The Feedback Loop

Confirmation bias is one of those universals that effects everyone. It’s natural for people to gravitate toward that which confirms what they wish to be true. No matter how hard you try to “be objective” you naturally prefer that which fits your biases. In the sciences, there are elaborate processes to correct for this tendency. In theory, having your work reviewed by peers, especially those with different biases, will correct for bias. It does not always work that way, but that just shows how tough it is to overcome our biases.

In the realm of public policy, there is no process for overcoming bias. In theory, public debate should work like peer review, but the people allowed into the debates tend to hold the same biases as everyone else in the debate. Every debate on crime, for example, excludes the important stuff, because of reasons. The result is a debate between people, who all agree that the important stuff can never be mentioned. Therefore, the public is left to hope that the people making public policy get lucky.

In theory, even if the people in charge all share the same biases, they have to face the public, which is supposed to be the acid test of liberal democracy. If the public is unhappy with what the politicians are doing, they vote in new politicians. This fear of unemployment is supposed to keep the politicians from straying too far from the consensus. As we see throughout the West, the reality is something different. Ruling classes all over the West are wildly out of step with the public, which is the cause of these populist revolts.

Part of the reason may be a feature of the managerial state that has emerged since the end of the great industrial wars of the last century. The political class is no longer part of the feedback loop that existed between themselves and the public. Instead, they get their information about public sentiment through policy experts and polling. When an office holder wants to know where to stand on an issue, he does not canvas his district or hold a series of constituent meetings. Instead he consults his staff of experts.

The result is something you in this rather odd post at National Review. The post is a long rebuttal to the main thesis of the book Whiteshift: Populism, Immigration, and the Future of White Majorities, by Eric Kaufmann. The main thrust of the book is that white nationalists and immigration patriots should be allowed to participate in public debate. Since immigration fanatics and non-white identity groups get to participate, whites should get the same courtesy. That this is a radical idea at National Review is topic all by itself.

A clue that you are in an emperor’s new clothes moment is when the response to a simple suggestion is a graph, followed by thousands of words of commentary. That’s what you see from the writer. His answer to the complaints by whites about immigration, for example, is to claim that whites are not really complaining about immigration. In other words, instead of addressing the main argument, he attacks the premise. In effect, his point is the immigration patriots cannot participate because they don’t exist.

Now, it has to be said that the sorts of people writing for National Review live in terror that one day the Left will put their name on the wrong list. Therefore, their every waking moment is spent confirming the current morality of the Left. At the moment that means anything with the word “white” in it is bad and opposition to the brown hordes pouring over the border is immoral. Basically National Review is going on record saying this Kaufmann fellow and his crazy ideas about debate is a very bad person with bad ideas.

Putting that aside though, consider what Verbruggen is doing. Instead of looking outside to get a sense of what’s happening in the public, he consults a Gallup study, one that confirms his bias. Of course, the only people who read National Review these days are Republican Party consultants, who will use posts like this to convince their masters that there is no need to worry about their angry voters. After all, those torch wielding mobs outside their office really don’t exist. It says so right in that Gallup poll.

Of course, there is the fact that the response by these people to public unrest about immigration, way back when they threw open the borders, was a public relations campaign to anathematize opponents. Back in the 1990’s, when it was still possible for people like Peter Brimelow and John Derbyshire to post opposition to immigration on National Review, the public was comfortable being in opposition. Once opposition to open borders was declared immoral, the public stopped voicing concerns to pollsters.

In other words, the feedback loop in the managerial state now works like this. The power elite want some set of polices, so they hire top men from the managerial class to sell it to the public. Whether or not the public buys it is immaterial, they just need evidence that there is public support for it. Once they generate that, they are convinced and set about convincing policy makers to push the new policy. Of course, there is plenty of money to go around, so politicians are more than happy to believe whatever is fed them.

In the managerial state, the feedback loop is like something you would see in a business school model of a failing business. Senior management brings in a market research firm to tell them the problem is not management. Rather, it is positioning in the market place. The solution is to hire a new marketing firm to convince the market that the company’s products are the best. The same research firm then studies the results and reports back that everything is working. Meanwhile, the company sinks further into the red.

That may sound like a strange comparison, but take a look at this post in the Columbia Journalism Review about the new publisher of National Review. The collapse of National Review over the last twenty years has one direct cause, the embrace of neoconservatism and the abandonment of their core constituency. Instead of facing up to the fact that they have a bad product and a lot of bad managers, they are going to rework their website so they can create a safe space for engagement. Meanwhile, their site is a ghost town.

The apparent insularity of the political class is the result of being cut off from the normal feedback loops. When National Review had to scramble for readers, they had to know something about the public. When the political class had to canvas for votes, they met actual voters who told them about what was on their mind. Today, the entire managerial class is like a monastery, where everyone is trying to be the star of the choir or the best at illuminating manuscripts. They spend all of their time talking to themselves.

As an aside, the reason social media and website comment sections terrorize these people is it is there where the yawning gap between themselves and the public is most obvious. When National Review had a comment section, their writers saw plainly that the readers were not buying what they were selling. The solution was to get rid of the comments. On social media, the solution is to purge the platforms of anyone that upsets human resources. Our thought leaders can only take so much reality.

Sam Francis made the point decades ago that both political parties in America are far to the Left of the people who vote for them. The reason for that is the political center of the ruling class has always been to the extreme Left of the public. Cut off from the feedback loop, that center has now drifted out beyond the event horizon of most people. It’s why our rulers seem like strangers to us. It’s why writers for Conservative Inc. stagger around in a daze, years after having been jolted by their remaining connection to the feedback loop.

153 thoughts on “The Feedback Loop

  1. VDH in his Cali fastness is the modern Chilton Williamson, who, while transitioning back into a Dirt Person, used to come to editorial meetings at NR wearing cowboy boots and hats. Williamson finally vacated NYC and NR for good, remaining in Wyoming with his horses, and IIRC wrote a few pieces for Chronicles. Chilton was my conduit to Edward Abbey, a fine writer, the Evola of the American West.

    Reading of VDH’s battle for his land, and the sad fact of his daughter’s death, I am reminded only of what is happening to white farmers in SA. I never read NR, haven’t since Fat Maggot took the helm (which was like passing the ship’s command over to Gilligan after the Skipper’s bibulousness got the best of him, and he was caught one evening with not Ginger or Maryanne, but Mrs. Drysdale (+1 for Boomer ref!)), but I wish VDH all the best. The lights are going out all across the land, and he may be our canary in the Western coalmine.

  2. The real audience for NR are the big donors who fund it. And the DC swamp creatures who read it. Eventually, like W/S, so few average people will know or care about NR, the donors will realize the brand is worthless and move on. But you have to give French, Goldberg, Lowrey, etc. credit, never have so many mediocrities and fakes made such a good living, for so long. The NeverTrumpers have stopped annoying me, and started to bore me. At some point, we’ll just forget them and stop mocking them.

  3. Verbruggen gives the impression that Eric Kaufmann is a white nationalist.

    Kaufmann’s not.

    In fact, Kaufmann thinks the best possible outcome is for future American “whites” to be people of mixed race who culturally identify with Western civilization.

    Personally, I’m fine with that: I care about preserving the achievements of Western civilization, but I do not much care whether future Americans share my own melanin deficiency (that’s not a wry comment, by the way: I actually do suffer medically from a serious melanin deficiency — my dad and I both have had to seriously worry about skin cancer).

    But, I suspect most people here will disagree.

    • But personal is policy, you really think these magical grey people will then identify with western civilization? Nigga please, what are you smoking? I’d rather be Muslim and white, if it comes down to that.

    • Politics is mostly genetic and Western civilization is only for Western people and a few others,

      We know what a muddled race civilization is like, Brazil and Puerto Rico .

      That is not the goal of the Dissident Right at all.

      In the end saving the west means removing most non Westerners from it and making sure leftists, globalists and corporations don’t run the show every again.

      Its best not to sugar coat it, its us or them.

      • A.B. Prosper replied to me,”We know what a muddled race civilization is like, Brazil and Puerto Rico.”

        All races are ultimately “muddled.” Read David Reich’s recent (and fascinating) Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past: the ancient DNA evidence is quite conclusive on this point. Reich is, by the way, “politically incorrect,” despite being a Harvard prof: i.e., he makes clear that the relative frequencies for genes for intelligence and behavior probably will differ among different human populations.

        ABP also said:

        That is not the goal of the Dissident Right at all.

        In the end saving the west means removing most non Westerners from it.

        Then the “Dissident Right” will fail.

        African-Americans’ ancestors were here before many whites’ ancestors. They’re not leaving.

        • The near inability for mixed Black and White people to get organ transplants without a very precise mix and the lower than expected interracial fertility speaks volumes more than any academic BS

          The modern European people are genetically quite unique in many ways and while Americans are a bit mixed, I know whose White or close enough and I’m not going to succeed my nation to globalists without a fight. Its political now which is good but if f it goes to guns?

          We have ethnic cleansing already in California and its not going to get better so the Latinos will wipe out the African Americans who are smaller in numbers anyway, that is if cutting off welfare the attendant famine doesn’t do it

          In the end though it will come to force and a people who are mostly urban with low IQ and poverty will die in droves.

          The US may not make it and the Dissident Right may well fail but it wont be a nicer Brazil. The US will wither split , become a 3rd world state or will have an authoritarian Right Wing government with at least an 80% homogeneous population

  4. Wow. Read the guy from California’s manifesto. It is interesting that so many have correctly identified what will be the real flash point. I’ve thought it myself. Whilst Brexit might be one major example of our racial brothers across the pond having the mask drop completely on what is a farce of “democracy”; I would think that for us, with no major crisis to deal with (such as famine, economic dislocation, starvation or deprivation) the gun issue might literally be what is the spark that kindles the flame of true upheaval. Anyway, every Z blog reader should read that through and through and come to their own conclusions/thoughts. As an aside, I think it is completely counterproductive/ridiculous to blame every single person of Jewish extraction for history or the current state of things. We can NEVER do this. If we cannot recognize that all are individuals, and craft our thoughts/policies in accordance, then we are doomed to the dustbin of history. Not even the national … socialists were so doctrinaire in their own approach. Are we more “pure” than them? Lunacy, insanity. Conservative/reactionary Israelites most likely are our own brothers. Again, Stalin’s roadmap to victory should be our own roadmap. Anyway, my two cents.

  5. On the specific question of why the support for immigration restriction is going down, I would say the calculus of the ruling caste (politicians, the press, etc.) goes something like this: Trump is (was? was he ever really?) against immigration and he’s a racist. The alt-right, white nationalists, etc., supported Trump are in favor of immigration restriction and they’re racist NAZIS! if you are in favor of immigration restriction, then you are Trump-supporting-racist-white-nationalist-NAZI!

    So…are you in favor of immigration restriction?

    • So…are you in favor of immigration restriction?
      Nope I’m in favor of banning immigration for at least 2 generations and expelling a bunch that are here already so I am way worse than Nazi and went straight to the Devil Himself according to the Commies that is…

    • Credible counters to this are:

      1. What about the countries that now control their borders? (… and you can name some.) Are they racist? Why don’t you complain about them? Why don’t we get to be like them?

      2. Do you leave your doors unlocked at night? Do you allow squatters to set up household in your own home. Why not? Isn’t it the same principle?

      Steve, I agree that the elites promote the reasoning you mentioned. But it can be countered on an individual basis. Not with SJWs. There’s no point. But with regular people you know. The question is: will enough people try to counter it.

      • Yeah, I do what I can to counter this narrative at the retail level, but the ruling caste is able to promote it on an industrial scale. That is how they’ve driven the number down from 65% in the mid-90’s to 31% now, with a drop of 6% since Trump got elected. For the typical NPC, holding heterodox views is uncomfortable. The social instinct is to “go along to get along”…

  6. ” Matt Lewis, a conservative columnist at The Daily Beast, thinks National Review does an admirable job of policing its ranks ” all you need to know about NR in one sentence .
    they cannot fold quick enough for me .

  7. Col. Boyd was entirely correct: the shorter, and more brutal, the feedback loop, the more accurate the feedback.

    Even with slow and poor feedback loops, however, there is – eventually – feedback. Long ones lean more to the brutal end than the accurate end, though.

  8. “A clue that you are in an emperor’s new clothes moment is when the response to a simple suggestion is a graph, followed by thousands of words of commentary.”


    It is because of things like this that I come to this site.

    Z-Man, you are a national treasure!

    Correction: Make that National Treasure.

  9. Re: ” Instead of looking outside to get a sense of what’s happening in the public, he consults a Gallup study, one that confirms his bias “.

    Reminds me a joke I heard somewhere:

    A Federal agent shows up at a rancher’s property – and tells him: I’m here to determine whether or not you’re growing anything illegal.

    The rancher tells him : That’s fine – just don’t go into that fenced in field over there.

    The Federale gets all irate – and pulls his badge out and tells the rancher : You see this badge buddy – this let’s me do whatever I want to do!!

    A few minutes later the rancher hears some screaming – and sees the Fed agent running thru the field he just told him not to go into…… with the rancher’s prized bull hot on his heels and gaining ground.

    The rancher throws down his tools – runs over to the fence – and yells out ” Show him your badge – SHOW HIM YOUR BADGE!!

    The National Review writer is walking home thru the streets of his blue city – when he’s confronted by an enraged white mob holding tiki torches – as he runs thru the streets trying to get back to his safe space….. somebody leans out of a window and screams: “show them the Gallup polll – SHOW THEM THE GALLUP POLL!! ”


    • “Badges? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!” SHOW THEM THE GALLUP POLL!! ” Oh God, Calsdad….that’s so funny and true. For those of us in the rural West, you really nailed the diabolical qualities of the tyanical regulator agents. I dedicate your allegory to Steve and Dwight Hammond and also Wayne Hage who got totally BF’d by the Federales. Trump pardoned the Hammonds. The Feds kept 25 years of lawsuits rotating through against Wayne Hage until he and wife died. His kids are now middle-aged and the final Fed lawsuit sent the ranch spiraling into foreclosure.

      • RFF
        They use our “rugged individualistic selves” to their advantage because we rarely ever form up unless we are under attack and only if they go over the top enough to draw attention to themselves…We never form up to be proactive so they keep chipping away at us…Sad That…

        • Lineman….sorry I’m so negative…..probably due to my years of experience seasoned by the same process of age. In my experience, your view of us westerners is true. The ranchers I knew in central Nevada run solo. Back about 2012 election, my local citizens gathered for caucus, for Lander County it was in Austin. Purposely sat at the table with all ranchers. Walked into the feverswamp by asking the gentlemen sitting around me, why did Wayne Hage get whacked and why isn’t the same thing happening to them? 30 seconds of dead silence, then one of them cast a baleful eye on me and growled that Wayne didn’t know how to keep his head down. Basically he deserved it. Wow! How far down does a rancher’s head have to go before it circles back up his ass! What these ranchers don’t get is the Hammonds, unlike the Bundys, did not seek out drama or trouble….it sought them out because the BLM/Dept. of Interior want their land. That’s what happened to Wayne Hage. The Feds divide and conquer by fear and intimidation out here in the west. These ranchers don’t get that they are the next target! Western people won’t kraal up as they are deathly afraid of drawing the Eye of Sauron.

          • That’s not negative that’s just the truth…When I was just a wee lad I asked my uncle’s who were farmers and they were in the midst of complaining about corn and soybean prices and that the Chicago Board of Trade was a bunch of crooks why they didn’t form up with other farmers in the area and hold on to their crop until demand drove the prices up and they looked at me and said that would be impossible…Sad that…

          • Sweet! Thanks. Occasionally a synapse will fire up. The rest of the time I can’t remember where I set down the keys.

          • Americans have been conditioned since the 60’s to fear collective anything and to be an “individual” .

            This is exactly the wrong tact in a war and in truth for a society as well. People only matter in context to each other. This is something the Left gets and when one of them remarks “you didn’t build that” it rankles but its true

            The entire foundation of our achievements uses the work and prior achievements of both the people who came before us and people in our society right now

            If you think otherwise drop the smartest man on the planet on the woods alone and see how well he does. Now drop a tribe of people and see how well they do.

            Getting the Right out of this mindset is not easy but its going to be necessary to change anything.

            There must be a collective purpose and a collective identity

            Most importantly people must be willing to use force of the State to achieve goals .

            A current example of this rule being applied by the Trump Administration of the Massachusetts Judge being arrested for letting immigrants go . That is how you do it, give orders and enforce them

            Drop the live and let live, Libertarian B.S , “muh Constitution” and the rest, male it clear “These are the rules, now follow them.” and make it happen

            This means a no going home to the ranch, no running off to Monticello 2.0. no cucking and very possibly a lot of hard ugly choices till you have the sane society you are trying to build , moral, homogeneous, nationalist and populist

  10. “When National Review had a comment section, their writers saw plainly that the readers were not buying what they were selling.” So true. I was at one point a subscriber and daily web visitor. When they shifted a few years back, they at least had a robust comment section where I could post counters to their insular thinking.

    To be fair, I probably shifted more than they did, as I saw the folly of believing illegal latins were cultural conservatives and economic resources, 7th century muslims were yearning for freedom, and anything that boosted GDP was good. Wow, was I wrong, and freely admit it. But NR is comprised of smug effetes who can never admit they were wrong, and will allow no commentary contrary to their groupthink. So there is no reason to visit at all. I can get VDH and Conrad Black through other sites.

  11. I cut off my copper land line 10 years ago. I haven’t been polled since. Who are the 10 old ladies who still have land lines?

    I don’t think the Democratic Party is to the left of the average Democrat anymore. Just based on my anecdotal conversations with fellow Californians, it’s a pure Communist state now. If anything the Democrats are trying to ride the tiger and keep AOCs from hatching like mosquitos all over the country, especially in deep blue areas. I consider AOC, in her pure, unrefined ignorance, to be the new gold standard of Democrat voters. Ironically, Nancy Pelosi looks more like a stale old Reaganite to them every day.

    It all boils down to where the money in your wallet comes from. What will really help my particular area is when the student loan bubble finally implodes, Gen Z abandons college, and all of these Universities, public and private, that have been flush with cash since 1955 have to purge unnecessary employees by the thousand. Universities and government are the last “company towns” that have been untouched by reality to this day.

    • Indeed JR, main purpose of Occasio-Cortez is to discredit Millenials as political contenders because old Democrats are vulnerable to challenges from the left, especially with growing minority constituencies in their districts.

      AOC isn’t even eligible to run for president until 2028.

      It’s kind of a law of human nature that power in various industries is passed on in 30 year cycles. Generation X got passed over and Millenials would normally be assuming power right about now. (Canada’s Trudeau and Austria’s Kurz come to mind).

    • AOC (and I hate you all for continuing to mention xhier to the point that I make a comment on it) is a sign that the DNC has a rift between those paying to bus voters from one precinct to next, and those riding the busses. The scam only works if both sides are sufficiently aligned, and it turns out that the bus riders want the heads of the old white bus-providers separated from their old white necks. Hate it for ’em.

  12. The entire establishment Right is sick with fear that somebody will catch them noticing that white people vote.

  13. We don’t need to give in to identity politics and jettison the ideal of colorblindness. To the contrary, maintaining and strengthening this ideal may be the key…
    [From the NR article.]

    Well, that’s the dealbreaker right there.

    It’s like a prisoner’s dilemma situation. You can only play the color-blind game if the other side is also being color-blind.

    And Verbruggen is being profoundly disingenuous–well,let’s not mince words, he’s just plain lying–to suggest that the other side can be convinced not to play the race game, when it’s nuclear-blast obvious that the left is all-in on racial politics, in fact it’s their main thing now.

    It may seem unfair to have political choices forced on us, but that’s the reality: by the nature of the prisoner’s dilemma we’ve got, if the other side is playing race politics, we have to play, or we’ll lose everything.

    And Verbruggen surely knows that the left isn’t going to give up race politics–perhaps somewhere below the check-cashing level of his mind, but deep down he knows it. Thus he knows that he is advocating political strategies that are going to lose his people everything. It’s unforgivable. Not only is this guy not on our side, he’s a traitor of the first order.

    The only place you can have color-blind politics is in an ethnostate.

    • The quickest way to getting more non-whites to vote GOP is to move left on fiscal issues. Turning against interventionism would also help, as non-whites are parochial when it comes to foreign policy. But that upsets the donors.

      What Conservatism Inc wants is a way to shut up white social conservatives, but still get them to vote for pro-POZ candidates in the way that the Dems win the black vote.

      • Why should Whites want non-Whites to vote for an increasingly pandering GOP? I want to see the GOP crash and burn, and I want an explicitly White party that in no way caters to non-whites or the very odious concept of race-blind civic nationalism.

    • There’s another aspect of color-blindness that is worth keeping:

      If something is moral for one group to do or believe for themselves, then it is moral for all groups to do and believe for themselves.

      (That is pretty much what The Babe is saying, I think.)

      This is why “color-blindness” has been labeled racist.

    • Not to quibble, but your point about racial politics being the ‘left’s’ “main thing now” appears to imply it is something manufactured by leftists for political gain. Racial politics merely IS. It’s a natural feature of different genetic/racial groups and the differing cultures they produce. Both left and putative right politicians like to utilize this while proclaiming color blindness and muh civic nationalism, but diversity and multiculturallism guarantee racial politics. As you correctly note, the only way to avoid this is to have an ethnostate.

    • Identity politics is like war or rape: only one of the parties has to want it, and then it exists independent of the other side’s preference. And only the immoral refuse to acknowledge the state of existence once their enemies beset them with any of the three.

      • Identity politics exists because we evolved in racially homogenous Dunbar Number-sized groups, We can mitigate the sharper edges of Diversity primarily by separation and to a much smaller extent by socialization, but we all prefer to associate with our own and will react accordingly when Diversity pushes too far. I fought this idea like hell for decades but I’m coming to accept it. The tricky part is learning to embrace it rather than treating it as a regrettable reaction forced on us by our less enlightened opponents. Identity is like food and water. How political that gets is the only factor we can socially tweak with any lasting success.

    • Z argued in the latest mailbag podcast that science and evolution are threshold principles of the Dissident Right. I’m largely in agreement (my line between “members” and “allies” is less clear than his may be on this). Identity politics is mandated by human biology/psychology. Affinity for similar races and animus toward aliens is a feature of child psychology from the earliest ages where testing is viable. Children can discern that “one of these things is not like the others” before they walk. Pattern recognition is how we learn. Nature commands, civic nationalists obey – and will continue to lose.

      • @Exile
        Exactly right and the sooner we realize that everyone can’t just get along the better off we will be…

  14. The old saw about personnel as policy still cuts, and when the “policy experts and polling” (and the media that pushes their products) are concentrated in the hands of double passport types, honest confirmation bias gives way to something more sinister.

    I wonder: is it my own confirmation bias to observe that immigration became a taboo at the National Review about the same time it became off-limits among respectable environment groups such as the Sierra Club? Or is this just a coincidence?

  15. I’ve got a feedback-loop-graph for the Conservative Inc chowderheads to ponder: Look at how fast (and how many) AR-15s are selling, along with powder, brass and primer. Here’s my challenge to Gallup – Discern which demographic are making these purchases, and categorize their rationale. I guarantee interesting results.

  16. National Review hired a guy as its boss who is a product of literal nepotism. And people wonder why conservatism is despised among the youth they pretend is their target market.

    This shows the hollowness and mockery of “color-blind” idealism. I’d mock them less if they hired Dinesh as publisher.

    • “Close to a dozen hard-news reporters at mainstream outlets today were poached at some point from National Review, including The Washington Post’s star political writer”

      This tells you a lot about whom NRO hires. Venal careerists that care nothing about exploiting gullible Boomercon donors.

      • Many of the magazine’s top contributors—Lowry, Jonah Goldberg, Reihan Salam, Katherine Timpf, David French, Ramesh Ponnuru, Jim Geraghty—appear in a variety of other outlets, which is why Bewkes says they’re best thought of as “political influencers” rather than “run-of-the-mill writers pushing out piece after piece hoping for something to go viral.”

        Good God, are any of these clowns more than “Run of the Mill” ?

        • Katherine Timpf is a great commentary on National Review. Her first choice for a career was as a stand up comic. When that did not workout, she donned the naughty librarian outfit and started repeating conservative talking points.

    • He goes on to describe a cousin of his who does liberal advocacy work in DC. On Facebook, the relative can be insufferably provocative, Bewkes says. “When I see him posting, I think, ‘Jesus Christ, this is inciting violence, almost. This is inciting hate.’ He’s pulling the Martin Luther King thing, saying, ‘I don’t advocate violence,’ but meanwhile he wanted the fire department to be spraying down protesters on national TV. That’s kind of what my cousin is doing now, and it drives me nuts, and it almost makes me dislike my own family!”

      • Yes, in that article the publisher of NR manages to demolish one of the big lies about Martin Luther King Jr. They know the score, but ruthlessly police anyone else that notices.

  17. Another excellent post!

    Another way to understand ‘confirmation bias’ is that, like ‘profiling’, it reflects how our human minds have evolved to work: Rather than having to evaluate everything we encounter ‘starting from scratch’, our minds have developed categories with which to understand them.

    When we encounter a creature we haven’t seen before, rather than having to examine it in minute detail and take the time to analyze all the myriad possibilities, our minds quickly scan the available pre-existing categories, and recognize that the ‘dog’ category is where it best fits. This is a time-saving feature which evolution has provided us with: what Daniel Kahneman refers to as ‘fast thinking’.

    The problem comes when what we’re encountering is something truly new: something which is so different from anything we’ve encountered in the past, that it simply can’t be fit into any of our existing conceptual categories.

    What we call ‘confirmation bias’ kicks in when— rather than recognizing the need to create a new category— we take the easy way out, and go ahead and stuff it into one of the already-existing ones.

    So it’s not so much a matter of ‘bias’— of consciously resisting an opposing narrative— as of mental laziness, and failure to recognize that what we’re seeing is something new.

    • Yes, exactly. What exists is what has worked best in evolutionary time. Confirmation bias is a feature not a bug.

    • Yes. It’s called heuristic analysis, and it’s what makes you cross the street when you see a bunch of noisy POC, even if you have no idea whether those specific POC are even hostile. Heuristic analysis is a vital survival skill.

  18. The people I know personally among the hyper-wealthy are terrified of knowing things they are not supposed to know. One fellow is an angry Never Trumper who spends his time glued to MSNBC while casting aspersions on the white working class. Another hyper-wealthy couple will listen politely, but you can tell their class loyalties lie with the people who run the fashionable charities and concomitant glamor fund raisers. They desperately do not want to be seen with dirt people. If others of this class have a purpose, it is to have their names attached to some cause or edifice for another century. Lefty knows how to keep them in a closed loop by appealing to their vanity.

    • Tangentially related, but isn’t it funny that the only time a someone has their name carved into stone is when they make a massive donation to an institution…. or they die and have their name etched into a headstone?

      It’s a dark image, but I often imagine that our nation’s elites already know the jig is up, and they are paying to have their names carved into academic, nonprofit, and government buildings that will one day serve as the wrecked sepulchres of a bygone decadent era. Vanity uber alles.

      • Along these lines — and I don’t have time to double-check this — but the World War I Memorial Building at Yale U. is now called the Schwartzman building. Money talks and surely the memorialized dead won’t walk.

        • Speaking of Yale, “Calhoun College” has been re-named “Grace Hopper College”, after a modern American of greater significance.

    • To their vanity and, I should say, to their burdensome social insecurity. People of real breeding and taste do not care whether they are “seen” with the “wrong” sorts. They don’t concern themselves with that sort of thing for several reasons but one of them is that their position is assured and so is their self-image, so they are able to behave naturally and like a real human being. The people you are talking about are probably parvenus. New rich. Grandchildren of mill workers of sharecroppers or something along those lines. Just tell them point blank that their lack of graciousness tells on them FAR more than being seen with the “wrong” people ever could. The real gentry are as much at home in a cabbage patch with peasants as in a palace with a maharajah.

    • Membership of the ruling caste is no longer governed by bloodlines so other mechanisms must be established in order to distinguish those who belong from those who don’t. If you want to join the managerial class or make your fortune by being a faithful servant to the managerial class, then you must express your faith in the requisite pieties, i.e. global warming, diversity and globohomo. Heretics are no longer burned but they are condemned to exile among the dirt people. Nobody wants that.

  19. I believe you will find National Review does have comments enabled. The American Interest did indeed do away with comments after it was clear hardly anyone agreed with their posts.

    • You are correct. They have them again. They went through a lot of iterations though. Once they were fairly open. Then they went into moderation which quickly devolved into badthink getting banished. I think after that they went to Facebook maybe, and then to none. Now it looks like you need to create an account. It doesn’t look like many posters though. And I bet badthink still gets banished.

      • I remember right before NR went to facebook only comments it had gotten to the point that 90% of comments said deleted by moderators. Seeing those deleted comments was probably more powerful than anything those comments might have said.

    • Has anyone noticed that Am Thinker has dropped comments ?
      I emailed them about it – silence.
      PJM has also dropped comments.
      WTF ?

  20. An example of conservative publications not really wanting to know what the proles think.

    The following post regarding the NYT editorial cartoon of Trump and Netanyahu was removed from PowerLineblog. I am obviously literally Hitler:

    Conservative sites are falling all over each other to condemn this cartoon, but I just don’t see it. Editorial cartoons are often unflattering to the people depicted in them. I don’t see this as particularly anti-Semitic or particularly more offensive than editorial cartoons I’ve seen criticizing many non-Jewish figures. There’s a clear, political, non-anti-Semitic message: Trump is being led around by Netanyahu. One may certainly disagree with that, but I bet it’s not all that hard to find equally offensive cartoons portraying Trump as a pawn of Putin, or, as Stephen Colbert would put it, as Putin’s “c*ckh*lster.”

    Political commentary can be mean and unfair. Climbing all over this one as anti-Semitic seems like it’s just using the accusation as a political weapon, not making a legitimate claim.

    ETA: Plenty here that strikes me as just as bad. Lots of leash imagery.

  21. “I talked to students and professors at Columbia University and NYU; I visited Harvard, Yale and Princeton; I met with people at Georgetown U. and all around the capitol in D.C. and I couldn’t find anyone opposed to increased immigration!”

  22. The so-called conservatives in pubic service and politics are wealthy pampered brats, just like the leftist variety. They come similar backgrounds, go to the same universities, consume the same pop culture, and submit to the same laws.

    They won’t admit it, not even to themselves, but they truly believe what the left preaches is inevitable, and that opposition to it will put them on the wrong side of history. Given that these people represent the supposed “opposition” to the new Sovietization of the West they may well be right.

    • I am not sure that they fear being on the wrong side of history but they absolutely fear being on the wrong side of the right social circles. Therein lies premature career-death.Careers are everything.

      • Career death, or fear of losing a 6 figure salary that you could not earn in any other way?

        • Compsci, yes that and the social death that goes with it. No more party invites etc. You’re unpersoned. If you’re a straight white man with a wife who lunches and wears Prada and kids in private schools, are you really going open your big mouth and reduce them to dirt-person status with an ill-judged remark? No you are not. You will roundly applaud the group-consensus or, at the very least, smile and nod benignly to imply that, even if you’re not fully pozzed yourself, you’re not going to rock any boats.

          Sure the self-sufficient single man can afford to flip them the bird and retire to his garage or log cabin to eke out a living tinkering with stuff. But those kind of guys are not managerial class candidates to begin with.

          • Tut, agreed. And by the way, I’m not clean either—having spent over 30 years in academia. You tend to go along to get along. But if memory serves, the worse of the lot were the ones rising through the crowd to the top of the ooz. Those with a closer connection to the hard sciences remained fairly sane and with integrity intact.

  23. The new young idiot at NR who thinks people are going to pay $99 a year to supposedly engage with their staff is dreaming. It’s the equivalent of a virtue cruise package. Come along and hob-knob with people too incompetent for real work. You are only going to get the true believers which continues the insularity.

  24. I’ve often wondered if something similar happened to American literature. A hundred years ago, writers such as Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Steinbeck had to write stories that the public wanted to buy. They had to be entertaining and relevant as well as artistic.

    Later, as universities started expanding their literature departments, writers could find a home as a professor. Now, they could write for other academics and artists rather than the public. I suspect that this did not help the final product.

    • I think that is right. Look at poetry. It used to as much a part of the popular culture as music. Today, poets exist only on campus and their output is dreadful.

      • At my son’s wedding we sat at the table with a person who was pursuing a “Terminal Degree” in Poetry Writing. As a System Programmer and basically a mechanic, I wondered why there was even such a thing.

        • In my opinion, people wanting to become poets should be required to study/learn:

          – Mathematics
          – Classical Logic
          – Music Theory
          – Philosophy
          – Philology
          – History

          Because you’ll need all those things to write a damn good epic poem in hexameter verse.

          Free form poetry doesn’t count, unless it’s on bathroom stalls.

        • There are 2 major reasons for degrees springing up in any particular discipline—1 good, 1 bad.

          The good: knowledge has advanced/expanded to the point that learning such has developed/specialized into its own field. An example, Computer Science. When I was first starting up in the field, a degree formally taken in “Computer Science” was not common among folk of high level expertise/experience. Instead, we had a lot of folk with formal degrees in engineering, math and such.

          The bad: too many low level intellect types entering the University and the corresponding need to provide them with degree fields they can major/succeed in. This, in combination with an increasing watering down of standards, seems to me to have produced the bulk of the endless list of meaningless degree areas we reference here for the group’s amusement.

      • I read modern poetry from time to time comes on as more than a bit amateurish as of the poets never quite left college, probably because at least mentally they didn’t.

        That said TV and than the Internet wounded good books. Once enough entertainment was on demand , the wobblers who made up a lot of readers simply stopped reading as they really found the work/reward ratio not to suit them.

        Adding in Hispanics who simply have no cultural interest on reading

        NYT here

        and you’ve made the market much smaller

        The killshot is the publishing process. Nearly all publishers are left leaning urban women who have trouble even understanding that a lot of the of the audience for books is not like them or if they do, being willing to open their minds . They figure we’ll take the swill they publish and like it but this is not the case and you can get a major metropolis where bookstores were once common now just barely supporting a Barnes and Noble and some Amazon sales

        DAW for example under its founder Donald Wolheim published the BDSM men in charge SF Gor novels foe hears and made huge bank

        Daughter took over and that was the end of that as the books were icky

        Things like Golf Eagle, Mac Bolan and Clive Cussler were huge sellers back in the day too

        I recall an article from some years ago talking about the utter surprise that a bio of the lady wrestler Chyna I think that somehow made it through the filters sold so well .

        I mean duh, guys like wrestler chicks and guys read books. Mind blown

        The author of the article was at least smart enough ti understand that taste very which made her smarter than the editors by far.

        Now as time passes and we chafe at the censorship we’ll end up making our own publishing houses like Castallia House and building our own distribution channels but that’s no solution. Common culture requires communication and if we never see each others ideas , any and all sides get that feedback loop

        Tolerance is weakness but civilization requires mutual vulnerability too.

        A world in which all media was Conservative would be just as lousy as one in which its all Leftists and I like a little say Mercedes Lackey alongside my John Ringo

    • >>>I’ve often wondered if something similar happened to American literature.

      Long ago, I gave up reading recent “serious” fiction – the odds of finding an enjoyable novel or short story were just so low. Recently, I picked up an anthology, with a title along the lines of “Best American Short Stories of 2017”, and ended up destroying it after reading six or so stories. EVERY work involved academically gifted bisexuals, Haitian immigrants, or similar “edgy” non-mainstream politically-correct characters or situations. Some of the writing was quite skilful, but the content was, to say the least, off-putting. Probably the most entertaining story involved a teenage exchange student and his mechanical sex-doll.

      So much for serious American fiction. I’m not sure when they stopped publishing it… probably post-Hemingway.

  25. I’d add that the managerial state’s feedback loop is reinforced by the interest group/identity group model, where a lobbying or “watchdog” institution (the SPLC, NAACP, ADL, etc) is used a stand-in for what the public, or at least a broad segment of the public, thinks. When it comes to policy about hate crimes, for example, everything is filtered through the lens of places like the SPLC, which in turn cranks out the sort of skewed polling that is meant to justify the “correct” policy intervention. Since the SPLC is not a government agency, it gives our governing elites the veneer of accountability to the people, thus closing the feedback loop without true public input.

    • Yeah, recently it hit me: democracy isn’t democratic.

      I realized that all the institutions you mentioned, not to mention the political parties themselves, work as intermediaries between the people and the actual exercise of power, to insure that the people don’t get policies that would actually benefit them. “Democracy”, in the capital “D” sense of one-man-one vote, isn’t democratic in the small “d” sense of benefiting the people.

      Perhaps counterintuitively, a populist fascist government/leader could be much more small-d democratic than Democracy with a mediated-out-of-existence one vote. A fascist leader could just sweep away the mediating institutions.

      The two most recent posts here are very sharp on this subject:

      • When I was living in South America, an elderly Argentine couple told me that, under then-president Nestor Kirchner, they felt like serfs, but under Peron the local party officials treated them like brethren. Part of this was because the local leaders were often salt-of-the-earth types hailing from a trade or union background, so they may have been the carpenter that fixed your roof or the guy working at the mines.

        I have my own beef with Peronism, especially its contemporary hack Kirchnerista offshoot, but I don’t doubt that, for a time, the “dictator” Peron effectively captured and upheld the voice of the Argentine working class.

      • If true democracy ever rears its head it instantly become “popularism” and is immediately decried as dangerous nationalism.

  26. The feedback loop exists in the New York / DC corridor, college towns, and racially gated communities in the West. If the NR wants to get serious they have to pack it in and move. It’s the difference between Hanson (Central Valley) and everyone else on staff. It’ll never happen, not in a million years. Who wants to live in the provinces when you can live in Rome?

  27. It was hard to get through the entire Verbruggen piece. What should be an interesting read about an interesting book and timely topic, was a tedious slog through PolicyWonk-land. These guys are really convinced we’re going to reach Post-Racial America. So out of touch.

    • In the 7th and 8th Centuries you could still find Roman Nobles celebrating and debating Pax Romana.

    • Yeah, and what’s scary is that most of the other NR crowd makes Verbruggen look like Julius Evola. He’s actually one of their better writers. Sad, but no real surprise.

      • Oh, I think that writing style is part of the trick. The eye-glazing sections are an attempt to steal undeserved authority: looka me, I’m a SOCIAL SCIENTIST fearlessly interrogating the DATA! But all he really expects you take away is: don’t worry about immigration, whitey. Seriously, these guys are much more dangerous for our side than the leftists who just say “I want all white people dead.”

        • VDH is a neocon on foreign policy. Not as bad as French, but still a neocon.

          NR exists to support internationalism, against the traditional foreign policy laid down in Washington’s Farewell Address.

        • Don’t worry, as a smart guy he’ll say something “problematic” and get purged soon enough, just like Derbyshire and Steyn.

          • VDH is very tied to his ancestral land. His family has owned the vineyard land for over 100 years. In the nearby valley town is a statue of his grandfather or some such ancestor, so he emotionally is tied to long and deep family roots to his family location. 10 years ago when reading his book Mexifornia, I noticed how tied he is to his roots. His vineyard, home and holdings are surrounded by illiterate illegal Hispanics that regularly steal the copper piping from his water pumps, dump tons of nasty garbage on his property, have shoot-outs close by, and frequently crash drunkenly through his grapevines. He’s not leaving, his identity is the land. I thought years ago he will probably die violently on his property at the hands of the illegals nicking everything that’s not nailed down on his property.

          • I didn’t know about his daughter. I thought he’d just broken down from Clown World fatigue. I did pick up on his sense of despair and “low energy” over the last few years.

          • It’s hard not to laugh at a mere 100 years being viewed as “long and deep family roots.
            So I did.

          • Those of us in the west have not more than 170 year timeline. Geotime is short for us and history is recent. Your family timeline back east is no indicator of your brain or character. Bile…does your snarking really help as you look down your long nose at your fellow Z folks! The world is turning to shit around us, and I’m here to back you, man. Careful of becoming your name. Hope tomorrow is a better day. Best regards.

          • Sorry…saved this 3 Xs and nothing showed up. now this shows up twice. God deliver me from the quirks of the internet and give me patience.

        • Victor Davis Hanson is good on immigration but he is (or was) very neocon on foreign policy. Maybe he’s seen the light now. I don’t know. I can’t bring myself to read National Review.

          • VDH is like a more high brow version of Tucker Carlson and Mark Steyn. He counters prevailing orthodoxy while remaining respectable, and he can act as a gateway drug for the red pill.

  28. We need a new meme for these people and parties the way cuckservative took off.
    The Ostrich party, Ostrichers, something. Burying there head rather than see what others plainly do
    . You all have heard the apocryphal stories about how the child died in a house fire by hiding under the blankets or in a closet. The same fate awaits us. Happening in real time before us. All those unmentionable facts.

    • It exists, they are part & parcel of Clown World. Clown World by it’s very definition is living in a world so detached from objective reality that an ‘outside’ observer would think he is watching a clown circus because of the absurdity of the spectacle. I suppose you could slice out this particular subsection if you really wanted to, but my feeling is, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Plus I -like- lumping NatReview types in with the egregious lefty lunatics, shaming is a powerful thing. HONK HONK!

      • “Plus I -like- lumping NatReview types in with the egregious lefty lunatics, shaming is a powerful thing.”
        AP….is that our racist Nazi frog clown? Make him more creepy, evil looking and subversive. Have a good Whack-A-Mole on the HONK HONKS day!

  29. OK, everything presented in this post is accurate. Now ask . . . will this change by virtue of a well written expose´ and criticism of it? In other words, can this dysfunction be remedied by a different set of words.

    In evolutionary time, if a member of the species was intentionally dismissive of reality, then reality typically responded by eliminating this miscreant from the gene pool. Over time, this resulted in a species trait that engendered proclivity for recognition of reality and promoted long term survival and robustness.

    • In specific terms, the prevailing orthodoxy will remain until three things are true. One is loses its legitimacy. Two is it can not respond to a crisis and three there is at least one alternative on offer. Right now, two has not happened and three is not even in its infancy.

      • Those three points seem to be close to a reality with many of our brethren in Europe.

        1. The globalists have little legitimacy.

        2. The response to the invasion from the south is a failure and it is issue #1 for the peoples of Europe.

        3. They actually have nationist parties and anti-immigration parties that are gaining ground quickly. One, two maybe 3 elections from gaining control, at least on the continent.

        Maybe we’ll learn and be motivated by their example.

        On a different note I wonder to what extremes our own ruling class will turn to when Europe does go nationalist.

      • Question is can number 3 be done on a national scale or would it be killed in the womb before it even got a chance to breath…

        • I can say this it won’t come from the Militia Right like the guys at WRSA

          They are good men, genuine patriots but they will never have power or legitimacy since they offer nothing and are bereft of ideas.

          The old minimal state system designed to govern a homogeneous population with a limited franchise a large yeomanry and a mainly Protestant faith is long since gone and it will not function at all in a post industrial post Christian 80% urban society.

          Whoever takes charge will have to do a lot of the very good things the established state does and do them better. They may even have to add more government

          Truth is people will have less freedom, less and more expensive choices in goods , mosre costly labor tougher divorce laws , tougher moral laws and the like.

          Probably State control over media and colleges to protect under 21, the old En Loco Parentis on a national scale too

          They may get looser gun laws but the crazy amount of personal choice and freedom we have now will be gone and that will not be an easy sell .

          Whatever comes after has to be better in peoples minds and this won’t happen until things get really terrible

      • The problem is more complex. Orthodoxy is a reflection of the dominant mindset of the largest cohort in a society. It’s legitimacy is a value judgement, and is secondary to the exercise of power (just ask Stalin or Mao if they cared about legitimacy). Government is a living thing and it’s continued existence is it’s highest imperative. It will always react to a crisis by squashing the non comformists using all it’s powers. There are always alternatives. The alternative that prevails is the one that beats the tyranny.

      • …. three is not even in its infancy.

        Exactly. There is plenty of opposition to the force-fed globalism all around us. The anger is palpable.

        But currently, dissent seems to have no channel other than online complaint and, occasionally, a bat squeak in the mass media. And negativity is too easy for the establishment to ignore and futile protest ultimately just dampens will power.

        Nevertheless, the Left is increasingly trying to eliminate every medium for publicly expressed resistance to it. What will result from suppressing the remaining “safety valves”? A chance, I think, that the machine will exceed its design limits and blow up.

        Don’t start celebrating yet. Without alternative institutions and roadmaps, the explosion is likely to be destructive and ill-gauged. It might be emotionally satisfying at first, but a new Reign of Terror will burn itself out as the one in France in 1793 did, not to mention being morally repugnant.

        It’s impossible to overemphasize the need for creating humane and realistic alternatives while there is still time.

        • It’s impossible to overemphasize the need for creating humane and realistic alternatives while there is still time.
          I hear you on that Brother sad thing is people are for the most part still to comfortable to create any alternatives at this time…I wish it was different that people would be proactive but I’m just not to hopeful at this point…Pain is the only motivator it seems like…

        • The Terror eliminated conservatism from Frenchmen at a genetic level for 225 years and counting. Is that a “burning out” failure on it’s own terms, or something the Luegenpresse has told you was a failure because they fear our knowledge of the efficacy of such actions?

          • Wow! You could not be more wrong. In how many countries is same-sex “marriage” now lawful? (It is in France, thanks to the Taubira Law, which was simply proclaimed by the black African Socialist Justice Minister in the Hollande administration because it was otherwise politically impossible of passage.)

            Now, in how many countries was there a MASSIVE popular uprising against same-sex” marriage”?

            The correct answer is “one.” France. In every major city for months and months. In all overseas departments like St-Pierre et Miquelon and New Caledonia. In Britain? Not a peep. In the States? People fretted and fumed online.

            Here’s what happened in France, a country you say has been lacking in conservative sentiment for 225 years:


            Just sample several of the dozens of videos; then we’ll talk about there being no conservatism in France.

          • Agreed. The French conservatism still exists and it still has a backbone, unlike Britain. Our conservatism was put to the sword by the Conservative Party. Being a conservative in Britain now means celebrating diversity, gibs for everyone and making “transphobia” a crime. They even have the nerve to call these things “sensible conservative policies”.

          • It would seem that there is nothing left to conserve in Britain.

            Mother Theresa famously said “once women are allowed to murder their own children in their own wombs, there is nothing left of that society to conserve.”

      • Karlin at Unz cited Peter Turchin in a similar vein in his review of Andrew Yang’s book: “In his book Ages of Discord, the scholar Peter Turchin proposes a structural-demographic theory of political instability based on societies throughout history. He suggests that there are three main preconditions to revolution: (1) elite oversupply and disunity, (2) popular misery based on falling living standards, and (3) a state in fiscal crisis.”

        Elite oversupply is where the revolutionaries with alternatives come from. Empirical evidence from history shows we’re more likely to get Robespierre or Lenin than George Washington. It’s a tough thing for someone like me who tries to have “no enemies to the Right” but we will need to self-police for this for a long time in order to find leadership with a functional mix of dissident iconoclasm and well-grounded common sense. History also predicts a great deal of nihilism in the pre-revolutionary populace. Keeping daylight between ourselves and tomorrow’s Bakunins will be important in an age where metapolitics, narrrative and public opinion has more influence than Industrial Age street violence.

        I welcomed Trump as an example of the kind of class traitor and iconoclast we need, but he either faked it or failed at it. Yang’s another potential elite apostate. Individually they may fizzle or fib, but this sub-class of the elite is where we’ll find our men sooner or later.

        • I agree with the caveat that the US may also go down with multiple barbarian incursions . I’m using the word in the sense of “not of the nation and thus unable to sustain it ” not necessarily cruel and savage here

          The US faces the risk of being cored out by multiple groups of people who have no faith in it, interest in it and simply having no ability to reform after the system they are using up, stops working

          A simple push might be enough for the USSR to go out like the USSR as we are far from too big to fail and can easily choke on our own stupid

          This could well rule out the class traitor becomes leader scenario and would probably devolve into the several states scenario instead

          The biggest problems there though is the rural/urban divide in many states and the level of diversity. You may not be able to use easily understood borders and could end with with the historical norm , a patchwork crazy quilt of states at each others throats

          A last thought here. I’ve never seen Trump in the saves America role., His politics have been basically the same for decades those of the Conservative Democrat . He’s just securing his legacy , what he hopes will be a nation his family enterprises can work in.

          I think though unfortunately for us he isn’t going to be the God Emperors or Pinochet but someone more akin to a nascent Gorbachev doing his best at the end of an empire and failing at the end since the problems are beyond anyone

          We have more years to go than the USSR did under Gorbachev as there is much more ruin in a rich nation and we have more hope in our natures but a surplus of stupid took them out and may well take us too.

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