By What Authority?

When you start out in your life, you have no conception of right and wrong, for the same reason you don’t understand string theory. Babies start out with the absolute minimum of knowledge to live. Just as you had to learn to tie your shoes, you had to learn the difference between right and wrong. There are things you should not do and things you should not say. Similarly, there are things you should say or do. Morality is the set of social rules you initially learn from your family and then from your community.

Morality comes from authority. The reason why you accept the moral instruction of your parents is they are your parents. It may be that you are programmed to accept them as moral authorities or simply that they are the default moral authorities in your life as you grow up. Similarly, maybe you accept the morality of your community, because it is what your parents accept. If there is a conflict between what you learn at home versus what you learn outside, you have to decide who is the moral authority.

This is what experts and theologians call “the obvious.” Morality is the code of conduct of your community. For most of human history, the moral authority was the religion of the people. The holy men of the religion, perhaps relying on an oral tradition or written texts, would shape and enforce the moral code of the people..The check on the holy man was that everyone knew the rules and the source of the rules, things like stories and legends, so he could not just wing it. He had to live within the code too.

Again, this is all obvious stuff, but it is worth remembering when thinking about the de-platforming and censorship efforts. Here is a story about the battle going on with Patreon, the fundraising site used by “content creators.” The site has been purging even people mildly skeptical of the Progressive project and that has resulted in some big names like Sam Harris leaving the platform. The Times reporter spoke with the “head of trust and safety” for the company and this is the important bit from the story.

“Jaqueline Hart, Patreon’s head of trust and safety, said her team watches for and will investigate complaints about any content posted on Patreon and on other sites like YouTube and Facebook that violates what it defines as hate speech. That includes “serious attacks, or even negative generalizations, of people based on their race [and] sexual orientation,” she has said.”

Now, everyone with the slightest awareness knows that the rules with regards to “negative generalizations” apply only to non-whites. The people who rule over us want to make it illegal to notice any differences between whites and non-whites, so noticing is strictly prohibited. The exception is non-whites say what they want or even call for harm against white males. It’s why white males in TV ads and in movies are always the bad guy or the bungler, while non-whites are brave and wise.

That bit of hypocrisy has become so internalized that even the steam whistles of cable chat shows don’t bother mentioning it. The more important question is upon what authority did it become immoral to make “negative generalizations” about anyone? It’s certainly not coming from Christian authorities. In fact, the Abrahamic religions are chock full of “negative generalizations” about all sorts of people. Up until fairly recent, the basis of comedy was “negative generalizations of race and sexual orientation.”

It’s one of those things that just seems to happen in late empire America. The usual pattern is a call for tolerance, which quickly becomes intolerance of the lack of tolerance and then finally, the enshrinement of the minority view or identity as a holy item. To paraphrase Chris Caldwell, we quickly go from a situation where the new anti-white identity is too weak to end special protections to a situation where the new anti-white identity is too strong to challenge the special protections.

Again, how does this happen? By what authority are these people deciding that it is not permissible to question the moral superiority of people based on “their race or sexual orientation?” This question is never posed to people like Jaqueline Hart of Patreon and she would never expose herself to people who would dare question her authority on these matters. In fact, our friends the Bible believing Christians never question it either, despite that fact that Jesus was a guy fond of asking these sorts of questions.¹

That said, you get the sense that the people demanding the rest of us abide by this new morality know they lack the moral authority. This video, by a popular YouTuber, where he recounts his conversation with Jacqueline Hart, is instructive. At one point, she hints that Patreon is being forced by their “partners” to purge people. The implication is that the banks are really behind this effort. When pressed on it she changes the subject. What she is doing is conjuring a authority to justify her actions.

This is instructive and something dissidents should train themselves to press whenever dealing with the Left. In the work setting, for example, diversity training should always be referred to as moral instruction. It’s a subtle thing that is effective at letting normal people know that they are being preached to be people who see themselves as our moral superiors. It nibbles away at the false consensus and plants a seed of doubt about whose authority upon which these new moral codes rest.

That’s the important aspect of all radicalism, especially American Progressivism. It is just an appeal to mob rule when you dig into it. They browbeat people into conforming to some new moral code and then point to public acceptance of it as their source of moral authority when called on it. It’s why vinegar drinking scolds like Jacqueline Hart decorate their sermons with the word “community” all the time. The enforced conformity is the only moral authority they have to support their codes of conduct.

¹Mark 11:27

The Economics Of Democratic Empire

The economics of empire are fairly well understood. Persia for example, conquered the surrounding people, because it meant those people paid tribute to Persia. The cost of conquest was covered by the initial booty, at least in theory. Tribute was calculated on the ability to pay and the cost of defending the new land. While ego certainly played a major role in empire building, the economics were also a factor. In agrarian society, land was the store of wealth, so acquiring new lands was how a people got rich.

This is the reason empires preferred to negotiate with potential new vassals, rather than just invade. It made the math predictable. The initial conquests were all about the warrior spirit or maybe old grudges, but as an empire matured, it was about economics. If a city-state on the Aegean, for example, was willing to submit to Persia without a fight, the cost of conquest was easy to calculate. Not only that, it lowered the cost of maintaining the relationship, as the new vassal would be cooperative.

This has been the rule of empire since the first empire. The Romans conquered the Italian peninsula because of age old conflicts with the neighboring people. They conquered the Mediterranean because it made them rich. The British Empire was a purely financial empire, as were all of the colonial empires. There were rivalries between the European powers, for sure, but their main motivation was economic. Conquering the New World and Africa was all about enriching the conquerors.

There has always been another element to the economics of empire and that is the nature of rule. Empires have always been defined by personal rule. A ruling family or maybe a ruling tribe, sat atop the system. They owned lands themselves and treated their conquests as personal property, even if they were not defined so legally. When new lands were acquired, the emperor or king got his cut first. Then the rest was distributed to his lieutenants and supporters down to the soldiers themselves.

Personal rule means personal responsibility. Darius, the Persian emperor, had a personal stake in the welfare of his vassals. To simply loot them would be like a shepherd skinning his flock, rather than shearing them. The economics of empire have always been the same as the economics of monarchy. The people at the top must treat their vassal states as they would treat their own property, which means they have a stake in their prosperity and therefore a motivation to preserve the value of the conquest.

America is the first democratic empire. The British Empire had democratic elements, like a parliament and limited suffrage, but it was a long way from liberal democracy, as we currently define it. By the time liberal democracy swept the West in the first half of the last century, the British Empire was in steep decline. That process was the result of America rising to dominate the West and eventually become the global hegemon. America elected to conquer the world in order to spread democracy.

Democracy, of course, turns the ruling class of a country into renters. Unlike an owner, a monarch for example, the office holders in a democracy are in it for short term profit. The next election could find them back in the dreaded private sector. In order to hedge against that eventuality, they must convert as much private property into public property, in order to distribute it to friends of government. Democracy is just a formalized version of tragedy of the commons, that always ends in it murdering itself.

The question then is how a democratic empire can survive, when the ruling elite of that empire are motivated to loot the empire. In the Cold War, this was not a consideration, because the other side was a similar empire build around communism, which is just the material implementation of democracy. The natural inclination of both systems to loot themselves was checked by the very real threat of nuclear annihilation. The commies invested in territorial integrity, while the West invested in their economies.

The collapse of the Soviet Empire is something that gets little attention, as it is just assume to have been inevitable. Communism, however, shares something with liberal democracy. The people at the top have no incentive to invest in society. The Soviets did not develop their social and human capital. Instead, it ruthlessly exploited it, along with the natural resources of the territory. The Soviet system was like a renter using the furniture for firewood. When the energy markets collapsed, the Soviets collapsed.

Liberal democratic empire, rather than strip mine natural resources from the land, monetizes social capital through cost shifting. For example, business brings in foreign workers to suppress wages, but then dumps those workers into the surrounding community. Their cost of support consumes the social capital of that community through corruption of local institutions, increases in crime and social alienation. In other words, the cost of cheap goods is the loss of community and local control.

Another aspect of the exploitative economics of liberal democratic empire is how America strip mines foreign lands of their human capital. Silicon Valley, for example, is majority non-white. The best minds from around the world are recruited to the economic centers of the empire. Spend time around the Imperial Capital and it is not only a foreign country, it is an alien country. It is nothing like the rest of the empire. That’s because it is a collection point for foreign elites serving the empire.

What collapsed the Soviet system was the same as with any economic enterprise. The cost of maintaining it exceeded the benefits of maintaining it. The Soviets ran out of cash to pay their bills and went bankrupt. The Soviets had to subsidize the vassal states in order for the local elites to remain in power. They also had to spend on security forces to keep those local elites from getting any ideas. The cost of doing those things eventually exceeded the proceeds of natural resource extraction.

In the American empire, a different crisis is brewing. The destruction of social capital has reached a point where the middle class is collapsing. Inequality has never been higher, but it promises to soar as the Baby Boom generation ages off and their assets are consumed by the state. The proliferation of private debt to provide the illusion of prosperity and mask the loss of social capital, has beggared the young. The next generation is guaranteed to have a lower standard of living than their parents.

The collapse of social capital is surely one cause of the decline in entrepreneurship. To start a business is to take a risk. Having social support not only mitigates the cost of failure, it encourages risk taking. As capital, social and human, has been collected into the control of an increasingly narrow elite, entrepreneurship has declined while overall leverage has grown. The rentier system of liberal democracy, has turned the ruling elites into renters, using up resources without replacing them.

The Russian implementation of democratic communism in an empire became unstable when the proceeds from energy sales could not cover the cost of empire. Like a business with a negative cash flow, it simply ran out of money and collapsed. It’s tempting to think something similar happens in America. After all, government debt at all levels is staggering and is accelerating. That’s a mistake, however, as the state is no longer in control of the empire. Control now rests in private hands.

Proof of that is the inability of the empire to control the borders. Across the West, the voters want to sharply reduce legal immigration and end all illegal migration. Yet, supposedly sovereign governments are unable to do it. In America, the President is stymied at every turn by a system largely controlled by forces that exist outside the government. The reason there can be no border wall is the managerial elite that benefits from and is in charge of the empire, will never permit it.

The more likely source of instability will come from the cannibalization of social capital that has been the fuel of the “new economy” for decades. The loss of social capital has reduced social trust, which in turn has resulted in a decline in trust of national civic institutions. Why would people put faith in their institutions when it is clear that their office holders are powerless? That is a lesson rocketing around Europe. It explains the “yellow vest” protests and the rise of right-wing populism.

In America, only a fool believes the ruling class. People are becoming increasingly alarmed by what’s happening in the administrative state and its private partners in the technology and financial class. This loss in trust will inevitably lead people to look for alternative sources of legitimacy, authority and collective security. Identity politics is just a preview. As America becomes majority-minority, politics becomes a winner take all proposition, which will foster a rise of tribal politics.

The traditional empire always stagnated when it stopped expanding. What followed was a long period of decline. In a democratic empire, the economics that naturally flow from democracy hollow out the empire, by converting its social capital into power and status of a detached ruling elite. The global rulers of today see themselves as detached from those over whom they rule. Their subjects are just resources to be utilized and discarded.

The question to be answered is what happens to the American empire when the social capital is gone? Is it possible for a tiny alien elite to maintain control of a continent-wide population entirely dependent on the system for order and stability? Can the culture of the penitentiary scale up in such a way that the inmates still believe they are in charge of the institution? No one knows, because there has never been a democratic empire, but that is the task facing the ruling class of the American empire.

The NeoCon Persuasion

The late Irving Kristol, considered the godfather of neoconservatism, said his project was “to convert the Republican party, and American conservatism in general, against their respective wills, into a new kind of conservative politics suitable to governing a modern democracy.” Kristol further went on to describe his vision as uniquely America, despite the fact it had no roots in American history. The implication was that neoconservatism would be the new Right of the new America ruled by the new ruling class.

It was a rare example of honesty from a collection of intellectuals and advocates seemingly incapable of candor. In recent times, people like Bill Kristol argued in private that the wars in the Middle East were for the benefit of Israel, while in public he claimed it was a vital American Interest. At the same time, neocons pushed for the importation of Muslims, many from lands bombed in neocon wars. The predictable consequences were then offered as an excuse for more wars.

Going abroad to find monsters to slay and then inviting their orphans into America looks like madness, rather than a new ruling ideology. The inability to grasp this obvious problem suggests the neocon persuasion is built on a foundation of self-deception and decorated with a perfidy of convenience. The former is the natural affliction, while the latter is the effort to remedy it. That or what it takes to be a neoconservative is an endless well of shameless disregard for how others judge your integrity.

While it is possible that neoconservatism is a cult that attracted high-functioning sociopaths, the more plausible answer is these people have a long developed lack of self-awareness. The inability to make an honest appraisal of themselves and their coevals creates a massive blind spot in which they are always standing. In righteous indignation they accuse others of crimes the neocons have fully embraced. A good recent example of this is the latest post from Jonah Goldberg.

The tag line of his post, under a picture of President Trump, is “The problem conservatism faces these days is that many of the loudest voices have decided to embrace the meanness while throwing away the facts.” The obvious point he is making is that Trump and his supporters are a bunch of unthinking meanies. This is a popular refrain from the neocons, who fashion themselves as intellectuals, despite working from a small inventory of talents. Their critics are just stupid meanies.

The general thrust of the Goldberg post is strangely similar to what we have always heard from the left side of the Progressive orthodoxy. That is, their side is dealing in facts and reason, doing so in a sober minded fashion. The other side, in contrast, is dumb and enraging in the worst sorts of behavior. Goldberg is doing this while he calls the writer Chris Buskirk stupid and dishonest for the crime of pointing out that neoconservatism is headed to the dustbin of history.

Of course, what vexes Goldberg about the critics of neoconservatism is not their tone or their handling of facts. It is the personal insult. Neoconservatism is more like a tribe at this point, where the lines between individual identity and group identity are blurred. Goldberg is lashing out at Buskirk, because he sees his observations about his tribe as a personal insult. Again, this has been a feature of the left side of the Progressive orthodoxy since before Gettysburg. Politics is always personal.

There’s also the fact that Goldberg has been an egregious smear merchant for a long time. He invested a lot of time talking about Trump and the KKK during the 2016 primaries, hoping the implication would stick. He has worked hard to associate the critics of neoconservatism with neo-Nazis and white supremacists, mostly as a distraction in order to avoid addressing the dreadful consequences of neoconservatism. Goldberg is the neoconservative version of David Brock.

A sleazy dimwit like Goldberg accusing anyone of being mean spirited or stupid reveals a breathtaking lack of self-awareness. That is the very essence of the neoconservative, when you look at the shabby cast of characters flying the flag. Bill Kristol has been wrong about everything for decades, yet he shamelessly waddles around lecturing everyone, as if he is brilliant wise man. A normal man, possessing even a shred of decency, would be in hiding now if he had the record of Bill Kristol.

This strange lack of self-awareness revealed in the words of Irving Kristol when he wrote, “Neoconservatism is the first variant of American conservatism in the past century that is in the “American grain.” It is hopeful, not lugubrious; forward-looking, not nostalgic; and its general tone is cheerful, not grim or dyspeptic.” Nothing about that is true in the least, but even now, in the bitter twilight of their final days, they continue to claim they are the happy warriors in the political fight.

In reality, the neocon persuasion was always a bitter reaction to having lost the struggle with their more radical coevals on the Left. Neoconservatism is a great example of the “elaborate, plausible, and intellectually very challenging systems that do not, in fact, have any truth content.” At its heart was always an irrationality born out of frustration at having been shut out of the Progressive elite. If the paleocons were the beautiful losers, as Sam Francis put it, then the neocons were the ugly losers.

Gefälschte Nachrichten

Last week, the German publication Der Spiegel was forced to fire its star performer, when it was revealed he was a fabulist. Claas Relotius had written for the publication for close to a decade. He had been handed several awards by other media organs. His exposure as a serial fabricator was the result of his piece on the small town of Fergus Falls Minnesota, after the 2016 election. The thrust of his story was that rural America voted for Trump, because it is full of xenophobic weirdos and economic losers.

His mistake was to pick on a small town in the age of the internet. The yokels were able to look up the article and compare his version of reality with their own. More important, they could go to a popular platform and post their reactions to his article, so the world could then compare his work to reality. Michele Anderson and Jake Krohn, who live in Fergus Falls, posted their analysis of the article on Medium. Eventually, it took over a year, Der Spiegel was forced to address the issue publicly.

In Germany, this is quite a scandal in media circles, because Der Spiegel is like their version of New York Times. That is, it positions itself as the official arbiter of truth, with regards to public morality. They not only decide what is true, they decide which truths can be said. Worse yet for them, they have been bragging about their fact checking for a long time. As a result of this tent pole toppling over, the German media is scrambling to convince everyone that it is an isolated incident, not a system failure.

The amusing bit is the German media is rushing around looking puzzled, as to how the vaunted fact checking system could have failed. After all, the best people are in control of the media. How could the best people have made such basic errors? As is the case in America, whenever these things happen, the media hand-wringing is just a dodge. What really concerns them is how easy it was for two bumpkins from dirt country to sluice out the facts from the fiction in this particular article.

That’s always the thing with these scandals. The media big shots always come off as if they have been insulted about their shenanigans being revealed. In this case, the other major media outfits are rallying to defend Der Spiegel. In the dreaded private sector, competitors are always quick to take advantage of the mistakes of a competitor. In the main stream media, the opposite is always true. They circle the wagons and begin lecturing the hoi polloi about the dangers of questioning the media.

That is the real cause of these scandals. For a long time, the mass media in the West has been a mono-culture. You can’t have a career in the media if you don’t hold all the right opinions. To call the media an echo chamber for the left is to understate the problem. The better analogy is a school of fish. Each individual just reacts to those around him, giving the effect of the school having agency as a whole. What looks like collusion is just the result of a uniformity of mind, experience and social class.

That’s why no one at Der Spiegel, or anywhere else in the German media, noticed the fraudulence of Claas Relotius. He was writing the things his coevals and superiors said at luncheons, cocktail parties and in the office. His story about slack-jawed yokels in the American heartland ticked all the boxes popular with the left-wing cultural outlook. He was not sent there to report on the place. He was sent there to confirm what his employers already knew about Middle American and Trump voters.

This is why Western media is something worse than propaganda. The person hired by the state or hired by the corporate marketing department has self-awareness. They know their job is to polish the apple of their superiors. The tricks they employ to do that are done with a knowledge and forethought. The guy telling the public that his employer, the pesticide company, is deeply concerned about the environment does so knowing full well that no one believes him, including his family.

The media is a different thing. They really believe their own nonsense. They think they are part of a special class of human, a priestly class that not only reports facts to the public, but provides moral instruction. The mass media is so intoxicated by their own self-righteousness, they lack the ability to question their own actions. When Claas Relotius came back from the bush, reporting exactly what his bosses knew was the case, they had no reason to question it. It was too good to check.

The Age Of Ugly

In the fullness of time, the robot historians sifting through the remains of this age will point to the 1970’s as the time when the American empire took a fateful turn. The 1960’s get all the blame for the cultural collapse of America and the West, but that’s not really fair nor is it accurate. Lots of terrible ideas were born in the 60’s, but terrible ideas like the Civil Rights movement started in the 50’s. Women’s rights started in the 20’s. It was the 1970’s when all of these terrible ideas came together to wash away the West.

Look at the disco era, as portrayed by the movie Saturday Night Fever. You have all the things that define this era. There is the reckless personal behavior, the pointlessness of the character’s lives and the denigration of bourgeois values. The main character is basically a bum who works in a hardware store so he can make enough money to party with other degenerates. He treats his girlfriend so poorly, she eventually becomes a whore that his buddies pass around, so she can stay in the group.

Everything about the movie, like the lifestyle it portrayed, was degenerate. The disco era was basically just an effort to take the underground homosexual scene in New York City and vomit it onto Middle America. It largely worked too. While the 1960’s saw bourgeois America stagger, it was the 1970’s when the cultural revolution hit the working and lower classes. All the rules that gave structure to the lower ranks were obliterated. The result was the birth of the white underclass and a drug culture that is still with us.

Again, the terrible ideas that found there way into the lower class in the 70’s were not products of the time. Just as the hippy culture was a result of the beatnik phenomenon, which was an outgrowth of the jazz age, the 70’s were a consequence. The difference though is that the cultural changes that rocketed through the middle and upper classes could be absorbed to a great degree. Money and class provide for a greater margin of error. Rich people can afford sex, drugs and rock and roll.

That’s the real crime of the post-war cultural revolution. The people at the top actually benefited from it, as they were no longer morally responsible for setting a good example and looking after society. They were suddenly free to be indifferent. The upper middle-class could inoculate itself from most of the damage, mostly by moving into enclaves where their kids would not be exposed to the consequences. The proliferation of private schools for the upper middle-classes started in the 1970’s for a reason.

It is the middle and lower classes that have paid the price for what happened in the post war years. To a great degree, middle class America has always been an extension of the working class. The smart and resourceful kids of the working class could make it into office jobs, rather than working in blue collar fields. At the same time, if the children of middle-class people slipped up and fell into the working class, the climb back up was not that far and only required a little help. The gap between middle and the rest was small.

The cultural revolution decimated the working classes, creating a white underclass. The gap between there and the middle-class is now enormous. If the child of school teachers makes mistakes and falls out of the middle class, it’s as if he has fallen down a well. The climb back out of the underclass is enormous. One unmentioned reason for the shrinking white middle-class is the floor underneath them has collapsed. This not only makes them vulnerable, it has made them powerless as a political force.

Another consequence of the cultural revolution was the segregation of the classes, both physically and cognitively. The ruling elites, freed from any moral duty to look out for their inferiors were now entirely divorced from them. The upper-middle, which always looks up for its aesthetic and cultural cues, has now cultivated a hatred of the lower ranks, as part of what defines their class. Those rules, enforced by the upper classes, that provided structure to the lower classes, also provided a connection between the classes.

The physical ugliness of the 1970’s, as presented in the movie Saturday Night Fever, was a glimpse of the spiritual degeneracy to come. The pointless self-indulgence of the characters, their reckless disregard for one another, their families and communities, all of it was waiting for the country as a whole. The physical ugliness of the age has been cleansed by the sterile aesthetic of Silicon Valley, but the spiritual ugliness of the cultural revolution remains. Glass and stainless steel cannot mask it.

That ugliness is what is fueling the populist movements. In Europe and America, the natives, physically and culturally divorced from their rulers, are now looking for alternative sources of authority. The people are recoiling at the ugly world created for them by their rulers, so the slow search for new rulers has begun. No one thinks about it quite like that yet, but in time, that corner will be turned. We’ll move from reform to the idea of starting fresh and leaving the ugliness of left-wing radicalism behind.

December Grab Bag

Most likely, this is the final show of 2018. I’m not sure if I’ll do one next week, because of this being the start of a long holiday. Lots of people drop out between Christmas and New Year’s day to travel and decompress. I’m one of them. I was going to spend the week in Paris, but the whites are rioting again, so that’s out. Instead, I’ll be using the time to take care of administrative items around the office, catch up on my reading and reset various projects I have going. It’s a good time to reset and get ready for a fresh start.

I will be dropping in on Happy Homelands on Saturday. Paul and Tiina will be hosting a special Christmas show, which will have a bunch of people on over two hours. I always recommend Paul’s videos to people curious about what’s happening on our side of the great divide. They are a nice, gentle introductions to our topics and people. I thought his appearance with Millennial Woes last week was great. Our side needs more accessible personalities, because most people see us as the Hell’s Angels of politics.

Otherwise, the next week will be a light posting week. For me, light posting means a day or two off, but everything is relative. It also depends upon how events play out with the big showdown over the wall funding. I’m not all that confident Trump can get a deal done, but maybe Ann Coulter taunting him has finally snapped him out of his funk. This is probably where we find out if Trump has any chance of winning a second term. But, we’ll have to see what happens. maybe we get lucky and it wraps up today.

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. I have been de-platformed by Spotify, because they feared I was poisoning the minds of their Millennial customers.

This Week’s Show

Contents

  • 00:00: Opening
  • 02:00: The Rackets (Link) (Link) (Link) (Link) (Link) (Link)
  • 12:00: Our Petty Royalty (Link)
  • 22:00: Theocracy (Link)
  • 32:00: Anti-Anti-Israel (Link) (Link)
  • 42:00: We’ve Always Been At War With East Africa (Link)
  • 47:00: Broken Women (Link)
  • 52:00: Man Of The Year (Link)
  • 57:00: Closing (Link)

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Witch Hunters

Alex McNabb is one of the personalities on The Right Stuff. His primary role is as a side kick on the TDS podcast, but he turns up on other shows and works on the various bits they do. In his spare time, he is a licensed emergency medical technician working in rural Virginia. That means he is one of the people riding an ambulance to situations where people are injured. In rural parts of America, there is a shortage of EMT’s and ambulance services, so much of the work is done by volunteers like McNabb.

For the past few week, Antifa agitator Christopher Mathias has been trying to get McNabb thrown off the ambulance crew. Mathias pretends to be a news reporter, but his real job is to harass people with whom Antifa disagrees. He started harassing the ambulance service and when that did not work, he started calling the state licensing board. When that went nowhere, he started harassing the Board of Supervisors. He finally found a fellow lunatic to try and use his government position to pull funding from the ambulance service.

Now, it should be said that most people in McNabb’s position would have tried to lie low for a while until the lunatics found a new target to harass. Instead, he stood up for himself in public and made his case. The Board of Supervisors appears to have been suitably impressed, or perhaps shamed, as none of them were willing to support the lunatic’s effort to harm the ambulance service. That’s not the end of it, of course, as lunatics never quit after they lose a fight. Instead, they redouble their efforts and keep coming.

Even so, you have to wonder if people are starting to get tired of these ridiculous show trials, where mentally unstable people like Christopher Mathias get the final word on public morality. Whatever you think about McNabb’s entertainment life, he’s causing no one harm with it and his work as an EMT saves lives. It’s why rational societies maintain a barrier between public and private life. We’re better off not knowing the interior life of the people we deal with every day. More important, we don’t need to know it.

Watch the video of the exchange between the chairman of the Board of Supervisors and McNabb and it looks like something from a Stalin show trial. The chairman was not there to serve the people of his county. He was there to put on a performance and show his betters that he is a true believer, willing to sacrifice all for the cause. In fact, his antics were so cringe inducing, it made McNabb look like a hero. If you’re on that board and you see that, you don’t want any part of that Boyd character. He’s a nut.

Of course, it is a great example of how people like Mathias are the new Puritans. They spend their days looking for sinners. Replace the phrase “white supremacist” with “blasphemer” or “heretic” in these things and it makes much more sense. It’s why they indiscriminately throw around the term, applying it to anyone they oppose. Just as Eskimos have lots of words for snow, these new Puritans have lots of words for the sinners they are sure must be holding back progress toward the Promised Land.

It’s also another example of something that never gets discussed. Settled society is that space between the fanatics on one side and the barbarians on the other. For most of human history, the barbarians were a real threat, so keeping the fanatics under control was a necessity. The witch hunters in the 16th and 17th century were eventually suppressed, because they were dangerous. In this age, our rulers have no fear of barbarians, so they are amused by fanatical lunatics like Chris Mathias.

At some point, one of these witch hunter is going to mess with the wrong witch and something very bad will happen. It would be one thing if these nuts were content to write silly posts on sites like the Huffington Post, but they are not. As we see in this situation, this Mathias guy has invested a big chunk of his life trying to ruin a life. McNabb is a reasonable guy willing to combat this nut within the rules. One day, the target will not be reasonable and he will not be concerned about the rules.

Even if that day never comes, these stories serve to make the case that the people in charge are, at best, indifferent to what is happening in America. A responsible elite steps in and puts the brakes on this nonsense. The people running the Huffington Post, that would be Verizon, would not give these loons a platform. They may not be able to stop a crackpot like Mathias from stalking people on-line, but they can send the message that his behavior is unacceptable. It’s how sensible elites maintain order.

Instead, we live in a world of daily reminders that the people who rule over us hate us and take pleasure in our suffering. Again, no matter what you think of McNabb, he provides a much needed service. People will literally die if this ambulance company is shut down because of McNabb’s blasphemy. Rural communities rely on volunteers like McNabb for these vital services. That tells you the truth about our rulers. They may not agree with what you say, but they are willing to lay down your life in order to suppress it.

American Cicero

In an apocryphal exchange between F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, Fitzgerald said, “The rich are different from you and me.” To this Hemingway replied, “Yes, they have more money.” This gets repeated a lot, because it tickles the egalitarian sensibilities of most Americans. A big part of what has kept America together since the Civil War is the myth that ours is a classless society. Some people have more money and power than others, but that’s entirely due to merit, not class and connections.

Like the exchange itself, this belief is completely false. Every society has an elite and that elite uses its influence and connections to perpetuate itself. The daughters of rich guys marry the sons of influential guys. Their children are groomed to take up positions in the elite, mostly due to their family connections in the elite. Just as important, a floor is placed under members of the elite, protecting them from reversion to the mean. It’s how the Kennedy family has been in politics for four generations, despite their deficiencies.

What used to be unique about the American elite is they had a strong connection to the rest of America. This is a big, continent sized country, composed of man nations. That regional diversity, which is driven by biological diversity, made for a national elite that was really just a collection of local elites. This greatly reduced the distance between the elites and those over whom they ruled. Therefore, the American elite tended to be less elite, relative the Europe, and much more connected to the people.

In this interview on C-Span, Tucker Carlson explains some of the themes in his book and how he had this epiphany about what is happening in America. It’s an amazingly frank interview about how he and his fellow elites know pretty much nothing about the country over which they rule. At around the seven minute mark, he makes the point that he and his neighbors don’t know things like how much gasoline costs. The reason is, they have lots of money and the price of staples is simply unimportant.

Carlson is in many respects, a throwback. He’s what the WASP elite used to be like in previous generations. That is, he grew up in privilege, but had plenty of exposure to the common people and developed some common habits. In that same interview, he mentions that Claiborne Pell drove a beat up old car, despite being from old money. It was partially an affectation, but it was also a sensibility. American elites not only did not want to look like elites, they wanted to make sure they were a responsible elite.

That’s the interesting thing about Carlson’s book. It’s being bought and read by the hoi polloi, but it is aimed at his neighbors in Georgetown. It is a warning to them that they better start paying attention to what’s happening on the other side of the great cultural wall that separates us and them. What’s even more interesting is the people who should be reading it, are not reading his book. Instead they are attacking Carlson for it. They want his severed hands to be put on display in the Capitol rotunda.

The fact is, the Trump phenomenon is showing that the time for reform has passed and whatever comes next is unavoidable. That’s a truth about all reform efforts. Once a reform effort gets going, it is almost always too late for reform to work. The entrenched interests are too strong to overcome. Democracy moves quickly from a point where corruption is too minor to be of any concern to a place where corruption is too rampant for the system to confront it. Systemic failure is the core code of democracy.

You see this in late empire America. The ruling elite is composed of many parts, none of which has a reason to care about public welfare. The so-called deep-state is thoroughly beholden to global interests, many of whom are foreign. The semi-permanent administrative state is composed of people who hold the rest of us in contempt and people happy to not be subjected to the vagaries of the dreaded private sector. The mass media is a collection of propagandists and court jesters, mostly stupid rich kids.

The political class is always the main focus of reform, which is why many Americans are flirting with the sort of radicalism circulating in dissident politics. These well trained actors run for office on well-designed appeals to bourgeois sensibilities, then immediately begin speaking in tongues when they get to Washington. To follow modern politics, as a normal person, is to see the movie They Live over and over, thinking there can be a different ending, that the aliens will come around to our side.

The reason for this is the political class is just a collection of hired men. The plutocrats, who control both parties and the administrative state, have found that it is a lot easier to hire actors to stand in for them in office. That means every election, the choice is between two actors hired by the same people, playing different carefully scripted roles. When they get to Washington, they are given a different script. It is why so many of them are quite dumb. Stupid people don’t ask too many tough questions.

The defining feature of our modern elites is that a big part of who they are, their sense of identity, comes from not being us. The cultivated contempt from FBI functionaries like Peter Strzok and Lisa Page is part of the dress code of these people. In the same way a rich guy will sport an understated, but expensive watch or article of clothing, the people who rule over us wear a contempt for Americans, especially white Americans. The dying white middle-class is especially despised by the administrative state.

This is why reform is impossible. We see this with Trump and we would have seen it if Bernie Sanders had scored the upset. It’s not about the old ideological framework. It is about the new cultural framework. The people who rule over us see themselves as different from us, at war with us. They are defined by that sense. While it is amusing to see Carlson play the jocular Cicero role, it is important to remember the fate of Cicero as Rome succumbed to authoritarianism. No one should buy him gloves for Christmas.

The Coming Crisis

In a crisis, people either turn to their institutions or they turn to their leaders to provide a path forward through the emergency. This is especially true when the path forward is waiting out the emergency. People respect action, so they have to have faith in their leaders if the right course is patience. Alternatively, if the leaders and institutions are not up to the task, then the people turn on each other.The French Revolution is the perfect example of what happens when leaders and institutions fail in a crisis.

It has been a long time since American faced a real crisis. The closest we came to anything major was the financial crisis a decade ago. For people foolish enough to take on the crazy mortgages, it was a very real emergency, but for most people it was more of an abstraction than a real crisis. Unemployment ticked up and the stock market took a header, but it was not the Great Depression. There was a concern, for sure, that the wheels were about to come off the cart, but it never materialized.

Of course, one could say that the leaders and institutions stepped in and guided the country through the crisis. People tend not to think of the Federal Reserve as an essential institution, but it is probably the most important part of government now. The head of the central bank is every bit as important as the President. In fact, he may be more important, as we saw with Greenspan and George Bush. An overly tight monetary policy led to a slight downturn in the economy at just the right time to sink the Bush election bid.

In 2008, the world was lucky to have a Fed chairman, who had prepared his whole life for such an event, and a very weak political class. Bush was near the end of his reign and no one thought much of him anyway. Congress has not had much credibility in decades, so they could not cause too much trouble. Bernake was given the room to do what had to be done to stabilize the financial system. People can argue about the solution and various alternatives, but the Fed did provide a peaceful path forward.

The world was lucky in another way. The public was still confident in the system, even though they may not have liked many of the people in it. George Bush was down in the polls, because of the Iraq war, but people still trusted he was a good guy. The restoration of public trust during the Reagan years still cast a shadow over the Bush years. Even though Clinton had been a degenerate and Bush was an incompetent, people still thought the system was fine. They could trust the system.

That brings us to the present. Half the country voted for Trump and increasingly blames the system for blocking his efforts. The other half voted against him and increasingly suspects he is punishment for a broken system. The political class is at war with itself, as it grapples with the fact it no longer commands respect. Then there is the hidden war between the semi-permanent administrative state and the reformers in the White House and Congress. Right now, the people and institutions are not very stable.

That’s what makes the rumblings from the financial system ominous. Wall Street is not Main Street, so a year long bear market should not be overstated. The old line about the markets being predictive is nonsense. If people could see the future, there would be no stock market. The US markets went on a crazy upward run and may simply be going through a correction. Still, the housing market is heading into a recession and the economy is showing signs of a slow down, if not a recession.

None of this is cause for alarm, but what if the long prophesied collapse of the credit system is a lot closer than we know? A lot of smart people said that 2008 was one of those tremors that precedes a major earthquake. Maybe what we have been experiencing is something like the Long Depression, which ran in fits and starts for two decades. The last few years have simply been a respite and we’re about to have another serious downturn or even a panic. Will the leaders and institutions hold up?

In other words, the economic pendulum swings back and forth. That is the lesson of economic history. The salient question is whether or not the political institutions and the leaders are able to hold up as the pendulum swings. In the 19th century, Europe was convulsed with civil unrest and war as the Industrial revolution blasted through traditional institutions. In the US, the post Civil War period was relatively calm, even though the same forces were at work. The institutions and leaders held up.

Again, we really don’t know if the current system and the people in it could hold up under a real crisis. Maybe the 2008 crisis can be read as proof that the system is better than the people in it. Maybe the lessons learned from it have made the system even stronger. On the other hand, maybe the system held up up because of residual stability that has now dissipated. That’s increasingly obvious with regards to public trust. It is much lower today than it was a decade ago. Maybe the same is true of the internal stability.

The thing is though, there are a lot of signs that the people at the very top of the global system are slowly rearranging the board. For a long time, America could count on the dollar as the world reserve currency and, more important, a hungry market for US Treasuries. The system built by the American empire relies on credit to operate and the reserve credit of the world is US debt. If there is even a hint of that changing, the great crisis will be upon us. Will those institutions and people hold up?