A Little Baroque

This being Good Friday and Easter weekend, I thought it would be wise to go with some subdued musical selections. I must admit that using Black Sabbath did cross my mind, but I know I have a fair number of religious listeners and readers. That and this is one of the times of year I miss going to mass. As I get older I appreciate ritual more, of course, but I always liked Easter services. It just felt like there was a sense of expectation.

A German I follow on twitter mentioned French baroque music the other day, and the fact that it is nowhere near as popular as German baroque. The sad fact is, French culture is just not very popular anywhere these days. It’s a pity, but the exchange got me listening to some French baroque this week. I’ve decided to use it in the podcast, as it reminds me of church. I’m sure following this, French baroque will become the rage in Europe.

This week I have the usual variety of items in the now standard format. Spreaker has the full 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. Of course, the Hitler Phones are so slow now, you may never finish. YouTube also has the full podcast. Of course, there is a download link below.

This Week’s Show


  • 00:00: Opening (Music)
  • 02:00: The Galileo Moment (Link) (Link)
  • 12:00: Cops and Robbers (Link) (Link)
  • 22:00: Cloud People and Dirt people (Link) (Link) (Link)
  • 32:00: The Bust Out (Link)
  • 37:00: The Eugenic Future (Link)
  • 42:00: The White Man’s Burden (Link) (Link)
  • 47:00: The Surveillance State (Link)
  • 52:00: FBI Shenanigans (Link) (Link)
  • 57:00: Closing (Link)

Direct Download

The iTunes Page

Google Play Link

Full Show On Spreaker

Full Show On Odysee


Feudalism, in the most general sense, is a set of obligations between a superior and a subordinate, based on land. The lord owns the land and grants access to the land to vassals. The lord provides services like protection and the imposition of order, while the vassal provides food rents, military service and labor to the lord. In practice, a lord could also be a vassal to a greater lord or a king. The result of this combination of relationships is the system we know as feudalism, which dominated Europe in the Middle Ages.

From the perspective of economics, the key components are land and labor, with land being the critical one. For most of human history, labor was interchangeable. German speaking peasants working estates in France were the same as Frankish speaking peasants. Wars were fought over land, so chasing off the other guy’s peasants, in order to take his land, made perfect sense. The land was the thing of value, while the labor that worked it was a commodity. The supply of peasants was never a problem.

The politics of a feudal system are simple. The arrangements were designed to serve the needs of the warrior nobility at the top the system. The lords may serve a king, but they also serve one another in defending and perpetuating the system. It is why innovation was often seen as a threat. If one lord could get much more from his fief, than the other lords, or even the king, then the power relationships all change. Feudalism, by nature, must be highly conservative, as it is based on legal and economic relationships never changing.

The other thing worth noting is that feudalism arises when an empire begins to decline or collapse. The central authority is no longer able to maintain order, so local power centers emerge that can protect land and impose order. Since no single local lord can impose order over his rivals, a system of rules and obligations evolve to handle relations between the local power centers. In other words, feudalism is what comes after the collapse of central authority. It is a return to a default position of local control and local autonomy.

The relevance of this to our age is that we are at the end of the liberal consensus or maybe even at the end of liberal democracy. The West is not an empire, in the way Rome was an empire, but there is no doubt that the last five hundred years of human history has been about the rise of Europeans and the evolution of European social order. The liberal order is base upon the nation state, which roughly corresponds to a single ethnicity. The people of that state own and control the assets of the state, picking rulers from their own people.

The role of the state has been the single focus of Western intellectuals since the Enlightenment. The evolution of economic arrangements, political arrangements and international arrangements, have all been in the context of the state. What is called the liberal consensus is the combination of all these things, based on each state having some form of liberal democracy. A nation gets to be in the liberal order if it holds elections and has a form of representative government, which is notionally responsive to its people.

What has become increasingly obvious, is that private entities now perform many of the duties formerly delegated to the state. Regulating political speech, has always been the job of the government, but now it is tech companies serving that role. Similarly, it used to be the job of government to control the financial system, even at the retail level. Today, firms like  PayPal or Citi Bank are in charge of regulating and controlling access to the financial system. Even central banks now operate outside of national governments.

The result of this delegation of power is that the national authority is losing power over the societies it allegedly rules. This may be the natural result of globalism. As the states delegate important duties to international authorities, they lose the power to impose order domestically. The result is they must rely on private interests that are not constrained by constitutions and customs. In order for government to maintain the illusion of power, they have ceded domestic power to multinationals and tech giants, that they claim to regulate.

In feudalism, the political relationships between the warrior elite were about controlling land and defending it from those outside the alliance. The subjects working the land were not all that important. The post national world we are entering will be one where the global tech and finance giants control the flow of information, working with one another to maintain control of the system. Because a feudal system must be conservative, defending this new system will mean stamping out dissent and alternatives to the dominant platforms.

The thing about the feudal order was how effective it was at preserving itself. At the dawn of the French Revolution, as France began to emerge from feudalism, most people living in what was then France, did not speak French. They spoke regional dialects that dated back, in some cases, to the Roman Empire. Given the ability of tech giants to regulate the flow of information, it is reasonable to think they will be better at controlling and isolating people, as a form of defense in depth. Everyone will live on a data manor.

Puritans And Progressives

A list of major mass movements in American history would include women’s suffrage, the Social Gospel movement, abolitionism, the temperance movement, the efficiency movement, the New Deal, the Civil Rights Movement, the New Left and maybe Neoliberalism. There are others, but that is a good list of the big ones. What is remarkable, even looking at only the major ones, is the number. America is the land of reformers and proselytizers.

The movements in the 20th century, starting with the efficiency movement, are usually called progressivism. They get their own stall in the American mass movement bizarre, but progressive is a good umbrella term for them. In fact, you can lump earlier movements in with the latter movements. All of them trace some of their roots to the Puritan founding of New England. Unlike European mass movements, American movements are about communal salvation.

American mass movements always start from some version of “a society is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members.” This is part of its inheritance from the Puritans. While the Puritans that settled in America believed in predestination, clues about one’s fate could be found in good works, church attendance and prayer. Part of that was making sure others did the same things, as they sought to discover their destiny. It is why church attendance was mandatory for Puritans.

Individual grace meant an individualized reading of and interpretation of Scripture, which led to tensions, even open hostility, within the church. The solution was a strict hierarchy and consensus. If one could only find clues to their own salvation in a thriving community of believers, maintaining the community becomes paramount. That resulted in a forced consensus within each community. Dissidents were persecuted and even banished. A Puritan community functioned like a single organism.

It is a good example of how the practical application of belief can result in practices that appear at odds with the belief. The Puritans rejected the concept of free will, but they still judged one another’s action, because leading a righteous life might be an indication of God’s grace. The righteous would never tolerate an obvious sinner in the community of believers, so policing the ranks for sinners was a potential sign of God’s grace. Everyone, even Puritans, wants to hedge their bets when it comes to grace.

Of course, anyone paying attention to the modern Left understands that forced consensus is at the heart of their beliefs. The constant cries for “unity” and the railing against those who “divide” or “polarize” is an effort to enforce consensus. It is also why conservatives are so fond of purging people from their ranks. It is a purity test, but also a way of removing trouble makers from the community of the righteous. Instead of Quakers, it is racists getting run out of the community.

Another thing that you see in all Progressive movements, rooted in Puritan New England, is the hunt for Old Scratch. The Puritans believed that Satan was a real thing and played a role in human affairs. They saw Satan as a creation of God, that punished the wicked, but also gave purpose to the pious. After all, if your deeds had no impact on the disposition of your soul and there was no price to be paid for sin, what would be the point of virtue? Satan solved half that problem for Puritans.

The post hoc fallacy is not new to this age. If you believe that bad things happen because of a lack of piety, then the only reason for the bad things happening to the community is someone cavorting with Old Scratch. The Puritans were uniquely susceptible to the witch panics, because they saw a direct causal link between sinners in the community and bad things befalling the community. The Puritans were necessarily, but unusually paranoid.

Even though modern Progressives no longer explicitly talk about God or Satan, they still carry with them a fear of supernatural influences. The endless search for racists, for example, is just the same old hunt for Satan. If the community is not unified, it must be due to those polarizing types, who are responsible for white privilege, the glass ceiling or the rape culture. Now, suburban white mothers are fretting that their sons may be cavorting with bad people on-line.

Communal salvation, forced consensus and the fear of Old Scratch inevitably means a sense of alienation to the outside world. Read any description of Puritan life and you see a hostility to outsiders. This is another thing you see with all progressives mass movements and you certainly see it today. The modern Left is consumed with defining who is inside and who is outside their thing. The people inside are the righteous, while the people outside are all evil.

Like the Puritan communities, progressives are inward looking. Those outside the movement are assumed to be hostile. It is why they have so many words that simply mean “people outside the walls.” The phrase “right-winger” is used interchangeably with the word “Republican” even though they are almost opposites. To the progressives, they both mean outsider. Puritans did not waste a lot of time understanding the difference between Quakers and Episcopalians.

This binary world view has another effect. For progressives, there are only two possible answers to any question and they are mutually exclusive. There is the righteous answer and the false or evil answer. It is why they spend all of their time “debunking” human science. If they can defeat the evil answer, it means the righteous answer triumphs and, by extension, they are the righteous. It’s also why the concept of casual indifference is alien to Progressives. There can be no compromise.

This is a good place to note that a generation ago, progressives smugly put Darwin fish on their Subaru. Today, they shake their fist at the “scientific racists” using new findings in genetics to reveal the origins of modern people. Because unity is the promised land, anything that divides people is the work of Satan. It is why racism is the great bogeyman of the Left. The growing mountain of scientific data revealing the diversity of modern humans, is seen as a gathering storm, threatening the righteous.

There are other Puritan aspects to modern progressives, things like conformity and an affinity for black clothing, but the important influence is the spiritual one. The Puritans were utopians, when you strip away all of the mythology and lore. They came to the New World to build their ideal community. When Reagan spoke of the “city on the hill” he was speaking to a spiritual sensibility that started at Plymouth. It is a spiritual sensibility that is with us to this day.

Day Walkers

In the novel I Am Legend. the hero finds himself as the lone survivor of a pandemic that turns people into a form of zombie-vampire. The infected get a fever, appear to die, but then come back to life turned into a blood thirsty monster. The book is credited with starting the genre that remains a popular concept for movies and TV series. The book is a little more realistic, in that the monsters are not un-dead. They are merely infected with some sort of virus.

Unlike most Hollywood versions, the book sets up an interesting set of conditions that makes the hero’s story plausible. Again, the infected are not rotting corpses running around randomly looking for brains. Instead, the infected have a degree of awareness and sentience. They coordinate their efforts, plan ahead and seem to understand what is happening to them. They are also strictly limited to nighttime activity. That means they come out well past sunset and retreat before dawn.

This sets up the bulk of the book. The hero has about fourteen hours per day to operate without fearing the vampires. The story is set in Los Angeles, so weather is not an element of the story. He uses his time to make his home impenetrable, scavenge for supplies and research the cause of the pandemic. Because he has nothing but time, he eventually figures out that some sort of a virus has infected everyone and he uses this information to get better at killing the vampires as they sleep .

The book is worth reading, even if you have seen all of the zombie shows. The purpose here though is the math of the situation. The surviving humans in such a situation, where society is slowly being conquered by a weird rage virus, would be faced with a simple problem. They own the daylight hours and therefore must use that time to overcome their disadvantage at night, when the infected come out to hunt. Put another way, they must win more in the daytime than they lose at night.

Let us assume a scale of zero to ten. The infected have the maximum ability at night, so they are a ten for the ten hours a total darkness, because their senses are tuned for it by the virus. Humans, in contrast, usually sleep at night. We can still operate, using artificial light and other contrivances, but at best we are maybe a three. Some people will be better than others, but over all, the human effectiveness is a three. Simple math gives the vampires a 100-to-30 edge at night.

Now, things change in the daylight. The ten ours when the sun is clearly in the sky gives the humans their best advantage. It is the ultimate advantage because the vampires are in their sleep phase. The humans are at a ten in the daytime, while the vampires are a zero, so this changes the math to humans 130, vampires 100. If we take the in between hours around dusk and dawn, and give the vampires a five and the humans an eight, then the overall math is humans 132, vampires 120.

The thing is though, the humans have a period of unrestricted movement. This unlimited advantage during the day means they can reset the battlefield every day, giving themselves a little edge in the nighttime. They could vampire-proof their compounds and expand their safe area by going around and clearing the vampires out from their hiding places. This is what happens in the book. The hero gets so good at killing vampires in the daytime, that their numbers rapidly diminish.

This makes for a bad movie, so the script writers make the humans extra stupid so they never take advantage of their assets. They also make the infected super-human or able to defy the laws of physics in some way. They know the audience will side with the humans and they know people like being in the underdog role. The long running television series, The Walking Dead, has the infected magically animated, even as their flesh is long past the point of being useful.

This is the mistake outsider political movements often make. They see themselves as the humans, fighting some evil, rather than viewing themselves as the virus infected zombies looking to overthrow the natural order. What makes the Matheson book so good, is he looked at the situation from the point of view of the infected. In the book, some of the infected begin to figure out how to operate in the daytime hours. This completely changes the math.

When Richard Spencer walks onto a college campus to give a speech, he is no different from an infected zombie vampire showing up in a camp of humans, to sell the benefits of vampirism. It is no wonder they set upon him with a fury. More important, he is operating in their space, where they have an infinite advantage. It’s a fight that the infected cannot win, because they have no ability to operate in that environment. The same is true of planned public protests.

Just as the vampires in the novel carried the day by adapting to the daytime, the alt-right needs to become day walkers. If instead of a Spencer strolling on campus to get killed, imagine an alt-right guy getting an IT job at the NY Times. Imagine if Pax Dickinson was still operating as a CTO at a major media company. It is the reason the Left is obsessed with doxing people. They lie awake at night thinking about day walkers getting inside the wire.

The alt-right and affiliated groups need to forget about confrontation. Sure, some of their members and supporters are there just so they can brawl with Antifa, but an army of Chris Cantwells is an army of vampires that are useless in the daytime. There’s nothing to gain from losing by playing by their rules. The alt-right needs to go underground, in order to become day walkers, with the ability to walk among the Left in their own areas, learning how to turn their advantages into liabilities.

March For Our Masters

When I was a kid, I wondered why the people in the Soviet Union just put up with being ruled by the commies. Even discounting for the propaganda, the evidence was clear that Russia was remarkably poorer than the West. There were too many stories from defectors about how Western goods were smuggled into the Iron Curtain countries to claim they did not know it. Even if that did not matter, the thuggery should have pushed people into revolt, but it never happened.

Later in life, I got to know an Iranian guy. Iranians with some money would get their kids student visas in Europe and then they would come to the US. He had served in the Iranian army as a conscript during the Iran-Iraq War. He told me a story about how they cleared a minefield near Basra. They asked for volunteers from the Revolutionary Guard, who then ran through the field exploding the mines so the unit could follow them through the field.

Over the years, I have met other people who had lived in totalitarian countries or in the more fanatical Muslim ones. They always have these sorts of stories. Most of the time they are not as colorful as the one my Persian friend told me, but they usually have the same sort of matter of fact way of telling them. I always get the sense that the people telling the story don’t think these events are all that interesting, but its better than talking about the weather or what they had for lunch last week.

The question that always comes to mind, is whether ideological societies produce an excess of fanatics or evolve to use them like an energy source. The Bolsheviks figured out quickly that communist economics were nonsense. There was no amount of tinkering to make it work, but the supply of true believers made it possible to keep the system running, long after the people in charge knew it was hopeless. Without the zealots, the Soviet system would have collapsed after Stalin died.

The same thing is true of the Iranian theocracy. The energy of the revolution kept it going through the difficult early years, but that energy is long gone. The students who sacked the American embassy are in their late fifties and early sixties now. Many died in the Iraq War. The regime itself long ago descended into petty corruption. Still, there are plenty of fanatics willing to spy on a neighbor, in the name of the revolution. The supply of zealots is never exhausted.

When I look at what is happening with the latest round of gun grabbing in America, I wonder if we are simply overflowing with rogue fanatics, looking for a cause, or is the cultural revolution creating them, like batteries to fuel their latest push to slam the cage door on us? When you see bizarre posts like this from old men of the revolution, slobbering over the children now running around promising more revolution, the causal relationship is not all that obvious. It is a snake eating its tail.

Of course, these public events are not organic or spontaneous. Daniel Greenfield has tracked down the money and it is clear this latest spasm of gun grabbing is financed by the same radical ideologues behind the Womyn’s March last year. Still, are these people financing the new fanatics because they need them or are the fanatics just always there, ready to run into the nearest minefield? Maybe natural selection plays some role, where the rewards for zealotry slowly increases the supply each generation.

I wonder what people in Iran or maybe Russia think about this stuff. There are plenty of people in Eastern Europe, who lived through the Soviets, so they probably recognize these organized propaganda riots. Instead of the state marching the children off to reeducation camps to train for the next parade, the camps are sponsored by Global Mega Corp and the parade is financed by a sports team. Is the fact the system is run by corporate ideologues rather, than religious or political ideologues a big difference?

Theodore Dalrymple famously said that communist propaganda was intended to humiliate and degrade the people repeating it in public. That may be true and it may simply have been a byproduct. Similarly, ideological authoritarianism like we see in America and Iran, may not set out to create fanatics, but it is a natural result. The zealotry that animated the regime in the early stages, becomes its sole purpose. It lives to create a new generation of fanatics, who push aside the old ones and start the process all over again.

In this regard, radicalism is like a pathogen. If it kills the host too quickly, it can not spread to new hosts, but it must always spread to new hosts. This is why radicals, since the French Revolution, have obsessed over children. The sight of ridiculous twinks like David Hogg promising a revolutionary bloodbath fills the Boomer radicals with joy, as they know the disease has been transmitted to the next generation. The radical pathos lives on, even as it kills the host. Radicalism feeds on the cancer of zealotry, until it kills the host society.

That gets back to where we started. Most Americans know the people behind the weekend’s orchestrated proselytizing are crazy. Parading children out to lecture the adults is creepy and weird. The last ten years has been an endless freak show of degeneracy and depravity. Yet, the public goes along with it. Those who speak out against it are hurled into the void, and the so-called conservatives mutter about hypocrisy, but otherwise, the radical orgy of depravity staggers on undeterred. The nut-job army serves its purpose.

Closer To The Heart

When I was kid, I would watch a show called Connections. Even as a boy, I favored serendipity and chance as the most interesting historical forces. I also loved how he would pull all of these seemingly unrelated bits together into a single theme. That’s still with me and I struggle each week to do the same with the podcast. This week I may have stumbled onto a solution. Tying things together musically, rather than thematically may be the ticket.

One of the things I do with the blog is start with a subject line. Whatever happens to be on my mind at the time I start, I form a subject line and then write to it. I find it makes for quick work, usually about 30 minutes per post. For the podcast, I’m going to start with a musical genre or maybe a band and then keep that in mind as I select topics. Doing that this week made quick work of the process. I also like the result very much. This is a good show.

This Week’s Show


Direct Download

The iTunes Page

Google Play Link

Full Show On Spreaker

Full Show On Odysee


Reading about the new spending bill, it is tempting to get outraged. Even if you do not care about the spending, the other stuff tucked into it is outrageous. For example, there is a provision to limit border wall construction to a 33-mile stretch of nowhere. There is no money for the wall itself, as if it would matter. This means the project is dead, unless Trump goes Pinochet and starts throwing lawmakers out of helicopters. In this area, your vote in 2016 meant nothing. Suckers!

That is just one thing. In a 1.3 trillion dollar bill that is over 1,300 pages of unreadable government speak, you can be sure there are thousands of “screw you” provisions in the thing. Since the government now uses a special language known only to a handful of monks imprisoned in the capitol, the bill is unreadable. Take a look at the Ceiling Fan Energy Conservation Act and try to understand what it is. The absurdity of it is the only thing that is easy to grasp.

Of course, not a single comma is in any bill without a bribe to the legislator responsible for slipping it into the bill. The reason there is a such a thing as the Ceiling Fan Energy Conservation Act is the ceiling fan makers bribed a politician to make an alteration to the law that favors them in some way. The Alleviating Stress Test Burdens to Help Investors Act is one of those things that seems like a joke, but sadly, it is a serious effort to repeat the mistakes of the past.

The response from the slightly less Progressive chattering classes will be a form “these Republicans are setting themselves up for disaster in the fall.” That is true. The GOP is looking down the barrel of a wipe out in the fall election. This monstrosity of a spending bill will make it worse, but they do not care. The reason is the people running the GOP will retain their seats and positions. They will move into slightly smaller offices next year, but that is just how the game is played.

From the perspective of the ruling class, a Democrat House is the ideal solution to their Trump problem. For the remaining two years of his tenure, nothing will make it out of the House that can pass the Senate, and nothing the President wants will pass either house of Congress. Trump will go into his primary against someone like Ben Sasse, financed by globalist money, having nothing to show for his first term in office. The blob will attack Trump as a do nothing president..

Even if Trump does not face a primary, it may not matter. The interesting thing about how Washington has responded to Trump is they have mostly ignored him. Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are a click away from starting a cable channel where they laugh at Trump voters 24×7. They run Congress as if Jeb Bush won the 2016 election. Sure, they feign outrage in the media, but that’s just theater. For the most part, they have ignored Trump, making him a completely inconsequential factor.

It does not have to be this way, but Trump has proven himself to be strikingly incompetent at the basics of politics. Part of that is the professionals in DC have figured out that all they need to do is put a microphone in front of him and he will eventually harm his own cause, by blurting out something stupid. The political class has come to terms with the fact that the White House is now just a carnival they visit once in while to be amused and outraged, but otherwise they can ignore it.

This is part of a larger problem with cosmopolitan globalism. The people in charge ululate endlessly about democracy, but the political class is immune from the effects of democracy. In years with high turnover, incumbents will win 85% of the races and those that lose, lose to be people backed by the donor class. Democratic government has always been about representing monied interests, but usually those interests are diverse enough to create competition between the factions.

In the age of cosmopolitan globalism, the monied interest all agree on the big stuff and most of the little stuff. The Koch Brothers are cast by the Left as evil monsters, but they support all the same stuff the rest of the billionaires support. The difference between a Tom Steyer and a Charles Koch is purely aesthetic. The former likes to dress up as a man of the green people, while the latter wants to play libertarian. In reality, they both support post-nationalism. That means open borders and global piracy.

The funny thing is that even as both parties take turns giving their constituents the finger, the public engages even more intensely with the process. My rather mild and measured critique of Trump’s gun grabbing the other day, elicited howls of protests from the MAGA hat people. Post-national democracy is a group version of battered wife syndrome. The more the ruling elite abuses the public they claim tp represent, the more the public defends them.

Still, the voting public seems to have developed a biological trait that allows them to justify endless abuse heaped on their heads by politicians. Perhaps it was always there, but re-purposed for life in liberal democracy. Through the Middle Ages, peasants and townsfolk put up with the excess of the aristocrats, rallying to defend their lord, as if it were a noble thing to do. Maybe that is what we have today. Voting is the pageant, but the social relations are still the same.

That said, at some point, one has to assume the public will notice that voting makes no difference. Right now, voting seems to make things worse. If a populist candidate or party does well, the political class punishes the voters. The results thus far suggest staying home is the best way to promote your interests. Eventually, even Trump voters will figure this out and disengage. On the other hand, maybe at some level we know it, but politics is just a way to pass the time, like going to the movies.

Winners And Losers

Mass movements always reach a stage where they can break through and become legitimate social forces or they can fizzle out and die. They either take the next step and begin to attract a larger audience or they are a boutique fad. The neo-reaction movement of a decade ago is a good example of the latter. It was important on-line for a while, but then it lost steam and faded away. Its two main idea men have moved onto other things. The alt-right is at that point now.

If a movement is going to outgrow the pot in which it was a seedling, the people in leadership need to regularly reassess. The New Left in the 1960’s went through several such resets, finally becoming an intellectual and cultural movement that swept the major institutions of the country. One of the early re-thinks for successful movements is purging previous failed efforts and failed leaders. The New Left figured out why the old CPUSA guys failed and made sure to avoid the same mistakes.

Last summer the alt-right fell into the trap of Charlottesville and allowed themselves to be aligned with the bogeymen the Left has been using for generations to scare white people away from identity politics. Guilt by association is powerful stuff, because it works in a mass media culture. The result of locking shields with various white nationalist groups on TV was that the alt-right has become tied, in the public mind, to people who have been unstable and unreliable.

The alt-right, if it is going to be anything, is going to have to build its own thing, clearly separate and independent of the old white nationalist guys of the past. It has to stand alone and that means cutting all ties with the guys who like marching around in public pretending to be the freikorps. Whatever arguments can be mustered in their defense, there is no getting around the fact these groups have had half a century to make their case and they have failed miserably at ever turn.

Exclusively racist groups are not the only failures of the past. The paleocons were smart, creative and energetic, but they were outmaneuvered and eventually purged by the political elite. It is hard not to admire guys like Paul Gottfried and Pat Buchanan, who have spent their lives fighting the good fight, but it is also hard not to notice that they failed. Sam Francis was a great thinker and everyone should read him, but there is a reason these guys lost.

The reason they lost is they made the mistake of thinking the other side was reasonable and amenable to their arguments. The paleocons wanted to be in the club, not burn the club down. It was this desire to belong that was used to derail them. Even today, after all that has happened, these old guys still talk like this is just an argument between friends rather than bloodsport. If the alt-right is going to thrive, it has to accept that what comes next is revolution, not reformation.

Another useful lesson from past losers is the chain of causality. For as long as anyone has been alive, right-wing movements have started with politics first, hoping to rally people to sway elections. The result in every case was the effort being hijacked by political opportunists, who quickly set about trading the goals of the cause for entrée to the political class. The Tea Party is the most obvious recent example. It was an authentic grassroots movement that was quickly hijacked.

The one thing about rejecting the losers of the past is it clears the mind so you can objectively examine the winners. The winners of the post-war cultural revolution won for a reason. One reason is they built their politics on top of a cultural movement. The 60’s counterculture started long before the radicals of the 70’s started taking over Democratic politics. In other words, there were lots of people ready to support someone that spoke their language and understood their perspective.

I watched a documentary about the Weather Underground and one of the things that jumped out to me was a statistic. By the middle of the 60’s, Students for a Democratic Society had 100,000 members. The thing is, the group started small or grew quietly, focused more on building membership than activism. Groups like Identity Evropa may seem overly cautious, but the only way they can grow on campus is if the people in charge ignore them. Revolution grows in darkness.

Another valuable lesson from the New Left is they built independent organizations well outside the mainstream. Many of the fads of the era strike us today as being loopy and weird, but they served a valuable purpose. The radicals of the 70’s, who began invading the academy and politics, were born from these counterculture groups. Living outside the Eye of Sauron is even more important today, now that we have a full blown surveillance state.

Related to that last point is something else worth noting. The radicals of the 60’s and 70’s took every shot to establish who was inside and who was outside, especially when dealing with the media. They would charge establishment media a fee to attend their events but grant free access to their guys. They would use insider language in public events, to make sure you knew if you belonged. It was highly effective at attracting and keeping people in the movement.

The alt-right, mostly through serendipity and dumb luck, has a chance to be a legitimate right-wing mass movement. That is not going to happen if they keep blundering into unforced errors. The fiasco of the Traditional Worker’s Party should be a wake up call for the people leading the alt-right. They have to get smarter and they have to stop screwing up. The alt-right needs to get smart, or it will die. That means learning from the winners and the losers.

The Logic Of Empire

The first time I did any serious reading of the Roman Empire, the thought that was always with me was why they never thought to downsize. The cost of conquering Gaul was relatively low, so it made sense to do it, but the cost of hanging onto it never seemed to make sense. The same was even more true with Britannia. By the third century, it should have been obvious that the Empire needed to downsize. Yet, that was never a part of the logic of the empire.

The same is true of the Thirty Years War. The Habsburgs were exhausting themselves trying to preserve something that was probably not worth the effort. Of course, we look at these things in hindsight and from a modern perspective. It seems silly to care about the local religious practices, but important people did care about these things. Still, when I read about the rise and fall of empires, I end up thinking through the alternatives, wondering why they were never considered.

The answer is probably the simplest one. People, even the shrewdest rulers, live and plan within their allotted time on earth. Even the Chinese, who take the long view of things, act in the moment. People can think about how their actions will impact their descendants a century from now, but it will never have the same emotional tug as how their contemporaries think of them in the moment. Most men will trade the applause of today for being remembered long after he is dead.

That is probably what we are seeing with the current struggles of Western elites to keep this house of cards together. The “liberal international order” is the perfection of a solution to problems of the long gone past. From the French Revolution through the Cold War, the great challenge in the West was over conflict resolution. After a long bloody series of experiments, the West finally figured out something that worked to keep the peace, maximize material wealth and settle disputes.

The current arrangements are not answering the questions of this age. In fact, they appear to be exacerbating the problems that face the West. Angela Merkel’s decision to invite in a million Muslim warriors made her the hero of her contemporaries, but it guaranteed that generations of Germans will be engaged in a long twilight struggle to save themselves and their people from the terror of contemporary Islam. A generation from now Merkel will be remembered as a monster.

Of course, when we talk of the West, we are really talking about the American Empire that arose following World War II. Washington has its tentacles in every nook and cranny of the world. The United States has active duty military troops stationed in nearly 150 countries. The cost of this is close to a trillion per year, not counting the unknown sums that are not in the budget. If the American ruling class decides it is time to downsize the empire, then the liberal international order is finished.

Assuming it is true that the top 5% of Americans pay 60% of taxes, the cost of empire is mostly paid by rich people. Rich people like peace and stability, so fear of the alternative keeps them invested in a system that no longer makes sense. The internal contradictions of this empire may even be known to the people in charge, but the way out of it is not clear, so they stick with what has worked for generations, no matter the cost to them and their descendents.

Inertia plays a part in these things too. To abandon what their ancestors built would seem like failure, so our rulers keep throwing good money after bad in places like Afghanistan and Mesopotamia. If there is a reason to be involved in the Syrian civil war, not one has said it, but there we are anyway. If Putin wants to set himself up as a modern day Tsar, what is it matter to us? We have an army of specially trained Russia experts, so our rulers keep pretending Putin is a super villain.

The truly weird thing about the American Empire is it started as a homogeneous nation, composed of English speaking white people. The Romans bankrupted themselves trying to keep the barbarians out, while going to great lengths to integrate those that came in through conquest and migration. America is bankrupting itself trying to import barbarians from every corner of the globe. The point is to keep the current arrangements in place, no matter how illogical.

It is an error to assume the people in charge are thinking this stuff through. Lots of smart people were bamboozled into thinking China would get rich and become a modern Western style democracy. Sure, the people who talked those smart people into this foolishness were in it just for a quick buck, but that just proves the point. The people in charge of the West are not thinking too far past next week. They do what seems to work today, no matter the long term cost.

That is probably the best way to think of the logic of empire. No one lives in the long term, because as Keynes said, in the long run we are all dead. Ultimately, relative to the march of history, everyone in charge at all times and all places has a high time preference. The people in charge are just getting what they can from the current arrangements. It is why they instinctively defend the system. It is what provides them with the lifestyle they believe they deserve. That and it is all they know.

Public Acts Of Piety

Scipio Africanus was a great Roman general. He was the man who bested Hannibal, the great Carthaginian general, at the Battle of Zama. In addition to being a great general, Scipio was a great politician. Then as a now, you did not get a chance to be a great general unless you were good at politics. Politics being what it is, even the great Scipio had his enemies. For example, the warmongering lunatic Cato the Elder, the neocon of his day, accused Scipio of corruption, after he had retired from public life.

One of the ways Scipio navigated his way through the political system was by showing the Roman public he was a man of great piety. He showed his filial piety by risking his life to save his father’s life, when he was wounded and surrounded by enemies at the battle of Ticinus. Later, he volunteered to take command of the army of Spain, even though it was not a glamorous position, in order to follow in his father’s path. Scipio also made sure the public saw him making sacrifices to the gods and conducting himself with great probity.

The point of this, is that it is a natural part of civic life, for the rulers to make a big show of their honor and morality. As in the case of Scipio, public acts of piety are an important part of the political process. They signal to the public and the political class, that the person supports and defends the codes of society. There is the civic code, which defines the political life of society. Then there is the moral code, usually religion, that defines the daily life of the people. The shrewd politician is careful to make sure he is good at both.

This works out well when there is a commonly held religion, even in a very general sense like Christianity. A century ago, an American politician was expected to be seen going to church, for example. He would salt his language with references to the Bible and religious teaching, in order to signal that he was a good Christian. Of course, it was also important to have a unifying set of civil customs. A century ago, most Americans agreed on a set of beliefs, which constituted being a good citizen, Politicians signaled them as well.

Today, we live in a post-Christian age, where most of ruling class is unfamiliar with traditional religion and often hostile to it. Instead, our rulers believe in a grab bag of fads that define multiculturalism. Political correctness is the enforcement arm of this amorphous new faith, so signaling agreement with the current PC causes is how our rulers try to tell us they are moral people. People hoping to rise into the upper ranks, invest all of their time in public acts of piety, often on-line, to prove they are worthy of admission.

Similarly, there is no agreed upon civics. Instead, it is a collection of mystical chants based loosely around the concept of democracy. In the cosmopolitan globalism of our age, there is no longer the concept of citizenship, so it is impossible to appeal to our patriotism and civic duty. Instead, our rulers invest their time worshiping undefined things like “our democracy” often using the same language of the prior era. The difference is, “our way of life” meant something, while “our democracy” means pretty much nothing.

The thing is those old sets of codes had limits built into their definitions. One was pious, in the Christian sense, as long as you lacked the sins common to most men. There was no level beyond pious and even the most faithful man was always tempted. Perfection was not an option. Similarly, civic pride had a natural limit. You were a good citizen, as long as you lacked the things associated with being a bad citizen. In other words, piety was not about what you had, it was about what you lacked, with zero being the natural limit.

In the new religion, there is no limiting principle. It is utopian nature encourages the adherent to seek the next step, the next higher plane of piety. Twenty years ago, being nice to homosexuals was a sign of goodness. Then embracing the homosexual lifestyle was the next level of piety. Then civil marriage then marriage and now we have people demanding schoolboys wear sundresses. Since multiculturalism is, by definition, the nullification of culture, there is no limit to how much one can hate their own society.

That is the other thing that makes the new religion so bizarre and erratic. There is no well defined promised land to this utopian cult. They talk about equality, but in the vaguest terms. There is no standard of equality against which we can measure progress. There is just the demand for more equal. The same is true of justice. There is no definition of the concept, which is why it most often sounds like vengeance. No matter how much the despised group does, it is never enough. “We can always do more” is the only rule.

Reality is the natural barrier between the fanatics and their desired utopia. Their inability to reach the promised land, however, does not cause them to reconsider the project. Instead, they re-double their efforts, staking out even more bizarre positions. Thirty years ago, homosexual marriage was a punch line for popular comics. Today, laughing at those jokes gets you thrown in jail. Just take a moment and consider what comes after the compulsory acceptance of transvestites. The new religion moves quickly.