mousetrap. The reality is that the main attraction for guys like Kristol is they see punditry and commentary as fields where there is no right answer. Science, math, business, these are fields with right answers and more important, wrong answers. In the productive world, wrong answers have consequences.

Third rate men will always be drawn to endeavors where everyone can claim to be right, by simply saying that everyone else is wrong. That’s how a Bill Kristol can trade on the family name and his father’s accomplishments to lever himself into positions of authority within the Republican Party. He is good at the small strategies of parlor room politics, but entirely worthless at everything else. It is no wonder that he fell for every crackpot policy idea of the last 25 years. He had no basis from which to judge them.

Bill Kristol imagines himself as a hawk, soaring the skies looking down upon the world and seeing its parts move before him. In reality he is just a frog leaping into the air, catching glimpses of the world on his way down. He is a man who does not know what he does not know, because he is a man who has never been tested in any meaningful sense. That’s because he never had to compete for customers in business or had to add a column of numbers and get the right answer. Being wrong has never been a concern, because being right was never a concern.

For some people, the purpose of their life is to be a cautionary tale and that is the case of Bill Kristol. As the Conservative Movement™ shrivels into obscurity, it will be replaced by something else. The people of that something else had better be men who look at politics as a side business, a hobby they indulge when they take breaks from their productive work. Alternatively, the thinkers and commenters who offer up alternatives to replace the Buckleyites should be people who have had success in right answer professions.

It’s not that being a good computer programmer necessarily makes a Curtis Yarvin someone you should listen to for political theory. It’s that the practical world of productive industry gives one perspective that you cannot get by repeating lecture room jargon to your coevals in the faculty lounge. In the right answer fields, being wrong has consequences. Mistakes leave marks and the best lessons are those that leave scars and as a result, the best men are usually those with the most scars.

I don’t think it is an accident that two of the most influential figures on the Dissident Right are Steve Sailer and John Derbyshire. One comes from math and business and the other from math and computer science. They spent a great deal of their lives learning how to get it right so they present their opinions and ideas after careful consideration. They also have been habituated to the idea that it is important to not be wrong. That’s a bit of wisdom that the faculty lounge dandy never has, because it is never needed. In the commentariat, no one ever has to say they are sorry for being wrong.

Back To Black

There is a word in German, fremdschämen, which roughly means to be embarrassed by seeing stranger say or do something embarrassing, like be drunk in public or behave foolishly on television. The notoriously shy Finns have the word myötähäpeä that means roughly the same thing. The “second-hand shame” concept is probably something that is exclusive to northern Europeans, but I don’t know. I do know that whenever I watch good whites crash into the reality of race, I feel myötähäpeä.

That came to mind reading this story that was posted on Tyler Cowen’s blog.

Asian-Americans also have a huge advantage in building a fan base, although this is driven almost entirely by Mr. Lin, who is the 27th most popular player despite being the 80th most prolific scorer. Of the 30 most popular players, he is one of only two men who has never played in an N.B.A. All-Star game. The other is Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavaliers. This initially made no sense to me: Mr. Thompson averages fewer than 10 points per game. But then a friend explained the likely reason to me: Mr. Thompson is dating Khloé Kardashian.

What should we make of the edge in support that black players get? It is of course possible that someone will find an alternative explanation for this correlation, but let’s assume that my analysis of the data holds up and that being black is a large advantage today for N.B.A. players trying to build a fan base. How should we interpret these results? Is it a bad thing or a good thing or nothing?

IF the results were reversed — if white players got a big edge in support — this would clearly be bad news. There is strong evidence that black Americans are discriminated against in many crucial areas of life — jury decisions, police stops, job interviews, dating sites, presidential elections. If African-Americans were discriminated against in building a basketball fan base as well, it would show that white privilege can even show itself in one of the arenas in American life in which blacks have had tremendous success.

But African-Americans getting a boost in support? What should we make of that? I view this phenomenon as good news in at least two ways. I think it’s great that members of minority groups who face discrimination in many aspects of their lives show strong support for other members of the group. And it is also encouraging that many white fans will give some extra support to the country’s most successful minority athletes.

Notice the line “if white players got a big edge in support — this would clearly be bad news.” Then a little later the line “I think it’s great that members of minority groups who face discrimination in many aspects of their lives show strong support for other members of the group.” The writer suddenly finds himself bobbing around like a cork on a sea of uncertainty as everything he knew about whites and blacks is now suddenly invalidated by reality. Watching the poor slob stagger to the finish filled me with fremdschämen.

The commenters on Cowen’s blog mostly sought to dodge the central issue of the story, which is that blacks shamelessly practice racial solidarity, while whites do not. That bit of reality contradicts the narrative of modern American life, which is that the great struggle is against white racism toward blacks. Obviously data that shows that whites not only harbor little animus towards blacks, but favor blacks over their own, turns the world on its head. Throw in the fact that blacks are wildly racist and suddenly life is not worth living.

Thirty years ago I worked with a black guy in Boston who was a Laker fan. He was a Laker fan for the same reason all black basketball fans were Laker fans, regardless of their home city. The Lakers were the black team opposing the white Celtics. Plenty of whites cheered for Magic Johnson and plenty of whites rooted against both teams, but blacks everywhere cheered for Magic Johnson and the Showtime Lakers because they epitomized black basketball and opposed the very white Celtics.

Before my time, blacks rallied to Mohamed Ali versus Joe Frazier mostly because Ali was flamboyantly black, but also because he was anti-white. Frazier being favored by whites only added to it. The truth is, blacks don’t really like white people very much. It’s not a Malcolm X hatred, but the consequence of ethnic solidarity. Black people prefer blacks over whites. They see whites as the rival gang, the other team, so they always root for the black guy over the white guy.This is perfectly normal.

Humans are tribal so we side with those in our tribe over those outside our tribe. It’s a basic survival strategy that worked pretty well until recent. American whites no longer seem to possess this quality. A couple of generations of propaganda against racism has made most white people so allergic to anything that resembles ethnic or racial solidarity, most whites instinctively prefer those outside their group. It’s why a black sports star will get so much support from white fans, even if he is openly hostile to while people.

Progressives are baffled by this mostly because the central narrative of their cult holds that the great struggle is against white racism directed at the noble black man. Poor Seth Stephens-Davidowitz started his project sure he would find proof of the “systemic racism” he learned about in school during story time. Instead he stumbled onto a horrible secret that may haunt his dreams forever. Or maybe not. Being in a cult means having the ability to process disconfirmation and still maintain belief in the one true faith.

This Blog: February 2017

I was in the elevator of a building where important people are known to frequent and I overheard an interesting conversation. Two men were talking about politics in a general way and one of them used the phrase “Cloud People.” In fact, he said “It is Cloud People versus the Dirt People and we will all have to choose sides.” The two men were unfamiliar to me and they did not have the look of important people. Although I have never been an important person, I have been in the same room with them and I can usually spot them.

I guess I was too obvious in my eavesdropping as it was clear to me they noticed I was listening, so I said, “I’m sorry, but I could not help but hear what you said. What did you mean by Cloud People?” The truth is, I don’t think anyone but me uses that term. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure the whole Cloud People versus the Dirty People motif is my invention. But, you never know so that’s why I asked. That and I wanted to shift the focus from the fact I was listening to their conversation.

The guy who was doing the talking was quick to volunteer that he had picked up the phrase on Facebook from one of his friends, who he told me worked in politics. Why he volunteered the last bit is unclear, but my guess is he just assumes that’s the origin of the Cloud People stuff. Regardless, it was a funny moment for me. It is entirely possible that I have coined a phrase that is now getting some circulation in the wider world. These things have to start somewhere, but I’ve never put much thought into where or how they get going.

It did remind me that I have not posted a site update in a few months. In fact, it was back in November after the election. The readership keeps growing. According to the tool I use to estimate average monthly readership, I’m pushing 90,000 now, which is about ten percent increase since November. I’m never quite sure if that tool is correct, but it does seem to track with overall site traffic. In fact, traffic is way up setting daily records on a regular basis so maybe that’s why my pithy expressions are getting loose in the general public. I could be famous and not know it.

I am, of course, grateful that people take the time to read my posts and share them on social media. Facebook and Twitter continue to be big drivers of traffic. Gab is now starting to be a big source of traffic. Something I’ve noticed is I get a fair amount of links back to specific comments, meaning that part of the increase in traffic is the active and interesting comments here. I can’t help but notice that the volume of comments is way up too so that means more traffic and more new readers.

One thing I have noticed is that when I write about the Cloud People stuff, those posts get passed around a lot. This one broke a record for hits in a day. I thought it could be the Trump angle, but looking at the traffic numbers, the Cloud People/Dirt People topic is just more popular than I would have guessed. The great divide in America is never discussed in the popular press and even the hate thinkers tend to avoid it. My guess is the admonitions against class warfare from our betters is the reason few talk about it.

The plan going forward is more of the same. I have been looking at maybe doing a podcast or perhaps get on the GabTV ride. I listen to a lot of podcasts and internet radio, but I don’t know if I have the voice or the talent to actually do it. The video stuff has the advantage of being easy as the smart kids have worked out the technology to do it from a  phone or tablet. The downside is that all the ones I have seen look like hostage videos or really bad video dating examples. The result is I’m still mulling these options over.

The other bit of site news is I am working on a book. I’m looking at the self-publishing options mostly because I just want to see how it works, but also because I have no interest in dealing with publishers. I have a friend in the book game who says I am nuts and I’d have no trouble finding a publisher that would make the process simple. We’ll see about that, but I have to write the book first so that means I may stop posting on weekends in order to make time for the new project. We’ll see how that goes.

Otherwise, I thank everyone for reading and I’m grateful to those who pass the word and bring new readers into the fold via social media.

Somewhere Eichmann Smiles

When I was a teenager, abortion was one of the big issues in politics and social policy. Bill Buckley used to say it was one of three issues that told you everything about a man’s politics. It turns out he was wrong about that, as so many of his tribe were pro-life for effect, as a part of the Frank Meyer “fusionism” strategy. Putting that aside, for normal people, abortion was the issue that defined you politically. Liberals were pro-abortion and non-liberals were pro-life. The latter emphasized the sanctity and uniqueness of each life while the former rejected that entirely.

Here we are 30 years later and abortion is not much of an issue for our politicians. There are some who make it a centerpiece of their politics, but they are rare exceptions. The so-called conservatives that we see in the commentariat wince when the topic is raised. You get the sense they look at it like public professions of faith, something the Dirt People still do, but unbecoming of a Cloud Person. They go through the motions, as we will see with the court nominee, but the result will be that a “conservative” judge will swear to never ever think about altering abortion law.

The thing that the pro-life people never could accept is that the pro-abortion people were never really pro-abortion, at least not as they advertised it. Sure, the barren spinsters protesting in the streets for a “woman’s right to choose” are pro-abortion, but they are the dull witted shock troops of the Cult of Modern Liberalism, organized around simple ideas in order to get them out in the streets making noise. The women who were running around dressed as vaginas last month had no idea why they were doing it. They just liked the drama and the attention.

The real core of the abortion movement is blank slate ideology, which has become a foundation item for the Left. Since all humans are the same at birth, the only thing society should care about is the number of live births and the social structures for shaping and forming these amorphous blobs as they come into the world. Babies born to mothers not “properly trained” to be good citizens will not get the proper training so the emphasis of the abortion movement has always been about making sure the woman is “ready to be a mother” as if it is just another job within the state.

Anyway, another example of how far and how fast we have moved away from the idea that human life is unique and precious is what we are seeing with gene editing.

An influential science advisory group formed by the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine on Tuesday lent its support to a once-unthinkable proposition: clinical efforts to engineer humans with inheritable genetic traits.

In a report laden with caveats and notes of caution, the group endorsed the alteration of human eggs, sperm and embryos — but only to prevent babies from being born with genes known to cause serious diseases and disability, only when no “reasonable alternative” exists, and only when a plan is in place to track the effects of the procedure through multiple generations.

“Once unthinkable” basically means last week. In the Bush years, we had big fights about the use of embryonic stem cells for use in experiments. Now, we’re about to start experimenting on actual humans, without really knowing the result. This is, of course, eugenics. The Cloud People will not use the word, because they believe they killed that word and the bad juju that comes with it, but that’s just the nature of magical thinking. Once you step onto the path of designing humans, you are in the world of eugenics.

The counter argument will be that this is not really human experimentation. That embryo they are editing is not a person. It’s not like they will be pulling kids out of school and zapping they with the CRISPR gun to “fix” their defects. That sort of argument is a dodge and a common one used by our betters. Left unmentioned is the reason to edit the embryo, which is so that the resulting human comports with what the editors set out to create as a finished product. It’s designer babies and that’s eugenics.

There’s another aspect to it. Mistakes will be made. In fact, dig around in the literature and that is the assumption. The process will involve multiple embryos and the correct one will be used and the rest discarded. This assumes human error. But then, maybe the human error is not detected until six months into pregnancy or six years into life. Like any other manufacturing process, recalling defects will have to be a part of the discussion at some point. If you are buying a designer baby, you will want to get what you paid for, which means sending back the lemon, if it comes to it.