Protest Cults

Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of left-wing protests. The first I recall was on the Mall in Washington in the 80’s. I no longer recall what they were protesting, but I recall a stubby old women with a bullhorn hanging off her hip. She was screaming something rhythmic, but the audio was unintelligible. The whole scene was just a freak show for no other purpose than for the freaks to be seen. Tourists took pictures and everyone else just ignored it. It was just a part of the rich pageantry of American democracy.

With some exceptions, that’s the model for all lefty protests. At American Renaissance last year, Antifa and a local women’s group put on an all day freak show for the conference attendees. Some were there to “protests the Nazis”, but most were there for reasons that ran from the obscure to the mysterious. Some appeared to be having some sort of hallucinatory break with reality, rhythmically screaming and twirling around or just making crazy faces at people. Again, the point was to put on a show for onlookers.

This year, the authorities penned them up so passersby could not see them. The only way to get a clean look at the protesters was from the top floor of the conference center and you needed binoculars. I counted maybe 40 people in the protest pen at the peak and at least ten were “media.”  The rules against masks and weapons scared off many of the Antifa, but the rest stayed away knowing they would not be able to put on a show. If a protests happens in the woods and no one sees it, did it really happen?

The general consensus on these groups is that outside of the ones financed by Soros and the Democrats, they are just fringe loonies looking for a reason to protest. The guy with the boot on his head shows up at all sorts of events. There’s an enormously obese black guy, who gets wheeled into protests around the country. He usually just sits in a beach chair so people can take pics of him. Then there are the anarchist that just want to smash things and rumble in the streets. Again, it is just a performance that means nothing.

For the last month or so I have been monitoring a bunch of social media accounts of prominent protesters. Mostly it was in preparation for AmRen, but when you scan a lot of them you can’t help but notice the patterns. These people define themselves within their movement by their association with specific events. There’s no normal human back and forth, just trading links and pics from the events they attended. The other type of post is sympathy for some fringe action, as if they get credit by proxy, for the action.

An example of what I mean is this HuffPo piece. Christopher Mathias is actually just an Antifa member they pay to submit field reports for them. Like everyone in these protest movements, he struggles with his sanity. His “report” is actually just a testament to the fact he was there. The protest was a flop as hardly anyone showed up and they were sequestered in a holding pen away from everyone. That left little social credit to be gained from the action, other than tweets and selfies from those who bothered to attend.

I recently had some interaction with a local group affiliated with Antifa, at least that’s what they said. They may have been boasting, but they were definitely into the protest life. That was the thing. All they talked about was where they had been and the “actions” they had done. It was what got me thinking about these protest groups functioning like a cult, where the events are social credits within the subculture. If all you talk about and all you focus on in your life is the events you attended, the attendance has a lot of value to you.

What it brought to mind is people who get into narrow hobbies like model trains or some sort of collecting. They get together not to trade information about their hobby, but to display what they have or what they know. Their events are peacocking festivals so they can display their social capital. Oddly, prisons work on a similar dynamic. Prison ink is about advertising your history in the system and your violence capital. That suggests the protest culture is entirely inward looking and not really about getting our attention.

This would explain why they have started to fight with one another. The alt-right has retreated from the real world and has stopped fighting with Antifa on-line. The affiliated actors like TWP have evaporated. If your thing is to protest other fringe groups and those fringe groups have left the field, you end up protesting yourself. Or in the case of some, like Lacy MacAuley, they start jump from one momentary issue to the next. It’s the old gag. Question: What are you rebelling against? Answer: What have you got?

None of this may seem all that interesting, but it raises questions about modernity. This phenomenon did not exist in the 19th century or the 15th century. These subcultures rooted in vague and shifting causes did not exist in our grandparents age. A major reason is the splintering of society on the rocks of diversity. There’s also the collapse of mainstream Christianity and the related collapse of traditional social arrangements. These sorts of subcultures were denied oxygen in a thriving and dominant mainstream culture.

The Hater’s Diary II

I’ve only caught Nick Fuentes on line, here and there, so I had not formed an opinion of him prior to the conference. To be perfectly candid, I tend to not pay much attention to young people. Never trust anyone under thirty is a good policy. On the other hand, sensible people I know say he is a bright young prospect with a lot of talent. I was most curious to see how the younger people reacted to him. Old people tend to think positively of young people who sound like old people, but young people often hate those guys.

For starters, he is a slight fellow. I’m always surprised by this as everyone on video tends to look average size to me. More important, he is a natural speaker. You can be trained to be a good public speaker, but you will always looked like you were trained to be a good public speaker. For some people, it comes naturally. Fuentes is a natural. How he stands, how he scans the audience as he speaks, his hand gestures all work to support the content of his speech. It’s easy to see why he has become an on-line star.

I’m note sure if I got an answer on his appeal to his generations. His speech was on the utility of gassing the boomers, so half the crowd was not all that happy with him. The millennials seemed to be the most engaged, which I found interesting. Maybe they still feel young so they can relate to him, but appreciate his maturity. The young guys were engaged, but it was hard to tell if they were listening. It was not like he was mobbed by the young people seeking a selfie, but the ones I asked said nice things about him….

The protest was a dud. At the peak, they had between 30 and 40 people, but it was a late arriving crowd and they left early. My guess is the ban on masks and the ban on backpacks had the biggest impact on turnout. That and they were put into a pen that was too far away for anyone to notice them. That left them to mill around and signal to one another, which meant no drama. There was no way to interfere with people coming and going and no real way for them to provoke law enforcement into doing anything to them…

I ran into a reporterette from NBC. At least she claimed to be from NBC. I did not see her credentials. She tried using her feminine wiles to cozy up to me and dig for information about the financing of American Renaissance. Later, Audacious Epigone suggested I should have told her the man behind the event was George Soros. That would have been some great 5-D chess, but I could not have pulled it off without laughing. It’s another reminder that the people in liberal media are all soulless dirtbags who lie on spec…

One group that I have praised in the past is Identity Evropa. I got to spend some time talking with the head of that group, Patrick Casey. He is a very sensible young man without a lot of ego. He just wants to build up the group and avoid unnecessary confrontations and publicity. It’s basically a Dissident Right social club for young college age males. It’s the kind of organic organization that is required to build a foundation for the future. If you have a few bucks to spare, they could use it and they will use it wisely…

I met Greg Hood, who writes for American Renaissance. Most people in this thing consider him the best writer going and that’s probably right. He’s very much on board with the notion of dialing back the e-celebs and focusing on organization building. Something he pointed out that I did not consider is that the cycle of provocation and response we see with the e-celebs is addicting. That and it inevitably means the liberal media picks our leaders. They ignore Jared Taylor and instead focus on some internet personality.

That’s been a theme here thus far in the casual conversations I’ve had with the prominent alt-right/Dissident Right people. The lesson of the last year is that too many supposedly responsible people have gone out of their way to court attention. The result is bad publicity, lawsuits and lots of public feuds. That’s encouraging. It means the right people are learning the right lessons. As I’m fond of pointing out, this is a social war where the battlefield is public morality. It’s not about changing facts. It’s about changing attitudes…

Of course, the great John Derbyshire was in attendance. I must admit that I still find it odd for someone of his stature to compliment my work. He took the time to chat with Audacious and me and said something to the effect, “I want to thank both of you for the work you do.” He does not have to do that, but that’s why he is one of the giants in this thing. The fact is, Derb and Sailer have done more for our cause than anyone. Jared Taylor does great work, but those two cast very long shadows…

During a break, someone handed me a Rebel flag decal. In my youth, Rebel flags were common and no one really thought much of it. They were a symbol of Southern pride, but no one felt that strongly about it. In a time of universal deceit —having a Rebel flag is a revolutionary act. I think I will affix my decal to the bumper of the Jaguar. That seems like the right thing to do for some reason. Perhaps after the cocktail hour. Now, I go to drink and socialize with the rest of the haters…

The Hater’s Diary I

The Jaguar is quite comfortable at 100, as long as the road is smooth and straight. In the turns, it is a little twitchy, so you don’t have confidence in it. I’m not sure why the car rental place gave me a Jaguar, but if you’re going to the Hater’s Ball, there’s no reason not to go in style. That said, I did not find the car all that special. The interior is not much better than a high-option Toyota and the media control center is baffling. The car also turns itself off when you stop at a light. This is to save energy, but it is very annoying in traffic.

The secret lair of American Renaissance is about an hour outside of Nashville, so it is a pleasant drive if you like thinking about the diversity of America. The hills of Tennessee are nothing like what you see along the along the coast and the people are just as different. I got off the highway for a stretch and drove some of the back roads. Tennessee is a blend of the old south and Chechnya. You have the gentility and sophistication everyone associates with the South, but there is that crazy hill people element too….

Pulling into the park, I was confronted with a team of armed men. The authorities had set up a mobile command center at the entrance to the park and the place was swarming with park rangers in tactical gear. I saw at least one K-9 unit and everyone was questioned before they could enter the area of the park where the conference center, villas and restaurant are located. To get inside, you had to submit to a scan and pat down. The park police are taking things seriously this year, which means the lunatics are in trouble…

I caught up with the great Audacious Epigone at the reception. I introduced him to F. Roger Devlin. Both seemed flattered to be on the company of the other, which amused me greatly. AE’s graphs and charts have touched millions of eyes on social media and Devlin’s essay Sexual Utopia in Power pretty much started the whole man-o-sphere thing. The two of them have done more to influence people than all the e-celebs combined, yet both are oblivious to it. They just enjoy doing what they do…

There are a lot of new people here again. That’s always a good sign. It’s not cheap to attend and it is a hassle to get here. There’s also the risk factor. I would expect people to come once every few years, so it is a positive sign to see lots of new faces. That means there is increasing interest. The room is once again packed and there are lots of young people. Even better, there are more women this year, mostly spouses of attendees. That’s another sign that more and more people see this as important and worth their effort…

One person not here is Richard Spencer. Despite his absence, he is a topic of conversation. I’ve been querying people about their opinions of him. The general feeling is he probably needs to take a break and regroup. Even among the sorts of people who attend these things, the alt-right has lost a lot of its luster. There’s no disavowing or anything like that. It’s just that the missteps have not gone unnoticed. As I wrote the other day, people judge leaders by their results. The last year the results have been poor…

I had a long conversation with Greg Johnson and his crew. Some on the alt-right don’t like Greg, but that’s to be expected. He’s been involved with this stuff for a long time and that inevitably means turning off some people. It’s human nature. There’s no doubting his intelligence. He is a very smart and a very well-read guy. He’s also committed to this thing. He travels all over the world doing events and giving talks. Make no mistake. No one is getting rich warning European people of the looming demographic disaster.

What recommends Greg Johnson is the fact he does think about the mistakes that have been made of late, including his own errors. It’s easy to pluck the mote from the eye of others, but most of us struggle with the beam in our own. As Audacious Epigone noted, I offered my unsolicited opinions. Many people would have told me to perform an unnatural act, but Greg was polite and engaged my arguments. Whether or not it will make any difference is unknown, but it speaks well of him that he was interested enough to listen…

Today is the long day. There are half a dozen speakers, including Nick Fuentes. I’m not all that interested in what children have to say about anything, but I am curious to see how the young people respond to him. Fuentes is one of those guys who was born old, but he is still a kid speaking mostly to kids. The future of this thing is not geezers like me, but young guys prepared for the world as it will be in the coming decades. The youth movement will need respectable faces to help educate a skeptical public..

More tomorrow…

The Hater’s Ball

As this goes up, I am winging my way to a secret location in the Smokey Mountains to attend The Hater’s Ball. This is my second trip to American Renaissance and I’m excited to be attending. I look forward to meeting my fellow haters. I had a such good time last year, I’m thinking this year could be a bit of a letdown. Even so, getting together with others in the struggle is a great way to spend a spring weekend. I’m looking forward to it.

I’m taking the opportunity to get in some down time next week, so posting may be a bit light and there will be no podcast next week. I’ll probably do a post or two over the weekend on the conference, if time permits. We’ll see. In order to avoid getting burned out, I’m going to sprinkle in a light week every month and next week will be the first foray into the world of sloth. Perhaps that will be enough to keep the dark thoughts at bay.

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

Contents

Direct Download

The iTunes Page

Google Play Link

Full Show On Spreaker

Full Show On YouTube

Learning From Present Reality

A regular topic of debate on the Dissident Right is whether or not gentry conservatives know they are just props for the Left. Some argue that they know and have always known, but they like the lifestyle that comes with being on the receiving end of Progressive beatings. There’s no getting around the fact that guys like Jonah Goldberg live fabulous lives while being nothing more than stooges for the Left. The sheer volume of losing by gentry conservatives should be enough to wake even the dumbest and most naive.

Others are more generous, arguing that the boys and girls writing for official conservatism are simply naive or mistaken about the nature of the Left. They come out of orderly upper middle-class suburbs where the rules makes sense and everyone abides by those rules as a matter of courtesy. That makes gentry conservatism and Reason magazine libertarianism attractive to them. After all, their Progressive friends are great people, the best people, so they can surely be persuaded. It just takes the right argument.

Reading Kevin Williamson’s latest retelling of his firing from the Atlantic, those arguing in favor of gross stupidity get a boost. At the start of his piece, he claims to have predicted what would happen to him if he took the Atlantic job.

In early March, I met up with Jeffrey Goldberg, the editor in chief of the Atlantic, at an event sponsored by the magazine at the South by Southwest conference in Austin. He had just hired me away from National Review, the venerable conservative magazine where I’d been a writer and editor for 10 years.

“You know, the campaign to have me fired will begin 11 seconds after you announce that you’ve hired me,” I told him. He scoffed. “It won’t be that bad,” he said. “The Atlantic isn’t the New York Times. It isn’t high church for liberals.”

My first piece appeared in the Atlantic on April 2. I was fired on April 5.

Assuming this is true, he took the job knowing it would result in a mob of angry liberals calling for his death. His decision to go through with it could be seen as just part of the Progressive passion play, with Williamson gladly playing his part. The trouble is he rather clearly thought the very liberal Jeffrey Goldberg was some sort of honorable guy, rather than a typical fanatic. More important, he thought Goldberg would stand up to his coreligionists when they came to haul away the heretic. That’s remarkably stupid.

Of course, for gentry conservatives, being remarkably stupid about the nature of motivations of the Left has been a badge of honor for as long as anyone reading this has been alive. The hallmark of gentry conservatism for generations has been the insistence on playing by a set of rules the other side refuses to respect, a set of rules that guarantees failure by the so-called Right. Even the allegedly hard-boiled realists of Buckley Conservatism, like Williamson, can’t seem to grasp this obvious bit of reality.

Then there is this tidbit later in the column. Williamson writes “If you want to know who actually has the power in our society and who is actually marginalized, ask which ideas get you sponsorships from Google and Pepsi and which get you fired.”  No doubt he was thinking of the internet meme, probably thinking the quote is from Voltaire. The line is actually from an old white nationalist named Kevin Alfred Strom. Dumb people tend to believe what they see on the internet, without making sure of the source and accuracy.

At the end of his column, Williamson writes this.

Where my writing appears is not a very important or interesting question. What matters more is the issue of how the rage-fueled tribalism of social media, especially Twitter, has infected the op-ed pages and, to some extent, the rest of journalism. Twitter is about offering markers of affiliation or markers of disaffiliation. The Left shouts RACIST!, and the Right shouts FAKE NEWS! There isn’t much that can be done about this other than treating social media with the low regard it deserves.

But when it comes to what appears in our newspapers and magazines, some of the old rules should still apply. By all means, let’s have advocacy journalism, but let’s make sure about the journalism part of it: Do the work, ask the questions, give readers a reason to assume that what’s published adheres to some basic standards of intellectual honesty. To do otherwise is to empower those who dismiss the media as a tangle of hopeless partisan opportunism.

Without credible journalism, all we have is the Twitter mob, which is a jealous god. Jealous and kind of stupid.

Conservatism, at its root, is the acceptance of reality. The man of the Right accepts the world as it is and acts accordingly. Williamson looks out at a world overrun by Progressive mobs, egged on by our Progressive rulers, and concludes that the only proper response is to pretend it is otherwise. He’s nobly walking in front of the speeding train, because trains should not speed. That’s not principled conservatism. That’s suicidal stupidity. Williamson is the example for the side arguing that these guys are morons.

In the end, it probably matters little if gentry conservatism is dying from subversion or stupidity, other than as a cautionary tale. The lesson that Williamson is unable to learn is not lost on the others hoping to get on the big Progressive stage. They will be sure to scrub their time lines and avoid saying or writing anything that could offend their Progressive paymasters. The golden rule is immutable. The man with the gold makes the rules, which is why the Dissident Right needs to build its own institutions.

Old Aliens

When I was a kid, smart adults still believed that humans would be visiting other planets sooner rather than later. That was mostly a carry over from the previous generations, who managed to get from zero to the moon in roughly a decade. If you were into this stuff in 1968, it was hard not to think that the next stop for man was Mars and then from there the rest of the solar system. By the time I was becoming aware of the world, this was fading, but there were plenty of optimists and romantics, with regards to space travel.

It really was a generational thing. By the time my generation was noticing things the space program had stalled and there didn’t seem to be a point to it. The competition with the Russians had decayed into a fight over the mundane and pointless. My guess is beating the Russians in hockey counted for more to most Americans than the space shuttle managing to take off, go to space and come back in one piece. Subsequent generations are simply too self-absorbed and self-indulgent to care much about space travel.

Of course, a big part of it is the self-inflicted wounds from previous generations that continue to tax us to this day. If Boomers and their parents had not decided to violate the rules of human nature in the 60’s and 70’s with a laundry list of social programs, things may have been different. The money spent on “fixing race relations” could have financed several trips to the stars. Our ruler’s endless fights with observable reality is like a leash keeping us from doing much more than squabbling over our own destruction.

Putting aside the Spenglerian interpretation of the recent past, there is another way to understand the technological stall. This post the other day by Steve Sailer had some interesting stuff in it, but the space travel stuff is what got my attention. Freeman Dyson is of that generation that thought we would be much further along in exploring the universe than we are today. He still assumes it will happen, despite the obvious decline in overall human capital due to changes in demographics and social mobility.

What occurred to me reading it is humanity probably needs to go through a different period of technological advance, before we can make the great leap to exploring the stars. If you look at the generation of geniuses who took us from propeller planes to rocket ships, peaking with the moon landing, it all happened in about one generation. It really was a remarkable run. In the 1930’s, the concepts of rocketry were being worked out and 30 years later a rocket was hurling men to the moon. That’s a great career.

That’s what it really is, one career. The sorts of people who work on these types of projects are not starting as teenagers. They go through years of education and apprenticeship, before they get on the big project. A career making project is going to be one that happens within the normal span of a human career, which is about 30 years for a cutting edge scientist.  A guy like David Reich, who is doing groundbreaking work in ancient genetics, is never going to do much of anything else. This is his peak.

Well, if you are an ambitious guy looking to do space work and be part of a great project, you’re not picking one that will take 50 years to finish. Some people may be fine toiling away at some small aspect of the 50 year project, but most people, especially the people funding it, are not going to find it appealing. If Elon Musk is going to bankroll a trip to Mars, he wants it to happen in the next decade, so he can take credit for it. The same is true of the scientist he would recruit. They want to get it done before they retire or die.

What this means is that space travel, beyond orbiting the earth or maybe revisiting the Moon, is going to first require extending the human life span. A mission to land people on Mars and return them to earth is probably 30 years away. Getting propulsion technology to traverse the solar system is a fifty or sixty year project. Figuring out how to survive longer periods in space is an even longer project. Before humans figure any of this out, it is going to mean living much longer lives so that a person can have a 50 or 60 year working life.

Think about it. If a person could reasonably assume a working career that started in the mid-20’s and goes strong to 100, with a slight decline at the end, that’s roughly a 60 year prime working life. With twice the time, you take more risks and you take on different career objectives. Suddenly a twenty year project to put men on Mars is not that big of a deal to the financiers or the scientists. Stretch the lifetime out further and the much more daunting projects can be chipped away at by a team expecting to finish in their lifetime.

Logically, it means the same would hold for some alien species that eventually comes to visit us on earth. Those aliens we have stored in Area 51 are probably very old, as their species had to unriddle problems that would take hundreds of years to solve, not to mention the fact that it was an extremely long trip from their home planet. The nearest habitable planet outside out solar system is roughly four light years from earth, which means it was a very long trip for our alien visitors. They must have been extremely old.

The other aspect of this is a longer life would mean more experience. Our IQ may be fixed, but we have an infinite capacity for screwing up. The longer the life, the more trial and error a person would endure. Someone living 500 earth years is not going to be any better at math, but they would be much more prudent. That would mean at the upper limits, the species would become less rash and less prone to error. Those dead aliens in New Mexico are an outlier, because their kind rarely misses its intended target.

The Worst People

If you read Donald Kagan’s account of the The Peloponnesian War, the politicians of Athenian democracy come in for some rough treatment for their dishonestly, stupidity and fecklessness. Kagan is especially tough on Alcibiades, who he mostly blames for the disastrous Sicilian Expedition. Whether that is fair or not is debatable, but Kagan’s description of Alcibiades as a duplicitous and egotistical politician, with a penchant for snapping penises off of statuary, strikes a chord with anyone who follows politics today.

Look around Washington, and with few exceptions, the place is full of the worst sorts of people. It’s not just the dishonestly, which is a permanent feature of politics, regardless of the system. That’s a self-correcting feature, for the most part. The main issue in our politics is that our system attracts the worst people. It is nearly impossible to find an elected official who has ever done honest work. Most are phenomenally stupid, outside their reptilian ability to fool voters and cozy up to the billionaires that bankroll them.

That comes through clearly in this story from Miami about Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, who no doubt has a bright future in politics.

As the “Me Too” movement gained steam across the nation last fall, Miami Beach City Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez went public with her own harrowing tale: that a political ally, Rafael Velasquez, had pulled out his penis and tried to force her to touch it while the two sat alone in a car.

But according to a newly released memo from the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, prosecutors have declined to charge Velasquez, saying there was not enough evidence to prove a crime took place.

If anything, investigators found evidence that conflicted with the commissioner’s account — although they also declined to pursue Velasquez’s counter-claim that the commissioner made the whole thing up and filed a false police report in order to promote her congressional campaign.

“This commissioner used these false allegations for political purposes, and the power of her office, to basically destroy my name and reputation in our community,” said Velasquez, who at the time was locked in a close race for the Miami Beach commission. “The only taxpayer-funded seat this criminal commissioner should occupy is a bench in state prison.”

Prosecutors said they informed Rosen Gonzalez and her attorney last month “that no criminal charges could be filed in this matter” because they “would not be able to meet [the] burden of proof to establish a crime had occurred beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt.” But in a statement to the Herald, Rosen Gonzalez claimed she was the one who told prosecutors she did not want the case to go on.

It’s not hard to see what happened here. The woman saw her opportunity to knock off a political opponent and took it. That may not strike you as a big deal, but this is why Washington is the land of a thousand sociopaths. The farm system that develops elected officials selects for them. In anything resembling an orderly system, Kristen Rosen Gonzalez would never get a purchase, She would be weeded out at the initial point of entry. Instead, you can bet that the big shots in Tallahassee are looking at her as a star.

It is tempting to say that this is just the natural result of democracy. There is a lot of truth there, as this was the result of Athenian democracy, as well. The standard critique of democracy is that it brings together a bunch of not so smart and wise people, expecting them to be collectively what they are not individually. Dumb people do not become smart when their numbers increase. Therefore, the antidote to the defects of democracy is limiting the franchise to the best people. That’s the argument for a representative republic.

The counter to this is the public is almost always choosing between two terrible choices when they go to vote. It’s not that they are choosing poorly, so much as they can only choose poorly. At election time, you get to select between two degenerate sociopaths, so the result is fixed. It’s hard to blame the public for bad choices, given what we see on display in our elections. The reason Trump is in the White House, despite his long list of liabilities, is he was the most honest guy on stage. Think about that for a second.

Another problem with the standard brief against democracy is the Romans limited public life to the credentialed elite, but they eventually succumbed to the same temptations we see today. Our own experience with republican government in America is an obvious another example. The franchise was steadily expanded by those sensible elites, until everyone had the vote. Clearly, limiting the vote to the best men of society is not the solution, at least not in the long run. Eventually, it becomes rule by the worst.

The solution, if there is one, is to figure out how to put a set of requirements on people entering public life that are easy to defend, even in times of extreme duress or extreme leisure. The Romans came pretty close during the Republic. The requirements placed on a public man worked as a sorting mechanism. It was only when they stopped abiding by these rules that things started to go sideways in a hurry. The puzzle is how to devise a set of barriers to entry that are very hard to violate, even in times of crisis.

It’s easy to come up with rules that would “solve” many of the problems we face today, but implementing them and enforcing them is never mentioned. Assuming the West is not headed for a dark age, ushered in by collapsing demographics, the people of the future will sift through the wreckage and tease out lessons from this failed experiment with mass democracy. Most likely, the next phase of moral philosophy is applying what is emerging from the cognitive sciences to weed out the sociopaths before they get on the ballot.

Letter To Alt-Right

By all accounts, the alt-right is at a crossroads. The movement that started as an internet phenomenon and blossomed into a full-blown political force in the 2016 election, has stumbled in the past year. Most people peg the start of the trouble at the Charlottesville riots, which were used to paint the alt-right as a bunch of torch wielding Nazis. Others put the blame on the personalities and their endless bickering. Of course, the troubles are exaggerated, but there’s no doubt that the movement is in a difficult patch.

In order for the alt-right to get out of the ditch and become an effective political voice, the leaders of the various groups within the alt-right have to stop screwing up. The number of unforced errors over the last year, by big names in the alt-right, leave people with the impression the movement is not serious. Leaders need to be something more than gags on-line. They have to be a respectable face to a skeptical public. That means being careful and prudent in their public actions. That’s not what has happened over the last year.

The first thing the alt-right needs to do is figure out how it got tangled up with people who turned out to be unstable or unreliable. Starting with Charlottesville, that has been the thread running through all of the stumbles. There’s always a wacko involved. Whether it was a “crying Nazi” at Charlottesville or a tubby cuckold at Michigan, the source of trouble has been people who should never have been given a place at the table. You cannot make up with enthusiasm what you lack in prudence, maturity and intelligence.

Fringe politics can be a lonely place, so it is tempting to welcome everyone, but this is why the Libertarian Party is full of goofballs. The trick is to avoid the temptation to embrace all comers and be skeptical of converts. Some are sincere and full of enthusiasm. These are the foot soldiers that add energy to a movement. Some are attention whores, looking for a cheap stage. Others are unstable loudmouths who like turmoil. A little skepticism about the new converts allows the movement leaders to avoid getting mixed up with nutjobs.

Another way of not inviting the troubles of others into your movement is to not get too close to the other movements. Quiet alliances can be quietly dissolved when they become inconvenient. The alt-right, which largely appeals to college educated suburban males, had no business locking shields with groups like the Traditional Workers Party at public events. Their thing is not your thing and the best way to avoid conflict is to keep a healthy distance. That way, you don’t pay for their mistakes, as has been the case with the TWP.

That’s the other thing that has to be front and center. The groups that have been operating on the fringe for generations have been on the fringe because they are either doing something wrong or they like the fringe. It’s always wise to be cautious of the older groups trying to hitch their wagon to your star. Charlottesville was not about “uniting the right”. It was crabs in the bucket pulling you back down into the bucket with them. A successful mass movement, in this age, will be one that is free of those of the prior age.

Dissident politics, like revolutionary politics, depends upon reliable communication and operational security. In all ages, especially this age, these can come into conflict. Making yourself available to speak to the people, make you vulnerable, and not just physically vulnerable. It makes your message vulnerable to corruption by others beyond your control. Effective communications means controlling the message, which is why the people in charge invest so heavily in monopolizing the media platforms.

Building your own media and supporting the media that supports you is the key. Here is a lesson that can be learned from the New Left. They avoided the mainstream press and instead relied on independent media. They would charge reporters for access to their events. In our age, it means never going on mainstream shows unless they are live, and never agreeing to print interviews. It also means not getting into fights with people on social media. You are the message. Your movement will judged by how you are judged.

This has the added benefit of not inviting attacks from the Left. The last year, from the perspective of an outsider, has looked like the alt-right picking a fight with the people in charge, only to be squashed like a bug. That’s bad optics. When you can’t even hold a luncheon for your people, without being harassed by the Left, it’s time to accept reality and become less public. The alt-right needs to be like an iceberg with a small public face above the water line and large rank and file underneath the water line.

Another thing the alt-right needs to understand is this is not 1920’s Germany or 1960’s America. The people in charge are not weak like the Weimar Republic and they are not complacent like the post-war American ruling class. The Nazis filled the vacuum left from the collapse of German ruling class after the war. The New Left was able to roll to victory because the people in charge at the time, were largely sympathetic and even a bit envious. Today, the people in charge are not weak and they are not sympathetic.

Those movements are not good models for today’s fight. Brawling with state sponsored goons like Antifa is a fool’s errand. Antifa has the backing of the Left and all the money from the billionaires they need. Similarly, demanding to go on campus, on free speech grounds, hoping to shame the Left with their hypocrisy, does nothing but display a fundamental misunderstanding of the opponent. The people running the college campus know that game backward and forward. There’s no beating them at a game they designed.

A better model is something like Irish nationalism. Ultimately, they were effective when they combined a guerrilla movement that operated in the shadows and a political movement that kept its distance from the fighters. We’re not in a world of car bombings and targeted assassinations, but we are in an age when an energetic social media troll can wreak havoc on the prevailing narrative. A guy putting up “It’s OK To Be White” signs around a Progressive hive is the modern version of the car bomb. It does real damage.

That gets to the heart of why the alt-right has stumbled of late. The alt-right had momentum when one wing stuck to making sensible arguments about the demographic reality of our age and what it means for the future. Meanwhile, the other wing took these ideas and used them in the meme war and comment sections of web sites. The reason the people in charge are dumping comment sections and purging social media of anyone with a whiff of heresy is they fear this more than anything. The alt-right needs to get back to what works.

This is a big subject that requires a lot more debate, but effective activism focuses on the effective, not on helping e-celebs get mentioned by Lefty. For dissidents, effective activism makes the strong side look weak and makes the dissidents look smart. If the organizers at Charlottesville had stopped at the Friday night event, and backed out of the rally on Saturday citing safety concerns, the ensuing riot would have been blamed on the other side. You would have effectively used their size against them by being clever.

Of course, the alt-right could only have pulled off such a move at Charlottesville if it was better organized. The overall lack of organization is killing the alt-right. There has to be small local groups of people who trust one another and will cooperate with other local groups, as long as leadership trusts them. This is a basic organizing technique. There should be alt-right clubs all over the country. They should be social clubs that focus on the politics of our age. The alt-right leaders need to focus on this rather than making noise.

Effective organizing means not airing your laundry on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. One reason competent people are not going to want to help the cause is the ridiculous habit of drama queens from the alt-right making grand announcements on social media. When Evan McLaren wants to move on to other things, he should tender his resignation in private like a man, not post it on Twitter like he is Milo promoting some new media scheme. High quality people do not want any part of this. It has to stop.

Finally, the leaders of the alt-right need to understand that in an information war, the message has to be effective against the target. When Mike Enoch says, “no one has a right to be around white people,” that is highly effective, because it states a simple truth in a way that gets the target audience to think of themselves as white. It speaks to people at a personal level.The whole point of the alt-right, allegedly, is to get white people to think of themselves as white. Anything that distracts from that must be avoided.

Way back in the olden thymes, Buckley Conservatism got going because it spoke to the masses of people revolted by what they saw going on with the Left. Bill Buckley never would have amounted to anything if there was not a willing audience, waiting for someone to provide intellectual leadership. Whatever that brand of conservatism became in the long run, it started as a group of smart guys, who took their task seriously. Most important, they exploited an eager market looking for an alternative to what was emerging on the Left.

The alt-right is in a very similar position. There are millions of white people looking around at what is happening in America, wondering why they are doing this to us. Fundamentally, and most importantly, the message of the alt-right is sound. It offers whites a reason to fight for their interests and cheer for their team. What must come next is a class of respectable spokesman and leaders who add weight to this message and organize people as a political force. It’s time for the alt-right leaders to take the next step or step aside.

Regards,

Z

Anti-Science

You can put me down in the “pro-science” column. I think in the main, science is a good thing for humanity. Life is more than material wealth, but having better food, better shelter, better communications and better medicine is nice. None of those things can happen without men in labs, amateur and professional, fiddling with the bits of nature, trying to learn how things tick. It is the constant trial and error of improvement that has made civilization possible and it is science that has made the modern world possible.

That said, people are flawed so their enterprises will be flawed as well. Science is not an exception to this rule. That’s what makes science different from religion or ideology. Good science is the constant revisiting of past claims, while religion can never permit it. You can become a famous scientist by proving that some accepted bit of science is flawed or simply wrong. New technology can lead to the overturning of fields, which is what we see happening with psychology. Technology is turning psychology into alchemy.

That’s one important aspect of the replication crisis.

Half the results published in peer-reviewed scientific journals are probably wrong. John Ioannidis, now a professor of medicine at Stanford, made headlines with that claim in 2005. Since then, researchers have confirmed his skepticism by trying—and often failing—to reproduce many influential journal articles. Slowly, scientists are internalizing the lessons of this irreproducibility crisis. But what about government, which has been making policy for generations without confirming that the science behind it is valid?
The biggest newsmakers in the crisis have involved psychology. Consider three findings: Striking a “power pose” can improve a person’s hormone balance and increase tolerance for risk. Invoking a negative stereotype, such as by telling black test-takers that an exam measures intelligence, can measurably degrade performance. Playing a sorting game that involves quickly pairing faces (black or white) with bad and good words (“happy” or “death”) can reveal “implicit bias” and predict discrimination.
All three of these results received massive media attention, but independent researchers haven’t been able to reproduce any of them properly. It seems as if there’s no end of “scientific truths” that just aren’t so. For a 2015 article in Science, independent researchers tried to replicate 100 prominent psychology studies and succeeded with only 39% of them.

It is important to understand what is going on here. Science has always been self-correcting by definition, but it does not prevent the problem of the Left abusing the truth. Psychology is a good example. In the 20th century, psychology became part of the theology of the Left, used to justify their latest crackpot ideas about humanity. The money for research went into studies that purported to prove some aspect of the blank slate, rather than challenge these beliefs. It was about confirmation, rather than discovery.

As a result, the soft sciences are under fire. That’s what the replication crisis is about and why it is a good thing, even though it opens the door for people who wish to fly the flag of intellectual authority, but lack the cognitive skills to participate in a STEM field. There are legions of people who will never understand the basics of genetics, for example, but they want to be an authority on evolution and human biodiversity. They will point to the replication crisis and claim that all science is suspect and no better than opinion.

In fairness, the soft sciences are not the only area of “science” taking a beating in the replication crisis. Chemistry has had problems with crap papers flying through the peer review process undetected. That’s about the politics of publishing as much as anything, but it should not happen. Medicine has also come under scrutiny and rightly so. These quack studies on diet, for example, that populate news sites, do more harm than good, because they often lead people into wacko conspiracy theories like pawtism.

This is what Cofnas gets right in his review of the moral and political pressures that undermine and retard the scientific process. The people in charge are the people sponsoring the research and paying for the studies. Like everyone in power, they want confirmation and they will pay good money for it. As long as research is done by humans, there will be humans willing to fake their research to get grants and tenure. That’s the story of climate  science thus far. The “consensus” was money well spent.

Cofnas is wrong to think this is unique to our age. The people in charge in all ages have had their priorities. A smart guy in the Roman Empire was wise to apply his skill to practical things, like how to improve sword making, because that was important. Philosophy was not. In the Middle Ages, the emergence if science meant navigating around the church and crown, as both viewed new ideas with concern. The king and his favorite bishop were more concerned with power than scientific knowledge.

“Reality is that thing that does not go away when you stop believing in it” and that is the reality of the replication crisis. The quackery of the soft sciences eventually runs up against reality. In our age, it is the reality of genetics that is dismantling the nutty ideas popular with the prior generations. That’s what Cofnas gets wrong. Science is self-correcting, just not as quickly as you would like. Sometimes it takes a new technology or simply a generational change, Eventually, reality returns to right all wrongs.

The 420 To Boston

Even though spring is not in the air here in Lagos, the hints of it are, so I am feeling a bit more optimistic about things this week. I like winter, but I like spring and summer too. It is this weird in-between season that I don’t like very much. It’s not winter, but it is not spring either. As I type this I see frost on the car. Yesterday it was windy, cold and I saw some snow flurries. That said, Old Man Winter is on his way out, I can just feel it.

Even if you like winter, there is something about the change of seasons that brightens the mood. There’s a sense of anticipation about it. You have to wonder how this changed people over a thousand generations. Those who evolved in tropical climates never experienced the extremes of weather Eurasians experienced, nor the anticipation of the change of seasons. It has to have had some impact on our cognition.

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

Contents

  • 00:00: Opening (Music)
  • 02:00: The Red Baron (Link)
  • 12:00: No Comment
  • 22:00: The Revolt of the Cloud People (Link)
  • 32:00: Nothing Is Sacred (Link)
  • 37:00: The Custodial State (Link)
  • 42:00: Two Americas (Link)
  • 47:00: Eating Money (Link)
  • 52:00: The Currency of Likes (Link)
  • 57:00: Closing (Link) (Music)

Direct Download

The iTunes Page

Google Play Link

Full Show On Spreaker

Full Show On YouTube