The Tax Revolt

In the realm of economics, hidden taxes are considered the worst taxes, as they corrupt the relationship between the parties in a transaction. The hidden tax adds a third party to the transaction, which clouds the true cost from buyer and seller. This secret partner to the transaction is often the government. Fees in the supply chain, like energy taxes, for example, show up in the cost of the product or service, but they are not disclosed, so the true cost is hidden from both the seller and buyer in many cases.

In the social realm, there are hidden taxes that are not really hidden, as they are experienced every day, but no one thinks of them as taxes. For example, people living in Lagos on the Chesapeake are well aware of the tax. This is the daily cost of insulating yourself from crime and mayhem. It may be a direct tax like alarm systems or bars on the windows. It can also be an indirect tax, like the two hour commute from one part of the suburbs to another. Time is just another form of money.

There is also an emotional cost that comes with living around so much vibrancy. When you live in a place like Lagos, around the tax, you can never relax. Life in diverse areas is a constant struggle between two species that were never meant to occupy the same ecosystem. The fragile peace is a source of stress, because it is so fragile. You know that the cost of that peace is tolerating the endless inconveniences. The pale face just assumes maintaining the peace is his burden alone.

It is not just the anxiety of living in constant danger. The tax shows up in a million little ways in your daily life. If you go into a lunch place in certain parts of town, you can expect to see a local struggling to order from the menu. The inculcated sense of entitlement means they will waste time ordering odd things that slow up the whole process for everyone. In the grocery store, shoppers will pick checkout lines, based on the assumed tax in each option. Everyone tries to be a tax dodger.

Like real taxes, there is no way to avoid the tax. In a place like Lagos, it is everywhere and is just a part of the background radiation of the universe. One just learns to navigate around these burdens. You are only made aware of the tax when you go away to some tax haven and then return to Lagos. The most stressful day of vacation is the first day back. It’s like moving from black and white to color. For newcomers, the tax is not just disorienting, it can be terrifying, but then they acclimate.

Of course, the newest tax comes from open borders. Illegal immigration is fueled by the demand for cheap labor. All of those little brown guys riding leaf blowers are here because they are cheap. The price of the landscaping services may be lower, but the cost shows up in the emergency room or in the police blotter. This is a form of cost shifting that is, in effect, a hidden tax on the people using other services. The high cost of cheap labor is another hidden tax all of us are forced to pay.

The tax is not just a racial thing. The ultimate cause of the tax is Progressive whites, who are a tireless burden on everyone around them. When box wine auntie shows up for Thanksgiving dinner, everyone pays the price for tolerating her. The day is a little less enjoyable, a little less relaxed. In many cases, everyone is thankful that racist Uncle Bob did not strangle her at the table. Perhaps instead of thankful, everyone is disappointed. Again, everyone secretly wishes to be free of the tax.

That, of course, is the ultimate hidden tax. Every normal person has had to self-censor, hold their tongue around some Progressive goofball. Maybe it is at work, where fear of being canceled out of your job leads to self-censorship. Often, it is in daily life where everyone avoids certain topics around the liberal guy. Being polite, something that is supposed to be a gift you give to others, becomes another tax in your life. Every normal man has quietly thought about canceling the tax man in their life.

The tax is everywhere. Turn on the television to watch a sportsball game and you will be inundated with commercials for race mixing, homosexuals and girl power. What should be a few hours vegging out in front of the tube to watch men play a game, quickly turns into an aggravation that saps your strength. TV ratings have declined for sports, because for many normal people, the tax is now exceeding the benefit. Staring blankly at the wall is more relaxing than another lecture on girl power.

This is the massive hidden tax on normal people. The price of tolerating Progressive lunatics is the stress of crumbling community, the irritation of endless propaganda and the bitterness than comes with self-censorship. Everyone’s life is diminished because a small group of people impose a heavy tax burden on the rest of us. The rise of dissident politics is not a reaction to Progressive lunacy, so much as it is the result of carrying the hidden tax burden. Normal white men are tired of paying the damned tax.

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!

Thoughts On Civil War

A prevailing assumption in all of outsider politics, both Left and Right, is that America is headed for a civil war. The details are not all that clear, but that is the assumption. Even the mainstream political types think it is possible. A regular part of Tucker Carlson’s act is to warn his fellow political elites that they better shape up or the else. From time to time polls are done that show Americans are increasingly sure that a civil war is the most probable outcome for the turmoil and conflict of the current year.

At first blush, it is not a silly assumption. After all, empires tend to end in violence, either they are conquered or break apart. Even if you think America is some sort of exception when it comes to being an empire, every society is racked with conflict. It has been over 150 years since the United States has had serious internal distension. The closest to a revolt was the Civil Rights Movement, but the blacks were easily bought off after some protests and riots. America seems due for a violent adjustment.

Further, the far Left assumes they will win such a conflict. How is never explained, as most are noodle armed sissies, but they probably think they will have the full support of the police, like they see at their protests. Maybe the cops will side with the far Left in an armed conflict. If it means keeping their pensions and benefit packages, that’s probably a safe bet. On the other hand, history says police forces tend to scatter quickly when order falters to the point where there is fighting in the streets.

Many on the far Right make the same assumption as the Left, with regards to the outcome, owing to the fact that most of the guns are owned by whites. Those noodle armed Antifa sissies and their mouthy women would not last long in a fair fight, much less an armed fight. That’s certainly true, but if they did have the cops fighting for them that would be different. Then there is the fact that the same people controlling Antifa also run the military, so the gun disparity would change quickly.

The main trouble with the civic war bogeyman is no one bothers to imagine how it would be conjured in the first place. Civil wars are fights between two or more factions, led by members of the elite. The American Civil War was a fight between New England elites and Southern elites. Modern elites, not just in America, but across the West are in lockstep on every important topic. It is inconceivable that they would take up arms against one another. If anything, they will take up arms against the people.

That leaves open the other option for a social war. An armed rebellion of some sort, maybe due to divisions within society that the elites can no longer contain. The Antifa media, for example, harasses the wrong people and the result is organized white terrorism against Progressive targets. Alternatively, the media agitation results in some left-wing street protesters moving from theater to violence. The media did convince that guy to shoot up the Republican softball game a few years back.

The trouble with the rebellion scenario is that a decent rebellion has to be led by people capable of organizing a lot of people. The structure of the Left precludes a rebellion from that side of politics. They control the institutions and the rank and file lack the will and brainpower to go it alone. The Left is not going to revolt against itself, so they will continue to ratchet up their terrorism against everyone else. Red flag laws, for example, will be used to jail dissidents in the near future.

Outside of left-wing circles, organizing a rebellion seems less likely. Blacks like to riot and they have some reason to rebel against the prevailing order. History says they will just burn down their own neighborhoods and loots some local stores. Hispanics seem to be the most passive group in America. As long as they have cheap food and cheap entertainment, they are not rebelling. The squalor of America beats the squalor of back home, so getting them angry enough to rebel seems implausible.

If there is to be a rebellion, it will be among whites, but whites are far from being a monolithic group like blacks. There are regional divides, as well as class divides, which are easily exploited by the people in charge. Ruling class whites, for example, hate all lower class whites. That’s part of what motivated the FBI to spy on the Trump people in the last election. It’s why the IRS harassed white people in the 2012 election. Ruling class whites have a deep loathing for the rest of white America.

At the other end, the working classes have had plenty of reasons to revolt since the 1970’s, when the usual suspects began auctioning off the manufacturing base. In coal country, for example, where you will find the most rebellious whites in America, an all-out war on their way of life has not resulted in much resistance. The semi-urban white working class has continued to support a system that shows every sign of trying to snuff out the white working class. There’s no rebellion in that group.

That leaves the white suburban middle-class, who are certainly the angriest cohort in the country, but they are the most docile too. Perhaps if they fear a real threat to their economic position, they will become less docile, but middle-class revolution remains an oxymoron at this stage. For now, they will remain committed to the system, taking out their anger on politicians at the ballot box. Even though voting has had no impact on the trajectory of American society, it seems to be enough for this class.

Even if you can conjure a scenario in which a group revolts or the ruling class splits, resulting in a civil war of some type, it’s hard to imagine it being violent. For starters, rebelling against the local police department, much less the military is laughably implausible, given the disparity in firepower. Even small town cops these days have been militarized. They have assault units, armored vehicles, drones and electronic surveillance equipment. America is literally a police state now.

Rebellion would have to be guerrilla war, turning the weight of the surveillance state against itself. Instead of blowing stuff up, the rebellion of the future will be placing racist material in strategic locations, forcing the police to spend hundreds of man hours looking for invisible Nazis. More sophisticated tactics will require infiltration of ruling class assets, so rebels can easily and surreptitiously throw sand in the gears of the custodial state. The war will be fought in cubicles, not the streets.

Now, this may seem depressing at first blush, but civil wars and rebellion never encompass the whole of the society. The American Revolution directly involved about five percent of the population. The American Left radicalized the country with less than 20% support among whites. For those hoping to see the next American civil war, it will not take much of a change in the above dynamics to get the conditions for it. A serious economic catastrophe or a major foreign policy setback could be enough.

There’s also the fact that the nature of rebellion changes with the times. The rebels of the agrarian age faced men with bayonets and muskets. Men with muskets and rifles hiding in the woods could do real damage to their rulers. In the industrial age, general strikes and urban riots were enough to counter state power. In the information age, the rebellion will be about sapping the strength of the rulers, with regards to their ability to control data. Unplugging a data center will be the new terrorism.

When you start to puzzle through it, the probability of an old fashioned civil war is close to zero, while armed rebellion is in the single digits. Things will have to change a lot for the conditions to be right. On the other hand, a new type of rebellion, one suited for the age and the sorts of people unhappy with the system, is increasingly likely. Middle-class mom giving company passwords to rebel hackers is a likely scenario. The revolution of the future will be low-grade and mostly non-violent.

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!

Constitutional Failure

A decade’s long refrain from principled conservatives and civic nationalists has been that the problems of America could be cured by returning to the constitutional principles as defined by the Founders. The principled conservatives have, of late, be much more enthusiastic for the alleged principles of the Declaration, while the civic nationalists stick with the Constitution as written. The trouble is, the cause of the present troubles, the source of what ails current year America is the Constitution itself.

Constitutions can be written and unwritten, positive and negative. American has a mostly written constitution, while the UK has an unwritten one. By unwritten, it is understood to mean there is no single controlling document. Instead, there are customs and precedents that have been in place for so long that most citizens think these are, in fact, laws yet they are not. There are laws originating from these customs and precedents, but ultimately, tradition is what frames the political order.

Then there are negative and positive constitutions. A positive constitution is one that details the duties of government. These duties could be to the citizens or they could be the duties of the defined entities within the state. The negative constitution, in contrast, lists the powers of the state, the division of power within the state and the limits of the power of the state over the citizens. The American constitution, as originally conceived, is a negative constitution. It sets limits on the government.

That’s the theory, but in reality, constitutions are a blend of the written and unwritten, as well as a mix of positive and negative law. In the American system, traditions and customs have arisen that seem like laws. Legislatures have passed laws obligating the government to perform certain duties for the citizens. Of course, there is the that divide between those who see the constitutional order resting on the Gettysburg Address and those who see it still in the Bill of Rights. Ours is a blended system.

There’s something else about constitutions that goes unnoticed. That is they define of the roles of the power centers of society within politics. For example, the Founders understood that real power in America was local. In each of the former colonies, there were local elites who welded real power. Because they were sane men, they knew real power always rested in the upper reaches of the natural hierarchy of man. In the new constitutional order, those power interests needed a defined role.

The Senate, which was the body representing the local elites, was given an important role in the new political order. Since there was no such thing as a national elite, and no one wanted such thing, there was no role for a national elite. Instead, the Senate was the body that would represent the states, which were controlled by the local elites. Through the state legislatures, senators would be chosen to represent state interests in the new federal government. The Senate is the rich people’s house.

There is the first problem with the Constitution. In the 18th century, a national elite came in one form and that was a king and the aristocracy. The king had national interests, as he technically owned the society over which he ruled. He also had the power to exercise his rights, either directly or through the network of aristocrats, who were often his kin. This was not something Founders had or wanted. They had just fought a long war with the king to establish their local rule over their domains.

Therefore the idea of a national or global elite was anathema to the Founders, so there was never a role defined for this type power center. Further, subsequent changes to the Constitution have stripped the states of their power in government. The Senate is another democratic body. As a result, local elites have no voice in national government. Compounding it, there is no definition and therefore no limit on the national elites. National and now global interests operate outside the constitutional framework.

That’s the other defect in the constitution. An unwritten political order requires those with power to exert their power. In order to maintain power, elites of all types must actively assert their privilege, often with calls to tradition and custom. In a written system, the bias is toward defending prerogatives and privileges. The law becomes the ultimate source of authority, because it is the lines separating the various power interests within the political order. Everyone has to be a lawyer.

Because the American written constitution never defined a role for national and global elites, they are free to exert their power as much as nature will allow. Because they only confront resistance from those constitutionally limited institutions, playing defense within the law, they have been free to expand to the point where they now transcend the political order. It is why appeals to the law to restrain the aggressive behavior of woke capital is pointless. The law is constrained from acting.

It is why, as absurd as it may sound at first blush, a third house of Congress could be created to resolve this asymmetry. The moneyed interest bribing Congressman and Senators would be prohibited from that practice, but be provided a chamber of their own with power to counter the House, Senate and Executive. The new house, perhaps, would be given the power of the purse, since they pay the taxes, while the House would be given power that reflects the interests of the modern citizen.

This would be resisted by the elite, so it would never happen, at least not without a revolution. This is why efforts to curb the flow of money into politics have failed. The people giving the money have no reason to support such a change. It’s why abolishing corporate taxes would be most resisted by the corporations themselves. It is through the tax code that corporate interests can most influence Congress. Without a reason to lobby Washington, they can’t be there to exert their power over politics.

The expansion of democratic elements into the American constitutional system has added another set of problems, the illusion of choice and the illusion of power. Voters think the parties offer real options, when the options are controlled entirely by the undefined elite. They also think the power of their vote has real value. This blinds the citizen to the reality of his political order. Democracy magnifies the defects of the written constitutional order, resulting in the current instability.

This is why calls to return to the old order or even the order of the second founding is a primitive response to the problem of design. Even if it were possible to roll back to such a system, the power relationships would not change. In fact, a smaller government, as originally intended, would be weaker and less able to fend off the predations of the power elite elite. Put another way, if the roots of the problem are the defects within the Constitutional order, fidelity to that order is the problem, not the solution.

Of course, if the plan is to revolt in order to put the old political order back on the throne, then that leaves open the option of revolting and creating a new political order that reflects the realities of the current age. The original Constitution was about codifying the victory of the Founders, who revolted against the old order. A revolution against the old order of today, a successful revolution, will inevitably result in codifying the victory of the victorious revolutionaries. The new principles will reflect their sensibilities.

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 Will To Failure

A popular topic on the dissident right is the failure of Buckley-style conservatism, often with an emphasis on the perfidy of particular conservatives. The focus is on the people or particular political events. For example, gay marriage is a popular example of how the so-called conservatives failed to conserve anything. People like David French are popular punching bags, as they are examples of the way in which main stream conservatives spend their time currying favor with the Left.

The underlying assumption is that conservative ideas are not the issue. The issue is the perfidy of conservatives and their unwillingness to fight for those ideas. Compounding it is the assumption that conservatives are intellectuals, who know the material and have mastered their arguments. It is just assumed that Buckley-style conservatism was mostly right on the ideas and that their people were smart enough to understand those ideas and argue for those ideas in the public square.

What is becoming increasingly clear is that conservatism, the Buckley form that was once called the New Right, was never an intellectual movement. Whatever the first movers of Buckley conservatism set-out to do, their movement never rose above the personal and the political. It was never an intellectual movement. Instead, it was a political enterprise that decorated itself with the trappings of political theory, history and philosophy. It was just a set of poses, masquerading as ideas.

That comes through in this very long review, in the Claremont Review of Books, of George Will’s very long book on conservatism. Early in the review, there is this quote from George Will. “If there is no sense in which there is an eternal human nature, there cannot be eternal principles—certainly no self-evident truths—of political organization and action.” That is the type of line that will strike the conservative reader as sensible, but it is complete nonsense. It is pseudo-intellectual babble.

For starters, it is sloppy logic, the sort of thing that one would expect from a freshman coed, not someone who fashions himself an intellectual. There may be principles that are contingent upon human nature, but he does not bother making that point. In fact, conservatives never bother to connect human nature with the axioms of human organization. Instead, it is broad assertions like that, which violate Hume’s law. Taken together, that sentence is nothing more than wishful thinking.

Human nature is the realm of biological truth, as in people desire sex, social status and security from danger. These are true things about humans everywhere humans can be found in nature. A principle is a rule about how people ought to behave or how a society should organize itself. These are found everywhere, as well. The thing is, one does not follow the other, which is why rules of behavior vary widely among humans. If there were eternal principles, they would show up everywhere.

Putting that aside, the assertion that there is an eternal human nature, at least with regards to politics, which is Will’s focus, is absurd. If that were true, human society would look pretty much the same everywhere. It does not, which means there is a great deal of diversity in man. While all people will share basic biological necessities, like the need for food, shelter, sex and so on, how they organize themselves to attain those things varies a great deal, owing to the natural diversity of man.

In other words, human nature does not lead to eternal principles. It eliminates the possibility of eternal principles. The morality of the Bushman, with regards to how they distribute food or access to females, will reflect their nature. In Siberia, where the people will have different natures, they will have different principles. Sure, both have rules against murder, but the principles they have created to deal with this eternal part of human nature are completely different, owing to their different nature.

That may seem like a quibble, but it is a good starting place when examining the anti-intellectualism of conservatives like Will. The book itself, as the reviewer later explains, is actually a rebuke of Will’s past arguments about the nature of conservatism. In the past, Will claimed to be a European conservative, which he was always careful to define as Burkean, rather than those bad guys on the European Right. In this book, he claims to have changed teams and become a Madisonian conservative.

The problem with that is Burke and Madison are not two faces of opposing views on human organization. Burke was certainly a critic of the bloody radicalism of the French Revolution, but he was never an enemy of American liberty. That’s because there was never anything all that radical about the American Revolution. Someone familiar with the material would have understood these differences, but that was never really George Will or any of the so-called conservatives.

Amusingly, the one element of the American Revolution that could be classified as radical was the Declaration. This is why Progressives have made it the foundation of their thought and the basis of the second founding theory. Will now embraces the Declaration as the cornerstone of conservatism, while in the past he rejected it as a “highly charged declaration of a political philosophy.” Will now calls it the most important political document in human history. That’s quite a change.

This is, of course, a great example of what was always wrong with conservatism. It was never an intellectual movement. Just as Will can come to oppose what he formerly supported, swinging around to embrace yesterday’s radicalism as today’s eternal principle, conservatism was always ready to make the same journey. Buckley-style conservatism was never an intellectual movement, it was a pose or what Will prefers to call a sensibility. It was whatever fashion worked in the moment.

This is why there has never been much thought given as to why conservatism, as a political project, was a total failure. They won elections, but never won the resulting policy fights. A true intellectual class would have compared theory to reality and noticed the many contradictions. Even today, when so-called conservative intellectuals convene to discuss the state of their racket, they just end up quoting dead men and promising to do more of the same. It’s nostalgia masquerading as introspection.

In a way, this was always true about Buckley conservatism. Even as a purely political operation, it always functioned as a cargo cult. If they could dress up as the Founders, repeat what they said, the spirit and constitution of that generation would magically appear in this generation. The Buckleyites could never understand that the America of the Founding was a different country. They did things different back then, because the people, their very nature, was different from modern America.

This is why conservatism was a total failure. The Left, for all of its faults, recognized that the America of the 20th century was nothing like the America of the Founding. It needed a new political framework and a new set of principles. The second founding idea was more than just a recasting of history to include the new arrivals. It was an effort to create a new foundation to support the new political orthodoxy. The Buckleyites were never smart enough to get that and were no match for the Left.

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 Custodial State

In The Servile State, Hilaire Belloc argued that industrial capitalism would eventually result in a transcendent regulatory regime. This regulatory regime replaces pure capitalism with a system of duties and obligations. Instead of a pure economic relationship between labor, business and the marketplace, a legal relationship is created and enforced by the state. The state, in theory, becomes the arbiter between the economic parties, balancing claims and adjudicating disputes.

This dynamic works as follows. The state, facing popular unrest due to the natural inequality that emerges from capitalism, sets about regulating capital. In order to do that, however, it must also regulate labor. Every new set of rules on capital requires a change or addition to the rules on labor, resulting in a complex web of reciprocal obligations and duties between the state capital and labor.

The regulatory regime that emerges from this dynamic would blur of the lines between the state and capital. The state would protect the interests of capital, while capital would support the interests of the state. Further, the system would require people to work for others, either as labor or as a paternalistic business owner. The business would have legal duties to its workforce and labor would have no choice but to work within the highly regulated system. Everyone is a servant of everyone else.

When Belloc was writing, he did not imagine that the state and capital would have a third element in addition to the economic and legal. That is the spiritual. A century ago, the spiritual was still the explicit domain of churches, which stood outside the economic and legal relationship between the state, capital and labor. Public morality was to some degree enforced by the state, but it was assumed that morality had its roots in the religious traditions. Religion was the ultimate moral authority.

Today, the spiritual is the domain of corporate giants. So-called “woke capital” is an effort to impose an official morality on the public. State sanctioned oligopolies control access to essential services like the internet, banking and the media. The result is anyone falling outside the accepted corporate morality runs the risk of being fired from their job, losing access to essential services and being socially ostracized. Woke capital not only has economic and legal duties. It has spiritual duties, as well.

A good example to see how this works is in professional sports, where the team owners are not just putting on shows for customers. They are expected to provide morality tales to the public within and around the presentation of the games. Owning a sports team is no longer about owning an entertainment business. It’s not just rich guys blowing their millions competing with one another. The sports team is now a public trust, supported with billions in public money, in order to enforce public morality.

Before and during the games, there are mini-performances that “celebrate our democracy” or “celebrate our diversity.” These little shows have no natural place in the game itself. People at a football game don’t care that the teacher of the month is a one-legged gender fluid person of color. No one cares, except for the people in charge of the show, who see the event as a way to promote their morality. The proliferation of pink, for example, is to display the dominance of that cult.

Then you have the regulation of the game itself. A player gets into trouble and the league will investigate. Think about that for a second. Not long ago, it was just assumed that the police and courts did the investigating. If your employer learned you were charged with a crime, they may ask you to resign or maybe take a leave of absence, but only if it was going to be a distraction. Today, your employer believes they own the whole you, even the parts of your life outside of your work.

What Belloc imagined was a world in which labor, business and the state were tied together by a system of positive laws. The obligations on capital and labor would resemble the ancient relationship between the slave and owner. In the ancient world, slavery was a regulated practice. The slave owner had duties to his slaves, like feeding them and providing them with shelter. Of course, the slave was legally and economically obligated to work for his master under the same regulatory regime.

What we are seeing is a slightly different part of the ancient world, the time when the West was transition from the Roman Empire to the medieval period. In the early middle ages, slave owners were often required to tend to the spiritual needs of their slaves by converting them to Christianity or prohibiting them from converting to other religions, especially Judaism. Jews, of course, saw it as their duty to convert their slaves to their faith, despite the law. The slave owner was his slave’s spiritual leader.

That’s the emerging custodial state. Belloc saw that the industrial age allowed for the concentration of capital and the possibility of a servile state. The technological age is allowing for a concentration of power, not just wealth, and therefore the emergence of a custodial state. The massive power centers based in technology and finance are creating a thicket of economic, legal and spiritual obligations between the managerial elite that control these power centers and the people subject to them

You hear it in the language used by the servants of the tech barons. When YouTube or Twitter stages a purge of “hate speech” they send out women and homosexuals, a sort of priestly class in the custodial state, to explain why they had to protect their people from these dangerous purveyors of hate speech. They are not business owners serving customers. They are keepers of a public trust. They have a moral duty, they even say it, to look out for the emotional and spiritual well-being of society.

This is where the social credit system the Trump administration is planning will differ from what is evolving in China. The Chinese communists are far too practical to worry about the spiritual well-being of their people. They do worry about their social cohesion, especially in difficult times. Their system is about suppressing those who will question the party during difficult economic times. The Chinese social credit system is an entirely defensive system to prevent the organization of political opposition.

What is evolving in America is an offensive system. In order to maintain an acceptable social credit score, people will have to actively display their virtue. It’s not unreasonable to think they will be scanning the crowds at sporting events to make sure everyone is properly enthusiastic for the salute to our diversity. Your participation in the company multicultural celebration will go a long way to determining your social credit score, not just your position within the firm. Passivity will not be tolerated.

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!

Dear Z Man

If you look back in the archive, the last time I did a show on Friday the 13th was April of 2018 and I named the show Triskaidekaphobia. Nothing bad happened that day, as far as I know, so I did not worry much about doing a show this time. Now, I put the show together on Thursday, so it was not really Friday the 13th when I recorded. Maybe a lot of listeners drove off the road while listening or had men wearing hockey masks stalk them while they were enjoying the content. Happy listening today.

I did not do anything on the superstition this week, but I did spend a considerable amount of time discussing the nature of media. That is, the difference between watching content, listening to content and reading content. It is a topic I have thought about from time to time. In fact, whenever I watch a YouTube show I inevitably look at the views, the subscriber counts and start to wonder about the real impact of video. The same thing happens when I look through someone’s Twitter feed.

I’m one of the apostates on this issue. I think Twitter is a waste of energy. I think it is an echo chamber for the most part. The Left gets some benefit as their media, which is all media, monitors it for trends, but otherwise it is screaming into the void. I suspect YouTube is also a waste of resources. Video is a passive medium, so even though a video can get a lot of views, people forget what they saw as soon as they are done watching the video. As a result, video is the least effective medium.

There’s also the issue with the nature of the audience. My guess is smart people tend to read more than watch or listen. Dumb people make up the bulk of the video audience, which has been true of television since forever. Therefore, if you want to influence stupid people, video is the way to go. If you want to impact society in a meaningful way, then you need to persuade smart people and that means the written word. Those YouTube stars are just making money off dummies.

Now, there are exceptions to every general rule. There are smart and clever television shows and there are smart and clever YouTube stars. Stefan Molyneux and Paul Ramsey were pioneers in the field of internet video. They make smart and clever videos on important topics. They would be the exception that proves the rule. The vast majority of YouTube creators are not smart or clever and their audience tends to drool a lot. I doubt the fans of RamZPaul move their lips when reading.

That said, even smart people have been trained by the internet. If you want to influence the culture it means making your ideas consumable on a mobile devise. That’s not to say smart people consume ideas only through their phone. It’s just that like everyone else, their attention span has been diminished by the internet. Smart people are not reading one thousand page books that require hours of quiet contemplation to fully understand, which means a good writer needs to be pithy and economical.

Again, I could be all wrong about this. Whenever I bring it up, I get push back from people who insist we need to go back to quill pens and velum. Then there are those who swear the kids only watch short videos, so that is the future. Both points can’t be true and maybe neither is true. Maybe the reason the pamphleteer has been an indispensable part of politics since the printing press is that the most effective way to change someone’s mind is with a short explication of your position.

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: Diversity
  • 10:00: Medium & Message
  • 23:00: Mexico
  • 27:00: Good Writing
  • 30:00: The Wammins
  • 35:00: The CQ
  • 39:00: Metal
  • 45:00: Industrial Policy
  • 49:00: No Principles
  • 50:00: Thank You

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Reformers, Restorers & Revolutionaries

American politics is often cast as a battle between wreckers and restorers, taking turns at the helm of state. The wreckers are the do-gooders on the Left, who push through a bunch of ill-considered, by well-intentioned reforms that end poorly. The restorers are the so-called conservatives on the Right, who come in to clean up the mess and restore things back to order. Political history is often described in these terms, even by the people on the Left, who focus on the good intentions.

It is, of course, another example of how both sides of the Progressive orthodoxy serve the interests of the whole. The Left side gets to fashion itself as the good-hearted reformers, but are in too much of hurry to save the world. Their colleagues on the Right, of course, get to play the daddy role, coming in after the mess was made to be the sober minded restorer of order. It’s the classic sit-com model of the funny, scatter- brained wife with the frustrated husband as the straight man.

The funny thing about this model is the base of both sides never accepts this dynamic, instead seeing themselves more as revolutionaries and romantics. The hard Left dreams of flattening the global order to build a new world order around Gaia worship or possibly a matriarchy. The popularity of Ocasio-Cortez is based in the assumption of her followers that she is anti-white and will therefore usher in a world without white people. They clearly seek a radically different world than the present.

On the Right, something similar is true. The base conservative is not looking to fix the mess made by the Left. They want to roll back the last fifty years of cultural revolution, getting back to an America that looks like the 1950’s. If you asked most of the so-called movement conservatives, they would say they want to roll the political order back to the 18th century, the way the Founders intended. These are romantics, not restorers. They want to go back to another age, not live in this one.

Pillow talk to their base, while playing both sides against one another, is how the American political class has functioned for the last three generations. The Democrats figure out how to get a majority and push through some reforms, which never work as intended or satisfy the base. The majority falls apart and the Republicans come in to preserve the real reforms, while cleaning up the collateral damage and telling their base they plan to roll all of it back. This never happens, of course.

The health care reform package passed under the reign of Obama is a pretty good example of how this works. The bill was supposed to fix the American health care system, by lowering everyone’s costs, giving free care to everyone, who needs it, while giving everyone on the supply side a raise. This was lunacy, but it passed and the wheels came off the cart quickly. The republicans promised to repeal it, which they never did, despite have two years under Trump to do it.

Again, it was all a charade from the jump. The original bill was about punishing Christian organizations, hated by certain elements of the Left, while taking care of the wealthy interest profiting from their health care monopolies. The so-called reforms by the conservatives stripped a few onerous provisions from Christians, but kept all the goodies for the monopolists. Health care reform tuned out to be a bipartisan scam on the public that profited the health care rackets.

The truth is, the American political system has evolved to prevent both the revolutionary and the romantic from ever getting power. The one thing these two types have in common is they are at war with the present. The former wants to race into a glorious future, disconnected from the present. The latter wants to go back to a glorious past, but a radically different past, one where they possess the foresight their ancestors lacked. It is a past with a better future.

This is precisely why the people reigning over the neo-liberal political order are in such a panic over the rise of dissident politics. The numbers may be small, but the dissident right legitimatizes the radical Left. Put another way, by marginalizing radicals and anathematizing an authentic Right, the political class saps both sides of legitimacy, therefore maintaining a monopoly on legitimacy and political power. An authentic Right results in an authentic Left and the end of the present orthodoxy.

This is, perhaps, why the interwar years in Europe hold such a fascination with modern political thinkers, despite the lack of relevance. After the cataclysm that was the Great War, the old order had lost its legitimacy. Into the void rushed Bolshevism, the radicals, and Fascism, the romantics. The commies wanted to build their glorious future on the ruins of the past. The Fascists wanted to wind back the clock, recapturing the glory of the past, but with the lessons that led to the horrible present.

Another way of viewing that period is as a battle between Bolshevism and Fascism for how best to rule the industrial West. The communist embraced extreme egalitarianism, in theory, while Fascism embraced extreme hierarchy, in practice. Liberal democracy was not an alternative to Bolshevism or the enemy of Fascism. It was a compromise between the two. In theory, liberal democracy combines the virtues of egalitarianism, the democracy, with those of hierarchy in the form of meritocracy.

What we are witnessing and to a small degree a part of, is the decline of the old democratic order, as both an alternative Left and an alternative Right emerge from the shadows of post-Cold War America. Just as Fascism and Bolshevism were a battle over how best to rule the industrial West, the coming fight will be about how best to manage the West in the demographic and technological era. The reformers and restorers will be sidelined, while the revolutionaries square off to decide the future.

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!

Brought To You By The Letter R

Something you cannot help but notice, if you spend time scanning the political sites, is the growth of sponsored content. Breitbart will often have stories labeled “Sponsored Content” at the top, but otherwise they look like the rest of their stuff. This is content they are paid to post on their site. In the case of political sites, this content is generated by an industry group or lobbyists, who then pay the site for the opportunity to post the content, much like an advertiser. Hence the name “sponsored content.”

There is also something called “white box” content in the trade, which means it comes without attribution. Someone or some group with an agenda will produce a story and either give it to a site or pay them to take it. Part of the deal is the site gets to claim it as its own work. They will format it to their style and put the name of a writer they claim as their own the byline. The anti-BDS people use this to place stories unfavorable to the BDS movement into so-called conservative publications.

This is dishonest, at the very minimum, but it is a common enough practice that no one seems to care about it. Just how much content on these political sites is produced by concerned interests in Washington is hard to know. The stuff labeled as sponsored content is easy to spot, but the white box stuff is a mystery. Some of this white box content is quietly provided directly to friendly freelance writers, so even the site publishers do not know the real author of these pieces.

For example, how much of Cathy Young’s work is truly her own? Her content is clearly from a very specific perspective. It coincidentally matches perfectly with people like Max Boot, Jennifer Rubin, Bret Stephens and other neocons. Oddly, these people push an agenda the Left violently opposed not so long ago, yet all of these people now work for far left scandal sheets like the Washington Post. In the case of Young, she turns up in so-called conservative sites and far Left sites. What versatility!

There’s another aspect to the political writing game. This is the part tangled up in the Washington hackarama. This is where political consultants, connected individuals and members of the permanent political class use the political sites as a form of advertising for their services. They produce content for the sites and either give it away or in some cases pay for access on the sly. Instead of representing some anonymous interests, the point is to get their name in circulation.

An example of this is a recent article in National Review. It is a post suggesting Huey Long deserved to be murdered because he was a populist and everyone knows populists are the worst people. The writer is listed as Ellen Carmichael, “the president of The Lafayette Company, a political-communications firm.” A few minutes searching around and you will learn that she started in local Louisiana politics right out of diapers and has now moved to Washington as a consultant.

One way to get her name out to potential clients is to post stories suggesting things about her partisanship, her ideas and so forth in the sorts of sites read by people in the political business. At this point, National Review has no audience outside of Republican politics. It is pretty much a trade magazine now. They are happy to take this sort of content, as it is cheap and it fits in with their model, which is to wield as little influence over American politics as possible, while remaining in business.

Now, this is just one example, but multiply this, the sponsored content and the white box content over hundreds of times a month. It is not unreasonable to think that a large portion of what shows up on political sites is created by the hackarama. A lot of the cable news content is produced this ways, as well. For example, all of the Middle East content on mainstream sites is probably the work of The Lobby. Whether through friendly writers or directly through their own staff, it’s all agit-prop now.

From the dissident perspective, this is a useful starting point when discussing politics with normal people. Most readers of normie conservative sites are unaware of the fact lots of the content is really just product placement. The fans of Ben Shapiro don’t know he is pretty much just an actor, hired to promote certain positions. Instead of harping on the latter, the way to awaken normie is to talk about the former. Your Boomer uncle may love Israel, but he really hates being lied to, so go with that.

This may seem like another good reason to burn Washington to the ground, put the inhabitants to the sword and salt the earth afterwards, but that is a foregone conclusion at this late stage. It is another example of how the political system is corrupt beyond any reasonable hope of reform. Washington is a closed system ruled by a uniparty of permanent residents. It’s the Borg. When parts die off or are expelled as waste, new people are absorbed and assimilated into the system.

This reality of Washington is important to understand when examining the Trump administration. He came to town promising to reform Washington, but the Imperial Capital is beyond reform. It operates like a unitary organism now. Any attempt at reform will unleash antibodies to isolate and kill the foreign object. Those antibodies show up in the media. Washington now exists solely to perpetuate itself. To reform it is to kill it, which is no longer reform, but another word that begins with the letter R.

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 Louder He Talked Of His Honor

Last week, Catholic University hosted a showdown, of sorts, between David French and Sohrab Ahmari. Their dispute started when Ahmari posted this piece on First Things, declaring jihad against Frenchism, which he described as a passive-aggressive approach to the culture war with the Left. It got a lot of attention in conservative circles, mostly because they were happy that anyone was talking about them at all. Here is the video of the show down and here is a summary from American Conservative.

The event itself was typical of the pseudo-academic culture you see around conservative politics at this level. There is the superficial collegiality and the carrying on like this is a meeting of two intellectual giants. An essential element of this culture is the displaying of credentials, as well as the recognition of those credentials. That’s why the opening was like dogs sniffing each other’s butts at the park. Ahmari brought a gift to signal his submissiveness to French, who he considers a superior.

This is, of course, why French agreed to the thing in the first place. He was certainly told that Ahmari is a light weight, who could land a few punches, but was incapable of delivering any hard blows. Ahmari appears to be a guy, who has sampled dissident writing, but is not well versed in the arguments against Buckley conservatism. As a result he was left to flail around while French was able to safely keep the conversation to theoretical topics, rather than the failings of Buckley conservatism.

That is, of course, a game the Buckleyites learned from libertarians. When the conversation is about practical issues, like fighting the Left over cultural turf, they shift the focus to theory. When confronted on theory, they take a deep dive into the weeds of some narrow policy topic. That’s what French was doing with Ahmari. He kept shifting the topics to legalism and constitutional theory, in order to avoid talking about the fact that conservatism has been a colossal, multi-generational failure.

That’s what was a bit disappointing about Ahmari’s performance. A better equipped debater, a dissident for example, would have turned French’s arguments back on him with relative ease. His claim that the Founders wanted a neutral public space, for example, is laughable nonsense. The Founders were white Christians, who assumed they were founding a white Christian country. More important, they were practical men who understood what was required to maintain their people.

Think about it. These were men who revolted against the prevailing order, against centuries of tradition, in order to impose their way of life on their lands. Not only were they willing to overthrow centuries of tradition, they were willing to kill their countrymen in order to found their nation. They were also quite explicit in their motives. They founded a nation for their people and their posterity. By the definitions of today, definitions David French supports, the Founders were white nationalists.

Of course, the neutral public space argument is a justification for not fighting the Left over cultural turf. By claiming a principled claim in support of an open and neutral public space, it rules out doing anything that could actually win the fight. After all, defending the public square from complete domination by the Left, means pushing them out of some portion of it. That would violate the sacred principles of principled conservatives, so they not only refuse to do it, they prevent others from doing it.

Something that never gets mentioned by dissidents is that this line of reasoning contradicts basic Christian teaching. To cede the public space on principle is to agree, in advance, to not proselytize. To preach and proselytize means staking out space in the public square, regardless of the consequences. The very founding of the Christian faith was on the bones of those, who martyred themselves to spread the word of Jesus Christ in the face of violent opposition.

That of course, raises the question as to just how sincere David French is in his religious conviction. He waves his Christian faith around almost as much as he waves around his military service, yet he is not willing to risk much for it. The Gospels are pretty clear on this point. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. Jesus instructed the rich to give away their riches and follow him. Surely, salvation is worth some principles.

This is where dissident Christians can find a niche in dissident politics. There is a long tradition of Christians preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ in the face of fierce opposition from authority. To be a dissident is to reject the authority of the prevailing orthodoxy. To be a dissident Christian is to know the source of all authority. The way forward to a society built around natural association is also the path to a society where Christians can proselytize and lead their fellow man to salvation.

This is what the backers of Frenchism fear. A militant, optimistic and aggressive Christianity would be wildly attractive to disaffected white youth. Imagine young guys in camo flash mobbing public events, while reading Scripture. Imagine them employing the protest tactics of the Left, but in favor of faith. That’s why millions are poured into Christian groups to advocate the surrender model. Their leaders get very rich while leading their flocks away from the public space.

None of this is new material, which is why David French has become the clown nose of Buckley conservatism. It’s not about ideology or theology with this guy. David Frenchism is about celebrating the choices of David French. From his adoption of an African to his JAG service, it’s always about his public acts of piety. That’s what jumps out from the video of that event. Watching him in action, the line from Emerson comes to mind. “The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.”

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 Collapse Of Authority

The cancer eating away at the modern West is a lack of authority to which people can point to judge public policy, public debate on those polices, as well as the reactions to those policies and debates. As a result, debate has degraded into various camps striking poses, usually by signaling their unhappiness with the pose of other camps in the public sphere. The lack of an agreed upon authority means there is no way to judge the merits of any claim. Instead, it leaves force to resolve disputes.

A good recent example is the neocon opposition to Trump. These people are entirely defined by their hysterical reaction to Trump. There is no substantive issue around which they base their opposition. They are not pointing to ideological authority, tradition or even rules within the party. Their opposition to Trump rests on no authority other than their emotional reaction. That’s not an appeal to authority. It is a tantrum, the sort of thing you expect from toddlers. It is also the norm in the public space.

Now, there are two types of authority. One rises from objective knowledge accumulated over time about the natural world. An authority on engineering is someone, who has been trained as an engineer. His credentials are determined by meeting a set of objective criteria, like engineering exams, but also by remaining in good standing with other engineers. The same is true of all areas of expertise. These are the authorities on what is or what is not empirically true about their area of expertise.

In this regard, the West is in surplus. No matter the specialty, you can find someone who knows the material and can explain what is known about the topic. If you have an interest in statistics, you can find books written for every level of reader. You can find on-line courses covering just about any bit of knowledge you seek. If you have a desire to read Homer in the original, you can take on-line courses in ancient Greek. When it comes to what is factually true about the world, we have a surplus.

Where there is a shortage is in the area of what ought to be. What is true in the world is a very different thing than what ought to be true. What is true does not rely on a human authority to make it true. It does not need a supernatural authority to validate it. Two plus two will always be four as long as the universe exists. What ought to be true, however, relies on people, either as the authority or the voice of authority. This is the basis of moral codes, hierarchy, dissent and the collective action of society.

For most of Western history, religion was the authority upon which society relied to determine what ought to be. In the early Middle Ages, there was a great debate about the nature of that authority. That finally was settled and the Catholic Church was the worldly manifestation of that authority. After the Reformation, that authority was eroded, but replaced with Scripture as the source of authority. The story of the West, until the Industrial Age, was the story of Christian authority over man.

Of course, Christianity is a relatively new thing, so there have been other sources of authority in the West. The authority of blood is a universal. The great men of a people rise to the top of society. Their descendants, having inherited their great qualities, are assumed to be a source of authority. The king may not have done anything other than be born to the right father, but he has the magic blood. If it turns out that it did not take or the magic has lost its power, someone new must come along.

That’s where tradition fills in the gaps. The king’s heir may be less than the king, but the institutions that rose up around the king are now invested with authority. The reason the heir should be king, the reason he and no one else ought to have final authority, is this is how it has always been done. Tradition is probably the most powerful source of authority, as it assumes the is, as well as the ought. The custom, through trial and error, is proven to be the best, so it ought to be maintained.

In the current age, normal religion has been sidelined, not only as a source of authority, but as a legitimate part of public discourse. Fifty years ago, a public discussion of morality would have had representatives of various faiths to discuss what ought to be according their religions. A century ago those representatives would have provided authority for the current morality. Today, no public debate about moral issues, about what ought to be, includes religion, much less priests or theologians.

Tradition, of course, is by default eliminated from consideration. Much of what is passed off as public discourse is really a debate about how best to tear down the remaining traditions of society. The entirety of Progressive thought can be symbolized by the toppling over of statues on the college campus. The only thing they insist ought to be true is that truth itself must be overturned. Progressive morality, such as it is, is both the negation of moral truth and the denial of objective reality.

A world without authority, especially an agreed upon authority, is anarchy, but humans naturally retreat from anarchy. This is because anarchism is just mob rule. The ideal of anarchism is the mob mutually and magically agreeing to not murder one another, while the reality of it is the mob demanding authority to bring order. It is why democracy, which is just mob rule, is always a transition state. It is the period between the respect for natural, hierarchical authority and authoritarianism.

An example of this from history is the slow collapse of the Western Roman Empire, first into constant warfare, then into chaos and finally into the anarchy of local authority in the early medieval period. The end of the republic was not the end of a natural authority in Rome. The rulers still had to respect the gods and traditions. It is when those sources of authority collapsed that the end was clear for the Empire. The subsequent rise of the West was the rise of authority, Christian authority.

The modern West is undergoing the same sort of collapse of authority. Christianity, like the pagan faiths of the ancient world, has receded to the fringe. Tradition and hierarchy has given way to mob rule and force. What’s missing from the analogy is a new religion that provides a coherent order to the gathering chaos. Progressivism is an anti-religion, in that does not provide order to the natural world. Instead it preaches a denial of order and the denial of reason. It’s a primitive revolt against the natural order.

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!