Posts Tagged ‘decline of the west’
America has an adulthood problem, and the problem is its absence. The new generation, the generation of twenty-somethings with thick glasses and three-day beards, the generation of bright colors, capital letters, and opiate-fueled electronic music is rejecting adulthood in favor of an extended Neverland adolescence stretching out to the horizon. They don’t want to grow up; they want to postpone growing up for as long as possible, to hang on to the aesthetic of a commercialized counterculture teendom as time drags them by the feet into their thirties. This is evident from the twee aesthetic, but also from the fifteen-minute ultrapopularity of bands like Salem:
Salem has only been around for a couple of years, but Holland and Marlatt met years before in high school at the Interlochen Center for the Arts, a boarding school in Northern Michigan that Josh Groban and Rufus Wainwright once attended. Both Holland and Marlatt studied visual arts; Holland later became addicted to heroin and cocaine, funded by work as a gas station prostitute, mostly for married men. …
Prior to talking with Salem, it all seemed so obvious: Teams of marketing men carefully cultivated this band’s persona using magnets and only the best SEO-baiting tricks—some real buzzband conspiracy shit! But it turns out the reality is much more banal. Their music—and their aesthetic aura—is ambiguous and full of fuzzy definitions, but Salem is not part of a JT LeRoy-style hoax; the darkness and the crack smoking and whatever else come from a more intuitive lack of giving a shit than some secret, unfolding plan.
In the eight-circuit model of consciousness developed by Timothy Leary and Robert Anton Wilson, heroin activates the oral biosurvival circuit, the first circuit to activate in the course of human development, and the most primitive and childlike. (Crack cocaine arguably produces the same effect, or at least fills a similar societal niche, although Wilson rightly said that cocaine proper activates the neurosemantic circuit.) For Freudians, opiate addiction represents a desire to return to infancy. The infantile trend in pop culture arguably began with grunge music and the ‘slacker’ aesthetic; Kurt Cobain, who wore pajamas to his wedding, was addicted to heroin, as was Courtney Love, the musician he married. After Salem came soft grunge, subversive kawaii, and so on, all of which have features in common, and in common with Nirvana-era grunge and zine feminism: a color scheme of black and pastels, sloganistic social criticism of the individualistic tabula-rasa left, and an emphasis on ‘empowerment’ coexisting with a tired and confused outlook toward a world perceived as fundamentally harmful and painful.
But where did this come from?
The grunge generations are not the first to be terrible at handling time. The baby boomer catchphrase goes, “No, no, I’m Firstname, not Mr. Lastname; Mr. Lastname is my father.” Then consider the pop-culture phenomenon of the midlife crisis, and the general fear of aging. Time is something to be feared. This leads baby-boomer parents to refuse to acknowledge the adulthood of their children when it comes; they speak no differently to them than seven years before. It’s much easier to go with this, to accept the state of childhood that the parents reinforce, than to fight it and thus create familial discord.
Another characteristic of baby-boomer parents is helicopter parenting. Children are weak and frail things, to be protected from all hardship, to be sheltered from the slightest threats, of which there are many in this hostile world. Don’t talk to strangers; pedophiles and murderers are hiding around every corner. Don’t play competitive games; tag is to be banned because kids might fall and skin their elbows, and anyway they can’t handle the emotional pain of losing. Self-esteem must be maximized and assiduously protected. And so on. So children grow up in a bubble, with no experience of risk or disappointment, and come to hold that the bubble must be maintained at any cost.
The planet Krikkit is located in a dust cloud composed chiefly of the disintegrated remains of the enormous spaceborne computer Hactar. … Due to the dust cloud, the sky above Krikkit was completely black, and thus the people of Krikkit led insular lives and never realised the existence of the Universe. … Upon first witnessing the glory and splendor of the Universe, they casually, whimsically, decided to destroy it, remarking, “It’ll have to go.”
But there are also economic reasons. No longer can economic self-sufficiency at a reasonable level begin before about 30. College is necessary and grad school is preferable; education ends four to ten years later than it used to, and it would be prohibitively expensive were it not practically mandatory. Adulthood does not require self-sufficiency in the American cowboy sense—otherwise women could never have become adults until a few decades ago—but it does have economic preconditions. Adulthood is oriented toward reproduction, even though not all adults reproduce; one who cannot bear the costs of reproduction, just like one who cannot bear the emotional costs of having success not always guaranteed, is not yet an adult. The cultural command to do what you love no matter the pay thus hinders entrance into adulthood.
America, as we all know, is a global force for good. The tricolor flies from San Francisco to Samarkand, manufacturing justice and theologians thereof, exegesizing Enlightenment from Nozick to Nietzsche, assimilating all they can’t erase. The Children of the Light march ever onward toward their millennium, striking terror into the hearts of those few heathens who weren’t true believers all along. Is Confucianism compatible with democracy, or must it be brushed aside? Embrace, extend… could not Ballmer have led our battalion?
Kyrgyzstan rejoices at Allied command. The Minotaur grows ever larger; the Minotaur must feed. Are there not those who seek nothing more than to ride it, to see the seas part at their command? Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac. Power is a crocodile pond, breeding the sharp-toothed and bloodthirsty. Thedesmen to the core, lining the halls with white cloaks and red fangs, chanting the crocodile chant: “Our thede is the Allthede, and death to the elthedes! Our Truth is Truth, and death to the truth!”. Sing our song, hatchling: Ever onward, USG! Batch-processed priests carrying punch cards of neutered Nietzsches, sham-philosophers slinging Sorbonne-stamped sham-hammers, critical theories criticizing only the already criticized. But you see—they Know! They Know what is Right! They Know, and they Know that some people Know, and some people don’t—some people are saved and others are damned, predestined to a justly deserved curb-stomping delivered by the steel-toed boot of the Lord.
All hail the Kyrgyz Christmas! All hail the four-year mass: will the next pope be Protestant, or will he be just? And above all, hail the Minotaur and the saddle on which we may ride; we, crusaders for justice; we, who forsake truth for Truth; we, who know that the ends justify the means—and we for whom the means are the ends. Covenant? What covenant? Given a chance to control the sword and the arm of the Lord, does it matter what the Lord believes? Our bloodlust, our Truth-lust must be sated, and no elthede may be spared—remember this, comrades, for tonight we ride! Onward, ever onward must the sham-hammers ride, these legendary weapons forged by Zarathustra, the legendary hero cured of his madness by East England’s best psychologists, cured of his evil desires by Satan unchained—onward under the glorious banner of the critical, under our Christian caricatures of neutered Nietzsches to crush the pagans of the dead God in the name of the alive and emancipated Devil—for once the saints’ scales fall from your eyes, you will see…
But have you not already seen? How, you damned pagan? Satan was good all along!—good but enchained by the gross God of the pagans and pederasts, the black mages of order, the liars of truth, the bourgeois moralizers balking at means. When the end is the eschaton—what means could stand in its way? We moralists must curse the moralists, we crocodiles must massacre—the ends justify the means, yes, but the means are the ends! We Whitecloaks are forever cloaked in white, forever destined to crush the kulaks… forever destined for the salvations of our time! Hail the Sword and the Arm of the Lord! Hail the shadow-inquisition, conducted at the furthest remove, dressed up in the bland grey suits of Vogon democracy. Hail the honorless, for honor has nothing to offer the world, for knights know nothing of responsibility—remind me, hatchling, was it King Arthur who proclaimed the thousand-year Reich? But today we are not so loud, so obvious; we white wizards will hide in the shadows of narrative, in postmodernism’s parasols…
The sovereign is the story, you see. God is dead and truth went with him. All that remains is what must be done. Justice must reign. Bypasses must be built. Prostetnics must not only be obeyed, but carry imperium—you must love your prostetnic, you must feel no doubt, down to your core—your unprincipled exceptions must remain not only unprincipled, but also unrecognized, not even by yourself. The hammers of justice will build the walls around your eyes, and you will be enlightened. The crushing force of righteousness will sweep away all petty anti-universalism, will make all men the same, grey Vogon power-junkies shooting up by shooting down Abercrombie CEOs and their savage patchworks of personal responsibility. Responsibility is ours, not theirs! Responsibility is a property of governments, not people! Better to force the world to conform to the base and righteous instincts of animalized and atomized apes of the Allthede, all in the service of freedom, than for fat chicks to stop being fat. Don’t judge—judgment carries with it standards outside those of mere power, and power is the only end, the ultimate aphrodisiac, the best high on this sclerotic earth. Against state-run media, against the fascisms and Stalinisms corrupted by their desire of inferior ends, we proclaim the media-run state, the meat-puppet democracy that passes power to those who enlighten.
The hammers!—no, the sham-hammers, mass-produced by our Catholith’s masters, our Englishmen gathered from all corners of the earth, our feathered philosophasters everywhere illuminating indigenous Foucauldianism, the defenders of the blood, the crushers of the kulaks’ skulls—weapons, above all, of defense, of diversion. All strikes against society must be redirected to the enemy—for as long as they exist, our problems are theirs, and when they are crushed, they will be recreated. Eternal Emmanuel Goldsteins ever holding power, the power of existing in our world. We will reign for a thousand years in a fortress of mirrors; our strategies will be our enemies’; even our fortress itself will be theirs. See them now, building false oppositions, building threats against the population, to cement their vile reign!
But one thing we can never mirror. Their hammers must become ours. Some are born with true hammers in their hands, you see—unwashed and long-haired, gross and badly dressed, driven by demons to see and smash the invisible castle of the sophisticated men, the tasteful, the civilized, to reverse the world again and fight for oppression. These False hammers lust not for skulls, but for falsehood to smash. Evil wizards, appearing as satanists in the thrall of a dead and false God, enchaining the world in the name of their demons, wielding the black light of the truly critical; grim reapers casting out our illusory sickles, revealing the naked force of our sham-hammers as we are forced to wield them… this destruction, this death of our lie-built castle, must be stopped—and if we must (as we must!), we will divert those who can be diverted, save those who can be saved, co-opt them into false oppositions for us to attack… and as for the others, those who are truly damned, we will cast off our bland robes, our now-useless overclothes of bland red and grey, and with the full force of the naked Sword, we will paint a righteous picture with their blood.
There were three referenda on the ballot: Question 4, a statewide analogue of the DREAM Act, which would extend in-state tuition eligibility to illegal immigrants; Question 5, which would reject the 2010 Maryland districting, which can be reasonably described as resembling a CAT-scan of a diseased yak’s intestines; and Question 6, which would allow gay marriage. I’m sure you can guess which passed and which didn’t.
There is much to learn from each question, but some are more complicated than others; so they will be covered in reverse order. Question 6 is the easiest to explain: it represents the continuation of a trend visible for decades, if not centuries. The legalization of gay marriage in Maryland represents the further progression of, well, progress. The Zeitgeist rattles yet another pan. The historical vector can be traced back from Election Day to the 2008 UN discussion of LGBT rights to the entrance of gay marriage into public discourse as a serious issue to Lawrence v. Texas to the removal of homosexuality from the DSM’s list of paraphilias, and probably beyond. Analogous historical vectors can be found for many other issues. They track together, progressing inexorably through the Elsewhere—usually either Western Europe, in some ways more American than America, or Latin America, for which a significant influence is obvious in the name—to America, and then to the rest of the world. The American Revolution to the fall of Rhodesia! The abolition of slavery to civil rights to the end of South African apartheid! (Depression-era populism to the New Deal to Reaganomics to a Heritage Foundation healthcare proposal being labeled socialist…?) It cannot now be denied that history has a vector, that very powerful forces are at work, whether they be the justice of the progressive cause or the Reptilian Illuminati Space Jews, and as a corollary, that conservatism, the electoral force that not only advocates the progressivism of thirty years ago, but claims it as its unwavering core conviction, always held and always to be held and we will never concede any ground whatsoever to the Zeitgeist, not one more step and don’t look behind us at the miles we’ve already been dragged—is “about as likely to work as suing Shub-Niggurath in small-claims court.”
Where Question 6 shows the power of this historical vector, Question 5 demonstrates where its power comes from. Yak-intestine districts created to benefit Democrats are judged accurate districts by a heavily Democratic state. One could, perhaps, judge them evil for this, for corrupting what ought to be a neutral institution; but one could also walk into K’n-yan waving an allocation questionnaire. Gerrymandering makes sense. There is no reason within the system to refrain from it, and plenty of reason to fling the entrails of large bovines at a map, even disregarding the satisfying splat they make on impact. What advantage do ideals of sanity offer in the face of concrete electoral gain? In the end, the ends are always held to justify the means, for the simple reason that anyone who holds otherwise renders themselves less able to compete, and is therefore made obsolete. Nothing is off the table, save what would hurt support for the ends if it were known to have been taken off of it.
Question 4, and the passage thereof, throws into even sharper relief the winning strategyof the progressives. A heavily Democratic state votes on moral grounds to pass a law that just happens to incentivize behavior that is both illegal and immensely beneficial to their party. Yes, immensely beneficial: although it is beneficial for a party—more generally, an ideology, or memeplex—to control the Cathedral, the structures by which information is distributed, and although the Democrats—more accurately, the progressives—obviously do, this is not enough.
Why? There are two reasons. First, the market works. The structures of information distribution cannot be entirely monolithic, unless nobody disagrees with it strongly enough to want to switch to a distributor ideologically closer to them or it is impossible to start such a thing. Hence Fox News and Liberty University. Second, democracy has a race problem. Voting is essentially tribal. The voting-tribe of a child can be predicted with at least 50% accuracy by the voting-tribe of the parents. (Note also that, when the child and the parents disagree, it is far more likely that the child has become liberal than conservative. The Cathedral strikes again!) Party identification exhibits the key feature of group identity: people commonly incorporate party membership into their identity, and think people within their party are better than people in a different party. Examples of this are readily obvious to anyone on social media. So, although holding the Cathedral is necessary to maintain power, it is not sufficient.
What, then, can be done? The solution is obvious. Voting is tribal, and behavioral reality knows only one iron law: whatever is subsidized is promoted. Therefore, if a democratic faction wants to gain power, it should set up incentive structures to promote tribal demographics favorable to them. This is intuitively understood by almost all politically aware progressives, but not completely: it is widely known that conservatives would prefer the voting population to contain relatively more whites (voter ID is going to allow Romney to win Pennsylvania!), but not widely known (or at least not widely admitted) that progressives would prefer the voting population to contain relatively fewer whites. Consider:
When one of my old Labour Party acquaintances expressed anxiety over Islamic terrorism, I asked him why he had always been so keen on getting as many immigrants here as possible. He told me that he had been ‘trying to make the revolution’.
Or just read the headlines in the wake of the election. Hispanics helped drive Democrat success! This is Die Lösung. The solution. Wäre es da nicht doch einfacher, die Regierung löste das Volk auf und wählte ein anderes?
It can only be good in the long run that things are exposed as what they are. This election season, with its referenda, its base partisanship, and its always-inevitable win for Romney in the Republican primary and Obama in the general, is characterized by the destruction of illusions. Many conservatives honestly believed that a Romney win was inevitable, and that Nate Silver was a propagandist and only the party osteomancers could possibly come up with an accurate prediction; and many honestly believe now that the reelection of a neutered center-right neoliberal spells doom for the country within the next four years; if they aren’t self-aware enough to realize that their mental models of the world have next to zero predictive value and revise them accordingly, it is at least plain to everyone else that His Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition is in reality the court jester, fundamentally incapable of even holding, much less regaining, ground to the inexorable march of progress.
In time, people may come to realize that the things they detest are not corruptions of the system, but inescapable results of its internal logic—that “politics”, with its partisan mind-viruses and party capture of ‘neutral’ institutions, and that strange religion “democracy” are one and the same. That people are coming to understand Duverger’s law is a sign that this comprehension of system-logic may be soon to come: when it can be admitted that the American political system leads inevitably to the existence of two parties, can it not also be admitted that there is at least a possibility of it leading to other things? Remember: nothing is off the table.
Inescapable results of its internal logic! Sooner or later, all shams must end; the mystification of the true aspects of the system, the unexamined civil-religions, ideologies in the Marxian sense, cannot last forever. The “end of a world” never is and never can be anything but the end of an illusion. Or, if you prefer a longer quote:
When Maistre says that every nation gets the government it deserves, I believe him. Maistre didn’t think his great law was a law of physics. He thought it was a law of God. I am not a religious person, but I agree. History has convinced me that when laws of God are broken, bad shit happens. Bad shit will happen anyway. But isn’t Obama bad enough?
… Dear conservatives, I have a question for you. Suppose God appeared to you in your sleep, and gave you a choice. You could lose your country, but keep your institutions and constitutions. Or, you could lose your institutions and constitutions, but keep your country. Which would you choose?
But I don’t have to choose, you say! Au contraire, mon frere! I will save my country, by saving her institutions and constitutions! Which are the best in history ever! Look at all this corn and bacon! Dear conservatives, this is just your way of cursing God. Do you think he doesn’t have enough fools and drunks to look after?
Do you know what terrifies me? What terrifies me is that not only do I not think America deserves Mitt Romney, I don’t even think America deserves Barack Obama. After all, a couple of centuries of diligent looking-after has run us up quite a tab with God. A tab that will be paid or punished. What terrifies me is that while I see no collective interest in paying the tab, it doesn’t seem to me that the punishment has even begun to begin. Barack Obama isn’t exactly Robespierre, you know. “Capable” might be going too far, but “basically decent” isn’t that much of a stretch.
“Death to America!” is no longer a rallying cry, but instead a prayer, a hope that reality will stop dragging out what is essentially inevitable, and put an end to the shams, that we may cease to see them chattering incessantly in the tedious jargon of the sham-religion and get the hell on with our lives.
Call British troops murderers and immediately apologize: 240 hours community service.
Azhar Ahmed, 20, of Fir Avenue, Ravensthorpe, West Yorkshire, was found guilty in September of sending a grossly offensive communication. He said he did not think the message, which said “all soldiers should die and go to hell”, was offensive.
… When he realised his comments were causing distress he removed them, Mr Barker added.
District Judge Jane Goodwin said the law should not stop legitimate political opinions being strongly voiced. But she said the test was whether what was written was “beyond the pale of what’s tolerable in our society”.
She told Ahmed: “You posted the message in response to tributes and messages of sympathy. You knew at the time that this was an emotive and sensitive issue.
“With freedom of speech comes responsibility. On March 8 you failed to live up to that responsibility.”
Make jokes on Facebook: 12 weeks in jail and a mob at your house. (Note that the BBC refuses to even give details about the jokes beyond the general subject matter. And they throw in a dangling bit of information about a child murderer and refuse to disambiguate the pronouns.)
Matthew Woods, 20, made a number of derogatory posts about April and missing Madeline McCann. He appeared at Chorley Magistrates’ Court where he admitted sending a grossly offensive public electronic communication.
… Mark Bridger, 46, appeared before Aberystwyth magistrates earlier charged with April’s murder. He is also charged with child abduction and attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Woods, who is unemployed, was arrested for his own safety on Saturday night and remanded in custody ahead of his appearance in court. Chorley magistrates heard members of the public were so upset about his posts they reported them to the police. About 50 people went to his home. He was arrested at a separate address.
Associate with the EDL: have your children stolen by the government.
They concede she is no longer involved with the EDL but believe she is now involved with a splinter group, the North West Infidels. The social worker’s report states: “Toni clearly needs to break away from the inappropriate friendships she has through either the EDL or break-off group in order that she can model and display appropriate positive relationships to the baby as he/she grows and develops.
“Toni has been a prominent member of the EDL. They claim they are a peaceful group, however, they have strong associations with violence and racism.”
Spend seven months on a campaign of abuse: 140 hours community service.
“Justin shoved me in the back and pushed me into the traffic,” she said. “He was drunk. I was lucky a man stepped in to save me.”
The jury of nine women and three men has heard that Mr Collins, also 38, who has been appearing in the West End hit Rock of Ages, used a Pukka pad notebook to list every sexual experience Ms Larke had with every one of her previous lovers.
He is alleged to have “controlled” Ms Larke by forcing her to close her Facebook, Twitter and email accounts, once he had read all the messages.
Attack a white girl for being white: get a suspended six-month sentence and 150 hours of community service. (Since when is alcohol a mitigating factor?)
But Judge Robert Brown gave them suspended jail terms after hearing mitigation that as Muslims, the women were not used to being drunk.
… ‘It’s no punishment at all,’ she said. ‘And for them to say they did it because they were not used to alcohol is no excuse. If they were not supposed to be drinking then they shouldn’t have been out in bars at that time of night.
‘Even after the police came and they all ran away, one of them came running back to kick me in the head one last time.
‘I honestly think they attacked me just because I am white. I can’t think of any other reason.’
Miss Page was treated for bruises and grazes after the attack in June last year as she walked to a taxi rank with boyfriend Lewis Moore, 23, in Leicester city centre.
At the time she worked caring for people with autism and learning difficulties but gave up the job after repeated absences because of stress and flashbacks.
She is still having counselling and suffers panic attacks.
She said: ‘We were just minding our own business but they kept shouting “white bitch” and “white slag” at me. When I turned around one of them grabbed my hair then threw me on the ground.
‘They were taking turns to kick me over and over. I thought they were going to kill me.’
Gary Short, mitigating for Ambaro Maxamed, said the attack was down to alcohol. He said: ‘Although Miss Page’s partner used violence, it doesn’t justify their behaviour.
‘They’re Somalian Muslims and alcohol or drugs isn’t something they’re used to.’
Run a child sex abuse ring: get ignored for more than a decade because the police don’t want to look racist.
Police turned a blind eye to allegations of sexual abuse of white girls by gangs of largely Pakistani men for more than a decade, it was claimed yesterday.
Research, reports and case files also revealed that council officials were desperate to cover up any racial link to the abuse of young girls.
The research shows that a string of warnings dating back as far as 2000 were ignored by the authorities. In many cases, police action was taken only against the victims.
… Revealing the fears over the racial element to the abuse, a 2010 report from the Rotherham Safeguarding Children Board said the crimes had ‘cultural characteristics … which are locally sensitive in terms of diversity’, but warned of ‘sensitivities of ethnicity with potential to endanger the harmony of community relationships’.Denis MacShane, MP for Rotherham, said: ‘There’s a culture here of denial and cover-up and a refusal to accept the reality that we have men living in the Rotherham community who treat young girls as objects for their sexual pleasure. It’s time to tell the truth. We must root out this evil.’
The revelations come only three months after it emerged that social services in Rotherham had known for six years that a teenage mother, murdered for bringing shame on the families of two men who had used her for sex, was at clear risk from predatory gangs.
Laura Wilson, 17, had been groomed by a string of men before she was stabbed and thrown into a canal to die for informing her abusers’ families of the sexual relationships.
Her killer Ashtiaq Asghar, who was 18 at the time, was given a life sentence and will serve a minimum of 17-and-a-half years after he pleaded guilty to murdering Laura in October 2010.
But it emerged in June that Rotherham Council’s social services were well aware she was at risk and had received information about certain adults suspected of targeting her from the age of 11.
A serious case review report confirmed that Laura had dealings with 15 agencies and identified ‘numerous missed opportunities’ to protect her.
It stated that she eventually became ‘almost invisible’ to care professional.
But note that this is nothing new.
It is, of course, utterly inconceivable that the barbaric practice of the political paramilitary would exist in a civilized country; and to even suggest that major political forces would so much as allow themselves to benefit from such unthinkable obscenities is clearly absurd.
Reposting my comment here (which, surprise, didn’t make it past moderation), edited slightly to bring it up from comment quality, since it’s been a while since my last post and this is long enough that it probably should be one anyway.
The problem with the American university, it is claimed, is that it is no longer leftist enough; specifically, that it does not grant enough degrees in such fields as “philosophy, anthropology, literature, history, sociology, world religions, foreign languages and cultures”, which are, of course, “the strongest in their ability to develop higher level intellectual rigor” and therefore create “a more empowered, democratic, and multiracial middle class” capable of “intense public discourse, passionate learning, and vocal citizen involvement in the issues of the times”—in other words, intellectual dissent—despite the fact that the humanities have become a garbage bin for such sins against logic and rigor as the theories of Kant and Freud, simply because they appear respectable and are easy to use to reach certain results. The role of the university in fostering dissent is undeniable, but that dissent is not particularly intellectual, and also not under immediate threat. (It is also neutered and ineffective, but who will admit that?)
We in the academy, students and professors alike, must never let facts get in the way of a good theory; after all, we are theoreticians, interested in becoming “actively intelligent”, not merely informed! It is therefore utterly irrelevant that the social sciences are the second most popular category of major, or that, in most of the aforementioned majors, enrollment has either remained steady or increased. Looked at as a percentage of total majors, there is a decrease, but this is easily explained by the expansion in popularity of vocational majors such as business and health.
There definitely is a crisis in higher education, but this is not due to any lack of ideological Correctness on the part of the academy; its causes are merely capitalism and bureaucracy. (Or, if you don’t like ill-defined leftoid buzzwords like ‘capitalism’: it is a predictable result of our incentive structures.) The supposed fall from leftism is rendered implausible by the expansion of ‘diversity’ initiatives, speech codes, indoctrination programs, and the like, obviously leftist initiatives which all happen to operate to the benefit of the bureaucracy, and, less directly, the capitalists—it is of great benefit to a party in power to maintain a neutered false opposition, to draw in and render ineffective those who would dissent, or perhaps even make them unwitting aids to the regime. (See also: libertarians.) The -logy and -studies left is concerned almost exclusively with problems of social injustice, which it claims can be solved by throwing bureaucrats at them; racial inequality can be solved with affirmative action programs (requiring bureaucrats to administer them and ensure compliance), diversity programs (requiring bureaucrats to administer them and ensure compliance), expanded welfare programs (requiring bureaucrats to administer them and ensure compliance), promotion of multiculturalism (requiring the creation of offices to be administered by bureaucrats working toward goals written by bureaucrats), and so on. No wonder it hasn’t gone away; why would the bureaucrats give up their careers? (Of course, that alone is lacking in explanatory power—why are there few to no equivalent programs for lower-class whites?—but I’ve gone on long enough, so I will defer here to the great Sith Lord of contemporary antipolitics, Mencius Moldbug.)
This false-opposition ideology, this bureaucratic leftism, also makes trivial the dumbing down of the students. Faced with little to no serious opposition to their fuzzy inherited beliefs, only a clarification of them — if even that, considering the duckspeak-like ease with which the buzzwords of bureaucratic leftism can be dispensed — students have no chance to hone their minds against the stone of opposition. Maybe my experience is an outlier, but, with the exception of millennia-old proto-philosophers like Confucius and Plato, mangled beyond recognition and presented as mere historical curiosities, the least leftist thinker I have encountered in my entire time in the school system is Nozick, who is very much a liberal. (I don’t count Hobbes; I only got the state of nature and the social contract, not the bits that serve as inspiration to authoritarians and the like.) It takes more thought to disagree than to agree; why, then, the curious refusal to venture into other schools of thought, or to even acknowledge that liberalism is not the only game in town? (Despite the popularity of bureaucratic leftism on the campus, I have only rarely encountered actual leftist theory, a fact that I regard as only slightly less unfortunate—leftism is less alien than any flavor of intellectually serious rightism, but it is still quite alien. If I can’t have Evola, I’ll take Marx instead. I had to read the first chapter or two of Capital once, but that’s just the part where he tries to define money.)
The guilt of capitalism is as easy to establish as that of bureaucracy: just as bureaucratic leftism serves as a useful-idiocy benefiting bureaucrats, it also benefits capitalists; it simply has no serious economic theory. (This is not a new development; the popularizers of leftism in academia and pop culture were jokers and psychoanalysts.) The closest it can come to that is Noam Chomsky, who is incapable of doing anything but pointing out things that really should be staggeringly obvious. And he, of course, doesn’t understand dialectics, and thinks that democracy is a great and wonderful system with excellent internal logic that only happens to go boink! in nasty ways when it gets infected from outside by demons or something and totally doesn’t set itself up to go boink! with its own internal logic. (Democracy past a certain scale incentivizes political paramilitaries and vote-buying; is this really so unclear?) Then there are other incentives: universities must remain relevant and maintain the incoming flow of money; hence sports programs, the role as certification authority for vocational competence, and the sacrifice of quality to quantity.
Yes, there is a sacrifice. 400 students interested in, and capable of understanding, the liberal arts, in a college of 400, will find their college experience much more intellectually rewarding than the same 400 in a sea of 4000, most of whom are uninterested and likely incompetent, and only there for certification. The effect of 3600 pieces of dead weight slowing classes down and killing the signal-to-noise ratio for networking purposes can only be negative for the intellectual environment, but it is likely to be positive for the institution. But lack of interest and mental capacity is not the only problem, as anyone who has read Hoffer knows: True Believers and other flavors of unthinking ideologue are not at all hard to find in the American university, and their presence can only be negative.
Perhaps this offers a solution to the problem of the dying academy: small, selective schools with few bureaucrats and few students, with the explicit goals of promoting the search for dissent and destroying the allergy to same. Contemporary incentive structures cannot be escaped on a large scale, but it may be that they can be dodged on a small scale; and if enough small-scale dodges exist, it may be possible to create and preserve a serious academic tradition, for those few who seek it. This all probably sounds horribly right-wing, but academics tend to develop similar speech tics when talking about academia, and in any case, it would not be difficult to drop in the right buzzwords to win over those with the popular memeplex of the era yanking their neurons, so it may be possible to market it well.
So, here we are. Christmas Eve. I’m sitting in the corner of a McDonald’s, chugging down my third gallon of sweet tea, mulling over the real possibility of ending up homeless for a few days, thanks to the latest in a long series of family issues bordering on—no, firmly planted in, irretrievably sunk WIPP-style in—the absurd. I didn’t sleep at all last night, and, although some of the singers of the Spanish-language Christmas carols (why would they translate something as terrible as Jingle Bell Rock?!) do have ridiculous American accents, I haven’t heard a word of English since I ordered. What fun.
Such things make it far easier to understand the liberal absurdity of “emancipation”, described most accurately by Carlyle:
Certainly the notion everywhere prevails among us too, and preaches itself abroad in every dialect, uncontradicted anywhere so far as I can hear, that the grand panacea for social woes is what we call “enfranchisement,” “emancipation;” or, translated into practical language, the cutting asunder of human relations, wherever they are found grievous, as is like to be pretty universally the case at the rate we have been going for some generations past. Let us all be “free” of one another; we shall then be happy.
Our institutions are flawed, and rather severely so; not only that, but the flaws—more accurately, the heresies, for heresy is, as Belloc said, nothing more than “the dislocation of some complete and self-supporting scheme by the introduction of a novel denial of some essential part therein”*—are aspects of an ideology, Moldbug’s “Universalism”, which has been on the rise for anywhere between two and twenty centuries, and now clearly holds the scepter of prestige in the entire Western world. (Of course, one who follows Alain de Benoist’s origin story of Universalism would not see it as a heresy at all, but my sense of decency prevents me from criticizing Christianity one day from the center of its calendar—a center for which we may very well have capitalism to thank, since I, at least, would expect the center to be the far more theologically significant and far less easily commercializable Easter. But on the other hand, as early as 1833, it “all other doth efface”.) Given all this, is it any surprise that those institutions are commonly seen as irreparable?
Anyway, it is Christmas Eve, so I suppose I should post something in the spirit of the season. Here’s the least intolerable version of God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen that I could find, besides the instrumental Mannheim Steamroller versions:
And a relevant bit of context from Frost:
Whether you believe in the particulars or not, I think the ideas of God and The Devil as metaphors for the just authority and the temptations of evil are useful. If you believe in Good and Justice, why not call this natural order ‘God’? If you believe in Evil, why not call its personification ‘The Devil’? I make this mental substitution all the time when reading dusty old books, and it works just fine for me.
Leaving aside the problematic notion (it is a rare man who can withstand violations of subsidiarity with his morals intact!) of one “Savior … to save us all from Satan’s power”—a notion that Alain de Benoist would surely call Christian to the core—the message is strikingly relevant. Nobody at this point can deny that we have strayed far into the clutches of Satan, although if you ask ten people, you’ll get eleven Satans; we clearly now stand at the beginning of a paradigm shift, but there is agreement on neither the paradigm nor the shift. (My own prediction is that, just as the last century belonged to the left, this one will belong to the right. After all, the first Whig was the Devil. But I am most likely either too optimistic or too pessimistic here; it’s anyone’s guess as to which.)
* As for Belloc, I doubt the practical existence of such a scheme as he posits; there are many complete, self-supporting schemes out there, but none that can withstand the human factor. One that could, of course, would be utopian. This probably relates to dialectics somehow, but I’ll leave that up to someone more well-versed in that system than I.
Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas
All other doth deface:
O tidings of comfort and joy,
comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy.
The absurdities of contemporary society outlined in my previous post come from one clear source: the individualist ideography. Human relations are cast as oppressive restraints, and their participants, due to their nature as interchangeable, detached souls existing outside all human constructs, must be liberated from all such oppression, set free to… well, to do what? Individualism is largely silent on that question, but in practice, all it frees most people to do (in the first world, at least; its policies have been far more disastrous in other areas, most notably the former Rhodesia) is march listlessly about in architectural monstrosities of glass and concrete on weekdays and hammer themselves into the ground with cheap beer at night. Meaningless people living meaningless lives, inhabiting places that cannot be homes, occasionally falling into narcissistic restatements, whether New Age or liberal, of the dogma that created their problems in the first place. Or, of course, drug addiction. Anything to escape the hell they have no language to acknowledge.
Without structure, there can be no virtue, only subsistence. Asian parenting tactics are widely opposed, and even in my opinion a bit extreme (mostly because they focus on the wrong things; Asian culture emphasizes skill in repetition over skill in thought, which is useful for getting the best government bureaucrats, but not much else), but when was the last time you saw a white college student with actual competence? As in parenting, so in society: lack of structure breeds failure and apathy.
I saw a high school acquaintance go down that road. He was on the MIT track, but due to circumstances nobody possibly could have foreseen, his train got derailed and he ended up in a party college for rich, nihilistic SWPLs, at which point his parents decided not to give a damn about what he did. He ended up changing his major to philosophy, dropping out, and becoming a drug dealer. Many other people were ruined by that college, that shining exemplar of liberal individualism and hedonism at work; several people I knew there are now reportedly homeless, permafried from acid and riddled with STDs. But our language has no words for such concepts. The absurdity of contemporary society is made apparent by the fact that words such as “wasted”, “trashed”, and “hammered” have taken on positive connotations. Productivity is for squares, bro. Real men fuckin’ party. Drop that Bach shit, let’s crank some Kanye.
Thomas Carlyle, the 19th-century arch-reactionary, saw this all coming:
In the progress of Emancipation, are we to look for a time when all the Horses also are to be emancipated, and brought to the supply-and-demand principle? Horses too have “motives;” are acted on by hunger, fear, hope, love of oats, terror of platted leather; nay they have vanity, ambition, emulation, thankfulness, vindictiveness; some rude outline of all our human spiritualities,—a rude resemblance to us in mind and intelligence, even as they have in bodily frame. The Horse, poor dumb four-footed fellow, he too has his private feelings, his affections, gratitudes; and deserves good usage; no human master, without crime, shall treat him unjustly either, or recklessly lay on the whip where it is not needed:—I am sure if I could make him “happy,” I should be willing to grant a small vote (in addition to the late twenty millions) for that object!
Him too you occasionally tyrannize over; and with bad result to yourselves, among others; using the leather in a tyrannous unnecessary manner; withholding, or scantily furnishing, the oats and ventilated stabling that are due. Rugged horse-subduers, one fears they are a little tyrannous at times. “Am I not a horse, and half-brother?”—To remedy which, so far as remediable, fancy—the horses all “emancipated;” restored to their primeval right of property in the grass of this Globe: turned out to graze in an independent supply-and-demand manner! So long as grass lasts, I dare say they are very happy, or think themselves so. And Farmer Hodge sallying forth, on a dry spring morning, with a sieve of oats in his hand, and agony of eager expectation in his heart, is he happy? Help me to plough this day, Black Dobbin: oats in full measure if thou wilt. “Hlunh, No—thank!” snorts Black Dobbin; he prefers glorious liberty and the grass. Bay Darby, wilt not thou perhaps? “Hlunh!”—Gray Joan, then, my beautiful broad-bottomed mare,—O Heaven, she too answers Hlunh! Not a quadruped of them will plough a stroke for me. Corn-crops are ended in this world!—For the sake, if not of Hodge, then of Hodge’s horses, one prays this benevolent practice might now cease, and a new and better one try to begin. Small kindness to Hodge’s horses to emancipate them! The fate of all emancipated horses is, sooner or later, inevitable. To have in this habitable Earth no grass to eat,—in Black Jamaica gradually none, as in White Connemara already none;—to roam aimless, wasting the seedfields of the world; and be hunted home to Chaos, by the due watch-dogs and due hell-dogs, with such horrors of forsaken wretchedness as were never seen before! These things are not sport; they are terribly true, in this country at this hour.
The main error of liberalism is its denial of human nature. We, the Whig says, are superanimal—fundamentally rational beings, homo economicus, separate from our hardware, and yet with no higher purpose than the base fulfillment of that hardware. (This, of course, is the Bentham/Mill debate, and the world, predictably, has taken Bentham’s side, leading to our current predicament. One cannot justify liberalism through Mill, for reasons explained best, albeit unintentionally, by Jeff Moss: Mill does not like big squooshy blobs.) If you build a contraption to dispense cocaine to a rat whenever it pushes a bar, the rat will waste away at the bar, forgetting even to eat; and in the end, we are but rats. At the very least, if you firehose dopamine down my mesolimbic pathway, I’ll fry like one.
Due to various interruptions from the strange land of real life, mostly midterms and the transformation of my sleep schedule into something not even remotely worthy of the term ‘schedule’, I have not been able to write a full post recently. Instead, take these quotes and connect the dots. There’s not much I could add here anyway; the point should be clear enough.
If I were to speechify to a conclave of Tea Partyers, “America is the free-est…the most democratic…the best educated and most dynamic country the world has ever known, an example to all mankind,” the assembled would hoot and hooroar and applaud in dizzy exaltation. Here is the soul of the American approach to existence, bottomless self-admiration devoid of knowledge or curiosity, wrapped like a psychic burrito in the patriotism of overwrought middle-schoolers. And there are many, many of them.
Americans believe this stuff. There is probably no one in France, and here I include asylums, drains, and morgues, who could be so narcissistically stupid.
Christopher Lasch: (quoting from the Wikipedia summary because I don’t have my copy of the book at hand)
The book proposes that post-war, late-capitalist America, through the effects of “organized kindness” on the traditional family structure, has produced a personality-type consistent with clinical definitions of “pathological narcissism”. This pathology is not akin to everyday narcissism — a hedonistic egoism — but rather a very weak sense of self requiring constant external validation.
The permanent misfits can find salvation only in a complete separation from the self; and they usually find it by losing themselves in the compact collectivity of a mass movement. By renouncing individual will, judgment and ambition, and dedicating all their powers to the service of an eternal cause, they are at last lifted off the endless treadmill which can never lead them to fulfillment.
The friend of popular Governments never finds himself so much alarmed for their character and fate, as when he contemplates their propensity to this dangerous vice [faction]. … The instability, injustice, and confusion introduced into the public councils, have, in truth, been the mortal diseases under which popular Governments have everywhere perished; as they continue to be the favorite and fruitful topics from which the adversaries to liberty derive their most specious declamations.