Rebellious Thoughts

Most people reading this will claim that they are not surprised that the people behind the seditious plot to overturn the 2016 election will not face charges. To be on the dissident right requires a degree of cynicism about political institutions. Democracy assumes things about humans that the dissident knows are false. Therefore, a system relying on people to act in a way that is against their nature is doomed to fail. That and the people attracted to democratic politics are always the worst society has to offer.

No matter how clear-eyed you are about the nature of man, politicians always have the ability to disappoint even the most cynical. If most people on this side of the great divide are being honest, they are let down by the news that the oleaginous James Comey will escape justice for his crimes. There was that flicker of hope that William Barr would not be another slithering reptile and do the right thing. Again, these people always have the ability to disappoint even the most jaded among us.

The thing is, there has always been a sense that these people operate by a different set of rules than the rest of us. It’s such an overused trope that when you see a James Comey type of character in a movie, they seem one-dimensional. They’re just the stock bureaucratic bad guy everyone knows how to hate. The same is true of the duplicitous villain like Bill Barr. In movies, that’s the guy the hero foolishly trusts, only to learn that he is more villainous than the James Comey character.

That said, the reason that most people have been holding out hope that this seditious plot would be prosecuted is they don’t really believe everyone in the ruling class is a villainous gangster. Again, even the jaded on this side of the divide thought something would come from this caper, even if it was just the release of a documents showing there was a plot. Maybe a few low-level punks like Lisa Page and Peter Strzok would get a show trial and be sent off to Club Fed for a few years.

It is increasingly clear, that nothing will happen. Bill Barr is just the latest flim-flam man to bamboozle Donald Trump into trusting him. It is clear now that his assignment is to cover up the crimes of official Washington. It has been six months since he was authorized to start releasing the classified documents describing the actions of the FBI during this caper. So far, nothing has been released. In fact, Bill Barr is fighting public disclosure of documents a federal judge ordered released months ago.

The path to revolution starts with dissatisfaction. The people are unhappy with their lot and begin to demand changes. At first, they appeal to their rulers, who they assume want to do a good job as rulers. When that fails, they begin to demand their rulers make reforms and address their concerns. At some point, the people realize they cannot appeal to the humanity or the pragmatism of their rulers. Reform will never come, so the last two options are knuckle under or revolt against the system and it rulers.

There seems to be a scale along which people move from pacified to rebellious that is determined by their view of their rulers. At the pacified end, they are happy with how things are going in their personal lives and assume it is in everyone’s interest to make the system work. The rulers benefit from a happy populace, so even if they indifferent to the people, they work to make them happy. The system of rules and the people operating the system are working about as well as possible, so there is peace.

At the other end is where people no longer believe the system is just and that the people ruling over it are beyond appeals to reason and humanity. In fact, the people in charge relish the injustice of the system, maybe taking extra measures to inflict chaos and mayhem on the people. The system is so bad and the condition so intolerable, it is assumed that anything must be better. At this end, the people no longer view their rulers as human men. They are just the face of an evil system.

As Bill Barr slowly and efficiently covers up the seditious plot and other crimes committed by the FBI and DOJ during the Obama years, it is not unreasonable to wonder how far down the scale this moves the political center. Twenty-five years ago, most dissidents would have thought this level of corruption was improbable, if not entirely impossible. The typical normie was still sure the next election would bring reformers, who would chase off the crooks and clean up the system.

It’s hard to gauge these things, because our biases come into play. If you are an accelerationist, for example, the Comey result is good news. You want to think that this moves everyone closer to the “burn baby burn” camp. If you are a Trump-truster, you probably just tune this stuff out, as it contradicts your preferred narrative. Maybe you convince yourself that letting Comey walk is part of some super-secret 4-D chess game Trump and Barr are playing to entrap the deep state in their web.

The likely answer right now is most normal white people are a bit shocked by what is happening, unable to process it. It’s one thing to overindulge in negativity and self-pity, calling the pols a bunch of crooks. That’s just a coping strategy. It is another thing to realize that it really is hopeless and the system is beyond redemption. It’s like that moment when you decide to find a new job or change careers. Nothing changes on the outside, but inside there is a revolution in your thinking and outlook.

That probably explains why the ruling classes in revolutionary times make so many costly blunders. In retrospect, it is baffling, but in the moment the people in charge look out and see nothing but calm. They conclude that things are going well enough that they don’t have to change course. Maybe that’s why Barr is working hard to cover up the crime and corruption. He thinks once the whole thing is dispensed with, it will no longer vex people. Trust in the system will slowly return.

Again, it is hard to gauge these things in the moment. One thing we know is that dissident ranks are growing. Even the Left is admitting it. The popularity of dissident sites, podcasts and video shows are at record highs. More important, the general sense within dissident ranks is that reform is impossible. We not only need a new ruling class, we need a new system. The center of gravity for the opposition to the status quo is moving further down that scale toward rebellion.

That said, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the civic nationalist to operate in anything but a fantasy world. Whatever you may think of Trump, the result of the last three years is proof that elections don’t matter. This shameless refusal by public officials to apply the law to Washington insiders makes a mockery of the rule of law. Throw in the stunning dishonesty of the mass media and the metastasizing surveillance state and it is impossible for even the most gullible to remain a civic nationalist.

Even accounting for all the various biases, a sober minded view of things suggests we are rapidly heading to that place where the people are faced with two choices. It’s either knuckle under and surrender any sense of dignity or revolt against a system that is beyond reform. Maybe like that guy in the cubicle who decided to quit, that’s where everyone is right now. Or, maybe most people are like the other guy, resigned to a life as a cubicle slave. Events suggest we will find out sooner, rather than later.

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The Last Hurrah

The 2020 presidential election, which will probably be Trump versus Warren, is shaping up to be the final act of Baby Boomer America. Both are of the generation that has come to symbolize the culture of those born after the Second World War. Trump was born in 1946, while Warren was born in 1949. That means both came of age with the Beatles and the Stones. Both were in college when the hippies and anti-war protesters were taking over the college campus. They are children of the 1960’s.

It has been argued many times that the Baby Boom generation is more than just the people who were teenagers and young adults in the late 60’s. According to demographers, the Boomers include people who were in college when Ronald Reagan was president. That’s fine, as far as demographics, but when people think Boomers, they think in cultural terms. The generation that grew up on the Beatles is what they have in mind, not the generation that grew up on Lynyrd Skynyrd.

That really is the important thing to keep in mind whenever discussing generational politics in America. For the Boomers, the 60’s were a vastly different time from the 70’s, in terms of the culture and outlook. The 80’s, 90’s and 00’s, in contrast, are not wildly different culturally. It’s like how the 50’s and early 60’s are really the same culture. The cultural revolution that stated in the 1960’s really did change the country, so by the 70’s it was a totally different experience for young people.

Of course, the Democratic side of the battle has yet to be decided, but the signs are all pointing to Warren winning the nomination. The polls say Creepy Uncle Joe is the favorite, but observation says otherwise. At some point in the fall, he will be found wandering in his bathrobe, demanding to talk to President Nixon. At that point it will be time to take his campaign keys away and pack him off to the home. His support will then flow to Warren, the next demographically pleasing option for them.

There’s also the fact that Warren is quietly drawing huge crowd to her speeches, which is always a sign the voters are at least considering a candidate. The feminist white women in the party think it is there turn to have a candidate. More important, they think they were robbed in 2016. Warren is not just a less corrupt and less repulsive version of Hillary Clinton. She captures the seething rage of that demographic. Hell hath no fury like a scorned, menopausal feminist clutching her dream catcher.

The 2020 presidential campaign will be two sides of the 60’s Boomer culture, facing off against one another in one final battle. The male side, represented by Donald Trump, is nostalgic for an America that no longer exists. Trump sees himself as this generation’s Ronald Reagan. Instead of morning in American, though, it is dusk in America. His tenure is a cargo cult of sorts. He and his supporters seem to think if they carry on like it is 1985, it will suddenly become 1985. Trump is pure nostalgia.

Warren is the feminine side of this battle. Unlike Trump, she is not pining for a return to Reagan’s America. She is all of the liberal Boomers in the 80’s and 90’s, who talked about the terribleness of Reaganism, while enjoying the benefits. Just as Boomer feminists talked like Betty Friedan, but lived like June Cleaver, this side of the Boomer political culture publicly hated Reagan and the 80’s economic boom, but privately benefited from it. The conscience of the 60’s was always forgiving.

Then there is the more personal aspect of it. In terms of popular culture, Trump really is the quintessential Baby Boomer male. He made a lot of money, but will never have much to show for his time. Everything about Trump is wrapped up Trump the person, the selfish, boorish oaf living for the moment. When the wife got too old, he traded her in for a new one. When he hit middle-age, he bought a sports car and started dating young women. His story will be one of endless self-indulgence.

Warren, for her part, is the other side of that coin. She is the scorned ex-wife, who got the house and filled it up with trinkets from the various self-actualizing fads she got into after the divorce. In between glasses of chardonnay, she will spend hours telling you about how awful her ex-husband was during the divorce. She is the woman, who rejected the lifestyle of her mother, but at some point, when it was too late, realized her mother was right all along. That is the real source of her bitterness.

The 2020 campaign promises to be Trump running around the country telling his fans about all the winning, while Warren runs around wagging her boney finger at them, telling them about how she has been wronged. It will be the cad versus the nag, largely a fight among white people about how best to go into that dark night. On the one side will be Trump nostalgic for a lost America. On the other will be Warren, haunted by an America that never was. Two characters from a soon to be forgotten past.

Neither side will have much to say about what comes after them, because they are from a generation that thought they would live forever and never grow old. The people who swore they would never trust anyone over thirty, now can’t spare a second to consider the future of those under 30. It’s going to be two perpetual adolescents throwing one final tantrum, demanding the rest of us indulge them one more time. It is the last hurrah for a generation that will buried, not praised, by those who follow.

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The Only Equal End

Normal people look at the public performance of the Left and have the reaction all normal people have to irrationality. First, they will laugh or scoff at whatever the Left is doing, as both reactions come from the same instinct. It is a dismissal of whatever is going on, as too ridiculous to consider. A man in a sundress demanding to be called “they” is absurd. The kinder souls will laugh at it, while the less kind will dismiss it as vulgar degeneracy. Both reactions are justified, of course.

Once we pass the initial rejection, the reaction of normal people to the cultural lunacy we see on display falls into two buckets. One group will continue to dismiss this stuff, as a sign that the Left is just a bunch of crazy, middle-aged white women and their colored assistants, trying to get attention. The cat-lady factor is so strong on the Left it’s hard not to focus on it. Scan the crowd at an Elizabeth Warren event, for example, and it looks like a clearance sale at the wine mart. Spinsters everywhere.

Now, the other camp that forms up after the initial reaction is the people, who suspect there is a deeper motive to what they are seeing. The Left has been in control of the culture for several generations now, so they cannot be all mad. Steve Sailer, for example, thinks these displays are about keeping the Progressive coalition focused on the evil white men so they don’t attack one another. The bad people suspect this is all part of a plot by the nefarious forces to undermine white society.

There is a third option. This insane behavior is not just performance art, but an assault on rationality and order. It is an attack on the very concept of truth. After all, if it is no longer possible to tell boys from girls, then what is true? The very basics of human biology start with the fact that humans come in two sexes. If the very axioms of human reality are now up for debate, then everything is up for debate, even the claims made by the Left. With no truth, nothing is false. The world is narrative of opinion.

Take, for example, the assertion that race is a social construct. This bit of biological denialism is popular with the Left. So much so they are now demanding white historical figures be played by black actors, to prove that race is imaginary. Now, the demand itself contradicts the assertion. If race is not real, then there would be no reason to demand a black guy play Henry VII or Queen Elizabeth. The demand itself is proof that race is very real, so much so the past must be black-washed.

Even if you don’t accept that, let’s take the “race is not real” argument forward and examine the implications. If race is a social construct, then diversity must also be a social construct. In fact, it is irrational, as what would be the point of decorating an organization with things that do not exist? That also means so-called hate speech is a social construct, as it is rooted in the belief in racial and ethnic differences. If those differences are imaginary, then hate speech is imaginary as well.

None of this matters, of course. What matters to the Left is that observable reality cannot be trusted. They can live with their own assertions falling prey to this logic, as their ultimate objective is a world without objective truth. They seek to create the post-modern world, where the only proper response to physical reality is skepticism, because there is no possibility of reliable knowledge. The modern Left is the political implementation of the academic movement called post-modernism.

Post-modernism is the 20th century academic movement popular in philosophy, the grievance studies and the humanities. It denies the existence of a universal, stable reality, insisting everything is arbitrary and subjective. It is a reaction to science and technology that explains reality in objective terms. The post-modernist claims that reality is constructed as the mind tries to understand its own personal circumstances, within the social construct of society and the perceived reality of others.

This is why the Left is now so vehemently anti-science. A generation ago the proper leftists had a Darwin fish on her Volvo. This was supposed to be a signal that the owner was a member of the “reality based community” not a believer is magic, superstition or, of course, a religion. The Left insisted they were the sober minded realists, rooting their opinions in facts and reason. Their opponents were basing their opinion in fear and the irrational belief in nonsense, like tradition and religion.

In reality, the owner of that Volvo was signally a rejection of the very idea of objective or transcendent truth. That is, after all, what religion offers. It is a set of transcendent truths that define the reality of mankind. The point of a religious text, like the Christian Bible, is to have an objective set of rules that are not up to the whims of a cleric or a religious institution. Scripture is God’s rule book and not up to debate by man. The rejection of religion, is the rejection of such an objective set of truths.

Fast forward to the current year and the Left has moved on from rejecting religion and the reality of religion, onto the rejection of science. Genetics and evolution are nature’s rule book. If you prefer, they are the rule book of nature’s god. This biological reality is not only the framework of life, but puts hard limits on human organization. The rejection of science is the rejection of the possibility of reliable knowledge about the natural world and the nature of man. The guy in the sundress calling ximself “they” is the embodiment of this rejection of knowable truth and factual reality.

Of course, the practical benefit of a world unbound from facts and reasons is that the actors in such a world are unbound from the limits of reason. It is the ultimate freedom, as everything is possible and everything can be justified. It’s also why the Left insists their opponents demonstrate that their objections match up with some set of arbitrary standards selected by the Left. If their opponents are bound to reality, while the Left is free to form whatever construct it needs, the outcome is certain.

There can be only one form of post-modernist rule. The rejection of founding truths, the axioms of the human condition, provides not justification for political power, social status or even a social order. The void of nihilism can only be filled by the will to power and the necessary application of force to attain power and impose order. The perpetual revolution of post-modernism, the endless questioning of objective reality, is the only way for radicalism to attain power and maintain it. The on-going insanity of the Left is the necessary precursor to perpetual Progressive rule.

The endless cultural revolution is like rats gnawing at the support ropes. If left unchecked, there can be only one result from such a process. The endpoint of this perpetual social revolution, the institutional skepticism of reality, is a world without any order at all, even that imposed by the strongest. Even the reality of fear falls away and we fall into a world where it is a war of all against all. In this regard, what the Left has become is war on the very nature of man and the reality that shapes him.

This is the logical endpoint of the Enlightenment. Post-modernism did not spring from nothing. It is the continuation of political philosophy starting with Rousseau, through Nietzsche and into the current age. Western liberalism was born of the irrational belief that man comes into the world as a blank slate and can be fashioned into anything through the proper social structures. Ever since, the goal of liberal political philosophy has been to build the right social structure to achieve universal equality.

Since the utopian goal of universal equality is impossible, it leaves only the equality of nihilistic chaos. A world without truth is a world where noting is false. This is the ultimate equality, where everything is opinion and all opinion is equally worthless. While the Left may seem irrational, they are acting on that old Enlightenment impulse to achieve universal equality. If we cannot be equal in the utopian paradise of our own making, we can be equal in the utter and compete destruction of society. After all, the one place where all men are equal is in the cemetery.

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Post-Intellectual America

The sorry state of American conservatism is a regular topic in dissident circles, mostly because the decaying carcass of Conservative Inc. continues to stagger around politics and the media. Some parts continue to do the best they can in their gatekeeper role, while others continue to rationalize Progressive fanaticism. It staggers on mostly because of donor money that keeps the various rackets going. For how long is unknown, as the source of that money is now quite old.

An example is the recently dead David Koch. A long time libertarian fanatic, he and his brother poured tens of millions into so-called conservatism. They kept Reason Magazine afloat and helped set up its finances so it will persist after the Koch brothers are gone. They also played an active role in turning Buckley-style conservatism into warmongering libertarianism. Neocon money on one side and Koch brother’s money on the other defined post-Cold War conservatism.

The trouble with this structure is it operated like a vice, squeezing everything useful out of the Right, leaving nothing but pens for hire, career men and fanatics. What was squeezed from conservatism was any reason to support it. On the one hand, it wished to turn men into moist robots serving the economy. On the other it sought to convince Americans they had to be cannon fodder in the national pursuits of Israel. Its political pitch to white Americans was reduced to, “But the Left is much worse.”

You see the emptiness of conservatism in this Kevin Williamson post about how David Koch was supposedly on the Right. The post itself is mostly about Williamson, who has taken to writing like a teenage girl of late. Everything is about his feelings now. Putting that aside, his claim for placing David Koch on the Right, and presumably libertarians as a whole, is that he liked ballet. This is supposedly evidence of his love for high culture, which according to Williamson is the exclusive domain of the Right.

Of course, the question of whose high culture never enters the discussion, as that treads on dangerous territory. For the modern conservative, “culture” has come to mean a universal thing that anyone can enjoy. More important, it has no origin. It just popped from the void, fully formed. Koch’s alleged love for this mystical thing supersedes his support for open borders and globalism, not to mention his support for Progressive causes like homosexual marriage and abortion on demand.

Another reason co-called conservatives were happy to call Koch a right-winger is the Left was happy to call him a right-winger. The best maneuver in the Progressive playbook is to select the leaders of their opponents. They focus their attention on one soft target, making that person the symbol of their cause. That person then becomes the easily mocked and ridiculed leader of the opposition. For example, they turned the alt-right into a joke by cultivating Richard Spencer as the face of the movement.

In the case of the Koch brothers, the Left was happy to make them the bad guys, as they were never going to be a threat. Instead, they would pour millions into conservative operations, which would happily purge themselves of social conservatives and skeptics of global capitalism. That neocon – libertarian sandwich that was conservatism, became the other slice of the Progressive sandwich that controls American politics. The choice is a libertarian warmonger or a Progressive fanatic. That’s democracy!

The end result of that neocon – libertarian vice is that so-called conservatism was stripped of its intellectual core, as well as its connection to its intellectual history. Rather than a defense of tradition and the moral order, conservatism became a public relations department for the plutocrats financing them. Like every racket, the money is always what comes first. Conservative writers are just common streetwalkers, going with whoever pulls up to the curb. They’ll do anything for a buck.

In fairness, their dancing partner is no better. It largely goes unremarked, but the Left is every bit as intellectually vacant as conservatism. They are silent on global capitalism and silent on the ramifications of the post-national order. They are entirely incoherent on why they support the things they support. The conservative case for men in dresses is ridiculous, but looks erudite compared to the Progressive case. The modern Left is a toddler rolling on the floor, sobbing out incoherent demands.

Of course, the purpose of the commentariat in current year America is to operate as an endless distraction. The Left carries on so that their side does not notice that politics is now controlled by a handful of billionaires and their hired men in politics. The Right has the job of keeping the white middle-class focused on punching at air, while those billionaires tighten their grip on the economy and culture. Conservatives and liberals are now just the entertainment portion of the custodial state.

Perhaps this is just the natural transition from one historic cycle to the next. We are arguably at the end of several long historic cycles. The Enlightenment, the Industrial Age and the American Empire are all reaching a denouement. The confluence of these three final acts is responsible for the great tumult in the West. The lack of an intellectual class is simply the result of these cycles having run their course. What comes next is a new intellectual class for the demographic and technological age.

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The Cuck’s Life

The triggering event for when the so-called conservative movement made the final turn toward the dustbin of history was when the term “cuckservative” started to gain traction on social media. A portmanteau of “conservative” and “cuckold”, coined by fans of Richard Spencer, it captured the very essence of the person peddling Buckley-style conservatism during the populist revolt of 2015. These were men routinely humiliated by their women, with the women being their political masters on the Left.

The humiliation comes from the fact that these so-called conservatives are not forced to grovel by the political Left. It’s that they have so internalized their servitude, they think their self-debasement is a point of pride. They are like the house slave defending the master against the field slaves. It’s not that they get material benefits from selling out their kind. It’s that they have come to be defined by the fact that they have surrendered themselves to their masters completely. They are “men without chests.”

It is not enough for the cuckservative to remain silent about the proselytizing of the Left or excuse their excesses. The cuck’s life is one of always trying to be ahead of the curve, when it comes to championing Progressive morality. As soon as the Left starts making noises about something, the cuckservative will turn up with a highly polished explanation for why Progressive morality is, in fact, a conservative principle. They prove their worth by being to the Left of Progressives on moral issues.

The king of the cucks is probably David French, who invests all of his time lecturing the dwindling readership of National Review on why he is too good for them. His game these days is to write long sob stories about how normal white people don’t appreciate his wonderfulness for having adopted a black girl from Africa. There’s the sense in his self-serving posts that he regrets having obtained the black child through adoption, rather than the old fashioned way. Such is the cuck’s life.

That is what makes the term cuckservative so perfect. It is the issue of race where these people reveal themselves to be soulless. This string of tweets from someone called Bradley Wilcox is a great example. Wilcox is Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. He’s also funded by the American Enterprise Institute, an outfit that is a breeding ground of cuckservatism. Wilcox also hilariously fell for the absurd rape hoax perpetrated by Rolling Stone Magazine.

That last bit is a good example of how the cuck’s mind works. He is always looking to rush to the front of the latest Progressive crusade, so he can smugly march past the crowd, carrying on like he is an important part of the cause. When the Left was manufacturing the campus rape nonsense, good old Brad was ready to rush out and make himself the champion of the issue. The fact that he picked National Review to be the platform remains a symbolic moment in their decline.

Notice how the cuck always personalizes his tantrums. In this case, Bradley starts with the lament that he has supposedly been called a racist in the past. That seems unlikely, given his minor status, but that does not matter. What matters is that the Left believes that he believes racism is the worst. His tweet storm is a performance, not for the remaining lost souls still kicking around Official Conservatism. He’s performing for the Left, humiliating himself for their titillation.

One tell in this tantrum is that it was triggered by Amy Wax’s observation that immigrants are litterbugs. This is something that is obvious to anyone who has been around immigrants or been abroad. In fact, it is something the immigrants themselves will notice, as they compare their new community with their old. Amy Wax is not claiming that Mexican possess a litter gene and as a result are compelled to toss their empty Modelo cans in the street. She is making a cultural observation.

If Bradley was about anything other than promoting the career of Bradley to his Progressive masters, he could have used this fact to promote his creedalism nonsense. After all, the alleged basis of creedalism is that what makes America is a list of arguments. As a result, anyone can be an American, as long as they accept those arguments. Presumably, part of the American creed is that you should not throw your trash on the ground, so as not to offend a fake Indian, but that’s not the cuck’s life.

Of course, creedalism is a sham. A devoted Christian would use the sin of the fallen as a chance to apply his beliefs to save the sinner. The committed communist uses hard times to argue on behalf of his the abolition of property. The creedalist, in contrast, uses his alleged beliefs to position himself as the fiery critic of the enemies of the Left. It affords him a safe space, so he can post tirades on Twitter about racists not wanting garbage in their streets or piles beer cans in the local park.

This is why “cuckservative” is such an effective term. The cuckold is mocked and derided, not because his wife is unfaithful. He is an object of derision because he refuses to do anything about it. That’s so-called conservatism. For generations now, they have been unwilling to take on their partners on the Left. No matter the humiliation, they come crawling back. The cuck’s life is defined by his humiliation. No man has respect for the cuckold and no one has respect for the cuckservative.

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The China Questions

The trade war with China is heating up, so the usual suspects are now turning up in the media to pronounce on the issue. There is the sense that many of the pundits are relieved to take a break from discussing the culture war that surrounds the Trump presidency and the Progressive response to it. Talking about trade and global economics feels like old times. Here is a longish post from David Goldman, the man behind Spengler of the Asia Times, addressing the trade war.

As is always the case in these matters, the Michael Crichton observation about the media should be kept in mind. The growing rift between China and the United States is a complicated matter by itself. The impact it will have on global trade, the US economy and geopolitics is even more complex. Even people paid to risk real money in these areas don’t have a firm grasp of all the moving pieces. The people posting in the media know even less. Often they know nothing at all.

That does not mean there is nothing we can know. The first question, in any heated trade dispute between two countries, is “who is buying and who is selling?” and the related question is, “What is being traded?” In this regard, trade disputes are not a lot different from disputes between customers and vendors. How they proceed and how the end is entirely controlled by the relationship and the products in question. That determines who has the most leverage in the dispute.

In this case, the relationship is easy to sort. U.S. imports from China totaled $539.5 billion in 2018. U.S. exports were $179.3 billion. That export total is about 7% of all U.S. exports for 2018. Put another way, the U.S. market is about 5% of the Chinese economy, assuming the fake Chinese economic numbers are even close to reality, which is surely not the case. The Chinese market is less than one percent of the U.S. economy in 2018. Imports are about 3% of the U.S. economy.

Right away, the relationship between China is the U.S. is not an equal one, in terms of dollars, but also in terms of impact. Then there is the nature of trade between the two countries. Almost all of the U.S. exports to China in 2018 were aircraft parts, electronic components and car parts. In many cases, these are either high precision items the Chinese cannot produce or they have intellectual property that the Chinese will try to steal, so they are made in the U. S. and sent to China.

This is why Trump is playing hardball. He believes he has far less to lose than the Chinese in a trade war. Even if all trade with China comes to an end, the cost to the U.S. economy is not going to be devastating. In fact, it will be hardly noticed. Much of that trade will be replaced with other cheap labor countries, as it is not really trade in the conventional sense. America’s economic relationship with China is about off-shoring manufacturing to dodge labor, tax and environmental laws.

This is a point that cannot be made enough. When American producers sell good to Canada, and Canadian producers sell good to America, that’s trade. When American producers move manufacturing to Mexico, then bring those goods back home under a tariff free regime, that’s not trade. China is not selling the world anything the world does not have or cannot make. What China is selling is a safe haven to avoid the labor, tax and environmental laws that exist in the West.

That does not mean there can be no impact. That’s the other set of questions that can be examined from the outside. China can play a long game, as the Chinese leaders are not facing annual elections and endless media scrutiny. The West, particularly Trump, are in an endless election cycle. Any little blip in the economy is magnified by the media and then fed into the political calculus. While this trade war will inflict more pain on China, they have a much higher pain threshold than Trump.

That’s the theory. It is not all that clear just how much pain Trump will suffer from this standoff with China. The timing actually works in his favor. The slow buildup not only gives American business time to adjust, it gives the political class time to cast it as the typical good guy versus bad guy story. Xi Jinping is not exactly a lovable Jackie Chan type of guy, so casting him as a villain will be easy. In other words, Trump may be trading a little economic capital for a lot of political capital.

Then there is the question of just how much pain China can take and for how long. It is just assumed by Western analysts that the Chinese can absorb any amount of suffering for as long as it takes. After all, China weathered the Cultural Revolution without a mass revolt by the people. Mao had to die before the party moved to end the madness. Why would the Chinese people revolt over a slight down turn in the economy? Why would the party move against Xi Jinping, if the trade war contracts her economy?

No one can know this, but we do know that wealthy people are far more sensitive to small changes in the economy than poor people. We see this in the West. A small down turn has the middle class turning against their party, but a generation long depression in coal country has not caused a revolt. That same reality may be true in China. There are a lot of people living bourgeois lifestyles along the Chinese coast, all financed by one-sided trade with the United States and her allies.

While all of this economic 4-D chess will occupy the pundits, there may be a simple answer to what is going on with China. It could simply be that China has become a liability to the West. The benefits of moving manufacturing to China has been consumed at this point. What’s left is the liability, which is currency manipulation, IP theft, espionage and financial shenanigans. China is running out of friends in Western capitals. The appetite for tolerating this stuff may be waning.

For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte at Starbucks. Thank you for your support!

Medieval Jewish Policy

The standard narrative, with regards to relations between Christians and Jews, is one of constant conflict. The Jews have been subjected to various forms of repression, ranging from marginalization to genocide. The underlying assumption is that the Christian majority was either motivated by religious fanaticism or ignorant bigotry. Of course, the events during World War II loom large in this understanding. The Germans are just assumed to have gone insane and followed an anti-Semitic madman.

That’s what makes the book Early Medieval Jewish Policy in Western Europe such an interesting read. Instead of the modern practice of working backwards to force history into the current narrative, it is a review of the polices toward the Jews, in the centuries following the fall of the Western Roman Empire. It’s an old book, published in 1977, by a now retired scholar of the period. It’s also a short book, just 140 pages. The style and brevity makes it a good introduction to the period for the casual reader.

The book starts with a review of Jewish policy under the Visigoths, who ruled what is now Western France and most of what is now Spain. Both Gaul and Iberia had large Jewish populations by the end of the Roman Empire. The Breviary of Alaric was a collection of Roman laws that applied to the Hispano-Roman and Gallo-Roman population, living under Visigoth rule. It was within this body of laws that official policy regarding the Jews was established in the Visigoth kingdom.

Under the Visigoths, the Jews had a great deal of autonomy. They maintained their own courts, were permitted to own slaves and conduct trade within the kingdom. More important, the Jews were rich and powerful, so they played a large role in the internal politics of the kingdom. The main area of conflict was over the Jewish habit of proselytizing to the Christians as well as the pagans. The Church would tolerate the Jews converting pagans, but not the converting of Christians.

That’s the most interesting aspect of the book. Throughout the early medieval period, the Jewish populations in the former Western Roman Empire were endlessly proselytizing to the Christian populations. This was not just under the Visigoths in the early Christian period. This continued through the Carolingian period, despite very strong objections from the Church. Even the Church, however, was forced to overlook these violations of the law, as the Jews had a lot of power.

If one were to search for a starting point of anti-Jewish sentiment in the West, it would not date to the time of Christ, but to the medieval period. Jews not only competed with the Church politically and culturally, they were very aggressive in their approach to Christians. For example, in the Carolingian period, Jews widely circulated the Toledot Yeshu, which is an alternative biography of Jesus. It describes Jesus as an illegitimate child, who practiced magic, was an adulterer, and died a shameful death.

The Church, of course, was not happy about this behavior, but lacked the power to do much about it, other than train better priests. That’s another interesting aspect of the period. Jews and Christians regulars celebrated feats together and Christians tended to prefer the Jewish sermons to that offered by the Church. Many Bishops also had good relations with the Jews in their area. In other words, into the Middle Ages, there was not much in the way of antisemitism, at least not as we understand it.

It was these twin realities that drove the development of anti-Jewish policy in the Church during this period. Many important churchman, individually and collectively, not only feared the proselytizing of the Jews, but worried about the fact Judaism was very attractive to both pagans and Christians. It was in this period that institutional opposition to Judaism developed and evolved, despite the fact that the secular authorities were pro-Jewish in their policies. Antisemitism was a reaction to this.

Another aspect to all of this is the fact that Jews used to be aggressive proselytizers, working hard to convert pagans and Christians. Today, the opposite is true. While anyone can become a Jew, that’s like saying anyone can become a physicist. It is technically true, but conversion is not common. Jewish law requires the rabbi to try three times to discourage the convert. This policy may have been a response to the conflicts with the Church over the conversion of Christians.

Probably the most surprising thing in the book is just how pro-Jewish most secular rulers were in the early medieval period. Charlemagne and his son Louis the Pious were extremely favorable to the Jews in their domains. They actively encouraged Jews to immigrate into their lands and gave them special privileges to conduct trade. They also had many Jews serving in administrative roles, holding power over Christians. The Jews were treated better than the Church in many cases.

The reality of the early medieval period is that the secular authorities maintained a very tenuous grip on their holdings. The king relied upon the local landowners and community leaders to maintain control. In many cases, those wealthy and powerful people were Jews within large Jewish communities. As a result, the Church was often the least influential institution. In many cases, the local bishop relied upon Jewish support to maintain his position. The Jews had a lot of power.

Probably the most telling point in this regard is the fact that the most successful monarchs of the period all had pro-Jewish polices. Charlemagne, Theodoric the Great and Gregory the Great pursued pro-Jewish polices. The Jews were literate, wealthy and maintained well-organized, long-standing contacts with Jewish communities throughout the West and East. As such, they were a powerful ally. In return for Jewish support, successful Christian rulers protected Jewish interests.

As much as this reality contradicts the current narrative, it also contradicts many anti-Semitic narratives as well. For example, it is popular with modern anti-Semites to claim the Jews worked with the Muslims in conquering Christian Spain. In reality, the Jews were willing to work with whoever looked like a winner. Jews also worked with Christians against the Muslims and sided with the Viking raiders when they sacked Bordeaux. They also worked with the Franks against the Vikings.

One final bit of interest is it seems that the beginning of Jewish hatred for the Catholic Church began in this period. This hatred turns up today in modern Zionism. In Yoram Hazony’s book, The Virtue of Nationalism, he repeatedly claims that Catholicism was a form of empire, which he condemns. It’s a strange tick, given that the Catholic Church holds little influence in the modern world. It was the Church, however, that managed to reduce Jewish power in the West, starting in the medieval period.

The book does not address this issue, but the fact that Church policy was separate, often at odds with official policy, in the kingdoms of the early medieval period, made it possible for Jews to carve out special privileges. Once Church policy became entangled with official policy, this was no longer possible. Jews were then marginalized and isolated, in order to prevent them from influencing the secular authorities and proselytizing to the Christians. The Catholic Church was bad for Jews.

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A Late Summer Mélange

As we head into the last semi-official week of summer, at least here in America, I wanted to keep it light this week. I had something else in mind, but I realized I was taking next week off and not feeling very serious as a result. I bet a lot of people are in the same place, as the summer winds down. Here in Lagos, the schools start the day after Labor Day this year, so next week is a big vacation week. Parents are prepping for school and non-parents are enjoying family free time at the beach.

Of course, the end of the summer means the news cycle picks up again. The FBI document dump appears to be queuing up, so that means the Left will be turning the sewage hose on full blast in order to distract us. Taking some time off before the lunatics are back at full screech is a good idea. As we get closer to the 2020 Democrat primaries, the lunacies is sure to reach levels we never thought possible. I did a little on this in the show, but I suspect we are in for an interesting autumn.

One of the funny things about doing a lot of traveling in your business life is that vacation often means no going anywhere. When I was a young man, vacation meant going somewhere for sun and fun. Years of traveling and I now look forward to take at least one week a year where I just stay home. I plan to leave Lagos next spring, so I am looking forward to a week of cleaning out closets and making trips to the landfill. It’s not a glamorous way to spend a week, but it beats being in a hotel room.

I’ve also found that the vacation at home is much more relaxing that taking a trip somewhere. These days, you can never get away from work, as something always comes up that you have to address. When I’m on a trip that is always in the back of my mind, especially if I’m in a different time zone. At home, I just leave the e-mail client up and take a look from time to time. I don’t feel like I’m missing anything and I have the peace of mind that I can address anything as it comes up.

Whenever I think about that fact, I wonder how people lived in the age before constant electronic communications. I would imagine most people just assumed you could not reach someone on vacation, so they figured it out on their own. That and there was probably more respect for people’s time away from the office. Not to sound like a Bolshevik, but the technological revolution has led to the enslavement of the population in ways the old Robber Barons never could have imagined.

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. The anarchists can catch me on iHeart Radio. YouTube also has the full podcast. Of course, there is a download link below.

For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte at Starbucks. Thank you for your support!

This Week’s Show


  • 00:00: Opening
  • 02:00: Gaia News (Link) (Link)
  • 12:00: Tax Farmers (Link)
  • 22:00: The African Invasion (Link) (Link) (Link)
  • 32:00: The Spying Game (Link) (Link) (Link)
  • 42:00: No Red Flags (Link)
  • 47:00: Rogue Judges (Link)
  • 52:00: Cosmopolitan Rock Fights (Link)
  • 57:00: Closing

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The Uncertainty Of Money

Imagine a world in which governments do business with one another only in gold, as in physical gold. They can issue promissory notes to one another, but it has to be backed by verified stores of gold. Governments, however, do not use gold for paying employees or contracting work with private business. In the case of employees, government pays in script, the value of which is set by the government. The vendors, on the other hand, are paid with silver, as in real silver coin or silver notes.

The first part of this thought experiment is not a big leap, as governments still hoard gold and will on occasion pay one another in gold. In our imaginary world, gold would be the exclusive currency of government, so regular people would hold very little of it, other than for novelty. This is not much different from today, as gold is not legal tender in most of the world. It is treated, in the law, as a commodity, like diamonds, barrels of oil, bales of hay, and so on. Gold is a product, not money.

The rest of the thought experiment gets a little weird, as companies do business in the tender of their home country. If they did business with one another in silver, then one of two things would happen. Either the price of silver would be pegged at the value of the legal tender or it would be pegged at the price of gold. Since government would always be willing to buy gold in silver or tender, from anyone holding gold as a store of value, the most likely result is all three would be related in value.

The result of this arrangement would be a world where the credit worthiness of governments would be pegged to their gold reserves, but also the gold reserves of their native companies and populations. A government that could quickly buy up gold from its people would have more flexibility than a government so distrusted that its own people would resist selling its gold to the state. Something similar would apply to the credit ratings of businesses, with regards to the supply of silver.

A well run country with a high trust population and a responsible government would find that the flow of gold and silver would be high, as there would be no reason to hoard them. Similarly, the value of the paper script used for retail transactions would have a steady value, relative to the currency of business and government. This would not just be an internal trust. Outsiders would see it too. In contrast, corrupt states with corrupt people would have low trust and lots of hoarding of gold and silver.

Now, this thought experiment is useful in understanding what is happening with the screaming headlines about negative bond yields. The media hypes these events as if they are the sign of the end times. Most likely, they are triggered by the word “negative” and just assume it is bad news. In reality, what the market is saying is that the German bonds are so safe, the holder is willing to pay for the privilege of holding them. Lenders are literally paying the German state for the privilege of lending to it.

Now, it is tempting for a certain sort of person (libertarians) to say it is ridiculous to compare government debt to gold, as in this analogy. They are right. Government debt is actually more secure. The reason is this. Tomorrow, the government can ban the private ownership of gold. Executive Order 6102 is a United States presidential executive order signed on April 5, 1933, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt that effectively banned the private ownership of gold in the United States.

On the other hand, no government anywhere could ban the private ownership of government debt. In fact, no government could risk the hint of not paying its outstanding debts, as that would make all debt worthless. Since, in the case of Western countries, those government bonds are the basis of the financial system, public trust in the credit worthiness of government is vital. That’s why people are literally willing to trade gold at a loss for the privilege of holding German bonds right now.

Now, that does not mean negative rates are all puppies and sunshine. Going back to our analogy, a world where everyone trusts government, but is not willing to trust companies, would result in a disequilibrium in the relationship between gold, silver and the paper script used in retail. The “price” in terms of script for silver would collapse, while the price of gold would soar. After all, why hold silver when business is bad, when you can hold gold or even cash, which has a higher value?

In our age, government debt is the gold in the analogy, but corporate debt is the equivalent of the silver. Modern business works off debt, as it is the currency of the modern age. In prior ages, government debt and corporate debt was captive to the supply of gold and silver. Today, the relationship between sovereign debt, municipal debt, corporate debt and legal tender is enabled and managed by central banks, primarily the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank.

This is why borrowing rates across the West remain at historic lows. The whole point of this arrangement was to prevent the ups and downs, the booms and busts that plagued industrial economies since the steam engine. The trouble is, the system also allows for the easy manipulation of the economy through the money supply. Inevitably, that worked one way and we are now in a place where no one is willing to pay the price of getting things back to something close to historic norms.

This system has also been based on certain assumptions about America that are starting to unravel. One is that America would continue to operate like a giant shopping mall, willing to buy on unfavorable terms. Both Europe and China based their economic models on this assumption. Trump has abandoned that and that’s why we see problems in China and now economic uncertainty in the heart of Europe. The uncertainty of world political arrangements is now showing up in the money.

It also suggests the markets are slowly coming to terms with the fact that the Trump economic model is the new normal. The election is fourteen months away, so if his loss in 2020 was the safe bet, the markets would be responding now. Instead, the global economy seems to be slowly coming around to the fact that either Trump wins in 2020 or his polices will be carried on no matter what happens. America as problem solver for the world’s money problems may be coming to an end.

For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte at Starbucks. Thank you for your support!

The Problems Of Design

Whenever the subject of Intelligent Design turns up, it is always in the context of believers in ID attacking evolutionary biology. The ID’ers have a list of claims about “Darwinism” that they insist make evolution impossible. A popular one now, for example, is that there is not enough time for natural selection to produce enough gene mutations to explain the fossil record. A fair description of ID is that it is a list of arguments and assertions about evolution wrapped around a set of central claims.

One of those claims is that creation, as we observe it, must be the result of design and therefore a designer. They never describe the designer, as most people just assume they mean God, but the designer could be space aliens, in theory. A certain type of self-described Christian finds this appealing. They assume the designer is God, as they have an understanding of God that is much more personal. They believe God is highly involved in the granular details of human existence.

Now, it should be pointed out that this understanding of God is outside Christian tradition and perhaps even anti-Christian. Early Christians, like the Jews of the period, were highly influenced by the Greek understanding of the world. For them, the universe was an orderly place operating by fixed rules. You can’t have a covenant with God, after all, if the universe is a lawless place controlled by a fickle creator. That would make God’s covenant with man just another trick played by him on mankind.

Intelligent Design is occasionalism. While the natural world seems to operate along a set of knowable rules, God often intervenes to change results. He is always in that space between cause and effect, ready to alter the relationship according to his design. God created the platypus for reasons only known to God. If he chooses, he can make the Nile flow south or the sky turn pink. The proof of this, according to Intelligent Design, is the variety of species alive today, as well those no longer in existence.

In fairness to the ID’ers, occasionalism did creep into Christian theology in the Middle Ages, as the Christian West came into contact with Islam. Nicholas of Autrecourt was a 14th century French theologian, who was a critic of the orderly view of the natural world and a proto-occasionalist. David Hume dabbled in the ideas, but stopped short of claiming a creator or designer. Modern ID’ers can therefore claim they are not way outside Christian tradition, but they would have to defend against it.

Another central claim of Intelligent Design is that the natural world is either the result of chance or design. This is the keystone of their theory, as Intelligent Design is not an affirmative argument in favor of a designer. Instead, they frame the debate as between two competing theories. Therefore, if one is shown to be invalid, by default the other must be true. It is a bit of rhetorical sleight of hand to avoid the central problems of Intelligent Design, which of course is that it can never be proven.

This aspect of Intelligent Design relies on a characterization of natural selection as random chance, like rolling of dice. It’s the claim that a football game is either the result of random chance or the game is fixed by the officials, either in advance or as the game proceeds to its conclusion. Obviously, this is ridiculous. The result of a sports match is not random and it is not predetermined or fixed. The result of a sportsball game, is the result of the players acting and reacting to one another, within a known set of rules.

That’s the case with evolutionary biology. Random mutations in the genome are one aspect of the evolutionary process. Environment obviously plays a role here.  Sexual selection is another. Human intervention is another. After all, people have killed off whole species. People have killed off whole groups of people. Like the sportsball game, there are multiple actors, acting and reacting, within a set of rules that science does not fully understand. Evolution is not an argument in favor of chance.

The point here is Intelligent Design is built, in part, on a false dichotomy. Natural selection is not random chance, at least not how most people understand what random chance means. Further, even if natural selection is unable to explain everything, there are other forces, like sexual selection, that come into play. Even if everything about evolutionary biology is wrong, it does not make Intelligent Design true. It simply means we have no good answer understanding the natural world.

This again comes back to the question as to whether Intelligent Design is at odds with Christian theology. The Sphynx cat exists and we know why. The ID’ers would argue that it is an example of design, but that presupposes the breeders were either directed by God or compelled by God to create the breed. That means man has no agency and that sin cannot truly exist. This argument for Intelligent Design comes dangerously close to the argument that man has no free will, which is heretical on its face.

This is why ID’er focus all of their energy on the negative argument, making various claims about evolutionary science. That way, the discussion is always on the science, rather than the theology. This rhetorical sleight of hand is also dishonest, which raises another theological problem for ID’ers. How can something be in line with Biblical teaching if it is based on a falsehood? Maybe the ID’er have a way to explain this, but it is not something they choose to address in their books and articles.

The most serious issue with Intelligent Design is what it implies about God. A designer that is endlessly tinkering with his creation is not a designer with foresight. Alternatively, it is a designer that is a fickle trickster, tinkering with his creation for his own amusement, without regard for his creation. It is a designer that purposely makes flawed creations that harm his other creations. This is a designer burning army men with a magnifying glass and blowing up the model train trestle. That’s not God. That’s the Devil.

From a mainstream Christian perspective, Intelligent Design has some serious theological problems, with occasionalism being the main one. The one way to solve the theological problems is to move the designer back to the beginning, where the Bible writers preferred to place him. The classic watchmaker model, where God sets the universe in motion, according to a fixed set of rules, with evolution possibly being one of them. That leaves room to debate evolution, but does not make God a villain.

For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte at Starbucks. Thank you for your support!