2018 Predictions

I had not looked at last year’s predictions since I posted them, so I was a little surprised by how many of them turned out to be right. The prediction about Trump and Republicans pushing through a big tax bill was pretty spot on. Trump has also attacked the regulatory code as I predicted. I did predict the GOP would do some rollback on ObamaCare, which did not happen, other than repeal of the mandate. I was also right on the climate change stuff. Trump has reversed Federal policy on climate change and faced little resistance.

I did not get the China stuff right. Of course, it is hard to know as the ChiComs are good at hiding their systemic trouble. The fact that no one is talking about China’s economy these days suggests the boom times are over, so maybe I was just a year early. I missed on the Middle East stuff, but there is no shame in that. I did hit a home run on the gene editing prediction. I was also prescient on the alt-right in-fighting. In fairness, which was so obvious I cannot take credit for that one. Pretty much the only thing they do well is squabble.

So, what are the signs telling me this year?

The Trump agenda will trundle along with the negotiations over DACA amounting nothing, as the Democrats find that there is no constituency for the program. Instead, it will be allowed to expire and Trump will be painted as the bad guy, but no one will care, including Trump. Instead, the focus will be on the infrastructure bill, which will turn into a massive Christmas tree that both parties get to decorate. In that bill will be some sort of second chance provision for DACA, along with money for that wall and other immigration items.

On the domestic political front, the Mueller investigation will keep taking on water as it becomes clear that the real issue is not Russian meddling in the presidential election, but FBI meddling in the election. Trump may even appoint a new special prosecutor to dig into the FBI, Uranium One and the DOJ shenanigans. This will begin to spill into the midterms, as the Republicans figure out that this is a chance for them to blunt Democrat gains. The Democrats will pickup some seats in the House but lose some seats in the Senate.

This will be the year that gene editing in health care moves to center stage. Researchers in California used a new technique in 2017 to alter a patient’s DNA in an effort to treat a metabolic disease called Hunter syndrome. Health care is about to make a tremendous leap forward with respect to treating genetic disorders. Similarly, micro-technology is about to revolutionize medical testing with trackable pills that collect information about a patient throughout their day. The morality of new medicine starts to get serious attention.

One of the consequences of the big GOP tax bill will be the impact it will have on Europe’s not so robust economy. The disparity in corporate tax rates was a boon to Europe, but now the roles are reversed and companies will begin to repatriate cash and jobs to the United States this year. This will put more pressure on the EU and on pro-EU parties, as the nationalist parties are just starting the become organized. This will also cause the Brexit negotiations to fail and it will bring down the Theresa May government.

At the same time, the various nationalist parties on the Continent will continue to grow their support due to the intractable migrant problem and the establishment’s inability to formulate a coherent response. Emmanuel Macron will push through a set of immigration reforms that will legitimize the nationalists parties and increase demands for reform in the rest of the EU. Even more frightening to the European establishment, Sebastian Kurz, the new Austrian Chancellor, will start talking with the Visegrád Group about cooperation.

While electric car sales will continue to grow, they will remain a toy for the upper middle-class. The real growth in electric vehicles will be at the lower end. Electrically assisted bicycles, self-balancing one wheel scooters, powered skateboards and hi-tech mobility scooters for old people will become the next big thing. Electric cars face all sorts of obstacles, but new battery technology will open the door for micro-travel devices that are relatively cheap and meet the demands for old people and urban residents.

The much anticipated IPO of Saudi Aramco will not be done publicly. Bankers in London and New York have been maneuvering to get what many think will be the biggest IPO ever. Instead, the Saudis will opt for a private offering and it will not be the trillion dollar event everyone expects. This will lead to speculation about the stability of the kingdom and questions about the future of the House of Saud. Saudi Arabia is basically a hedge fund with a country attached. Aramco’s stock price will be the measure of Saudi health.

Finally, the New York Yankees will be the first team in baseball history to lose all 162 regular season games. The embarrassment will cause city officials to evict the team, forcing them to move to New Jersey. The enormity of this sporting catastrophe will be eclipsed by the sudden bankruptcy of the English Premiere League. The death of professional football in England will have a domino effect, resulting in the collapse of all professional football leagues, even the NFL, which is a different football.

That is it for this year. It has been another great year for the blog, adding tens of thousands of new readers and many new commenters. I appreciate everyone taking the time out of their day to read and respond. It has also been a great start to the podcast, despite the fact I have done little to promote it. As has been the case with the blog, the podcast audience grows by word of mouth. I appreciate everyone posting links on social media and recommending me to their friends and enemies. I genuinely appreciate it.

Happy New Year to one and all.

Happy New Year Podcast

I decided to do the very first New Year’s podcast while stinking drunk and staggering around outside with strangers. It is the tradition, after all, to get obliterated on December 31st, waiting for the calendar to change. Well, I can only assume, as I have not been outside, much less partying, on New Year’s Eve in decades.

In fact, I don’t recall the last time I was up past midnight on the big night. I’m not really sure why I have no interest in the custom. I like drinking and I like staying up late, but I never got into ringing in the new year. In my youth it just seemed like a lot of work to accomplish very little, so I was never interested in it. Instead, I’d watch some Three Stooges reruns and make it an early night..

This week I have the usual variety of items in the now standard format. Spreaker has the full show. YouTube has the four longer segments from the show. I am up on Google Play now, so the Android commies can take me along when out disrespecting the country. I am on iTunes, which means the Apple Nazis can listen to me on their Hitler phones.

This Week’s Show


  • 00:00: Opening
  • 02:00: The Corruption Timeline (Link) (Link) (Link)
  • 12:00: Xirl Science (Link) (Link) (Link) (Link) (Link)
  • 22:00: The Hedge Fund State (Link)
  • 32:00: George Lincoln Rockwell (Link) (Link)
  • 42:00: Health Care (Link)
  • 47:00: The War On White (Link)
  • 52:00: Bodymore, Murderland (Link)
  • 57:00: Closing

Direct Download

The iTunes Page

Google Play Link

Full Show On Spreaker

Full Show On YouTube

The Norks

Is North Korea about to collapse?

That is the question Don Surber asks in this post last week. He is looking at the recent defections of soldiers and civilians. We have at least one soldier, an elite soldier no less, who simply walked across the border unmolested. Maybe this happens from time to time, but the impression from news reports is that the Norks guard that border ferociously. The Norks have special units that do nothing but roam the border looking for anyone trying to flee. Here is a recent video of them shooting a guy trying to escape.

Surber is looking at these recent incidents where North Koreans have managed to escapade unmolested and compares it to the last days of the Soviet empire. There is also the fact that the one soldier was from an elite unit. That seems unusual. There was also the solider that escaped and was found to be infested with parasites, suggesting the regime is struggling to care for even the soldiers that protects it. The Kim regime can only survive if it has the absolute loyalty of the military, so they have to make sure they are fed.

I think we can also wonder if the recent Chinese cooperation may be another signal that all is not well in the hermit kingdom. It is reasonable to assume that the Chinese know the most of any outsiders about what is going on inside the country. The assumption in the West is that they were willing to prop up the Norks, in order to avoid dealing with the collapse. Maybe they have decided that Kim’s days are numbered, no matter what they do, so they are now looking to turn the inevitable into an opportunity.

American military intelligence probably knows a great deal about what is happening inside North Korea, but it is tightly held information. As a result, the public defense experts have no idea what is happening. Trump’s dramatic ramp up of pressure is reminiscent of what we did with the Russians in the 1980’s. Reagan’s great insight, and it was truly his insight, was that the Russians simply could not compete with the West, if we got our act together economically. That proved to be correct. The Russians were spent as an empire.

Maybe that is what Trump is sensing. A generation ago, standard operating procedure in the US was to try and negotiate with the Russians. It was done on the assumption that the Soviets were strong. Reagan’s insight was that they were weak, so he abandoned appeasement. Trump seems to be going down the same path with the Norks. He has said that negotiations are a waste of time. That would explain the build up of assets in the region, along with the moves to cut off the North’s access to hard currency.

It is all speculation, but we can tease out some things from what we do know about the Norks. Countries have a finite amount of resources. Some portion are used for the necessities of maintaining society. Some portion are used for defense. Some other portion is used by the ruling class to maintain their positions. Similarly, the ruling class will use some portion of their available capital to expand their position, both internally and externally. A country is not a closed system, but about 90% of its resources are internal.

It is assumed that the Norks have a lot of human capital, relative to rogue regimes in the Arab world. This is based on the unspoken assumption that Asians are smart, while Arabs are dumb. The Norks have split the atom and developed respectable missile technology, which is more than Saddam was able to do and more than the Persians have mustered to this point. The Norks have also shown themselves to be very resourceful in gaining access to the global arms market and the global drug trade. The Kim regime is clever.

That said, we know that most of the population is living with barely enough to eat and the bare minimum of health care. So much so that the North Koreans are shorter than the South Koreans. We know from Western history, that as nutrition improved in the West, Europeans got taller. People also got smarter. The Flynn Effect is most likely a result of nutrition and health care. The Norks are probably experiencing a reverse of this, where starvation and poor sanitation are lowering the average IQ of the population.

Then there is the math of every extraction regime. North Korea is closer to a feudal society than a modern country. Every level of society sees the excess from its labor siphoned off by the layer above it. This not only stifles productivity and innovation, but it also encourages corruption at all levels. This was the experience in the Soviet Union, where trust in institutions fell to zero. That was the joke among Soviet workers. The government would pretend to pay the workers and the workers pretended to work.

The point here is that the sum of human capital in North Korea is probably an order of magnitude less than many assume. They have a large enough smart fraction to build crude nuclear bombs and launch some long range missiles into the sea. They do not have enough of a smart fraction to do that, feed their people and provide the basics of health care. Throw in the fact that Kim may have been forced to kill off many of the regime’s best people in order to solidify control, and North Korea could be very weak right now.

In fact, the saber rattling may be an attempt to get South Korea and China to put pressure on the US, in order to get some food and medical relief. That has worked with past presidents. Clinton, Bush and Obama were all willing to cut a deal. Trump calling the bluff may be why the Nork solider was allowed to just walk across the border to the South. He is carrying antibodies for anthrax, suggesting he has been exposed to it. That could be intended to send a message that the Norks have it and will use it in a war.

It is impossible to know the true state of affairs in North Korea. One feature of all authoritarian regimes is a high degree of secrecy and deception. The same skills used to lie to the people, are used by the political factions inside the regime to lie to one another and to the outside world. The one thing low trust societies are good at producing is gifted liars. Still, the fundamental math of society strongly suggest the Norks are much weaker than they wish the world to know. That may explain the shift in US policy under Trump.


Emmerson Mnangagwa has taken over Zimbabwe, by outmaneuvering the 93-year old Robert Mugabe and promising immunity for Mugabe and his family. By the standards of Africa, the transition has been smooth and orderly. Mnangagwa is taking over without having to fight a civil war and he will not be killing his political opponents. The Mugabe faction has aged off and the remaining elements are willing to take a payoff to retire from politics. It has been one of the more peaceful transfers of power in African history

Zimbabwe is of interest here, because of its history, but also because it has been a great case study of what happens under African rule. When the country was born, following the Lancaster House Agreement and subsequent elections, Zimbabwe was one of the wealthier countries in sub-Saharan Africa. This was despite a long 15-year civil war between white Rhodesia and two black guerrilla movements, both backed by the Soviet Block and independent black nations. The new nation was born with a lot of advantages.

Zimbabwe’s first president, after independence, was a guy named Canaan Banana, no kidding, but he was just a puppet. Robert Mugabe’s ZANU party had won the nation’s first election, making him Prime Minister and Head of Government. His first act was to send the Fifth Brigade, a North Korean-trained military unit, into Matabeleland, the home of the main opposition party. This unit slaughtered tens of thousands of civilians accused of supporting dissidents, which meant supporting the wrong side in the election.

In the first ten years of independence, Zimbabwe’s economy grew steadily worse as Mugaba grabbed land from white farmers and stole anything that he could steal. The decline in the economy and the spread of HIV, resulted in civil unrest and strikes by the civil service. The answer to this was repression and more land grabs. The interesting thing about the land reform efforts is they were pretty much the opposite of what the nation needed, but they were exactly what Mugabe needed. It helped him keep power.

Of course, no summary of Mugabe’s policies can skip past his debasing of the currency in an effort to inflate away the nation’s debts. As is always the case, this produced a vicious cycle, where each round of money printing warranted another round of money printing. In a few years locals were carrying around billion dollar banknotes. By the end of the last decade, the largest note was one hundred trillion Zimbabwean dollars. They were useless, as locals used American dollars, but they did make for funny gag gifts and novelty items.

The new regime in Zimbabwe takes over a busted country. In constant dollars, per capita GDP is a third of what it was at independence. The agricultural sector is flat on its back and even mining, which is run by European firms, struggles due to the violence and general chaos. Mnangagwa takes over promising a new era and he says that rebuilding Zimbabwe is the top priority. More important, he is hinting at political reforms to bring in all of the factions of the country, including the remaining whites and exiled non-blacks.

That last bit is a main point of interest. The best way to describe Mugabe’s treatment of whites is as a decades long act of revenge. The best way to describe Mugabe’s rule was as a decades long proof that Ian Smith and his supporters in the West, we right all along about the realities of African politics. The fact that white farmers are being asked to return, and many are returning, is the first flicker of hope for the country in two generations. It means that the country may not be forever condemned to squalor.

It is easy to be overly optimistic about Africa, as the Africans have an uncanny habit of finding the bad option and then making it even worse. There is also the fact that Emmerson Mnangagwa is not exactly a break with the past. He is a ZANU party insider, who was an integral part of implementing Mugabe’s policies. He is not called the “crocodile” because he is a sentimental lover of a free and open society. People who get too close to Mnangagwa, like people get too close to crocodiles, usually come to bad ends.

Even so, Zimbabwe has a lot going for it. Like Botswana, it is not fractured into a bunch of different tribes. The Shona are about 70% of the population and the Ndebele are about 20%, with a distinct homeland. Also, like Botswana, it has a lot of natural wealth and the willing support of neighboring countries, like Botswana and South Africa. If the government re-institutes property rights, it would see a flood of English speaking companies and tourists, coming in to spend money and invest in the economy.

The comparisons to Botswana are important. It is the one nation in sub-Saharan Africa that has not been a disaster. It has a per-capita GDP of $28,000. More important, it has a highly diverse economy, so the median is higher than the rest of Africa. It has also enjoyed relatively peaceful politics, holding elections and avoiding civil war, revolts and genocide. It also has one of the lowest violent crime rates on the Continent. The murder rate is a fifth of Baltimore. By the standards of Africa, Botswana is a paradise.

Why should anyone care?

Well, the most important graph in the world is going to make everyone care in the coming decades. While it is unreasonable to think that most of African countries can sustain a modern economy, some of them can be much better than they are now. That would mean better civil control and more responsible government. They may never be Athens, but they can be assets in dealing with the more dysfunctional Africa societies. At the minimum, there can be a few less African countries dependent on the white world for survival.

Happy Kwanzaa!

Welcome to a special Kwanzaa edition of The Z-Blog! Every year, I have done a post to celebrate this joyous holiday and now that I have a podcast, I decided to add a special Kwanzaa edition podcast to the mix. I hope everyone is celebrating the most important day on the Afrocentric calendar. Here in Lagos on the Chesapeake, we spend the day contemplating the errors we made that led us to living in the murder capital of America. Here are some items to kick off your Kwanzaa celebrations.


Direct Download

The iTunes Page

Google Play Link


The YouTube Edition

The Christmas Podcast

This is the very first Christmas podcast, or Solstice podcast for the weirdos in the audience. The sort of material I like doing does not lend itself well to a Christmas theme, but I did weave some holiday related material in where appropriate. I’ve also been trying to improve my post-production skills. I know nothing about audio editing, but I am learning. The results are a little hit and miss this week.

I will put a Gab extra this week, mostly because I recorded it and decided not to use it in the regular podcast. I’m still thinking about how to use the Gab video service, but I’m pretty sure I will be doing some data-based presentations there in 2018. I think that might work. I will also be posting a special Kwanzaa podcast on the 26th, so make sure you check your Hitler phones for that next week.

This week I have the usual variety of items in the now standard format. Spreaker has the full show. YouTube has the four longer segments from the show. I am up on Google Play now, so the Android phone commies can take me along when out disrespecting the country. I am on iTunes, which means the Apple Nazis can listen to me on their Hitler phones.

This Week’s Show


  • 00:00: Opening
  • 02:00: The Unwelcome Mat (Link) (Link) (Link)
  • 12:00: Xirl Science (Link) (Link) (Link) (Link) (Link) (Link)
  • 22:00: Tiberius & Immigration (Link) (Link)
  • 32:00: Churches & The Alt-Right
  • 42:00: Lefty Plays For Keeps (Link)
  • 47:00: The New GOP Strategy (Link)
  • 52:00: Jemele Hill (Link)
  • 57:00: Closing (Link)

Direct Download

The iTunes Page

Google Play Link

Full Show On Spreaker

Full Show On YouTube

Holiday Creep

When I first started working as a kid, one “bonus week” during the school year was Thanksgiving. I got to work on Friday and Saturday, rather than just Saturday. All businesses were open on the Friday after Thanksgiving, not just retailers. Almost everyone worked that day, because for hourly workers, you had to work the day before and day after a holiday to get paid for it. Companies that hired kids for part-time work would have set aside menial jobs just for the part-timers to do on that Friday.

That is not true today. I have no clients that open on Friday. Even my clients that do business internationally give their US people off the Friday after Thanksgiving. Many manufacturers that run two shifts will close Thursday and the first shift on Friday. It has become, for most Americans, a four day holiday. In fact, it is starting to become a five day weekend, as many people use their personal time to take Wednesday. This year, the traffic on the interstate was busiest Tuesday night rather than Wednesday.

Something similar is happening with Christmas. I have noticed this year that my e-mail traffic has slowed to a trickle and the commute to the office is light. The kids are still in school, but lots of people are using accumulated personal time to make a short week. Or, maybe two short weeks. Since Monday is the holiday, people are using two vacation days this week and three the next week. Christmas and New Year’s Day have made for a two week period where nothing much gets done, as many people are off on holiday.

When America had a manufacturing base, it was not unusual for employers to close the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, as that was when maintenance was performed, inventories were done and so forth. While the lines might have been idle, the office people were still working and many of the production staff were in doing other things. The line workers were forced to use their vacation time if they were not called in for inventory or maintenance. Otherwise, this time of years was business as usual.

Employers gave workers off for Christmas Day, but they were expected to work a full day on Christmas Eve. Again, as a kid, I had off from school at this time so it was a chance to earn some money. The years when Christmas was on a weekend, it was not a paid holiday, unless you normally worked on weekends. That day before and day after stuff applied to Christmas too. The really generous employers would send their office people home after lunch on Christmas Eve, often after a company paid-for lunch.

Holiday creep in America is mostly due to technology and leisure. Despite our troubles and our looming problems, we are a rich country by the standards of world history. The fact is many people in offices today are performing nonsense work anyway. The amount of money spent on compliance with government regulations, industry quality standards and mitigation against litigation is substantial. The hens in the HR department could be replaced by robots if not for the need to police the ranks for multicultural violations.

Even nonsense takes a holiday. That is another aspect of this. Around the Imperial Capital, they used to announce on snow days that only essential personnel needed to report to work. Everyone chuckled because they knew it meant all government workers would be home, as none of them were essential. Now, they say “Federal workers are to use liberal leave or telecommute.” It is not just the government though. Lots of work in the dreaded private sector is busy work, so giving people more time off is often a net benefit to business.

There is also the fact that attitudes are changing. When America was run by white men, people were defined by what they did for a living. Not working meant you were not needed, which meant you were unimportant. In a world run by hormonal white women, everyone is defined by their latest autoethnographic postings on Facebook. Quality time at home with the cats is now a sign of status. Personal time off, flexible work hours and the ability to “work” from home are the new status symbols of American society.

The reason this is possible is we are a post-scarcity society. Even our poor people are fat and over indulged. Drive through the West Baltimore ghetto next Monday and you will see empty cartons for game consoles, big screen TV’s and other luxury items. Jamal may be headed to court next week, but he is going to get a season of NBA 2K18 in before he has to report to prison. We are a society where work is less and less important, because we have an excess of everything. There is a limit to how much stuff people want to buy.

Whether or not the creeping holiday phenomenon is a good thing is hard to know. Some things are both good and bad or neither. Most people reading this were trained to think hard work built character so a desire to work was a sign of good character. That is a perfectly sensible belief in a world of scarcity. In a post-scarcity society, one where automation is increasing taking over human labor, maybe those sentiments about work are counter productive. Maybe the way forward is self-actualizing leisure.

Regardless, it is a short day for me as I am taking Friday off to have a four day weekend.

Privileged Identity Exploration Model

Twenty-five years ago, I was sitting in an education camp, run by a lesbian and a Ghanaian. We had been force marched to the camp by our company’s human resource department. Everyone in the camp was white, but most of inmates were women. The point of the exercise was to lecture us about discrimination and racism. I came very close to being sent to the hot-box for pointing out to the Ghanaian that he chose to leave a black country and come to America. He was welcome to return, if he did not like it in America.

All joking aside, the funny part of the exchange was that the Ghanaian obviously never thought much about what he was doing. The company offered him this cushy gig where he spent a few hours a month lecturing white people about racism. It was better than working so he never bothered to think it through until I confronted him. The poor guy was so upset by the experience that he quit being the diversity counselor. It turned out that having the whip hand on whitey was more work than he was willing to do, so he quit.

The other thing that I recall about the camp was a women with a last name that looked like an eye chart. She was pretty and very polite, but she did not like being in diversity camp one bit. She tore into the lesbian about the fact it was just an excuse to lecture white men, which at the time was a keen observation. The prevailing opinion at the time was that the diversity movement was just a cover for giving blacks jobs they could not do, in order to make the company brochure look good. This gal saw where it was heading right away.

Here we are in the current year and that’s a reality that most everyone has figured out, even if no one bothers saying it. In fact, the casual acceptance of this reality is quite remarkable. The most under represented group in America now is white men. Look around the college campus, the government office or the workplace and that is the reality. One-legged trans-black Elvis impersonators have a box they can tick, but the straight white man has no box. This is the thing everyone knows, but no one dares mention in public.

All mass movements need a bogeyman, but the anti-white crusaders are struggling to find examples of evil white men, who are oppressing the the good people. Sure, the perverts, who decorate the news of late all look white, but, well, you know. Larry David tried to point this out, but we are so far down the taboo cul-de-sac that it is impossible to turn back. The white women will keep yelling “he touched me” until the last white-looking man is driven from the media, even if it is starting to look like a scene from Schindler’s List.

That’s what I suspect is at the root of the white privilege nonsense. Rather than locate an actual bad white man and haul him into the public square to be pilloried, they have invented this miasma they call “privilege.” It’s not actually privilege, as in a special right or immunity from certain laws. Instead it is a mysterious force that can only be realized through a set of sacred rituals. A shaman of sorts, usually called a diversity counselor, guides the white person through the process so they can see their privilege.

That’s what you see in this article about Privileged Identity Exploration Model being used at universities, to help white people overcome their whiteness, so they can engage in social justice causes. It’s a lot like brainwashing, where the initiate is forced to deny reality to the point where they no longer trust their own eyes. Instead, they accept whatever the cult leader tells them. It’s also reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution, where intellectuals were forced to confess to crimes that they did not commit, because they did not exist.

It is easy to be offended by this stuff. That’s intentional. As Theodore Dalrymple observed about communist regimes, the point is to humiliate.

“In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is…in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.”

Modern society is riddled with special privileges. We even have a term in the law, protected class, which is the name for groups that have special rights. The trouble is those special set-asides and carve-outs only make sense if there is the evil white man lurking around every corner. The stunning lack of evil white men has forced these people to create a mystery version, one that only exists in the imagination of the offender, after they are properly coached in the Privileged Identity Exploration Model.

I should note the Maoist flavor to all of this campus activism. It is rather stunning just how similar the social justice warriors are to the Red Guards in the Cultural Revolution. What that suggests is the non-whites launching these campaigns on campus see themselves as the victors of the culture war. Their aim now is to solidify their position by sweeping up the remaining pockets of resistance. Mao Zedong did not launch the Cultural Revolution from a position of weakness. He thought he was working from a position of strength.

Strangely, that’s the glimmer of hope. While the Red Guards were running wild, reformers were quietly organizing to put an end to Maoist communism. These reformers, led by Deng Xiaoping, took over after the death of Mao and set about the task of rooting out Maoism. Five years after Mao died, the Party declared that the Cultural Revolution was “responsible for the most severe setback and the heaviest losses suffered by the Party, the country, and the people since the founding of the People’s Republic”.

Professor Sherry K. Watt should enjoy her time on campus.


Watch a TV show or movie from the 60’s or 70’s that touched on current events and you are likely to see a character mentioning something about Africa. Biafra was important for a while. Eritrea once got the attention of Americans. Zaire was another African country that turned up in popular media. Read anything about Progressive politics from the era and African causes were all the rage. The New Left was deeply into liberation movements and Africa was where the last European colonies were gaining independence. Africa was cool.

Of course, the 1980’s brought South Africa to center stage for the America Left. It was the easiest way to be pro-black, without having to move to Oakland. Lefty could be super-pro-black, from the safety of the college campus or Hollywood studio. In one of life’s little ironies, one of Mel Gibson’s biggest films featured him fighting South Africans, who were portrayed by actors obviously directed to act like Nazis. Everyone knew South Africa was going to be the example that proved Africans could run a first world country.

No one talks about Africa very much these days. On the college campus, the word “de-colonization” still pops up in papers, but it is now used by mentally unstable feminist academics in their howling about white men. No serious person talks about colonialism or what happened to the former colonies. Even South America is ignored by the American commentariat, other than to praise the wonderfulness of immigration. What used to be called the Third World has largely been forgotten by our Progressive rulers.

The reason for this is Africa, in particular, stands as proof against everything the modern Left says about the human condition. There are no success stories in Africa. Botswana is the closest you get, but it remains one of the poorest places on earth. The rest of Africa is a collection of failed states and basket-cases. Sierra Leone, for example, is no longer able to maintain its water supply and power grid. Nigeria is in a low-grade civil war with Muslims and Zimbabwe is the glaring example of the African failed state.

No one talks much about Africa for this reason. Whenever it pops into the news, the American media handles the topic like a skunk at a garden party. They crinkle up their noses, get through the story and then forget about it. American troops are conducting operations in Niger and no one seems to care. It is why the end of Robert Mugabe has largely been ignored. Rhodesia, as it was called under white rule, was a great Progressive cause 40 years ago. Now it just another story of Africans discrediting the narrative.

You see, Africa is the example that counters everything our Progressive rulers believe about the world. If the blank slate is true, then Africans should have made great strides in closing the gap with the white world. If things like “institutional racism” were real things, Africa should be racing toward modernity now. If colonialism was the reason these places were so backward, a half century of freedom should have gone a long way toward curing the effects of the white man. Instead. everywhere Africa is worse than a half century ago.

The response from our Progressive rulers is to just ignore Africa. You see it in this National Review article on the end of Mugabe’s rule. The authoress is young, so she was poached in the warm liquids of multiculturalism her whole life. Her struggle to explain the decline of Rhodesia into Zimbabwe reads like a person trying to disarm a bomb while blindfolded. She not only avoids the elephant in the room, which is race, she leaves the reader with the impression that there is no such thing as elephants. Race does not exist.

That is why Africa stopped being important to our Progressive rulers. It is why the efforts of George Bush to do something about AIDS in Africa was largely ignored. You cannot talk about Africa without talking about race and race realism. Those are taboo subjects, so the whole continent may as well not exist. Bring up the subject in a room full of Progressives and watch their reaction. You will not see fear. It will be confusion. The subject has been purged from the catechism, so it no longer exists. Africa is not cool anymore.

That is why Africa should be a central topic on this side of the river. It is the easiest way for the normie on the other side to begin his journey. It is a topic where the facts are so stark, it is easy to understand the basics of human biodiversity, evolution and the cognitive differences between groups of humans. The group characteristics on display in Africa, also look like what Americans see on their televisions. There is also the great divide between East and West. The Dark Continent is a living museum of human evolution.

Africa is also a useful lever against Lefty. Most of what our Progressive rulers say is some sort of moral posturing. Talking about the most important graph in the world is a good way to turn that against them.  A good rule of life is to always focus on what Lefty is trying to ignore. It usually means they fear the topic. Africa is the biggest elephant in the room right now, in terms of demographics. Lefty wants you to believe there are no elephants, so it is a good time to fall in love with the elephants.

The River’s Edge

Reorganizing a bookshelf, the other day, I found a book that I was sure I had read a few years ago, but I had no memory of it. Looking it over, I realized I never did read it, so I put it in the queue. For some reason, I read a lot more in the winter than the summer, so I can knock out a book every few days. The book in question is Why Nations Fail, by economists Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson. It was a big seller back in 2012 when it came out. That is probably why I bought it, but for some reason I never read it.

The book starts out describing the city of Nogales, which straddles the border between Mexico and the United States. The authors point out that the part of the city on the US side is fairly safe, well organized and reasonably prosperous, for that part of the country. The part of the city on the Mexico side is riddled with corruption, rocket high crime rates and grinding poverty. They quickly point out that the demographics of both halves are about the same, so the only possible explanation for the difference is the institutions.

What they do not mention is that the Mexican half of Nogales is attached to Mexico, a land full of Mexicans. The American side is attached to a country not full of Mexicans, at least not yet. Nogales is an hour south of Tucson, which is more than 50% white. Arizona is now 60% non-Hispanic white and only about 4% black. Further, the Hispanic population is mostly the El Norte variety. In other words, it is good demographics that results in those good institutions. They do not go there. In fact, they never go there.

The book runs through a bunch of examples of how institutions can make or break a society. They even travel back in time to examine how events like revolutions or wars broke old bad institutions, allowing for good institutions to flourish. The English Civil War comes up multiple times, to explain how the Industrial Revolution started there first. They spend a considerable amount of time talking about colonialism, to explain how the bad institutions created by the West, forever crippled their former colonies.

Again and again, the authors work backwards from present economics, through politics and history to arrive at institutions as the first cause. As a survey of world history, it is interesting. The authors even accidentally make the point that serendipity has a huge role in history. They call this “critical junctures” and use a bunch of examples where a country’s elite chose poorly, but they can never ask the question, why did they choose poorly? Instead, they just treat that as the river’s edge, never bothering to go further.

In fact, that is the reason for the title of this post. The image that kept coming to mind while reading this book is of a group of explorers trying to find their way out of a valley. They keep ending up at the edge of a river. Instead of wading over to the other side, they wander around, sure that there must be some other way out. In this case, the river is culture. The authors stop at culture, never wondering what is beyond it, not because they fear what is on the other side, but because they do not seem to think there is another side.

That is what is so weird about this book. Usually, there is at least one section where the author goes to great pains to acknowledge the arguments from biological realism, but vigorously dismiss them as bad-think. That never happens here. Instead, it is as if the authors have never considered the possibility that Africa is the way it is because it is full of Africans. Instead, they just repeatedly make the point that poor countries have corrupt institutions, while rich countries have more open public institutions.

For instance, the authors write stuff like “World inequality exists because during the 19th and 20th century some nations were able to take advantage of the Industrial Revolution and the technologies and methods of organization that it brought, while others were unable to do so.” The implication of this is that the Industrial Revolution just happened by magic in England, instead of Botswana. The best they can muster is to point out that the English Civil War accelerated the end of feudalism in England, compared to the Continent.

One of the more comical bits is how they try to explain why Western nations did not fall back into despotism, like European colonies after independence. The answer is what they describe as a virtuous cycle, which is a special brand of magic that makes sure only white countries maintain open institutions. The serendipitous magic creates the inclusive institutions and then the magic of virtuous cycles keeps the magic flowing. Of course, there are the vicious cycles that work the opposite, but only on non-white countries.

It is tempting to think that the people on the blank slate side of the river know the truth, but they just prefer to carry on with the blank slate fantasy. In individual cases, which may be true, but a lot of people honestly believe that all people are the same everywhere, despite the mountain of evidence to contrary. Instead of reality causing doubts in their beliefs, they do like Acemoglu and Robinson. They invest all of their time and energy looking for the magic cause that explains reality, without contradicting the blank slate.

The result is we have this great divide in the West. I use the image of a river separating two groups of people. On the blank slate side of the river, they will come to water’s edge, but they never look across it, much less contemplate crossing it. On the other side, the biological realism side, the people wait patiently for the others to cross over, shouting words of encouragement to them. Every once in a while, a ferryman reaches the blank slate side and then picks up some people and brings them across the river.

We could use more ferrymen.