Pundits Under Glass

Way back in the olden thymes, I had an exchange with Jonah Goldberg about someone who was writing for VDare or associated with the site. I no longer recall who it was exactly. I want to say it was Peter Brimelow, but it it is not important. What is important is the reaction from Goldberg. He scolded me like I was child about how I should never read that site or anyone associated with it. “trust me, you should stay away from them.”

I can’t say I’m a big fan of VDare or Peter Brimelow, but it is a big world and you can’t be a fan of all of it. I’ll read Derbyshire’s pieces for VDare and Sailer, but that’s about it. I’ve said many times that I find white nationalism to be a bit silly. These are not guys on my side, regardless of skin tone and cultural affiliations. Even so, VDare seems mostly harmless to me.

The point of the story is just how frightened people in the chattering classes are of the morality police. Guys like Jonah Goldberg have one fear and that’s being accused of racism by the Cult. It may not destroy a career, but it knocks you off the regular television gigs. At best you can kick around as a guest for weekend news shows that no one watches.

I don’t blame them. Chattering skulls like money as much as anyone else and being an A-list skull on TV is a well paying job that requires surprising little talent. That means there’s a long line of equally skilled skulls just waiting for the A-list skull to screw up so they can take his spot. Suddenly you can go from living the good life in New York or Washington to being a guy who writes for, well, VDare, hoping readers will donate money to you.

The other day some of the chattering skulls were passing this around the twitter, obviously thankful for a potential way out of the skins game trap of political punditry.

He’s right. Too often, and mostly on the left, opinion readers are privy not to profound argumentation, clever prose, and a depth of insight, but to the establishment of genetic legitimacy and the facile condemnation of obscurities. As though the opinion journalism sphere were little more than a small claims court, modern opinion bloggers occupy their time tilting at windmills of minor empirical value. What’s more, this process often mandates that the writer inflate the gravity of their subject to absurd proportions if only to retroactively validate holding such a strong opinion on matters so trifling. And you know what? This is a wildly successful approach to opinion journalism.

It’s entry-level political opinion. One need not have a profound historical understanding or a background in the social sciences to have a fully-formed outlook on why a particular shirt or a Marvel Comics film adaptation could be construed as offensive. Nor would anyone care if that were merely a subjective objection. Those grievances must be framed as oppressive in the extreme, and objectively so. People enjoy consuming this form of “political opinion” for the same reason some like to write about it; there is no barrier to entry in order to read, understand, and draw your own absolute and self-righteous conclusion on the banal transgression at issue.

Steve Sailer has been arguing that the Tribe is getting a bit worried about the skins game and maybe rethinking its utility to the Tribe. I’m not inclined to psychological reductionism so I think he’s barking at shadows on this one. But, it is easy to see why, given that the guys fretting over the skins game have names like Noah and Jonah.

Further, the line of attack is not to confront the skins game head on, but instead to discredit it as not living up to some mythological standard of opinion writing. Rothman is basically arguing that name calling is a disqualification, which is not going to mean a whole lot to the people in the name and shame business. To the hive mind, name calling is the whole point. It’s how you point out the bogeyman.

I found this a bit amusing:

While this manner of commentary is all nonsense, it stimulates a particularly dull-witted readership that cares little for arcane and often tedious aspects of genuine political commentary like crosstabs analysis, coalition dynamics, monetary policy, economic theory, and international affairs. All of these subjects require the reader have some basic grasp on a variety of assumptions before they can fully comprehend the author’s point. The average identity crusader thrust into an analytical post by John Sides would be as at sea as college freshman compelled to attend a fourth-year Chinese language course. Rather than elevate the reader, however, the country’s aspiring opinion makers have determined to talk down to their audiences.

Noah Rothman may be a peach of a fellow, but I really don’t care what a Russian Studies major has to say about social science statistics. He’s going to find out that the people in the skins game, those entry level opinion writers, don’t care about fake nerds and their charts either.

The skins game folks generally have biology on their side. A black guy ranting about the blue-eyed devil is at least right about the biology. He is black and the blue-eyed devil is white. The same can be said for the womyn’s rights people, ethnic grievance clubs and so forth. It’s only when you get into the weird sex cults that things stray from reality. The truth of the matter is the ethnic grievance industry is just pissed about reality.

The fake nerd with his spreadsheets and splatter charts is more often than not at odds with reality. The boys at Vox are fond of conjuring statistics that prove! their cult is the one true way to happiness because science! The phrase “studies show” has become  a marker for identifying bravo sierra. Like climate science, bad math has become a tool of the lunatic.

If there’s any doubt about that, just consider the plight of Sailer, Richwine, Lott and Murray. All of whom know their statistics, but arrive at heretical conclusions and face the wrath of the morality police. It does not matter that they are right and often brilliant. The truth is no defense against the charge of heresy.

In the game of chattering skulls, what matters is being the prettiest flower in the hot house. If you want to stay inside the hot house, you better not upset the people in charge of the hot house. The people in charge are all in the Cult of Modern Liberalism. If you’re taking a paycheck from them, you just have to suck it up and play the game by their rules.

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