On Atheism

A useful way to think about faith and belief is to imagine a scale where at one end you have fanaticism and at the other end you have extreme skepticism. The Muslim wearing a suicide vest is down at the fanatic end, while H.L. Mencken was down at the other end with the extreme skeptics. Disbelief is not the opposite of belief. Skepticism is the opposite of belief. The believer is willing to accept, without evidence, the truth of some statement, while the skeptic is unwilling to accept statements without proof.

Atheists will argue that atheism is the opposite of religious belief, but that’s what is called a gratuitous assertion. The atheist believes there is no superior being. They have no proof of this as there can be no proof. In that regard, atheism is illogical as it is something that can never be proved. Christianity, in contrast, can be proved. Christ could show up and confirm the tenets of the faith. The same is true of Islam or Judaism. In other words, even though there is no proof now, there could be proof. That’s not possible with atheism.

My general impression has always been that atheists are a) mugging for attention, b) mostly opposed to Christianity in a subversive way and/or c) not well versed in religion or the role of religion. Bill Maher is a famous atheist because it makes him safely edgy. He gets to be controversial without any risk of controversy. A Penn Jillette, on the other hand, is just angry that his mother died and his prayers were not answered the way he wanted them answered. He’s also arguing from a position of ignorance. He’s just not that smart.

It’s why I don’t find atheists or atheism all that interesting. Most of it is just a pose from people who demand the right to say controversial things, but have nothing controversial to say. They are meta-rebels. These are people who talk about being rebellious and subversive, but never dare color outside the lines. Entertainers are fond of this style of edginess as it safely allows them to flatter their audience’s own egotistic need to see themselves as an avant-garde. Every modern TV comic falls into this category.

The other day I saw on twitter that Richard Dawkins went somewhere to insult Christians and was so proud of his efforts he was tweeting about it. Dawkins is more famous for being a public douche bag now, than he is for his book The Selfish Gene. I chalk this up mostly to the madness that results from trying to square the prevailing orthodoxy with the realities of biology. Dawkins wants to be a beloved public intellectual and an honest man of science. Instead he is an obnoxious provocateur and a public nuisance.

Dawkins claims to be a militant atheist, not just an anti-Christian bigot, but it’s hard to find any evidence to support his claims. He’s careful not to say bad things about Muslims, probably because he enjoys having his head attached to his neck. Similarly, he has been very careful not to upset the Jews. Christians, on the other hand, get no breaks and he seems to go out of his way to offend them. This is true of all atheists. Whether it is because Christians are a soft target or just anti-Christian animus is debatable.

The other day, someone asked me about this clip from the Joe Rogan Show that Cernovich was promoting. The point was to solicit an opinion from me on Cernovich. My reply was “I will not be shocked if one day we learn that Sam Harris has been strangling hookers and burying them in the desert.” I’ve never found Harris very interesting, so I never bothered to watch him. In that ten minute clip, I got the impression that Harris has a lot of demons. I was also reminded that atheist are almost always joyless dickheads.

I was also reminded that Vox Day used to give Sam Harris the business. I no longer remember the details, but I think a few of the alt-right people have taken shots at Harris, who in addition to being an atheist, is a hooting Progressive and an anti-Trumper. That’s a feature of atheism that goes unremarked. Most are Progressives and usually the hard thumping variety. They may not believe in God, but they are bubbling over with belief in the One True Faith. This suggests that maybe atheism is just another facet of Progressivism.

The Prog impulse to root around in the private lives of strangers, imposing their values on everyone, comes from public Protestantism. This is the general belief that societies are judged as a whole, so the faithful have a duty to root out sin and lift up sinners. In the same way, atheists seem to think that their sacred duty is to stamp out Christianity, as if it is a sin preventing mankind from reaching the singularity. It is excessive belief, manifesting as a hostility toward the more conventional expressions of belief.

To be clear, I’m not a believer. I’m down on the end of the scale with Mencken. I don’t know if the Christians are right about a God in heaven, but I don’t know they are wrong either. I don’t know. I can’t know. For all I know we could be a science experiment for some extra-dimensional species. That said, if religious faith brings you happiness, I’m happy for you and wish you the best with it, just as long as you don’t make a nuisance of yourself. In other words, indifference is my preferred position on your religiosity.

I do know I’d never want to live in a world ruled by atheists.

The Hobbesian Net

I clicked on a link from Drudge and I was taken to a website called CBS Money Watch, which is obviously a CBS property. The first thing I see is a video trying to load. I see the pause button and stop it before it starts. It then starts itself in a few seconds and I stop it again. I hate baked-in video. If I want to watch videos, I’ll go to a video site or turn on the television. The trend of jamming video into sites borders on the sadistic. No one likes this. No one can possible think it is a good idea. Yet, they keep doing it.

Like everyone, I use a combination of blockers and filters on my browser. It’s not that I begrudge the content makers their money. I get that they need to sell ads. I’m OK with it and prefer it over the paywall model. Having 85 pop-ups and hidden audio play automatically, on the other hand, is a dick move that should carry the death penalty. This does nothing but piss people off, which is why ad-blocking software proliferates, along with tools to block plugins. How did this happen? Why would anyone do this?

The standard answer to these questions is that there is a war between web content makers and the anti-capitalist developers behind the ad blockers. It’s the sort of thing that’s believable if you are new to the internet. The truth is the proliferation of pop-ups got so bad in the 90’s, the web was becoming unusable. I recall some sites having as many as a dozen pop-ups. You would close one and two more would open. Then there was the malware problem. Legitimate web sites would load malicious code onto your PC.

It’s another example of people applying the front lash and then complaining about the backlash. Ad-blockers, flash-block, script blockers, etc., would not exist if the web sites had been slightly responsible for their content. Instead, they got caught up in the hype of the “new economy” and tried to turn their customers into content. Even that could have been done with some care, but they carried on like they were doing you a favor and thereby created a market for these defensive browser add-ons.

This is a curious thing. We’re told that the normal relationship in business is for the seller to curry favor with the buyer. “The customer is always right” is something everyone learns at a young age. TV and radio companies put a lot of effort into making their product attractive by using pleasant personalities and inviting topics. Radio, which lives off ad dollars, is especially ruthless with their talent. Low ratings means you get fired, no matter how much the management likes and supports you. It’s all about the customers.

Even television, which is mostly a cable fee racket now, keeps up appearances by paying some attention to ratings. Even Cult outposts like ESPN pull back a little from their daily proselytizing in order to maintain the facade of respecting their customers. They may still be in the business of chanting the gospel, but they are not quite ready to have their on-air talent giving the viewers the middle finger. It’s still important to be well regarded by the audience, even when you’re a tax farmer.

Internet business, particularly the content side, is the exact opposite. The business model seems to be based on assaulting the customers in ever more creative ways. Twitter, which should be like radio in terms of a business model, is at war with its customers. The web designers appear to be sitting around, wondering how they can make the experience less pleasant for the user. In order to use your mobile devise to consume web content, you need a script blocker. Otherwise, your browser will lock up and force a restart.

It’s tempting to think that it is just incompetence and that may be a big part of it. For some reason, web development attracts a lot of hack coders. It also appears that web development relies on foreign labor. I regularly get solicitations from Indian coding shops and their specialty is almost always web development. There’s also the loosey-goosey standards on the web, which means everyone can be Steve Jobs, reinventing old ideas and calling them new. Much of what ails the web is simply not sticking with what works.

Even if that is all true, why would the business people sign off on the slow-loading crap that passes for web content? Why would the business side say, “Yes, let’s have our hidden and very loud audio ads re-spawn three times after the user figured out how to turn them off. Great idea team!” It strongly suggests the people making these decisions don’t actually spend a lot of time consuming their company content. At the Washington Times, I know this is true as their pages simply will not load on a mobile devise.

As is often the case, there may be things at work about which I’m unaware. The economics of most websites remain a mystery to me. Running ads strikes me as a compete waste of money, especially in the current environment where ad-blocking is the norm. I also suspect most people are trained to just filter out ads as they scan their gab feed or favorite web sites. I don’t recall the last time an ad caught my attention and I stopped to notice it. But, billions are spent on ads so maybe I’m an outlier.

Even so, the web content business model says something about modern society. The hostile relationship between the customer and seller is weird, but maybe it reflects the sterile transactionalism that is modern life. Not only are we strangers to one another, we feel free to treat one another like highwaymen. The sites try to jam us with ads and spyware and we try to break their business model by stealing their content. The internet economy is the war of all against all that Thomas Hobbes described as the state of nature.

What’s The Point?

The North Koreans launched another missile from her east coast. It is the ninth launch this year. The news says it was a scud missile that went about 300 miles before crashing into the ocean. This is supposed to mean something, so the people who claim to know about these things are consulted to tell us what they mean. In this case, it means that whatever it is the South Koreans are doing is not working. Maybe it means whatever the US is doing is not working. Whatever it is, everyone seems to think it is a big deal

According to Google, North Korea is a little more than 4,000 miles from Hawaii. The coast of the United States, San Francisco to be exact, is 5,500 miles from North Korea. If the Koreans are flying missiles 300 miles into the ocean, they have a long way to go before they are a serious threat to launch nukes against the US. Even assuming these are just tests as proof of concept, it is a huge step from what they are doing now to being able to deliver a nuke from one continent to another.

There may be more to it, but no sane person could think the Koreans are a serious threat to launch a nuke at the US now or in the near future. In fact, they are probably a generation away from being able to deliver a nuke with any degree of stealth and accuracy. Even if they could get one off, the result would be certain death for them. The US would respond with a nuke attack from the air and sea that would eliminate North Korea as an ongoing concern for a few thousand years.

Maybe the North Koreans are suicidal, but there are quicker ways to bring the roof down on themselves. The obvious answer is they are up to something else, something more practical. What that could be is never discussed. The US is willing to give them whatever they want to end their nuke program. The South Koreans would kick in whatever is needed and so would Japan. All the Kim family has to do is name their price and the check is in the mail. Yet, this ridiculous missile dance continues to no obvious purpose.

The other side of this is just as pointless. Trump made a big deal out of cutting a deal with the Chinese to put pressure on the Koreans. He then sent a carrier group to the South China Sea. The point was to let the chubby little dictator know that we mean business. He launched his missiles anyway and nothing happened. At last count, there are three carrier groups in the region, along with some unknown number of ballistic missile submarines, armed with nuclear missiles. That’s a lot of firepower, but nothing changes.

The thing that everyone seems to know, except maybe Trump, is that there is zero chance the US launches an attack on the North. The result of a war on the peninsula would be catastrophic for the South Koreans. There’s a pretty good chance the Japanese would take a lot of damage. Then there is the chance of a conflict with China. No one, including the North Koreans, wants a war. That brings us back to the question, what is the point of all of this? What’s the end game all sides are aiming for?

The answer may be that there is not point to all of it, just a way for all sides to fill up their days, pretending to be leaders of a world that no longer needs leaders. Would the average Japanese notice if his rulers stopped showing up for work? Is the average South Korean concerned in the least about what his rulers are doing? The only reason to care is the prospect that they will do something stupid and set off a pointless war with the North Koreans. Otherwise, the ruling class is a burden, not an asset.

That may explain why the leadership in the West appears to be going mad. Trump was in Europe to meet with the provincial governors and their biggest concern was some new scheme to make Gaia happy.The Western media gets upset at Trump for seeming to question the point of NATO, but when the chief concern of Europe is the weather, a military alliance does seem a bit pointless. Does anyone really think the Russians are going to roll tanks into the heart of Europe? Not even Bill Kristol thinks that’s possible.

Maybe that’s why the Europeans are inviting the Muslim world to invade their cities and create havoc among the native populations. Everyone in charge is bored. They wake up each morning wondering, what’s the point? Being in charge of Germany is rather pointless if you can’t invade the Sudetenland or defend the fatherland against a barbarian invasion from the east. The nations of Europe hardly qualify as countries anymore. All of the important stuff is done by the US or supranational organizations.

In The End of History and the Last Man, Francis Fukuyama argued that the end of the Cold War meant that humanity was moving into the final stage of social and political evolution. The great ideological struggles were over and the world was moving toward a great social democratic super-state. Stuff would still happen and conflicts would arise, but the die was cast. The end point of mankind was a world governed by social democracy and a global administrative state. The world would stop being fun.

Maybe that’s what we’re seeing. The Asian powers are just displaying muscle memory, from a time when being in charge mattered. They go through the motions up to the point when they realize there is no point. The European leaders are doing something similar with the Muslim invasion. It’s Munchausen syndrome by proxy, but the victim is the population of Europe. The ruling class is charged with taking care of their people, but their people are fine, so they are poisoning their people, so rulers have something to do.

The War On Frats

In my youth, fraternities were seen as a ridiculous anachronism by my coevals. We knew one guy in a fraternity and he was a raging douche bag. Part of this is private school culture, where the Greek system has less of an impact on college life. Big state colleges have been the most fruitful campuses for fraternities. Then there is the fact that Jesuit schools tend not to have Greek life at all. This is what’s called a statement of interest. I’m indifferent to frats and maybe a bit hostile to them.

The war on frats we see on the college campus provides a window into the internal evolution of Progressivism. It’s where back benchers in the Cult apply the lessons they learned from the most recent sermons. For instance, the unhinged story peddled by the mentally disturbed coed about being gang raped at a Virginia frat is obviously learned behavior. The girl was marinating in anti-male, anti-white hysteria on campus so her natural girl-drama manifested as a feminist bodice ripper. She responded to her training.

The war on college fraternities is an example how feminized the Left is today. Every day there is a story about how white bros are in trouble for being white bros doing what bros tend to do. It is a deliberate campaign to criminalize normal, middle-class white guy behavior. Fraternities are the consummate bourgeois activity. The fraternity is a semi-adult version of the tree house, where boys can learn how to be males with a degree of adult supervision. This behavior is no longer tolerated because males are no longer wanted.

Almost always, the behavior that gets the frat in trouble offends the delicate sensibilities of the homely girls on campus. A few years ago, Penn State had a meltdown over the KDR fraternity making ugly girls sad. Basically some bros talked some hot girls into posing topless. Now the school is trying throw a frat in jail for a hazing related death. Given the age of fake news, the truth will be nothing like the reports. That’s not to excuse criminal behavior, but the reaction is extreme even if the reports are accurate.

The war on fraternities is also a good study of how the Left operates to undermine traditional institutions. It used to be that frats were self-funded, independent organizations. In many cases, they operated off campus to avoid trouble with college authorities. Those Penn State frats, for example, are off-campus in privately owned houses. This arms-length relationship started to end when colleges “offered” to help the frats collect dues and enforce their rules. Fraternity payments became a part of the tuition bill.

What was pitched as a goodwill gesture to help fraternities, quickly turned into a beachhead for Progressive nutters to impose their rules. The Prog mind always seeks to first gain entry into the organization. From there, they begin to agitate for changes that open the door for their coreligionists. In the case of fraternities, they imposed rules on how the frats select members and maintain discipline. Colleges are now beginning the process of forcing fraternities to admit women, thus eliminating their reason to exist.

There are two lessons to be drawn from the jihad against white men on campus. One is that there can never be any negotiating with the Progs. A negotiation means both sides seek a resolution, but Progs seek only one end and that is your death, even if it means their death. Whatever American Progressivism was in the past, it is now a nihilistic death cult. The Progs sitting down with the campus frats to work out rules, do so with a singular goal and that is the elimination of white males from the college campus.

The other thing is Progs enjoy their own hypocrisy. They relish it, so pointing it out to them has the opposite effect from what is intended. The defenders of Greek life point out that male sportsballers tend to go rapey on campus, yet no one is trying to shut down the football team. Progs find this energizing. It means they are in control and therefore can arbitrarily enforce the rules. Appeals to administrative consistency are blood in the water for the Progs. It makes them more vicious.

Within the next decade, the Greek system will be dismantled. Sororities will exist, mostly for the homely girls and the lesbians. Fraternities will be “normalized” which means they will be re-engineered to Prog standards, mostly out of spite. They will be for homosexuals and feminist fag-hags. The names will be maintained to piss off the old white guys who remember their days in the frat. In time, the whole thing will collapse as the Progs run out of reasons to celebrate their victory.

That’s ultimately the lesson here. Progressives like to use utopian language about multiculturalism and egalitarianism, but their movement is just a death cult now. It is the ideology of the arsonist. To be a Prog today is a laundry list of complaints about the various hobgoblins in Progressive mythology. There’s no affirmative identity, just a negative one. Once the bogeyman is slain, though, they have to reason to exist, which is why a Prog from fifty years ago would not recognize the modern Prog.

Springtime in the Ghetto

Queenie has an afro the size of a beach ball. It’s more like a head full of soft, fuzzy springs that wave back and forth as she moves. She also has an ass the size of a small car, which she manages to stuff into skin tight jeans. It’s not a pleasant image in the abstract, but her big smile and sunny, black lady disposition makes it work. People like Queenie. Even when she is bossy, which is most of the time, it is impossible to be mad at her, because she fills a necessary role in the only way possible.

It’s why she is the assistant store manager down at the market. This is the ghetto market where all of the help is black and most of the customers are black and Hispanic. There are some old honkies who never moved away that still come into the store, but that’s during the day when it is safe. The rest of the time the store is what one has come to expect from an urban ghetto. In order to keep libertarianism from breaking out, the store needs a strong authority figure keeping order. That’s Queenie. She takes no guff from anyone.

The two big challenges for a business in the ghetto are getting decent workers and keeping the customers from stealing everything. Often times, the employees will help the customers steal so there is a dynamic to the challenges. Queenie is able to run herd on the boys and girls hired to stock shelves and run the registers, because she has no illusions about them. They are knuckleheads, who have to be watched all the times, because to do otherwise means they will be knuckleheads.

That’s the thing with young underclass blacks. It is not that all of them are prone to crime and trouble making. It’s that they have so few good examples. Hardly anyone is around to impose discipline, so the worst habits become normal. A black teen working at the market is not getting respect from his peers. He will get status by letting them steal some stuff from the freezer case. In other words, the bad influences far outnumber the positive influences. The ghetto is nothing but temptation. It’s why so many get into trouble.

That’s not gloss over the biological realities of the underclass. High time preference, poor impulse control and a high propensity for violence are all biological factors that are common in the under-class. There are exceptions, just as there are children born with significantly higher IQ’s than their parents. Nature is a roll of the dice, but the math is immutable. Most of the people in the under class are there because that’s their nature and all the nurture in the world is not going to over come it.

Anyway, it has been an ugly spring, but it is now warm enough for the locals to get outside and do outside things. Unlike in suburbia, Memorial Day is not about cookouts and family get togethers. The Hispanics will have a party on Sunday night because they are not going to work on Monday. For the blacks, it just means a change in the normal rhythms of life. The market has weird hours. Some businesses are closed., The liquor store is open on Sunday. Otherwise, it is just another weekend.

On this day, I’m picking up a few items I forgot to get on my normal trip to the market. I see Queenie in an animated discussion with two garbage bags. Donald Trump has decided to import unlimited numbers of Muslims and they have to go somewhere. That means dumping them into the broken down cities and towns, often with a Federal check attached, so the local politicians don’t squawk about it. The greatest human experiment in history is taking place. Low-IQ Muslims are being dumped into urban American ghettos.

Queenie was built for running herd on the black workers, keeping an eye on the customers of all races and interfacing with the white world that could use many more like her. She is not built for talking to a black Grimace that cannot even use non-verbal cues to help bridge the language barrier. She has the exasperated black lady look when she spots me and waves me over to help figure out what the trash bag is saying. That’s the thing with blacks. They accept human bio-diversity at the visceral level.

A swarthy looking male shows up, probably alarmed that a white man was now standing near his garbage bags. His English is useless, but I manage to figure out what they want is to wire money somewhere. This is one of those strange underground markets our politicians don’t understand. Our banks make money helping migrants and illegals send money home. Most convenience stores in this area have a Western Union machine so the illegal Mexican laborers can send money back home without having a bank account or ID.

After the garbage bags leave, I chit-chat with Queenie for a few minutes. She makes the point that she has no idea how to deal with these new people. She also makes the point that she thinks the garbage bags deserve no help or respect. It’s not their customs that offend her, I suspect. It’s their non-person-hood that’s the trouble. Whatever you think about blacks or black America, people like Queenie have a purpose in life, a reason to get up in the morning. To her, those trash bags are just sacks of nothing.

On my way out of the ghetto toward home, I thought about how things will unfold over the coming decades. Black America is matriarchal. How that is going to work with highly patriarchal Muslims migrants is going to be interesting. Throw in the clannishness of the Muslims being imported by Donald Trump, and it looks like a powder keg. Then again, Islam thrives where hope is thin on the ground so maybe the result is the Islamification of the ghetto. I can’t imagine Queenie in a burka, but I never imagined a burka in the ghetto.

Monkey Shines

For a very long time, science has thought that humans first evolved in sub-Saharan Africa and then spread throughout the world. The main reason for this is that the oldest human-like fossils have been found in Africa. Everywhere else, the oldest fossils are Neanderthal or modern humans. There are exceptions, like homo floresiensis, found in Indonesia. This is the one they called the “hobbit” because it was so small. This is believed to be an archaic human that migrated out of Africa 2 million years ago.

That’s the dominant narrative for how humans came to populate just about every nook and cranny of the earth. Recent genetic studies go a long way toward confirming the flow of humans around the world. It’s not “settled science”, if such a thing could exist, but it is the foundation from which scientists works when examining the fossil record. When a new find turns up, the first instinct is to figure out how it fits into the current model, but that’s not always an easy task.

The history of human evolution has been rewritten after scientists discovered that Europe was the birthplace of mankind, not Africa.

Currently, most experts believe that our human lineage split from apes around seven million years ago in central Africa, where hominids remained for the next five million years before venturing further afield.

But two fossils of an ape-like creature which had human-like teeth have been found in Bulgaria and Greece, dating to 7.2 million years ago.

The discovery of the creature, named Graecopithecus freybergi, and nicknameded ‘El Graeco’ by scientists, proves our ancestors were already starting to evolve in Europe 200,000 years before the earliest African hominid.

An international team of researchers say the findings entirely change the beginning of human history and place the last common ancestor of both chimpanzees and humans – the so-called Missing Link – in the Mediterranean region.

In science, this is what is called a  “big deal.” At the very minimum, it could force a re-evaluation of the timeline for human migration out of Africa. It could also mean that humans moved out of Africa, evolved into what we think of as modern humans and then migrated back to Africa. Later, these early humans then made the trip back out to the rest of the world. At the very minimum, it could lead to a rethinking of the basic narrative, which will set off huge fights within the scientific community for many reasons.

The main reason is the oldest – ego. Many careers have been built around the assumption that modern humans first evolved in Africa and then migrated out to the rest of the world fairly recently. Naturally, when the work of a lifetime is challenged by new evidence, the instinct is to dispute it. Scientists have all the same vices as the rest of us. In fact, smart people tend to be even more petty and envious than most. The most likely result will be an attempt to dismiss these new finds or discredit them in some way.

While all of that is very preliminary, this find does introduce, or re-introduce, an idea that modern science would like to exclude. That is, human evolution not only continued after humans left Africa, but that it accelerated. As humans migrated into new areas, they quickly adapted to those areas, both physically and cognitively. This process continued on just as it does with all species. Put another way, human evolution was copious, local and recent and the result is measurable differences between groups of humans.

That, of course, brings us back to the bogeyman that haunts the dreams of modern intellectuals, which is the bogeyman of race. Just as anthropologists will seek to dismiss data that contradicts the standard model of human migration, modern intellectuals are always on the lookout for anything that contradicts the egalitarian narrative. Most of Western public policy is built on the premise that all people are the same and that any measurable differences are the result of white racism. Nature plays no role.

It is mistakenly assumed that the viciousness with which the Progs attack anyone questioning multiculturalism is purely about power. There’s some of that, but the real driver is belief. How they define the world, and how they define themselves, is based on the bedrock assumptions of the blank slate. If those assumptions are invalidated, not only is their worldview invalid, but they are invalid. Human bio-diversity is the same as telling a devout Muslim that Mohamed was a Jewish comedian and Islam is an elaborate gag.

This discovery will most likely be memory-holed or recast in some way as to not threaten the narrative. The most likely result is everyone just ignores it. But, genetics is making a long march through the human sciences and that’s not something that can be ignored for too much longer. Soon, we reach a Galileo moment when the orthodoxy either shuts down the human sciences or the orthodoxy begins to crumble. That’s ultimately what happened in Christendom. The Church gave way to science in public affairs.

Before anyone gets too excited by the prospect of scientific racism smashing the prevailing orthodoxy, it is important to remember that the Church gave ground to science slowly and violently. The Thirty Years War, for example, left much of central Europe devastated. Towns were depopulated, villages were wiped off the map and people were reduced to cannibalism. The so-called Age of Reason was a bloody mess featuring one more violent war after another. Things tend to end poorly and this will not end well.

This Blog: Stardate 47634.44

Site Update

It has been a while since I did an update on where things are with the site and other miscellaneous things related to the blog. Since we are heading into the long holiday weekend, it feels like a good time for one of these catch up posts. There’s also the fact that most of my posts the last few weeks have been on more serious topics so a little break from the doom and gloom is a good idea. I’m not into the happy warrior stuff, but life is for living and you should not spend all of your time on the dark side of the gloom.

As far as traffic, the average is right around 100,000 unique non-robot visitors per month and 1.5 million page views. The strange thing I’ve noticed is traffic will slow for a while and then tick back up, like the tide coming in and going out. I’m not really sure why that is. I know my habit is to visit a site daily until I find something else for a while. I then drift back to the regular rotation of sites again. Maybe that’s true of most people and that’s what I’m seeing in my traffic. Perhaps the lunar cycle has something to do with it.

The refresh of the site is still on the drawing board. I’ve done some of the prep work, but real life has sidelined this project recently. The plan is to implement a drop down menu for links, post collections and so forth. I’m also going to roll out donations, as that is something you’re supposed to do. I’m told that alternative media needs to foster the donation culture, since we don’t have billionaire grifters on our team. I’m a bit skeptical about it, but if it covers the cost of running the site that’s a good thing.

Comments have ticked up steadily and you can see a community forming in the comment section. I think this is a good thing as the hate community needs places for like minded haters to congregate without be harried by screeching harpies from the Cult. Just as important, there has to be a place for the right side of the curve to debate with one another without the sort of mindless hooting you see in the Breitbart comments or on twitter. I frequently hear that the best part of the blog is the comments and I take some pride in it.


Someone asked me the other day if I would ever consider doing an “Ask Me Anything” sort of thing. I’m generally open to anything, but I don’t really get Reddit or Voat so I have no idea if it is something I’d like. I do get questions via the miracle of e-mail most days and I try to answer them. I get some of the same questions every week, so I thought putting them and the answers into a post may be useful. I’ll give it a test run now and maybe make a feature out of it going forward. That way I don’t have to learn about Reddit.

Q: Why don’t you write about Israel? Do you support Israel?

Me: I get this every week from someone. Judging from the e-mails, my guess is it is mostly Zionists. I’ve never had a sane conversation with an Israeli or Arab about Israeli or Arab-Israeli relations. As a result, I think it is an unanswerable riddle so there is no point in me thinking much about it. Israel is a civilized country, so I wish her and her people the best. Otherwise, I have no opinions on Israel or Arab-Israeli drama.

Q: Why do you hate libertarians? Why don’t you learn something about libertarianism before commenting?

Me: I don’t hate libertarians and I learned all about libertarianism in the 80’s. That’s the thing. I’m not a 30-something. I’m a 50-something. The young guys in the hate community will tell you that they came to the dark side through the Ron Paul campaigns when they were in the 20’s. For Gen-X types, our path was most often from the Left. My people were all conservative Democrats who held populist opinions on economics, but conservative opinions on social issues. We were the so-called Reagan Democrats of the 80’s.

As young guys, my generation flirted with libertarian ideas because they are easy and appeal to young people, but also because they were one leg of the Reagan coalition. Young people tend not to appreciate social conservatism so libertarian economics, particularly its anti-communist rhetoric, was appealing. The collapse of the Buckley Right and the Reagan coalition in the 90’s taught a lot of us that you don’t win a culture war with pie charts about tax policy. Libertarianism is mostly worthless in this fight.

Given the choice, I’d choose to live in the libertarian paradise over most any other form of social arrangement, but that’s never going to be on the table. The only way to get anywhere near close to it, means getting the culture right and that means getting the demographics right. It also means accepting all sorts of compromises on the economic and political front. If a commie is my ally in the demographic fight, so be it. If a libertarian chooses to be my enemy in the culture war, then I will be his enemy.

Q: Why don’t you do other sorts of media?

Me: After I did Grace & Steel, I got asked this a few times. I don’t have anything against doing these things. I have turned down two interview requests from liberal outlets claiming to be doing pieces on the alt-right. I believe in supporting the media that supports me and doing everything I can to destroy the media that hates me. As a result, I’ll gladly help those on our side where I can. I’m not trying to build a media career so I’m not putting any effort into getting on other platforms. I’ll help if asked.

Q: Why do you hide behind a pseudonym?

Me: I’ve had this domain for roughly 20 years so when I started the blog, I just put it here out of convenience. The story behind this is that in the early days of the internet, ISP’s would assign you a user name. I always got assigned some variation of “zman” and it was a bit of a joke with friends. As a gag, I registered the domain and started using it for an e-mail address. Everyone I know, knows me by this domain and as a result, they know about and read this blog. If I were hiding, I’d have registered a new domain.

Someone who knows about interwebs marketing and branding told me that it was a good idea to stick with it, as it makes it easy for people to find the site. Put “z blog” in a google machine and I’m right at the top. Given the amount of traffic that comes via web searches, I think they were right so I’m sticking with the concept. David Goldman did a similar thing when he wrote for years under the pen name “Spengler” for the Asia Times. It has turned out to be a good gimmick that I landed on by accident so I’ll keep it going.

Ruminations On The Way Down The Mountain

Yesterday, I made the trip to the Imperial Capital. I passed through the majestic gates of the Secret City, ascended the golden staircase into the heavens, to be among the Cloud People. I stood beneath the Glasir and watched Eikþyrnir and Heiðrún graze on the leaves of Læraðr. Despite the weather on the ground being dreary and drizzly, for us in the clouds, it was sunshine and gentle breezes, perfumed with the odor of honeysuckle. It was everything you imagine it is, among the Cloud People.

Actually, I was in meetings all day, in buildings that resemble the administrative structures you see on a typical college campus. In TV and movies, corporate and government structures are imagined as cold and sterile buildings made of glass and steel. In reality, they are almost almost always like the administrative buildings built on colleges that the boomers fondly remember from their youth. The new Apple lair is like something from a comic book, but only if the super-villain is a middle-aged homosexual.

Being a man of two worlds, I’ve found it easier to adjust to the Cloud than the other way around. When circumstances require me to spend extended time among the Cloud People, the trip back to the ground is like coming home from the 10-day dream vacation. It’s nice to see the old familiars, but there is a certain ennui. I always imagine it is the same feeling Adam and Eve had when they were ejected from the Garden. I also imagine it is what the Cloud People fear it is like too, which is why they avoid it at all costs.

For reasons I cannot go into, I was required to sit through a presentation by a middle-aged woman on the new diversity strategy for their organization. Of course, not a single person in the room was diverse. It was wall-to-wall honky. The presenter did not mention it and, if I had to guess, did not notice it. There was a ceremonial feel to it, as if she was leading the group in prayer. In fact, I had flashbacks to my youth in Jesuit schools where every class began with a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer or a Hail Mary.

Communists used to work the civil religion angle this way, by having indoctrination sessions for workers before their shifts. They would also have struggle sessions for those who wandered off the reservation. My guess is this is the inspiration for the constant harangues about diversity among the Cloud People. The difference is the Dirt People are not participating. We’re more like audience members now. Instead of the ideological enforcers mingling with the workers to educate and discipline, the prols are now ignored.

It suggests that the Revolution has moved onto a new phase. In the French Revolution, after the White Terror, the Constitution of 1795 established The Directory. This was the start of a new phase in which the lower classes were mostly ignored, as the new ruling class consolidated its power. That may be what we are seeing with our managerial class as they largely ignore the results of recent elections and enforce discipline in their own ranks. It’s not a perfect analogy, but it may be useful in analyzing what we are seeing.

There is another angle, one you can see in this Scott Alexander post a few weeks ago, that was popular with the cognoscenti. Star Slate Codex is popular with people who not only think they are smart, but see themselves as steely-eyed reason machines. It’s also popular with people who like to believe stuff like this:

Yes, CNN leans liberal, but it’s not as liberal as FOX is conservative, and it’s not as open about it – it has a pretense of neutrality that FOX doesn’t, and although we can disagree about how realistic that pretense is I think few people would disagree that the pretense is there. Nor is there a liberal version of FOX that lacks that pretense of neutrality.

That’s a very believable argument if you have no familiarity with cable news or you look out at the world from deep inside the Progressive fever swamps. It is the sort of thing people write when they want to seem like the people who write things like this. It’s the worldview of someone confusing a mirror with a telescope. To Alexander, Fox is way out on the fringe and they are brazen about it. CNN, on the other hand, is maybe a little biased, but they are good people, my people, so they mean well.

Of course, there is the omnipresent hive mindedness. The world for Scott Alexander, and most of his readers, is a world of black hats and white hats. There are those inside the walls, the people of light, and the people outside the walls, in the outer darkness. The people outside are an undifferentiated collection of eyes peering out of the darkness, which is why they routinely misuse works like “conservative” when describing the people outside the walls. Words like “conservative” and “right-wing” just mean the outsiders.

Animals that find themselves isolated, like on an island, evolve in different ways, compared to those on the mainland. Insular dwarfism is the process where large animals get smaller over a number of generations when their population’s range is limited and isolated, like on an island. The reverse can happen where a small animal ends up on an island without predators. This is known as island gigantism. Some argue this is what happened with dinosaurs, but there is debate about that.

We may be seeing a form of this with our managerial class. Their isolation is shrinking their understanding of the world outside. The lack of interaction is resulting in a narrowness of the caste, to the point where we are as alien to them as they are to us. The latter is normal, while the former is dangerous. Similarly, their isolation is allowing their confidence to grow out of all proportion. Read Scott Alexander and what oozes through is a naive sense of confidence that he has it all figured out.

On the way down the mountain, into the land of the Dirt People, I started thinking about the not-so-silent coup that is unfolding in Washington against Trump. It’s not really fair to call it a coup. It is more of a tantrum. Trump is not going anywhere. But, the managerial class attempt to de-legitimize Trump is somewhat analogous to the Coup of 18 Fructidor V. After the elections in which the Royalists made great gains, republicans purged all the winners banishing 57 leaders to death in Guiana and closed royalist newspapers.

After the election of 2016, we are seeing a panicked managerial class trying to pick off members of the Trump team and isolate him from any base of support he may enjoy in his own party. Just as with the Directory, the people in charge seem to be wildly out of touch with the reality of their circumstances. Trump is not Napoleon, but Napoleon was not Napoleon at that point either. The point here is our managerial elite’s determination to circle the wagons and enforce ideological discipline may be weakening their position.


The Lotos Eaters

The lotus was introduced to the Western mind by Homer. Odysseus tells how his ship was blown off course and landed on an island. While his men rested, he sent a small party to investigate. These men encountered the natives, who gave them a drink made from the lotus flower, which grew on the island. It was a narcotic that put them into a languid state of bliss. So much so they had no desire to tend to their work or return home. Odysseus forced them back onto the ship and sailed away, despite their protestations.

Lord Tennyson’s poem, the title of which is the title of this post, is a retelling of Odysseus adventure among the lotus eaters. The difference is it is from the perspective of the men as they try to explain why they should stay and live a life free of toil. Living as a lotus eater means abandoning external reality and living instead in a world of appearances, as if everything is a pleasant dream. It is a world of self-delusion where everything “seems’ the same, which is why “seems” is liberally used thought the poem.

This is what came to mind reading this piece on Richard Spencer in the Atlantic. The writer, Graeme Wood, tells us so much about himself in the piece, the article could just as easily have been about him. In fact, the whole article is less about Spencer than the reaction of the writer to the very idea of Spencer. It is a style of writing common today, where the author tries to take you on their emotional journey as they encounter the subject of their piece. Often, the subject’s role in a story is only as a catalyst.

Even though the author is trying hard to put Spencer in the worst possible light, you get the sense that he is locked in an internal tug-o-war with himself. On the one hand, there is the temptation to engage the world of reality. On the other hand, there is the world of forms in which he lives, a world where everything seems right. Based on what Wood tells us about himself in the beginning of the piece. It is a safe bet he has never left the island, or at least not gone to far away from shore.

That’s why the article reads, at times, like Wood had made the journey upriver to meet Mr. Kurtz, to tell him he has been bad for business. If Spencer had mounted a few severed heads on pikes, it would have fit in perfectly with the tone of the piece. The difference is, instead of Spencer as the one muttering “The horror! The horror!” at the end, it’s Wood. He has made his journey into the heart of darkness and now munches on the lotus, hoping to never be tempted by reality again.

Therein lies part of the hysteria we see from the social justice warriors and PC enforcers running around trying to stamp out dissent. It’s not really about the dissenters. It’s not, strictly speaking, about the content. It is about the temptation. Like Tennyson’s sailors, the social justice warriors are locked in a struggle with themselves. They want to remain in the languid land of “seems” but at some level they know it is self-deception. The dissenters, the people who left the island, are a reminder of that and they hate them for it.

The old saw about people not being able to handle too much reality is certainly true. It has always been true. The reason for myths, legends and religion is to knock the hard edges off of life and give people hope and purpose. For most of human history, it has been the rulers who find ways to keep the people in a bit of a delusional fog. Whether it is bread and circuses or manufactured reasons to pull together toward a common goal, the clear-eyed people at the top have found an opiate for the people.

Today, things are upside down. It is the people that face the hard realities of life, while the managerial class sits around drunk on self-delusion, fearful that someone may introduce temptation into their world. The poor may be high on heroin, but they have no illusions about the world. The people in charge, on the other hand, are living a fantasy version of life. It’s why they are not concerned with the consequences of their polices. They simply don’t think of the consequences. They focus on how good it makes them feel.

Odysseus and his sailors eventually left the island. It was the authority of Odysseus that compelled them to leave, but they did leave. Maybe that’s what happens with the managerial class. Just as Spencer’s search for meaning has led him to identity politics, the managerial class will make a similar journey off the island. A world of low work and high pay has its attractions, but it it snot life. It offers no genuine purpose. Of course, that could mean they start a war or unleash a plague. Things can always get worse.


One of the things that ails us in the modern age is we have yet to adjust our thinking to the modern economy. The great political-economic thinkers lived in a time when money was either gold, backed by gold or a fiat currency. The result is our political and economic debates are based in the logic of a world that no longer exists. The modern global economy is not based on fiat money or hard money. It is based on credit money, which has a unique set of characteristics.

For instance, the US government is no longer able to print up greenbacks and sprinkle them on the economy. Instead, when they expand the money supply, they expand lending, both domestic and global. It’s not just any sort of lending either. The central bank can buy up long term notes in order to drive down long term lending rates, thus expanding lending for capital goods. Alternatively, they can buy up short term debt and increase the amount retail lending. The Federal Reserve holds close to 2 trillion in mortgages, for example.

There’s no question that this new form of currency arrangement has had benefits to the West. Libertarians and goldbugs will spend hours arguing against this sort of currency manipulation, claiming it will lead to a financial collapse, but so far, the opposite has been true. The mortgage meltdown of 2008 did not result in a global depression. The worst you can say of it is the result has been a long, localized recession. The rulers look at current asset values and see a ringing endorsement of credit money and central banks.

Putting that debate to one side, there are longer term problems that come with credit money. One is the slow eating away of the middle class by eating away at small and mid-sized business. The most obvious example is the collapse of retail. The old joke was that Amazon turned big box stores into their showroom. Consumers would go to Best Buy to look at electronics, get free advice and then go on-line to buy them. This can only last for so long and the mass closure of retail stores we see this year suggests the end is near.

The libertarian argument is that the more efficient business has displaced the less efficient business, and that’s not completely wrong, but it ignores the salient aspects of this phenomenon. A world in which everyone either works for or buys from a global company run by a Bond villain is not a world most people want for themselves or their progeny. There’s also the question as to whether it is economically sustainable. Business needs customers and customers need jobs in order to have money to be customers.

There’s also the fact that Amazon would not exist without credit money. In a world of real money, Amazon would have gone bankrupt long ago. This is true of the social media companies that now control public debate. None of them would have made it past the hobby stage if not for the financial system’s ability to conjure credit money. In effect, we now live in a world where the rulers can make their money more valuable and your money worthless, simply by manipulating the amount of credit money.

There’s another way in which the financilization via credit money erodes social stability by undermining the middle-class. Take the example of industrial supplies. This has always been a middle-class, local business. The “value” added was the owners willingness to invest in their location and facility in order to meet the needs of their local customers in the commercial trades. They were almost always family businesses with the wife running the office and the husband running the shop.

The miracle of credit money has allowed investors to back the acquisition and consolidation of these mom and pop businesses. The way it works is investors back one business buying up other shops in the area. This allows the new owner to replace the previous owners with low cost salary men. It also allows for the consolidation of accounting, IT, human resources, etc.. This makes the over all business more efficient, giving libertarian economist a tingle in all the wrong places.

This increase in efficiency does not mean lower prices to consumers. It often means the opposite. In some areas, there’s no longer competition so prices rise. The economic gains from efficiency show up in the returns to the investors. The lack of community investment, like sponsoring local little leagues and social organizations, is also stripped out and returned to investors. This is great for a Bain Capital, but it is terrible for the local communities. Instead of communities, we now have areas populated by strangers.

Another useful example is education. Just a generation ago, a college diploma had real value that exceeded the purchase price. The financialization of college has not only decreased the initial value of the diploma, it has stripped away much of its long term value through the student loan rackets. The only people benefitting from college today are the people running the colleges and the money men financing it. The school makes millions staging mock combat with retarded black men and your kid gets saddled with the debt.

Credit money has unleashed financial pirates on the American middle class, turning every small town and family business into a Lindisfarne, in the eyes of our financial class. A big reason why the economic data looks good, but the the people are revolting is the social capital that held together the American middle has been financialized and moved to the balance sheets of global financiers. Increasingly, the relationship in the modern American economy is not between buyers and sellers, but between predators and prey.

At least when the Vikings raided a village, they did not demand that the locals celebrate their ruination. It was a raid and the local authorities tried to prevent it. That’s the other aspect of this that is eating away at our civic life. It used to be that government worked to reign in the financial tricksters, not because they cared about the suckers, but because it was bad for politics. Today, if the political class has anything to say about it at all, it is usually a celebration. The Danegeld has now become an institution.

When Alfred the Great faced off against the Great Heathen Army, he quickly learned that adherence to old customs and old ways was a liability. The world had changed. In fact, it changed so much that he nearly lost his crown before he could adjust to the new realities presented by the Viking raids. The Norse played by a different set of rules and they had no respect for the Anglo-Saxon ways. In fact, they sought to exploit those ways to their advantage. To survive, Alfred had to embrace new tactics and new methods.

Eventually, Alfred resorted to guerilla tactics, something previously seen as dishonorable by the Anglo-Saxons, to weaken the Danes and maneuver them into the decisive battle at Edington. The point here is that those old economic arguments from the libertarians, like those constitutional arguments from the Buckley Right, are no longer relevant. In fact, they are now hindrances. The modern pirates have figured out how to turn our virtues into vices. That means we will need new virtues and new tactics.